Monday, January 31, 2011


Every once in a while Chris gets a burst of spontaneity and decides we need a weekend getaway - this time the destination was New Orleans! Chris' previous trip there was cut short by a hurricane & I had never been before so it was a great plan! We caught a Friday afternoon flight and were there before dinner. There was not alot of advance planning, but just enough. I had scoped out online some of the best restaurants and oyster bars to keep us busy while we were there. Friday night we hit up Acme's Oyster Bar. The key was getting there early before the line was out the door. We hit it just in time! I dined on po-boys, raw oysters & char grilled oysters. It was delish! After dinner we walked around the french quarter & then found a place for dessert. Chris had his fave bananas foster & I had pecan pie. Yummy! Saturday morning we had reservations at The New Orleans Cooking School. A friend had recommend it and boy was she right on! This may have my favorite part of the trip! I highly recommend this to anyone visiting NOLA. Lots of great food & great cooking tips. You sit at large round tables with random people - which of course Chris loved! We had a fun group! I think Chris' favorite part of this experience was the bread pudding and pralines! The boy is probably 50% sugar. They also serve Abita beer which is brewed locally and quite good. That afternoon we shopped & stopped by Pat O'Briens to have our token hurricane. They have many wonderful art galleries and great local shops. When our lunch wore off we grabbed a few more oysters and some local beer at Desire Oyster Bar. Our waitress there was a very knowledgeable local and we really enjoyed her company! I found a new beer to love - Abita's purple haze! So tasty! After some bar hopping we met up with Brad & Emily McKenzie (Baton Rouge residents). We had made plans for dinner with the McKenzie's at K Pauls restaurant. K Paul has many local specialties on the menu. Chris & Brad opted for the rabbit - I had a taste. It just seems wrong to eat rabbit. Any who we had an amazing time with them - as usual! We wish they loved a little closer so we could do this on a regular basis. Thanks again for making the drive over! Sunday morning we grabbed breakfast at Cafe du Monde, because well its not a trip to New Orleans if you don't. After hearing all the hype about it I can honestly say we weren't that impressed. I think I'll stick with donuts & Starbucks next time. So after waiting in line for a not so wonderful breakfast we set out to find a real one :) Finally we found one at Oceana Grill. With full tummies we set out to ride the cable cars to see the garden district. The homes were AMAZING! Architecture from many different areas are represented. The cable cars were a perfect solution for the rainy afternoon. After that is was time to head home. Fantastic weekend getaway!

Friday, October 15, 2010

San Francisco Treat

Although Chris & I have both previously been to San Francisco we decided it was such a great place to visit that we would go for a week this year. We were also able to make a day trip up to Sonoma to see the wine country, and then down to San Jose to check out Stanford and Los Gatos. October is the perfect time to be in the bay area.

The weather was beautiful, cool in the mornings/evenings & warm all afternoon! Just perfect! We used the trolleys to take us all over town. We had the most amazing milkshake at Ghirardelli Square, clam chowder in a bread bowl at Boudins on Fisherman's Wharf & a wonderful birthday dinner for Chris at One Market! Basically all our vacations revolve around food - there is no reason to deny it, its who we are! I bought tickets in advance for a nighttime tour of Alcatraz which was great! Chris missed it on his last trip so it was a must see this time around. The views of the city at night were spectacular! One morning we took the trolley to Lombard and hiked the crooked street and then the hill to Coit tower. Again more amazing views of the city & the Golden Gate bridge. After a few days in the city we rented a car and drove up to Sonoma and toured a few wineries. We can't wait to go back just to the wine country for a few days. What an incredible area! So much to see and do. Chris also wanted to see Stanford and the southern parts of the bay area so after lunch at In N Out (cause we love it) we drove back through the city and south to San Jose. Stanford has a beautiful campus - its hard to imagine that people actually live and go to school there. We are certain they do not appreciate it! For dinner that evening we headed to Los Gatos - a great little suburb of San Jose. Food was fabulous and then we made our way back to the big city for a few more days. We attempted the Go Cars, but I just couldn't do it. The helmet was to much for me! Ha! So we settled for a bus tour that took us to Golden Gate Park and passed the Full House homes. The park was stunning! Lots of museums and other things to do. As for the Full House homes, well you just can't miss seeing part of your childhood :) Another bonus to this trip was meeting up with my cousin Nathan, his wife Chenda and their baby girl Preslea. We met up with the Shepards in Chinatown for some peking duck and catching up. They are the experts on the restaurants and it was nice to have an inside track on things. This was our first time meeting Chenda and Preslea. Chenda moved to the US just a year ago to marry Nathan. She has a wonderful personality and fits right into our family! We stayed at a great place near Union Square. Our trip happened to fall the week before the womens marathon in San Fran and the Nike store at Union Square was head quarters so we ventured in to see their store. Incredible! Chris really loved it. The last day was short and sweet. We managed to find an amazing sushi restaurant to grab lunch before we headed out of town.

I'm certain the pictures really tell it all.