Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Parent Day

We did our parental duty and visited our son, who is a freshman at St. Mary's College last Saturday. A quick flight to Oakland and a ride on BART to Walnut Creek where Will met us. We spent most of the day in Walnut Creek, having coffee, lunch and shopping for wardrobe items that he realized that he needed after spending 6 weeks at school. After lunch, we headed to campus and helped him unpack the new items in his dorm room. Male dorm rooms have not changed since I lived in one, but it iss always nice to see such quality reading in a dorm room, although I will question his taste in DVDs.

After a quick visit with his roommate's family and a quick tour of the campus, Will took us back to the airport for our short flight home to the OC. We left with the knowledge that Will has adapted well to college life and seems to be enjoying himself and learning at the same time. Too bad college life can't last 40 years, as it is a fun time.

In December, we will make our parental inspection of Nicky, but that one is a lot harder. A 14 hour flight to Wellington. But we get to ride jet boats, hike glaciers and ride on trains.

I think I am going to like making parental inspections.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Do you know the way to?

It started as a little trip to pick up my fall shipment from Tablas Creek Winery in Paso Robles. It ended up as an adventure cruising the back roads of San Luis Obispo county sampling some wine and some excellent food. The weekend got a little more extravagant when dining at our favorite restaurant, Citrus City Grille, the owner over heard our plans and arranged what he thought was a stay at EOS Winery. When I confirmed with the winery, they let us know the only place to stay at their winery was on the cellar floor. We quickly arranged a stay at a friends condo in San Luis Obispo.

We left Orange at 5am, ate at a truck stop in Lebec so we could arrive at EOS on the west side of town, for our arranged 10:30am tour. The tour ended up as a conversation with the assistant wine maker as my buddy, a microbiologist, talked yeast with the wine maker. After we learned more about yeast than any of us needed to know, we went down and sampled all of their really nice, food friendly, very drinkable wines. We walked away with many of their desert wines and bottles of their better whites and reds. Other stops in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo included the following:
  • Cass Winery: Wines were so so, but the rural setting along with the sit down tasting on the patio along with a very nice cafe made the whole experience wonderful. We enjoyed a very nice cheese plate ($17) while we sipped our wines. I felt guilty not buying any of their wines as the whole experience was worth more than the cost of a bottle.
  • Eagle Castle: A castle looking building built as a huge tourist and bus trap. The most fun we had their was watching a mini bus tour guide who reached the breaking point while dealing with an unruly, drunk tour group.
  • Tablas Creek: We enjoyed a private tasting of my fall shipment and along with the wine, they served various types of food (tomato salad, green salad, sliced smoked ham and beef stew) that complemented each of the wines served. All wine tastings should be done this way.
  • Claibourne & Churchill: They are in Edna Valley, and although they were out of many of their wines, the ones we tasted were very good. They are releasing their new wines next week and I think I might have to get some.
  • Kynsi Winery: A very small family run winery housed in an old dairy. It was fun to see sisters argue over the phone. I am willing to go back just to see if things change. Wines were good but nondescript.
In the middle, we had dinner at Villa Creek, a very nice restaurant in Paso Robles. We had just come from Tablas Creek, so we weren't that hungry and our wine senses were numbed, so we limited ourselves to split entrees and some gelato. Well worth a trip back there.

So, six wineries in two days. California has 4,800 wineries. I am looking forward to many more adventures.