A Weekend In Napa at the Cardinale House

Today is my birthday! I’m 30 years old. Birthdays are great at helping to show you all the love you have in your life-I’ve been lucky enough to be flooded with texts and phone calls and Facebook wishes.  There is certainly a common theme: You’re 30! How does it feel?

It actually works out nicely for me because I have always felt like my 30s were gonna be good for me.  My dad used to say I was born 30 years old, and I’m just looking forward to the things that come with a more adult life-buying a house, having children-all that.

I always enjoy that little bit of time every year when Max has turned a year older, but I still haven’t.  I get to say I’m with an older man. Haha!

As part of his 30th birthday celebration (but really, it was more of an excuse to do this really cool thing with cool people), we were given the run of this beautiful guest house up in Napa that belongs to the Cardinale Winery.

We invited some friends to stay with us there and threw a dinner party!

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Cardinale was such an incredible host.  When we arrived, the estate’s farmer hand-delivered us a box of farm fresh, picked that very day produce and herbs.  The boys who would be cooking, including Max, decided to prepare a pork loin to go with all these amazing fresh veggies, so we headed over to Oxbow Public Market to get the rest of what we needed.

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While we were there we visited Gott’s Roadside for burgers and hotdogs.  The ahi burger is just nuts good! So that’s my recommendation if you hit up Gott’s, but honestly, I’m fairly sure you can’t go wrong.  Everyone enjoyed what they got at Gott’s (ha!-I’m such a dork).

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Once we got back, we spent the evening playing games, talking, and drinking excellent wine, of course.  Eventually, the boys started cooking and made us a really awesome meal.  It was so cool to be gathered around this epic table in this gorgeous house (all decorated for Christmas, by the way!) with a bunch of our favorite people.  There was a lot of wine talk, but my friend, Martha, and I had many other substantive non-wine conversations without the boys!

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Thank you, Cardinale! It was an amazing weekend never to be forgotten.

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We are so lucky to get to have all these incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  As I’m looking back on the photos of the weekend, I almost have to pinch myself.  Life doesn’t get much better than this!

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Girls’ Weekend in Santa Fe

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When I first moved up to San Francisco and away from my few close girlfriends, I started writing them each these super long and detailed emails as my way of expressing how desperately I wanted to stay close with them and remain in their minds as often and as much as they make appearances in my own thoughts.  I still write these emails, but it has been a busy time recently.  Sometimes when you’re busy rocking one part of your life, you might let others slide a little.

Luckily, way back when the email correspondence first started, my friend Chiara suggested that the best way to stay close with your girl friends when you live apart is to meet in new locations and have girls’ trips.  I love to travel and have never traveled just me and a friend, so I immediately grasped on to this idea.

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This past weekend, Chiara and I met up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we ate green chili EVERYTHING and fell in love with Aspens.  It was an unforgettable weekend and experience and it allowed for the most amazing closeness with such a dear friend.

We flew into Albuquerque because direct flights into Santa Fe are stupid expensive and Albuquerque is only about an hour’s drive.  Besides that, having a car in Santa Fe is great if you plan on leaving the town, which we did.  However, if you aren’t, it should be noted that the entirety of Santa Fe is totally walkable, and at this time of year, all you want to be doing is walking around outside.  The air is crisp; it just smells different; like mountain air because, guess what?, you are actually super high up in the mountains. For some reason, we both thought it would feel more like a low desert a la Palm Springs.

Chiara takes the wheel in Albuquerque.

Chiara takes the wheel in Albuquerque.

On the road-already quite pretty.

On the road-already quite pretty.

Thanks to Travelzoo, we were able to stay at the most incredible hotel, The Inn and Spa at Loretto.  Basically, celebrities, wealthy old people, and us.  The hotel was, in fact, so luxurious and wonderful that we made it a point to spend as much time there as possible while still, ya know, seeing what Santa Fe has to offer.  The Inn and Spa at Loretto is, in my opinion, the most gorgeous place in the city.

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The inside of the hotel was so tasteful.  It was very stylized in that Santa Fe style, but it did not cross the line into tacky, which Chiara and I both really appreciated.  It felt expensive and special.

Our room!

Our room!

Our bear friend!

Our bear friend!

