All the Carbs, Please!!

Hey, Hi, Hellur! I worked my tush off this week promising myself I could blog a bit tonight if I could get “x” number of assignments done! Annnd here we are! Wooohooo!!! The last week and a half was stuffed to the brim with soo many fun things. I cannot wait to share!

Sunday October 28th we went to church in the morning. I came home and whipped up a stuffed purple sweet potato with some leftover crab from my giant sushi burrito, avocado, and fage.

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It hit the spot! In the afternoon I worked on a massive school assignment that is due at the end of November while DJ worked on grad school schtuff. For a little break I ran to TJ’s.

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^These pumpkin biscottis were mighty tasty with some coffee!!!

img_1275  On my way home I received this text from my mom- in case anyone has a Boarshead near ya I thought you’d appreciate me passing it on 😉 How good does this sound?! Has anyone tried any dessert hummus?

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When I came home from our massive haul I whipped DJ and me up a Margherita Pizza.

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The way it bubbles gets me every time 🤤

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Monday October 29th all my new assignments were released. I worked, worked, worked as did DJ. For dinner I made him Bison Tacos per his request (I swear he never gets sick of these things haha), and I made myself a giant garden salad.

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October 30th was the same ole’ as the day before. Except for dinner I used some mini raviolis I found at Trader Joe’s to make mac n’ cheese ravioli.

I also tossed in a little tomato sauce and a bit of parm on top. I love the texture of parm on top of any pasta- always the perfect finishing touch!

img_1235I had a tiny bit with my favorite salad, and DJ pretty much destroyed the rest 😉

In the evening I perused through Food & Wine magazine to get ideas brewing for Thanksgiving. I am PSYCHED to cook up a storm this year.

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In the morning of October 31st (Happy Halloweeeen!), I had a nice long run outside greeted by a beautiful day. The sky said summer, but the leaves were begging for fall. Welcome to California autumn, haha. I am LIVING for all of your autumn pictures you guys have been posting. It’s so different here. I still love the weather, don’t get me wrong- but I do miss the gray skies, chill and smell of “fall” in the air.

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I worked all day on assignments, and then headed into the city to meet up with my friend, Cynthia, from my residency cohort! I haven’t seen her since we graduated from the program in March. I’ve missed her! We have stayed in touch, but haven’t had a chance to get together. As I drove into the city a beautiful palette of colors greeted me along the skyline.

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Of course, pictures never do justice 😉

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We went to her favorite local pizza joint, Ardiana’s. We have similar taste buds, so we decided to split a couple dishes. First up was the roasted Brazillian broccolini, white anchovies, chili oil, preserved lemon, and pecorino romano. It was beyond delightful. Oh my! I don’t know the last time I’ve had anchovies- but I’m allll about um’ now! The combo was perfection.

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We followed this dish with a pizza with funghi, caramelized onions, thyme, fontina, and moltinero truffled pecorino. The truffled flavor is something I have dreamt about ever since. This was easily one of the tastiest pizzas I have ever tried. Better than Pizza Antica even! I dare say it was even better than Jack Rose Libation House which before stood as my favorite.

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I stayed at my SIL, Amy’s, apartment for the evening since I was a bit nervous driving all the way home late on Halloween evening. I slept so well and woke up to this gorgeous view on the morning of November 1st.… I just love this city <3 Not a bad way to start the month 🙂

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At around 7:30 I headed toward the Embarcadero to squeeze in a run before heading home. I have been craving a run on the Embarcadero lately. Do you all remember when Annie lived here? I used to love staying at her apartment and getting up early to sneak in a run on the water. It is the bestttt.

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After my run, I decided I still had time before I wanted to head back to Cupertino. I was loving loving loving being in the city. I went back to the car, grabbed my laptop and school materials then headed to Peet’s in the Ferry Building.

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I grabbed a quest bar for breakfast and had to see what this vegan eggplant “bacon” was all about. It wasn’t too bad, but way too expensive for what it tasted like. I actually prefer my homemade eggplant strips to this!

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I was happy as a stinking clam. I just missed Kate because this is the Peet’s where we first met in person! I sent her a little snap of the table we sat and chatted at.

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I was surprisingly productive for being so giddy. I knocked out one solid assignment and decided to head home to eat up some groceries rather than spend more money eating out.

On Friday November 2nd, I had a gala for Boys & Girls Clubs. Okay, I haven’t really mentioned this on the blog yet…. but this has been a big part of my life for the last couple months. This also probably explains why I haven’t been able to get out my posts in a timely manner, haha. First, I help third graders with their homework on Thursdays. I just adore these kiddos and always get the cutest little drawings haha. Yes, I have one eye in the middle one 😉

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It has been one of the most rewarding, lovely, amazing experiences. Truly a highlight of my week! Next, I have been mentoring a high school girl and helping her get ready to compete in something called “Youth of the Year” (YOY). They choose three outstanding high schoolers from the program, they each write a speech about what the club has done for them, and then compete for a scholarship. I have grown close to the girl I’m mentoring, and when the opportunity came to volunteer for the gala I eagerly signed up since it meant I could see her give her speech!

