Thursday, August 10, 2017

exploring panama city and isla contadora


Last month we skipped town and did the most American thing you could do on the Fourth of July  — we left the country. ;) We decided Panama sounded about right and extended our already long weekend by a few more days and spent a week in this tropical city. We loved exploring the old part of town with it's equal part riveting glam hotels and dilapidated buildings. In the middle of our week we took a ferry to nearby Isla Contadora and FELL IN LOVE. Hard. It was a game changer. We literally changed our itinerary and spent the night on a whim with only the clothes/swimwear on our back. Let's just say Island toothpaste, SPF and bottled water is a bit more pricey than usual but so worth it. I highly recommend this off-the-beaten path island, and do believe another vacation is in order. 

Where do you think we are off to next? 

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lazy Creek winemaker dinner at John Ash


{First Course: Salmon, Scallop & Watermelon Napoleon paired w/ 2016 Lazy Creek Vineyards, Anderson Valley, Rosé of Pinot Noir}
 






{Second Course: Roasted Squab paired with 2015 Lazy Creek Vineyards Anderson Valley Middleridge Ranch, Pinot Noir}



{Entrée Course: Brown Sugar Cured Filet of Beef paired with 2015 Lazy Creek Vineyards, Anderson Valley, Estate Pinot Noir}

{Dessert Course: White Chocolate Lemon Mousse Cake paired with Ferrari-Carano, Dry Creek Valley, Eldorado Gold}
 
{Dress | Sandals | Bag | Earrings | Sunglasses}



I had the pleasure of visiting my favorite home away from home, Vintner's Inn, and attend a impeccable winemaker dinner hosted by Lazy Creek Vineyards at John Ash, the hotel's award-winning restaurant. The weather was perfect, some might say it was too hot, but high 80's seems about perfect to me when my usual temps are low 60's here in San Francisco. 

We drove up from the city and made it to Santa Rosa just in time to check into our lovely suite at Vintner's Inn. Per usual it was luxurious and perfectly suited for a mini getaway, the minute we put our bags down I reached to open the double doors to let the last rays of sunshine and warmth peer though the sheer curtain panels. I sat outside for a few minutes to take in the heat, listen to the birds chirp and of course, take a few selfies and IG stories! Our Lark Creek Vineyard dinner started in less than an hour and we needed to hustle and primp for the main event. 

I brought several dresses (typical) yet decided on the dress above. I put on said flowing maxi, pulled my hair back, and threw on my newest pair of hoop earrings. I was going for wine country chic, so rose satin flats were my go-to shoe that evening plus this darling basket bag my sister brought back for me from Bali. After a mini shoot in the gardens we dashed over to the dinner. We were  fashionably late but minutes after we got there we were promptly seated and offered a glass of the loveliest 2016 Lazy Creek Vineyards, Anderson Valley, Rosé of Pinot Noir chilled to perfection. The evening was off to a lovely start.

The whole lot of partygoers, around 30 of us sat al fresco in the patio surrounded by vineyards, under strings of twinkling lights to the view of the sun slowly dipping away for the evening- John Ash really was the most romantic setting.

The first course was an impressive combination of flavors I've never experienced before- a Scallop & Watermelon Napoleon with whipped fromage blanc, frisée, chives, lemon & extra virgin olive oil. This course was paired with the lovely Rosé I mentioned above and it was perfect. The chilled wine and the cold course was the exact thing I was craving on that very warm evening. I had them remove the salmon since I'm allergic to it and it was still so beautifully paired. Very, very impressed with this one.

The second course was Roasted Squab with sweet corn timbale, cherry pinot reduction paired with a 2015 Lazy Creek Vineyards, Anderson Valley Middleridge Ranch, Pinot Noir. I've never had squab before and even after finding out it was a domestic pigeon I still liked it! The chef made the squab in three iterations- roasted, fried and pan-fried. The pan-fried was my favorite. 

The entrée course was a Brown Sugar Cured Filet of Beef with a pinot jus, blue lake green beans, black pig bacon, onions, Anson Mills Carolina Gold rice grits cake — this fab course was paired with a 2015 Lazy Creek Vineyards, Anderson Valley, Estate Pinot Noir. At this point in the meal I was reaching my 80% full max capacity and was starting to slow down, I really tried my best to eat the entire filet- it was that good! The sweet/salty brown sugar cure made this cut of meat taste like an elevated beef jerky. After several pours of the Pinot I think the entire left side of the table agreed it was a favorite and even though they could finish it they convinced the waitstaff to bring those of use who didn't finish this course a doggie bag! Because we all need filet leftovers for breakfast. ;)

And if all the decadence above wasn't enough the final course was still waiting to be eaten. We waited all night for this. A White Chocolate Lemon Mousse Cake with Dry Creek peaches, blueberry gelato paired with an absolutely divine Ferrari-Carano, Dry Creek Valley, Eldorado Gold dessert wine. I. Was. In. Heaven. I'm not a huge chocolate person, but white chocolate is another thing entirely, and I was feeling this perfect end to a perfect meal. The lemon mouse cake was encased in a thin shell of white chocolate topped with fresh fruit. Even after exclaiming being beyond full, I completely devoured this dish, and enjoyed every second of it.

After dinner a few guests and us went to the library bar for a nightcap to reminisce the exquisite dinner we just experienced before we called it an evening. Upon closing time we said our goodbyes, promised to attend this dinner every year, and walked past the vineyards to our luxe quarters at Vintner's Inn to close out the perfect night. 


The biggest thanks to Vintners Inn, John Ash and Lazy Creek for hosting me at this dinner!