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Santa Fe truly glows at night. Our hotel was no exception.

Santa Fe truly glows at night. Our hotel was no exception.

The night we got in we enjoyed cocktails in the hotel lounge with a fire roaring.  Chiara had a green chile cocktail that was delish, thus kicking off our Green Chile Tour 2015.  The the tour continued at Coyote Cafe.

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Green chile cocktail

Green chile cocktail

Chiara wanted to go there because she has had the Coyote Cafe cookbook in her house all her life.  It is also the first place everyone asks about when you mention you are headed to Santa Fe.  “Are you going to Coyote Cafe?”

I think we screwed up slightly by not ordering the elk that every Yelper raves about.  I tend not to take Yelp very seriously, but in this case, I actually think that would have been the right move.  Meat is the speciality of the house at Coyote Cafe, but we were both feeling like a huge plate of red meat was going to be a bit much for us, so we opted for lighter fare. Our meal was great and we were so thrilled to be there, but if you make it out to Coyote Cafe, please order the elk and let me know what I missed.

Coyote Cafe

Coyote Cafe

First of all, I should mention now that traveling with Chiara is a true delight.  She acted as our own personal travel agent.  She literally arrived with a folder with all of our confirmations, directions, and plans printed out.  Also, she had hit up her friend from high school, Bella, who was incredibly sweet and gave us the most amazing suggestions on what to do in Santa Fe.  Listed as a “must do” was a visit to Ten Thousand Waves Spa.  Our hotel also had a spectacular spa, but with slightly cheaper prices, we were able to enjoy more than one treatment at Ten Thousand Waves.

We both found this sign hilarious!

We both found this sign hilarious!

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I suppose it is technically a Japanese spa experience, but the treatments were the same as those you’d find at any traditional spa.  We soaked in the communal tubs and then enjoyed massages and salt scrubs.  It was my first time having a salt scrub (I always choose massage when given the option because massages are about as close to pure bliss as I can imagine), and it was so cool! When the salt is sprinkled on you it feels like a cool rain, and I instantly got goosebumps.  After we rinsed off, we couldn’t stop stroking our forearms, remarking at how baby soft our skin was.  I mentioned Max would have appreciated my soft skin.

Foot bath at the edge of the koi pond and footbridge.

Foot bath at the edge of the koi pond and footbridge.

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After the spa, we lunched in town at Cafe Pasqual’s.  I had my first green chile burger! (But the best one was at The Bite where we stopped on our way out of town). The wait was lengthy, so we walked around the town a bit and ended up at small shack of a store that sold “festishes”, so obviously we went there.  So-turns out fetishes are these small animals carved by the indigenous Zuni tribe out of different stones.  Every animal is imbued with different powers or attributes and they are used for healing or strength.  Chiara decided she needed an eagle.  I needed a Raven.

After lunch, we headed to the center of town known as The Plaza.  The stores that line the square are absurdly overpriced.  This place is a tourist trap.  With that said, we had a great time window shopping, looking at the antique Native American wool rugs, incredible pottery, and beautiful jewelry.  And actually, there is one side of The Plaza that is just small vendors set up on the ground with their wares.  Even those items run on the expensive side, but they are not out of reach, ya know?

Hanging out (haha)

Hanging out (haha)

The Plaza

The Plaza

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We enjoyed walking around The Plaza, but eventually ventured a little further off the very beaten path.  We walked to the arts and crafts district and took in a little art.  Galleries lined the streets and at the end we found what we’ve been looking for-Kakawa Chocolate House.

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Pretty proud of this picture.

Pretty proud of this picture.

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Artisan chocolates and chocolate “elixir” are the specialities of the house.  Since neither of us were (a) hungry or (b) super sure about drinking spicy liquid chocolate, we shared a cup of the Chili Rose chocolate elixir.  It took some getting used to, but we soon finished our cup and realized we’d actually loved it.  After our liquid chocolate snack, we each put together gift boxes of chocolates like “goat cheese and sage”, “green chile caramel”, and “lemon macaroon” for our significant others.  Always bring home a souvenir for your loved ones.  It lets them know that even while you were away adventuring, they were always on your mind.  For me, anyway, that is a true sentiment.

