September 4, 2009

My birthday weekend

I had, quite simply, one of the best birthdays ever. Last weekend, T and I flew up north for a little wine-tasting adventure in Sonoma and Napa, and we brought some friends with us along the way (and stayed with T's wonderful and obliging sister and brother-in-law). The entire weekend was filled with great food, great wine, and great company. In other words, it was absolutely perfect.

We flew to San Francisco via Virgin America. As a nod to my 28th birthday, T sprang for first class, where we drank sparkling wine and toasted to a terrific weekend ahead (which it was). Incidentally, Josh Groban was on our flight and could be seen flirting with the flight attendant (he sat in coach, interestingly enough). After we landed at SFO, we were invited to check out the cockpit, our ticket to this little privileged tour being our two-year-old travel companion, Oliver. Thanks, Ollie!

Breakfast on my birthday consisted of poached eggs and asparagus on toast, as prepared by T's fabulous sister Heather. Talk about yum.

We toured Trefethen winery in Napa, where T grew up. I sampled a tiny grape from this vine; its sweet flavor burst on my tongue in a perfectly delightful way.

Barrels upon barrels of wine, each containing 300 bottles. The mind reels from the sheer volume of so much wine and begs the question, 'Have I consumed 300 bottles of wine in my lifetime?' We ended up taking home their cabernet franc. Not all of it, just a bottle. :-)

Birthday cupcakes!

We had three small children in our party, so while the little ones napped in the afternoon, the grown-ups relaxed on a blanket underneath a shady tree (the female ones did, anyway; the males ended up napping along with the babies!), complete with delectable grilled cheese-and-avocado-and-tomato sandwiches and sparkling wine. Rough.

Here is T's baby niece Sophia looking like the angel that she is, post-nap.

The next day we escaped the 100+ degree weather and headed for the much cooler beach. I actually prefer gray, foggy weather, which surely must be some residual love from my London days.

Oysters and South African sparkling wine make a killer combo.

On the last day we headed into the city, where we caught a planetarium show at The Academy of Sciences (which was awesome), lunched in North Beach, spent an hour at City Lights bookshop (I'm guilty as charged), and admired the water from the Ferry Building. It's always bittersweet to experience such magical weekends as this, because for all the fun and sheer enjoyment I felt all weekend long, it's also rather excruciating to see it end and go back to reality. Although I'm struggling with serious post-birthday blues now, each day that passes gets a bit easier and I become even more grateful for having such wonderful friends in my life with whom to share a beautiful birthday weekend.

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