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Food, Wine & Friends Page 214

Connie and Mark were enthused about showing off their new digs and hosting a nice little get-together after the dust settled from the 2011 holiday madness.

We gathered at their place on a cool Saturday night for a nice little soiree.

 


Ellen and her son Brian.



Meanwhile, Ralph demonstrated his planking artistry...

Toohey, meanwhile, was a bit wary of Chewie, so he kept himself at a distance...


Kareasa brought a nice Charcuterie plate and we opened a bottle of Moutard's Champagne made entirely of the Arbane grape.


Connie brought out a huge platter of steamed mussels...



The mussels were fresh and sweet and nicely spiced, a perfect foil for this lovely bottle of Ruinart Champagne.

After the mussels, our Sommelier took care of opening an older bottle of Marcel Deiss Altenberg.

 


Kareasa prepared a lovely arugula salad with Pomegranate...


The Altenberg vineyard has just about every grape typically found in Alsace...and from the 1995 vintage!
This wine was fairly yellow in color, verging on a brassy hue.
The wine was magnificent at 16 years of age...wonderfully minerally and still floral and fruity...it tasted fairly dry, too.

 

 

Chef Mark brought out the Boeuf Bourguignon...

 


Ralph started singing the Raiders' fight song as Kareasa served the beans.


The Raptor Ridge 2008 from the Stony Mountain Vineyard showed nice dark cherry fruit and a pretty oak character.
The Daedalus 2008 Labyrinth was very light in color and faintly fruity, but less complex.


Kareasa brought these from her trip to Oregon in 2011.

Meanwhile, Chewie was trotting out his French:
Je veux manger du Boeuf Bourguignon...


Dessert was Ellen's magnificent Chunket Cake and Connie took care of serving that...

At this point, I realized it was late...and I had to be awake early for Sunday's festivities....


 

On Sunday morning, somewhat bright and definitely early, the Santa Clara contingent showed up in town to start our Amy Fitzpatrick Birthday Adventure.

We began at a local French-styled bakery...


A Cinnamon roll and Cafe Au Lait.


Amy and Dane.


Pierre.

Beauregard, Alanna and Clementeen.

Alanna was interested to taste what she thought was Cafe Olé!

We made tracks for Sonoma, driving up the freeway for an hour and a half, or so.


And here we visited the Fritz winery in Cloverdale.

It was a cold winter's day...football in January in San Francisco for the first time in a decade and the first heavy rains of the season meant fewer people out on the roads this Sunday.

 


Alanna and Clementeen with Beau...


The Birthday Girl and Georgette.

Later, Clementeen and Beau were involved in some sort of card game with Alanna.

And Beau has a nose for cards...


And we had a stroll through the cellar at Fritz.



We concluded our Fritz visit and motored down the road to Lytton Springs and Ridge Vineyards.

 

Say "Cheese!"

We tasted a great range of wines...especially good was the 2009 Lytton Springs and the 2003 bottling was interesting...as nobody was out tasting on this day, we were able to set up a small picnic inside, away from the rain.

The kids "picnicked" in the back of Georgette's land yacht...

We then had a stroll through the cellars...

 

 

 


The 2008 Monte Bello (Cabernet) was spectacular.
That was probably the wine of the day, in fact.


We thanked the Ridge crew for the hospitality and saddled up the horses and rounded up the wagons, heading to another "old favorite" haunt.



They even had some old bottles on display...

We then drove south to the town of Sonoma as we had a reservation at Amy's favorite dining spot...


Heirloom radishes...

We enjoyed a bottle of Gloria Ferrer Carneros Brut, a Royal Cuvee bottling from 2004.
As we sipped that, Dane took care of the special bottling of Lemonade.


The restaurant is big on wines made from Rhone varietals...
We brought a nice bottle of Clusel Roch Condrieu.


Alanna and Dane had a big order of Moules Frites to start...

Amy enjoyed a great Grilled Cheese Sandwich...


A Braised Pork Shank with Polenta, Broccolini and Horseradish Gremolata.
The Crozes Hermitage by Emmanuel Darnaud was delicious, too.

After dinner, Amy was presented with a nice little birthday gift...

Dane pretty much came unglued when he saw his Mom had, along with candles and soaps, a can of something called Spotted Dick.


Profiteroles.


Sorbets.

And with that, we rounded up the wagons and caravanned our way back through San Francisco, arriving safe and sound back home Sunday night!

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