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A few more pictures from around town below:

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Back at the hotel we freshened up for drinks and dinner.  We met the wonderful Bella on the rooftop of La Fonda hotel.  The hotel itself was a little “Disney-esque” for us. (Nothing against Disney! Love you, Disney, but we wanted something slightly more authentic).  We liked The Inn and Spa at Loretto more.  However, the rooftop bar at La Fonda was exactly what we needed.  Chiara and Bella were reunited for the first time in many, many years and it was really cool to see.  Bella was great, giving us even more suggestions for what to do with our last hours.  We drank margaritas on the roof and watched the sun set.

Bella & Chiara

Bella & Chiara

Santa Fe sunset

Santa Fe sunset

Next, we headed to The Shed.  We decided we wanted authentic New Mexican cuisine for our last dinner, so even though we had to wait a significantly long time for a table, we really wanted to try it out.

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While we waited, we shopped. Duh.  There are two stores within a block devoted to Christmas all year long.  How amazing is that?!

Christmas all year!

Christmas all year!

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Bella says that Santa Fe is all the more stunning around Christmas time.  Firstly, it snows.  Secondly, the rooftops and sidewalks are all lined with paper luminarias that enhance the town’s natural glow.  It sounds totally dreamy.

What did we eat at The Shed, you ask? Why, freaking green chiles, of course! We both had entire green chile enchilada plates and shared chips, salsa, and guac.  You would think we had never eaten before the way we inhaled our food.

Sunday was our last partial day in Santa Fe.  As I said, we wanted to make the most out of our hotel stay, so we ordered breakfast in bed and leisurely drank our coffee and watched cartoons.

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Then we checked out and drove up the mountain, past Ten Thousand Waves, to Aspen Vista.  Now, here is where it gets weepily good.  (hmm-weepily is not a word).

When we booked our spa treatments, the reservationist had warned us to get there early because there might be a lot of tourists there to look at the Aspens.  I’ll be honest, neither of us really knew what Aspens were at that point, but as we walked around Santa Fe and realized that Fall had arrived there and there was a noticeable change in the seasons, we figured we should go find some trees and check it out.

Aspens, we learned, are trees that grow in the mountains and turn amazing Fall colors.  They are all connected to each other by their roots, so technically, a forest of Aspens is one living organism and the largest living organism in the world is a forest of Aspens in-can you guess it?-Aspen, Colorado.

I’ll just let you take a look at them for yourself, and honestly, pictures don’t do it justice.  It was a moment in my life in which my breath was taken away and I just could not stop saying “oh my god-it’s beautiful” over and over and over again.

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Sadly, after visiting and falling madly in love with Aspens, we had to drive back down the mountain and back to Albuquerque to catch our flights out.

When we parted, I hugged Chiara, and told her our trip was an experience I will never forget.  And I won’t.  I know I always talk about how much I love traveling and adventuring with Max, but our friendships with the women in our lives are priceless, as well, and we must remember to nourish them. Grab a friend and go to Santa Fe. Thank you, Chiara, for being the most excellent travel companion and for giving me this idea.

Chefs Feed Cookout

Oh my gosh! I never thought I’d be sitting here in a sun dress in my San Francisco apartment just dying over how hot it is.  I think it is eighty-something degrees outside right now, and I know that doesn’t sound too crazy, but it is uncomfortable.  I thought moving to San Francisco would have me living in my collared shirts and sweaters uniform, but good old global warming has made it a super warm summer here.  Of course, I would pick today to bake a freakin’ pie…but more on that another time.

Chefs Feed Cookout on the Beach

Chefs Feed Cookout on the Beach

I actually want to talk about an SF-based startup called Chefs Feed.  The app is kind of like Yelp for chefs’ reviews.  It collects the food recommendations of chefs in various cities.  I believe they are in about 24 cities now.

I was fortunate enough to speak with the wife of founder, Jared Rivera, and she was explaining the process of collecting all of this information.  They had funding to fly to all of the different locales they would be reviewing, but had to produce the content and turn it in to their investors before they would receive their ticket to the next location.  She talked of many nights sleeping on friends’ floors and editing video footage late into the night, but how cool to accomplish something like that with your spouse!  I know they are very proud of what Chefs Feed has become.

