Vinod Kurup

Hospitalist/programmer in search of the meaning of life

Life Update: The Honeymoon

Amazing etched door{: .inset .right height=150 width=113} We honeymooned in California Wine Country. We stayed at the Hilton in Santa Rosa, about halfway between Napa and Sonoma. In Napa, we visited Sterling, Peju, V. Sattui and Artesa. I enjoy wine, but not to the point that I can tell the difference between a good wine and a great one. So, I grade vineyards on different criteria. Go to Sterling for the view and the self-guided tour. Go to Peju to see the stained glass and the etched door. Go to V. Sattui for the free wine tasting, the gourmet deli and the picnic area. Go to Artesa because, well, it’s a nice stop on the way back to San Francisco.

I had my first-ever massage at the Golden Haven Hot Springs in Calistoga. We also did the couples mud-bath and spa. They say the mud in Calistoga is therapeutic because of the hot springs. It seemed like regular old mud to me.

Mmmm Ribeye{: .inset .left height=150 width=113} Mirepoix{: .inset .left height=150 width=113} Our favorite meal was at Auberge du Soleil. We had the tasting menu and every course was spectacular, especially the rib-eye. Get an outdoor table at sunset and you won’t be disappointed. Thanks to Sarika for the recommendation. We found another quaint little place in Windsor called Mirepoix. The service was very friendly and the food was great. We were not as impressed with Greystone Restaurant - the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant. It was fine, but not as good as our other meals.

We liked hanging out at the vineyards in Sonoma better than Napa. It just seemed more relaxed and the wine tastings were cheaper. We tasted at Ferrari Carano, Clos du Bois and Simi. Don’t miss the meticulously manicured gardens at Ferrari Carano.

Ferrari-Carano cellars{: .inset height=112 width=150} Beautiful garden{: .inset height=80 width=150} Peju fountain{: .inset height=112 width=150}

Arch Rock{: .inset .left height=112 width=150} Mala is tiny!{: .inset .right height=150 width=113} We had a bread, wine and cheese picnic in the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. We couldn’t resist the draw of the Pacific Ocean, so we drove a couple hours west through some beautiful winding wooded roads. We declined the dip into the ocean because it was a bit chilly.

Sung & Peter{: .inset .left height=150 width=113} We drove back to San Francisco, just in time, apparently, for the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival. The crowds were huge. Who knew that so many people loved chocolate? Sung, Lei, Peter, Jay, Cody, Andy and Nicci celebrated our departure with some great Chinese food. What was the name of that place? The dumplings were amazing!

Our honeymoon was over, but our adventures aren’t. Next in the series: Our trip to France! (This blog is getting exciting now, isn’t it?)