Thursday, July 11, 2013

Healthy Scavenger Hunt Wine Country & San Francisco

I always have a hard time with the hobby question. “What are your hobbies?” makes me feel inadequate wishing I collected something or was semi crafty. I usually answer with a sport such as tennis or skiing. Blogging, tweeting or organizing don’t feel like legit responses. But I do have a hobby that I forget about when I’m not doing it and that’s traveling. Few things make me more excited or, and I know this sounds so cliché’, feel as “alive” (as if we can feel dead…).

While out to dinner a couple of months ago, friends mentioned a trip to Calistoga and said “you guys should come.” I know they didn’t expect us to email the next day confirming, “we’re all set, can’t wait.” We hadn’t been to the Napa area in 15 years. As I did with New Orleans, I’ll fill you in on my favorite healthy finds:

I’ll admit, I was a little apprehensive when friends mentioned a Sip and Cycle tour. Wine tasting and cycling seemed like a dangerous combination but I also knew this was something I couldn’t pass up. I had to pinch myself as we rode with grapes lining the path on either side of us and the scent of lavender in the air. 

We visited 3 vineyards but my favorite was Lava Vine. They figured out how to remove all the pretentiousness of winemaking. It’s a charming, rustic set up. We left with a bottle of their port which they had us taste with chocolate drizzled with olive oil and sea salt.

Also loved this indoor/outdoor gym set up. And yes we like activities so tennis and golf happened too

Green Juice (of course)
When traveling, especially at hotels, ask and you shall receive (or in this case sip). They didn’t have a green juice on the menu but they had fresh squeezed juice.  A little conversation and minutes later…to our little cabin in Calistoga.
In San Francisco we stocked up at Pressed Juicery in the ferry building. I chose Greens 4, which includes watercress while Marc opted for Greens 6 with lemongrass, honeydew, and greens.

Commendable Cocktail
We tasted some delicious wine but truth be told I’m more of a cocktail girl. Normally, a spirit on the rocks does the trick but how I could I resist this?
Lavender, elderflower and lemon (trying to get complete recipe) from Brix made this my favorite drink of the trip (Range in SF deserves runner-up status). 

Veggie Action
Oftentimes, when away, despite eating well I feel a little veggie deprived. My favorite restaurant in the wine country was Farmstead. Farmstead is housed in a former nursery and as they say it’s “authentic farm to table” cuisine. I think this was my first grilled artichoke, we also had the kale salad. There was a special pepper described as “a lot like a shishito” that they ran out of before we ordered. Hate that.

Sensational Seafood
I loved the wild salmon at Farmstead but this crudo at Bottega was special. Served on a block of pink sea salt, it was a pretty fantastic starter.

Worthy Treat
When we visited Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry building in SF I tweeted “I’ll give you all the sweets in the world if I can just have this” but my treat of the trip was definitely the Humboldt Fog cheese served at our picnic following the sipping and cycling.

Other Highlights
March and Heath Ceramics in San Francisco for tableware/décor.
Gotts and Meadowood two places we didn’t get to this time.

And then came the return trip complicated by the unfortunate plane crash in San Francisco. If you’re going to be stuck in an airport, that one isn’t so bad.

Any summer travel planned? Or have you already been away? Any workouts or healthy finds to report? Do you have hobbies? 


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your trip!! I can't wait to see all this places come this fall (especially the wine and bike tour...)!

  2. Let's definitely speak (or e-speak ha) before you go Kathy. It's really great.

  3. I get as giddy as you thinking about traveling, and, just back for Hawaii, I'm excited to start planning my next trip! Sounds like you had a fabulous time in Calistoga, and I'm pinning this for my next trip to wine country. Hmm...I think a girls trip is in order soon :-)

  4. I know you're as bad as I am (or as travel-centric). Ooh RD girls trip, maybe we work it around a blogher food or nutrition conference.

  5. Oh I completely agree with you on the hobby question....I never know how to answer it! I love to read (but I couldn't name 2 books I've read in the last few months..) and I love to workout (but that sounds so lame!) and blog (ditto). Anyway, I love to eat good food too (does that count?!) and it looks like you got plenty on your vacation! We're actually traveling to NYC in september for our summer getaway, then going to the president's cup (golf) near our house for 2 days, can't wait!

  6. I have so few and reading are on the top.

    I've already been away and am moving as you know so I don't think we'll be doing any more trips this summer.

    Love SF! They have some great food up there.

  7. I wanted so badly to go on a bicycling wine tour in San Francisco! Next time!