So, in late July, the owners and founders of Chefs Feed decided to do a video segment with the chef/owner of Max’s restaurant.  The idea was to cook all the food out on the beach and have a big, hearty party atmosphere.  Some of the management from Max’s restaurant were invited to be party-goers, so I was just fortunate enough to get to tag along.

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We drove out to Muir Beach-gosh-beautiful place.  Besides driving along the coast and a few weekends in Carmel, I have never really spent any time on an Northern California beach.  They have such a different look than Southern California beaches.  They tend to border forest and have all these gorgeous craggy rocks jutting out of the ocean.  It is like a more intense kind of beach, I guess I’d say.  It looks more “active”, if that makes any sense.

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Of course Max and his cohorts brought TONS of wine, champagne, and spirits.  I think we all could have done without having to lug a tub full of liquor across a beach and over a bunch of rocks, but when we got there, it was worth it.

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The nude beach we occupied was full of the “food famous” of San Francisco.  Chefs, somms, managers, publicists, and, ya know, me.

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The chefs were preparing a whole goat over the beach fire.  They were also grilling trout, various vegetables (including squash, eggplant, and corn), and a creamy cheese that they served with freshly baked bread.  Everything was to be eaten with your hands and was served on a piece of banana leaf, in which many things were also grilled.  There was supposed to be crab, as well, but the seas started getting rough and no one wanted to go back out into the water to retrieve the traps! haha!  I’m pretty sure no one missed the crab.  There was certainly more than enough to eat and a gorgeous, colorful, natural, and joyous looking spread in all.

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Not only did I feast on delicious food prepared by some of the best food professionals in San Francisco, I did so on a glistening beach during the freakin’ magic hour with my hubs and new friends.

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Check out some of the photos below and check out Chefs Feed, too, while you’re at it!

Nudies!

Nudies!

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Always muggin'

Always muggin’

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Real men carry their ladies' purses across the rocks ;)

Real men carry their ladies’ purses across the rocks 😉

Gratuitous Golden Gate shot on the way back into the city.

Gratuitous Golden Gate shot on the way back into the city.

National Ice Cream Day in Hayes Valley

Ever heard of National Ice Cream Day? I’m new to this holiday this year, but it is celebrated on the third Sunday in July in the United States.  In truth, ice cream isn’t even so much my thing.  I find it kind of painful, but it was a good excuse to meet up with some friends in Hayes Valley for the day.

We met our friends, Dave and Martha, at Biergarten in the Proxy development in Hayes Valley.  The Proxy is a cohort of shipping containers in at Hayes and Octavia that includes Smitten Ice CreamRitual CoffeeBiergarten, Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours, and a host of other installations-dudes are always swinging on the monkey bars.

Dave & Martha

Dave & Martha

The other half of the area is like a small grassy park called Patricia’s Green with some more jungle gym type equipment, benches and, recently, the return of David Best’s Temple.  The Temple is an art installation of intricately carved wood.  Pens and markers have been left out so people can write messages on the structure.

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I’m a regular at Ritual, but hadn’t checked out the rest of what is sort of like our little town square.  Max started the day off with a humorously large beer and we enjoyed some snacks.  I had a cider, which is sort of the perfect alcoholic beverage for me.  Allows me to fit in with the cool kids drinking their beers (ick!).

Biergarten

Biergarten

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 It was just the most lovely day outside.  I wore a strappy jumper!  I thought those days were over for me, guys.  I figured tank tops were strictly relegated to trips to LA and working out.  The weather, I’m told, has been unseasonably warm, but I’m not complaining.  There is plenty of time the rest of the year for this LA girl to freeze my butt off.  I’m in no rush.

Max, Martha, & Dave walkin' around Hayes.

Max, Martha, & Dave walkin’ around Hayes.

After snacking and drinking at Biergarten, we visited another Hayes Valley drinking spot, Brass Tacks.  The best seat at this bar is sitting looking out the large, open front window onto Hayes Street.  I learned something here-businesses in San Francisco do not have air conditioning, so if it happens to be a little uncomfortably warm, you are SOL, my friend.  I was sweating in some unattractive ways.  But as soon as we stepped outside again, the lovely breeze had me feeling fine.

Instead of dinner, we all decided to celebrate our very first National Ice Cream Day with bespoke ice cream from Smitten.  Max and I split a cone and had some yummy toppings on the side!