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I chatted with her and the other two YOY contestants before, we ran through their speeches, and then just all hung out trying to calm their nerves. I then went to help out at the raffle table when the event began.

Oh, and if you are a fan of Happy Days or Holes, you may recognize Henry Winkler, the guest speaker for the evening. He was great and entertaining!

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I wasn’t planning on taking pictures for the evening, but since I was tucked away in the corner at the raffle with no one around me for dinner time (except a couple third grade twins I was watching for the evening) I decided to sneak in a few shots 🙂 I had the butternut squash ravioli. It was tasty but unfortunately a bit cold when it came out- that’s whatchya get with banquet food sometimes! I know, I worked in the banquet industry. Difficult to keep all that food warm for sure.

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For dessert they brought out a raspberry mousse stuffed cookie. This was just incredibly delicious. I savored every little bit of this thing!

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Here are all the awe-inspiring, amazing students lined up!

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She didn’t win, but to say I was SO proud of her would be an understatement. I was bursting with pride watching her speak so eloquently and confidently. She vulnerably shared parts of her life and demonstrated a courage that amazed me. It was a wonderful night. I hope to continue to mentor her in some way even though this event is over. DJ attended our church gala, and although I was sad I couldn’t be in two places at once he shared every detail with me! I will save that for the next post.  Oh, and next recap is a travel post- yeeehaw! 🙂 **I don’t have time to edit this post because we want to watch Haunting of Hill House, so please excuse errors that I will cringe at when I find them tomorrow, lol. Goodnight one and all!**

Questions for you:

  • Favorite pizza toppings?
  • Pizza or pasta? I know, I know.. cruel to make you even choose!

xo <3

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Kels and Kenz Take on the Bay Part 2: Wine Country!

Happy Sunday! I’m actually writing this late Saturday night, but let’s be real, this will not be published till Sunday (or Monday) by the time I write, re-read, edit, re-re-read, edit edit, re-re-re-read, then publish (and still find countless errors after the publication-tehe).

In Part One, we left off ending Friday night on the Row with one of my best friend’s, Kelsey from Illinois. On July 28th, I woke up at the wee hours to squeeze in a run, then at 730 am we left the apartment, drove an hour into the city, lucked out with some great parking in Union Square, walked about a mile to the Ferry Building, and arrived right on time to start the journey to wine country!!!

Upon walking to the Embarcadero, we saw this fun little massive waterfall art piece that I’ve never noticed before. I’ve been to the city probably at least fifteen times, but how have I missed this giant thing?

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We signed up for a trip through wine country via Platypus Tours. For those deciding how to visit Napa/Sonoma I want to give great detail about this tour so you can decide if this is a way you would like to tackle wine country! When I found this tour I happily astounded by the price. It was only $110 per person for the entire day, including four wineries, lunch, and discounted tastings and wine tours. (Each winery tasting ended up being about $15 including the winery tour at the first winery, and Kels and I split a couple tastings which also cut down on the cost). The reviews were terrific so we decided to give it a go! This tour required us to be in front of the Ferry Building at 8:45 am to jump on the tour bus that would take us to the wineries.

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The morning went seamlessly- no traffic, easy parking, and it was a breeze finding our tour bus for the day.

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Before getting on the bus, we went to the guest services area in the Ferry Building to grab our tickets to take the Ferry back from Vallejo after our tastings (only $14 per person).

We then walked around enjoying the Ferry Market with a few minutes to spare (yes – minutes to spare in the morning! Can ya believe it?!)

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We were the first to arrive, so we tested out the seats. The bus was comfortable, a good size for the number of people, and stocked with plenty of water.

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I had read online that you can request which wineries to visit or make a request to try different wineries than you have already visited. Our wine tour guide, Bob, already had a set agenda for the day- but it worked out because the wineries were VERY unique and none of us had been to any of them before. Bob was knowledgable and worked hard to make sure we had a great day.

Our first stop was Nicholson Ranch.  This is one of the first wineries you encounter when driving into the southern foothills of Sonoma. I remembered passing it when going to wine country for the first time in March with my Mom & Pete!

We all shuffled into the tasting room, and had a glass awaiting us of their Chardonnay.

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I usually do not like Chardonnays (it’s the oaky finish that I tend to have an aversion to I’ve discovered), but every time I have sampled one in wine country, I have enjoyed them!

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I love watching their beautiful pours!

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This is the winery we were given a full tour of the winery… it’s originally $40 a person, but with our tour, it was included in the tasting price of $15. We initially went up a mountain along their vineyard and were greeted with tremendous views and a pretty awesome dumpster. (Never thought I’d ever say that sentence).

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We then walked down into the actual factory and saw the wine vat. We were given a fantastic educational session that blew our minds with how wine is actually made. I guess you will have to go yourself to find out 😉 Ok, or google. I guess google would work too. But this is way more fun! Lol.

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We then all took the elevator into the basement. We walked around in the surprisingly humid cellar. I was amazed by the number of barrels. But I was even more shocked by the price of each barrel. Anyone have any guesses?

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Answer: Each barrel costs $2000, and must be replaced every 5 years. Can you imagine?!?! Sheesh!

