Domestic, I am not. Maybe that’s why I’ve never married? I travel, am up for anything, drink fine wine, and am adventurous when it comes to food. But a natural in the kitchen? Come ON. Leave it to Trafalgar Tours to show me the ways. On our recent journey through Napa, I was expecting a delicious adventure through some of my favorite wineries, after, of course, visiting San Francisco’s Chinatown, Farmers’ Market, and Napa’s Oxbow food market. Instead? Our first stop required me to MAKE some wine. When it comes to the vino, I know a lot about what I like. But I never really put much thought into just how the powers at be decide on how much of each varietal to put into a blend. Visiting wine country wineries such as Ravenswood in Sonoma makes wine tasting packages special — and that’s before you’ve even begun to roll up your sleeves and take a class. Math first-thing in the morning? Sure! Bring it on. No buzz can be ruined by a few percentage equations… right?
On my most recent trip to Napa, I knew I was with kindred spirits when Andi of My Beautiful Adventures, Andi of Misadventures with Andi, and I decided to run over to Oxbow Market to take down some oysters and champagne to kick off our stay. So far, every trip of mine in this particular slice wine country has started this way. I’m not sure why… Is it the magical saltiness of Hog Island‘s famous oysters, or the heavy pours of the local champagnes? I’m not sure. All I know is that on this Napa trip, I have never laughed harder. Within a minute of being there, we met two very outgoing men who were as enamored with the two Andis as I was…. Who can blame them?
I’ve had a lot of China in my life lately. First, my youngest brother lives in Xiamen, where he’s studying Mandarin. My mom, who last year traveled for a month with him, has reported back that he spoke the difficult language incredibly well already. I am so proud that someone in my family will be bilingual! But I never would have guessed Mandarin… Anyway, he’s actually been living in China for years, first as an English teacher before switching to poker. Meanwhile, I’ve been scouring Chinese New Year invites, which is an easy task here in Las Vegas, where this particular holiday is enthusiastically celebrated. Why am I so involved? It is my year!! The year of the snake. Watch out, world! Oh, and I fell in love with a San Francisco Chinatown tour during a recent trip. Enjoy!
Don’t tell anyone: I tap-danced for years as a child. The sad part? I wasn’t nearly as good as this dapper little kid! I could have watched him all afternoon, as he taps his heart out while blasting his sassy brass instrument. Known around San Francisco as the “Trumpet Kid,” 13-year-old Gabriel Angelo performs around town, including outside the Ferry Plaza farmers market where I recently went before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and driving on to Napa Valley. This pint-sized talent powerhouse is no joke: he’s been on Ellen, met Justin Bieber, performed with Questlove, and tweets tirelessly as MasterBlasterG. I took a video (BELOW) so you could see him for yourself!
In my mind (or an alternate universe — you pick), I am the type of girl who wakes up every Saturday morning, refreshed and ready to hit my local farmers market for some sunshine, fresh food and groceries, and a lively social kick-off to my active weekend. Alas, that has never, ever been the case. By the time my weekend rolls around, after being “on” all week at work and having few too many hours at home, the last thing I want to do is walk around a Farmers Market alone. (The only one in my area is on Sunday anyways.) But if I lived near “the” farmers market in San Francisco, a Ferry Plaza Market devotee I would be.
Previous to my most recent trip to San Francisco, I had rarely spent more than one night there at a time, usually on my way to Napa. That all changed with my recent trip with Trafalgar Tours, which prides itself on really digging in and showing off the local flavor of a place. So our first stop (after lunch at Cha Cha Cha of course) in the Bay Area? The famous Haight Ashbury district, where flower power descended in force during a few special years starting in the late 1960s. Our fearless leader: Izu, of Flower Power Tours. The only “complaint” I’ve read in all of my research about the great Izu is that she talks too much. Well, then, if you are on a schedule, speak up — this woman could talk all day about these streets and their history… That’s how much she loves her job!