Sunday, December 16, 2007

Napa Valley Crazies Tour

This year Jeremy and I going down south for the holidays and pulling the whole "xmas eve with one set of parents, xmas day with the other." So we decided to do a little xmas getaway just the two of us, taste some wines, and finally use the gift certificate that Eddo got me for my bday to Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's lower-rent version of The French Laundry.

We decided to do our tastings up in Calistoga in an attempt to avoid the annoying crowds on Saturdays in the wine country. We made it up to Napa late Saturday afternoon, which was actually quite nice because all the bumblies had already had their fill and gone back to their hotels to sober up before dinner. We chose a few wineries off the main drag for our tastings, and boy were we happy we did!

Our first stop was Frank Family Vineyards, which has two tasting rooms: one for sparkling wine and one for regular wine. We liked the sparkling wine alright there, but the other stuff just wasn't our cup of tea. Our wine jockey at Frank Family was totally crazy.

Me to Jeremy: "Do you think he's drunk?"
Jeremy: "I certainly hope so."

Our next stop was Dutch Henry Winery, which we absolutely loved! Their tastings are in an actual functional barrel room and there are photos of all the winemakers dressed up like they are in the old west.


Everything we tried their was ultra interesting and different. Their tasting notes said stuff like "Hide the women and children and grab some t-bones!" Anniko, our WJ, was totally crazy (are you sensing a theme here?). After she poured us a taste of the Cabernet Franc, she kept saying, "Franc is my good friend. He is always welcome at my house. Do you like Franc? Franc likes you." Yeah, certifiable! We loved her!

Our final destination was Cuvaison, which was located on an absolutely beautiful plot of land:


The wines here were a little more commercial, but still we found a bottle that we liked. Our WJ here was also completely insane, but in a way that we didn't like. They had these ultra tall wine glasses that were kind of ridiculous:


And now, for the main event: our dinner at Ad Hoc. YUM!!! Our first course was a BLT: Butter Lettuce salad with pork belly (it was supposed to have Tomato vinaigrette to put the T in BLT, but instead it came with a buttermilk dressing which was fantabulous).


We had our meal with a 2005 bottle of The OG Grenache by Betts and Scholl. Our waiter, Nessim, who was also completely insane, described it to us as "kind of unusual." Not sure what happened this weekend, but we seemed to be attracting both people and wines by that description. But yo, we absolutely loved that wine.


Our main course consisted of braised short ribs with roasted winter vegetables and mashed potatoes (described by our waiter as being made of "cream, cream, butter, cream, butter, butter, cream, cream, cream, butter, butter, and then some more cream", while he was making karate chops with his hands). Look at how excited I am!


This was followed up by a cheese course and apple pound cake, neither of which we could finish because we were too stuffed. I have to say, the cynical me thought they were taking the "low rent" thing a little too far, but when it comes down to it, they were giving us a 4 course menu with absolutely ginormous proportions for $45. Can't really fault that.

After dinner we went back to the hotel, where I gave Jeremy his new Wii. WHEEEEEE!!! He is sooo excited about it. In fact, he's playing right now as I type these words.

Jeremy: I can't believe you gave me a video game console! I've never had one before because I don't trust myself enough to have one.
Hope: Well, don't make me regret it. ;)

It was a quick, wonderful weekend getaway...check out all our photos here:


Monday, December 10, 2007

Eye Candy

Leah, one of the gals I work with at Noon, went to the EG conference and she loved it! Apparently it's kind of like the TED conference, where the greatest minds in the world come together and, uh, confer. Actually, after hearing about all the cool people and awesome stuff she did at the conference, I was kinda jeal that I didn't get to go!

One of the speakers that she told us about was the guy who put together this website: Basically, this website searches the entire Interweb for the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling" and records the sentence that this phrase is found in. It them compiles data on the writer of the phrase and organizes that info in a number of ways, all of which look effin' cool!

This is a truly excellent example of gorgeous and well-communicated information design.

Click here to open up the site. I promise you won't be sorry. It's gorgeous!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I heart Erika

Our favorite Miss Erika is moving back down to LA, so two Melissas and a Hope, heavily aided by the planning talents of Tickled Pink Events, threw her a party she wouldn't soon forget. First of all, the party was a wine tasting event, complete with ballots, dresses (and corsets and tube tops) to mask the wine bottles, and a winning prize for the best bottle:



It also happened to be a wig party, 'cuz you know we like to get our costume on:






For the record, Jeremy's wig was a purple and black punk rock mullet WITH FIBER OPTICS (his hair flashed red at the tips).


And it was a karaoke party...the inflatable instruments that Erika bought for our wedding made a comeback. Apparently I thought it would be really funny to have the giant inflatable microphone in the foreground of every photo, cuz about 2/3 of the 200 photos I took feature this composition:




Good thing I took so many photos, cuz now we'll definitely remember it. ;) Catch the entire Flickr set here:

We really love you Erika! Though I'm pretty sad to see her move away, I also kinda like that Karl guy, so I guess it's for the best. :)



Karlika, come visit often, please! That goes for all of yous that moved away (ahem, Katrick and the Lichis), and some of you who never lived here (I'm looking at you, Jenny and Dan). :)

XOX, Hope