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With sticky hands, we walked back up the hill to our house after spending the day exploring our neighborhood.  We were tuckered out!

We may have stopped at In-N-Out later that night because dinner.

Spreckles Lake

Every Sunday I try to think of something sort of creative and fun for Max and I to do together.  I think I mentioned that when I moved up here I had a romantic idea that Max and I would freakin conquer this city.  I think in a lot of ways we actually are dominating pretty hard up here, but exploring new things with my partner is the thing I really look forward to.  It sustains me throughout the week when Max and I are apart.  I’ve been known to toss around a few ideas for the next weekend in bed with Max Monday night.  It excites me that much.

The other day, I decided we needed to take a field trip to Golden Gate Park to see the buffalo.  Max isn’t super into nature or scenic views, which can be so frustrating, but the dude can always be counted on to want to hang with animals.  Friends were telling us the the buffalo thing is tourist-y and nothing special, but I figured if the buffalo suck, there was still all of Golden Gate Park to explore.

Big parks like Golden Gate Park are interesting in that they have all these little sections for different activities.  We walked around just a very small section of the Park and saw tons of stuff.  Right when we got out of the car, we were immediately drawn to the small lake across the way.  There were just tons of people there and colorful things; clearly something going on.  Turns out at Spreckles Lake on Sundays they have motorized model boat time.  It was hard to look away!  It was so entrancing!

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So first of all-all different kinds of boats.  There were tow boats, yachts, tanker ships, a freakin’ small person on a small jet ski.  They have construction boats that move small pieces of pvc pipe around the docks.  The docks are intricate, too!  Small structures with people inside on slated wooden docks that are the length of my forearm.  I used to love collecting miniatures when I was young, so I loved looking at all the details on the boats.  Max was so taken with the boats.  And we were both taken with the boats’ owners.

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Our favorite was the proud owner of a steam ship.  He would take pictures of it from all different angles as it sailed around.  He was obviously well-known to the motorized model boating community of Spreckles Lake.

There seemed to be some kind of turf war between the motorized boats and the sail boats, as one of the sailboats ended up caught amongst the obstacles set out for the motor boats.  Oh-the uproar!  It was stupendous!  Max and I made up backstories for all the people.  We saw one guy showing his girlfriend/wife how to drive a model boat using these weird goggles.  We guessed at what it was all about.

Of course when we got home Max researched this whole motorized model boat community to death, as he is prone to do, and learned that the goggles allowed them to see from the perspective of the boat.  These boats are used for battles.  Just something else we’ll have to go see sometime-the model boat battles with the futuristic goggles.  He also learned the origin of Spreckles Lake (we toyed with naming our future dog Spreckles because we both fell in love with the name of this little lake) is the sugar-fortune heir and San Francisco Parks Commission President Adolph B. Spreckels.  So much wonderful, useless knowledge in that beautiful head of his!

We did go see the buffalo and it was kind of neat.  Max didn’t think it was fair to call them a herd of buffalo because there was only six, but I argued that any ore than 4 buffalo constitute a herd. These are the really important discussions, ya know

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There are some buffalo in there. Promise.

 

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On our way back to the boats (because f-yeah, we were totally going back for more crazy model boating!), we came across the practice fly fishing area where they allow people to practice casting.  We watched them for a bit and wondered why they don’t just go to an actual lake.  Again, the big questions.  We also talked about family and our future and blah blah blah, but mainly we talked about BOATS.  Max has already asked me when we are going back to watch more boats.  So funny what gets him off.

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Once we made it back to Spreckles Lake, we ordered a pretzel and a hot dog and made ourselves at home on a bench between the motor boats and the sailboats.  We sat there talking and not talking for a long time.

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Worthwhile Trip to Sam’s

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You can’t say I’m not a woman of my word.  I said I would satisfy my hankering for a good old fashioned American cheeseburger, and lo and behold, I bring you “a trip to Sam’s“.

The saga begins on the 4th of July.  I was walking around Hayes Valley and there was a vendor making hotdogs, presumably for the holiday, as I don’t recall ever seeing him there before.  I thought about getting one because it would be totally in the spirit of things, but just looked longingly as I walked past.  Later I went to Max’s restaurant where I had fancy cocktails and desserts.  I knew then as I was sitting at the bar that this simply would not do.  I would have to find myself a cheeseburger…another time because it was already past midnight and I turn into a pumpkin around then.