After our fabulous cellar session, we went to another hidden cellar room containing the oldest wines in the winery. The wine in the forefront of the photo is the VERY first wine ever made by the owner of Nicholson ranch (which was originally started in a garage).

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And finally, we moved into a gorgeous dining room for our final tasting.

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Kels and I pulled out our vegan cheese, crackers, sun-dried tomatoes, and hummus that we had packed for the day (it was about 11:30 am at this point and the hunger was starting to kick in!). I love packing cheese and crackers for winery tours, it enhances the experience and helps bring out flavors in the wines (especially the heavier ones). We shared our grub with our new friends we had made on the tour, and they couldn’t believe the cheese was vegan (I’ll share it in a Friday Favorites!).

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How freaking beautiful is she?!!

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After Nicholson ranch, we headed to Kieu Hoang winery. This is actually a winery that was originally a Mondavi winery (which is a pretty popular wine you may recognize in your local grocery store). I love the Robert Mondavi Cabernet you can just buy at Target!

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This winery was absolutely the most contemporary designed winery I have ever seen. Everything was immaculate and punctiliously designed. Yet, it clings onto the traditional Napa ambiance when you step onto their quaint porch.

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And these were the views..

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The woman serving was slow & less than knowledgable about the wine, but when we tried the zin we knew we had stumbled upon something special. Goodness. It was soooo good- the only Zin I have had that maybe is better is the one from Rombauer (to this day, I am still convinced Rombauer has the best wines!). Anyways, if you buy a bottle, they waive the tasting fee, so this bottle was essentially $10. How can you pass that up?! We grabbed a bottle to take home and enjoyed a small tasting with our lunch!

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This was one of the first wineries we have been able to actually go the actual vineyards. It was charming, delightful, scenic and all things “vineyard”. We decided to do a little photo shoot because wine not?!

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Winery numero tres, Bouchaine Vineyards! This one probably left the least impression of all four, but was wonderful nonetheless.

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This winery was much tinier than the other two we had visited, but was quiet, relaxing, and had phenomenal wines.

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Surrounded by their gorgeous gardens (Somewhat reminding me of Frog’s Leap) we enjoyed perhaps the best Chardonnary we have ever had- although I did LOVE the one we tried at Ledson. It left a  buttery note. I finally understood what people meant by “buttery” by trying this wine. I should have taken a picture of the list so I could tell you which it was, but I failed! I should know butter by now! 😉

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anddd maybe the most FUN of the whole trip- we ventured to our fourth winery… The Runway- Trending Wine Bar.

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Initially when they said our fourth winery was at an airport I was skeptical. An airport? Really? That doesn’t exactly scream “Wine Country” to me. Did another winery fall through? I was soooo cynical going into it, but not rightly so. Ohhh so not rightly so! It may have been our favorite part of the day.

We arrived at the winery and were greeted by Jason, the ultimate wine entrepreneur. He created a brand of wine around the hashtag, and actually owns the #besties, #bromance, and #selfie. (yes, the actual #). All millennials are #impressed right now.

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Everything is centered around the #… down to the logo on the wine glasses! Tell me you have never seen a more brilliant marketing idea!

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Every single wine was delicious, and Jason had us rolling- the whole time we were laughing and enjoying the very Grammy-esque backdrop for a photo shoot!

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I was flattered when this was posted on Trending Wine’s Instagram! Taking a selfie with the #selfie wine.

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Never have I ever been more basic, errrr, I mean awesome, right?

After, we went our to the tarmac to witness the planes taking off & coming in, waiting for a celebrity to disembark one. Celebrities frequent this airport, and we were keeping our eyes peeled for Matthew McConaughey sightings. (no such luck, but regardless we had a great time).

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We ended the fab trip by getting a photo all together.

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Time for the Ferry ride back!!

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Just keeping baby Zin nice and safe <3

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And we back!!! The ride back was about 45 minutes. It was so relaxing, but unfortunately the fog was so thick (dangit, Karl!) that we didn’t get the best of views.

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Annnnd that caps our day until about 6 pm. I will pick up in our next post to recap our evening. It will definitely require a post of it’s own!

And to quickly give a synopsis on pros/cons for those that are considering this tour!

Pros: This was a very friendly & accommodating company- immediately when I booked they called us to clarify our dietary preferences to make sure lunch had options for both of us. Price is phenomenal for included transportation, four wineries, a delicious lunch included. You get to see & do wineries you may not venture out to do on your own. Water bottles are included. You make friends and meet people from all over the world. It’s stress free, ya just show up and have a great time!

Cons: Limited flexibility in choosing of the wineries. If you are a newbie, this is a great way to do it because you have no expectations of what to expect/nothing to compare it to. We did feel rushed at times because we were on a specific time schedule to catch the Ferry back. When you go on your own, you can take your good ole’ time at each winery as you please. There is a $15/$20 tasting fee at each winery if you choose to do that (but with the tour we were given the lowest possible price).

Let me know if you have any questions or need recommendations for wine country! I have a bunch.

Questions for you!

  • Have you ever been to Wine Country? Any all time favorites or must do wineries?
  • If you like wine, which type is your favorite?

xo <3

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