Monday, January 4, 2010

Catching Up

Ohmygoodness I have so much to talk about. I took a 2 week hiatus from work, and blogging...and everything else pretty much and am back with so much to talk about! I've eaten at so many restaurants and cooked so many yummy things that I can't wait to share....but first..let's do a quick re-cap of our Christmassy California Adventures...

We got into town on Saturday around late lunch time...caught up with Rob's parents and then headed to a little Christmas Party that was being held by one of his mom's friends. Apparantly the only pics I took the whole night were of the adorable puppies she was fostering... this one was my favorite because he was so lazy. Here he is falling asleep while drinking out of his water bowl!! What a sweet little's a good thing we were in California because if we had been in Ohio I think one of them would have come home with me!

Sunday we headed up to San Francisco to see a Boys and Men Choir perform at this gorgeous church:

Afterwards we had about an hour before our dinner reservations and decided to spend it getting a glass of champagne at the Top of the Mark. The Top of the Mark is the bar on the top of the Intercontinental Hotel in Nob Hill and from it you have a 360 degree angle of the Golden Gate Bridge, Fishermen's Wharf, Alcatraz, etc etc. It was just gorgeous and a bubbly glass of champagne while overlooking the cold lit up city felt SO festive!

View from the Top of the Mark

As if this wasn't already a great night, add in a fabulous dinner at a small Italian place down the street , Venticello- (restaurant review to come later) and I'd pretty much call it a perfect night! Cozy Italian Restaurant, good wine, delicious food...seriously does it get ANY better?

The next morning we woke up Bright & Early to head to the Napa Valley where we had a morning tour scheduled to tour a Castle/winery in Calistoga: Castello di Amorosa. The owner/builder of this castle went to GREAT lengths to make this castle as true to form as possible as one that would be found in 14th century Italy. The Stonework, the details, etc was all like it was actually a product of the 14th century...kind of crazy actually! We got an hour and a half tour of the castle anda then got to taste some wine right out of a barrel in a barrel storage room, which was fun!...then we went on to the tasting room to try some more of their wines there.. The movie BedTime Stories (with Adam Sandler) was also filmed there so I am looking forward to renting that and seeing the castle on the big screen.

Castello di Amoroso

Dining Room of the Castle- check out the murals!

Tasting straight from the barrel!

We made a stop at Mumm (mmmm champagne!)

and then at Chimney Rock, Rob's parents are members here and they have some of the best wine I've ever tasted!- also this year's Top Chef finale was filmed here....just sayin....

Then on the way home, we stopped at his parents' favorite sushi place (with good reason)- this little dive sushi place is amaazzing. A few examples of the deliciousness:

The last day there Rob and I went to the grocery store to get some food to cook up his parents a delicious Christmas meal. I made some guac for everyone to snack on while we cooked (not because it went with the meal, but because I can't go to California and not eat avacados....even if it is the middle of winter....) Rob and I made them Chicken Saltimbocca, roasted rosemary potatoes and broccolini followed by my yummy banana, marshmallow, chocolate chip dessert that I used to make at Girl Scout Camp over the campfire but recently resurrected and everyone Loves it....and I didnt take pics of any of it!! whoops! oh well.....we had some more delicious wine, at dinner and opened Christmas presents around the tree. Then I went to bed early since my I had to be on the way to the airport by 6am the next day!!- the travel day home was a complete disaster complete with delayed flights, missed connections, cancelled flights, late pilots, a dead cell phone and 14 hours of my life I will never get back. But I made it back in one piece in time for Christmas I was happy :)
Thanks to Rob's parents for a great weekend!!


Rob Eisenstein said...

The sushi pictures don't do it justice - those pieces are huge! Anyone know a place in Cincinnati that serves sushi this big?

Christy said...

the sushi looks flippin delicious!!!

Lindsey said...

jen, what is the chocolate mallow banana delight?
i once had a banana cut in half, filled with chocolate and mallows, wrapped in foil and baked in the oven.
sounds simple enough but i've never quite known how to make it myself. what is the correct oven temp and time on something like that?
is this the recipe you have? if so, PLEASE share.
Happy New Year Lady!

Jen Lilley said...

YES. we used to make it in girlscout camp over the campfire and wrap it in foil, but now when I make it at home, I just cut out a little slit of the peel, then take a spoon and scoop out a really thin layer of the banana. Then I stuff it with chocolate chips and marshmallows, then cover that up with the little slit of the peel and just bake in the oven until its melty and the marshmallows are a little toasty.. I think I usually do 350, but not sure it matters too much. The banana peel will get all black but it's DELISH.

Happy New Year to YOU!

Andrea said...

WOW - That sushi looks amazing. And now I'm starving to have some and don't know where to find any over here!! Bummer. I'm gonna have to try your banana/marshmallow/chocolate dessert, though - sounds delish!