I did a fair amount of research-meaning I asked Max where the best cheeseburger in San Francisco was, he told me Sam’s (he included that he had eaten there at 3 in the morning one time.  I didn’t ask.), and then I independently confirmed with the collective Internet.  That’s hard science right there.

Once Saturday rolled around, I was excited to make my trek to Sam’s.  It was a decently lengthy walk, but this was, like, the big plan for the day, so I could spare the time.  I figured if I was tired, I’d just Uber home, but I’m happy to report I walked BOTH freakin’ ways.  I mean, when all the day really calls for is stuffing your face with one of Anthony Bourdain’s Top 3 Burgers in the World (and fries and a  coke), walking is probably a good idea.

My walk was better than I anticipated.  I got to see some cool parts of the city that I’ve only seen from cars.  I walked from the Tenderloin, Union Square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill.  I got close to the Embarcadero.  I impressed myself walking home through Nob Hill, and yes, my calves were fairly sore the next day, but the views were glorious and that Fairmont Hotel there-swanky.  It was worth the uphill climb.  Also-trolleys!

Union Square

Union Square

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I arrived at Sam’s and took a seat at the counter across from the T-shirts for sale that read “That’s a good motherfucking burger! Top 3 in the world!”-Anthony Bourdain.  Max is a diehard Bourdain fan, so that was kind of neat.  I would tell him, but he already knows.  We haven’t discussed it, but, believe me, he already knows.  I ordered a double cheeseburger, fries, and a coke.

It is just one dude there manning the grill and serving.  He was curt, but not too intimidating.  He seemed chummy with one of the other customers.

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The BURGER! Actually, can we just go back right now? Because I’m thinking about this burger now, and I took a spin class today, and, and…this burger is freakin’ fantastic! Definitely one of the best burgers I’ve had in my life.  I would say it reminds of an In-N-Out burger, but better.  Something about it was so authentic, though.  And it was cheesy.  It was a treat for both my eyes and my palate.  I mean-look at it-it’s a thing of beauty!

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And even though it wasn’t super cheap, and I kind of feel that burgers should be cheap as a matter of principle, I will be back to Sam’s for sure-probably soon.  I satisfied my craving from a week prior and explored my new city in an afternoon; a beautiful afternoon at that.

A few more pictures from my outing to Sam’s below:

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WORK HARD BE NICE

Cat a local bodega

Cat a local bodega

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I love the guy on the motorcycle pointing.  Is he pointing at Sam's?

I love the guy on the motorcycle pointing. Is he pointing at Sam’s?

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Moving Upward.

So now that all proper parties have been formally notified and all of the legalities are in place, I can announce what I’ve wanted to share on this blog for some time.

I am moving to San Francisco to join Max.

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This has been a long time coming.  I mean-when we first sent Max up to SF in July, just after our marriage, he packed one suitcase and headed out to see if this experiment with being a sommelier would pan out.  In our minds, there was a good chance he would not take to this environment, and while the opportunity was too good to pass up, it was pretty much a shot in the dark.  Understandably, we didn’t commit much to that venture at that time.

Since then, Max has sky-rocketed to sommelier/wine director success at one of the best restaurants in the world.  He is what we jokingly call “food famous”.  Sometime before the holidays this year, Max and I had a conversation in which he turned my world upside down by telling me he thought he needed to stay up in San Francisco for several years at the very least in order to really take advantage of his position and get us set-up.

I had never considered moving away from Los Angeles.  It is all I have ever known, and truthfully, about all I’ve ever really desired to know.  I’ve toyed heavily with living in New York.  I had to make that choice when choosing colleges and again when choosing law schools; turning down NYU for USC and Fordham University for Southwestern Law School.  Part of me always regrets not taking one of those opportunities to explore the city of New York that I love so much, but then again, I wouldn’t be with Max if I had gone.  Max and I had been looking into buying houses in LA before he left.  We looked in West Hollywood and Beverlywood and Cheviot Hills.  We had future dream houses in LA picked out in our minds.  But when he told me he wanted to stay in SF, I immediately knew I would move.

The first idea, because we are so fucking responsible sometimes, was that I would stay in LA until I could find a great job that would further my career in SF.  I had two very successful interviews in SF, but when it came down to the wire, I did not get the job.  I was devastated by my rejection for the last position.  Everything had gone PERFECTLY.  I knew I was getting this job, and good thing, too, because basically my entire future with my husband and everyone’s hopes and dreams for us happily growing our family was on my shoulders, I think to myself.  If I get this job, I think, everything falls perfectly into place, but oh god, if I do not, when will I ever be reunited with my husband again? How will our marriage survive years apart? These interviews had been few and far between and entertainment law positions are not plentiful in the Bay Area.  Alas, it was not meant to be.  I made it down to the final two candidates for the job and lost out.  I will never know why.

I was devastated and my mom came over that night and I cried on her shoulder in my bed.  As if she knew what I was thinking already, she said, “You know, you don’t have to stay here.  You would like to move on from your job, anyway, and maybe it is time you do what you want and need to do for yourself and your family.  You can always get a job, a great job, in San Francisco once you move.” She gave me permission to do what I was already wanting to do, but I felt irresponsible moving without a job lined-up in the new city.  I would have counseled any friend not to do that.  There will be a gap in your resume.  You will eat through your savings. Other concerns.  But I had friends who were unfulfilled in their current jobs and were starting to leave them just to figure out what they really wanted to do with their lives.  I was seeing how happy they were.  They were not stressed about not having money for rent.  They were making it work.  So I knew I could, too, and I made the decision I would move in May-the month of our one-year wedding anniversary, come hell or high-water.

At that point, I was still applying for jobs in SF, but I was no longer so desperate; so stressed.  Back when I was, I had written my old firm, where I had worked before coming to my current position, asking them for a recommendation on my LinkedIn profile. I never heard from them, which I did find odd considering we had a really great working relationship.  Seemingly out of the blue, once I had decided to move to SF, I did hear from one of the two partners of the firm.  He said he would gladly give me a glowing recommendation, but more importantly, was I looking for work? I told him I was, but in San Francisco and, unfortunately, that precluded me from working for the firm, which is based in Orange County.  He proposed I work from home for the firm from San Francisco.  There is a case right now that they are working on that sounds very exciting involving the California state government and counter-terrorism.

I was hesitant to take the job because it is litigation, which I haven’t done in several years.  However, the perks of a great work/life balance tipped the scales.  The partner, Mike, and I negotiated my offer for over a week.  It was a pretty grueling process-two lawyers negotiating all the fine points of an employment offer.  Last Friday, we locked down all the basic terms and I received my offer letter on Tuesday of this week.  I gave my notice at work that same day and have been designing my dream home office ever since.

Now hold up! We still have no place to live.  Max has been living in the basement of a house inhabited by 3 other roommates.  There is no way I’m living, let along working on a federal litigation case, out of a basement.  So now the apartment search is on in full effect.

I’m flying up to SF this weekend.  We have some apartment showings.  We intend to live in an apartment in the city while we work on qualifying for a mortgage, a process we have already started but with everything else that’s going on, will likely take us a great while longer.

So, that’s it.  I’d like to announce a new chapter in my life.  The changes include the following:

  • Living in a new city for the first time.
  • Living as a married coupled (sort of-we did have about 4 months before Max left)
  • Getting a dog. (Of course, I will rescue.  Likely an older dog who just wants to lay around my office with me.)
  • Returning to litigation work.
  • Working from my home for the first time.

That’s a lot of change! All good change.  I’m particularly stoked about feeling like I can responsibly get a dog again.  With my schedule being more my own, I think I will really be able to give any animal that we adopt a very responsive, loving, and attentive owner. I look forward to fantasy days of walking around the city with my pup and some indie hipster coffee and feeling the San Francisco wind.  I look forward to weekend days with Max exploring new places in the city.  I know that most of my days will not be quite so lovely, as I’ll be working my ass off, but I hope to get out a few times a week to go to a yoga or spin class, pick up a fancy pressed juice, and explore a little of my new city.

San Francisco, I hope you welcome me.  Here I come!

Me in SF in 2009!

Me in SF in 2009!