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Wine Tasting

I hope everyone has had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend! I just got back from Napa!

Friday in Napa was my first wine tasting experience! After a room service breakfast, we stopped at Ross for our annual shopping trip there. The Ross in Napa is by far superior to other Ross’s. For lunch we headed across the street to the Genova Delicatessen-if you’re ever in Napa I highly recommend stopping in! The egg salad is to die for. For my meal I had a hunk of Polenta plus some egg salad and veggie sides.

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After lunch, we headed to Yountville to visit Domain Chandon, which makes sparkling wine (not technically champagne because it’s not made in Champagne, France).

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We went on a tour that included a tasting. On the tour we got to see the big vats where the grapes are squeezed, and learn about the champagne process from grape to bottling.

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Then, it was tasting time! We got to try 4 different varieties. I’m doing my best to learn some wine descriptor words so it was nice to have a side by side comparison!

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My favorite was the etoile rosé.

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My Black Friday shopping consisted of taking advantage of the 50% off champagne sale!

After tasting, we headed back to Napa to Oxbow market downtown. My favorite place, the arepa place, is not longer there, but I was excited to try the gluten free bakery! I and the avocado smash on gluten free sourdough and it was perfect.

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For dessert, I tried lemon vanilla bean tea cake and chocolate cake. Both were good but not exceptional-the sourdough was definitely the star of the show.

On Saturday morning, I was up early to run the resort grounds in frigid temperatures. So worth it-the run is beautiful! It’s a nice fish mile loop around the property. After breakfast, my mom and I had some spa treatments. My 21st birthday present was wine tasting and spa treatments in Napa, and we finally made it out a little over 6 months later! I started with a massage, which was fantastic. You never realize how sore you actually are! Then I had my first ever facial. It was definitely a different experience, but my skin felt completely different afterwords. I definitely understand that people glow after a facial!

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After our treatments, we drove to St. Helena for lunch.

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We stop in St. Helena any time we come to Napa ( and we come every year for Thanksgiving). One of my favorite restaurants is the St. Helena Bistro for their avocado salad.

As an appetizer, we shared a grilled artichoke and had wine to go around because when in Napa!

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My main course was clearly avocado salad. I added chicken this time for a little more protein. The salad is so simple but has the freshest flavors. It’s simply lettuce with fresh mozzarella, avocado, quality olive oil, and sea salt.

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In St. Helena, we stopped in a pet store for adorable toys for my puppy (she likes really loud things and already loves her squaking rubber chicken) and into Olivier for olive oil and tapenade tasting (including their amazing lemon curds and caramel sauces!) One of the main St. Helena stops was Woodhouse Chocolates for amazing Belgian style chocolates. The flavors are so unique and fresh, and the mint tastes exactly like fresh mint leaves.

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Then, it was time for wine tasting! We decided to stop into a winery in St. Helena that we’ve passed many times, distinctive because it has a giant sparkly rabbit structure in front.

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The winery had a very modern style, and the fall views were beautiful.

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Their specialties are red wine. I tend to prefer white wine, but I did my best to appreciate the high quality wine we were tasting! The first was a chardonnay, which was my favorite, but the next 4 were reds.

While I may not be a wine connoisseur just yet, I can appreciate that this was in a different universe from the last red wine I had, 2 Buck Chuck (which is quite offensive to the taste buds).

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I could appreciate the $125 wine, but I don’t think I’m quite sophisticated enough yet to enjoy it as much as whites. I loved the big flawless glasses though!

We managed to time our trip perfectly and make it back to our room in time for the Stanford Notre Dame game. We ordered room service for dinner, and were on the edge of our seats the entire time. The game was intense, with a small lead being passed around. The end was epic-we lost our lead to a controversial touchdown in the last minute, and had the ball back with just 30 seconds to go. Stanford drove down the field and we made a long field goal to win it in the last seconds of the game! AHH! GO STANFORD!

To celebrate, we broke out the champagne bought the day prior. Cardinal (red) sparkly to celebrate the win!

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On Sunday morning we returned home. It wasn’t quite back to reality yet-my mom and I attended a holiday shopping faire at a historic house that was totally decked out for the holidays.

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The decorations were beautiful, and it was a great way to enjoy the house and get into the Christmas spirit!

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We came home with a few items (most notable is a squirrel ornament) and lots of holiday cheer!

Dinner was at Whole Foods, where we picked out a tree. I highly highly recommend their trees. They stay fresh longer than any lot tree and are luscious and beautiful.

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Our tree is going to be decorated a bit differently this year. We switched to mostly unbreakable ornaments when my fairly agile cats were young, but this year we’re going to go ornament-less because of a certain puppy who loves putting things in her mouth and carrying them around. I have visions of a knocked over tree as a result. The plan is to do lights and maybe wrap a big ribbon around. Possibly some big flowers. Any suggestions?

But now it’s back to reality. I’m at school and already sweating over the amount I have to do in the next 11 days before Christmas Break!

Have you ever been wine tasting? What’s your favorite type of wine?

Thanksgiving Week

Hello! I’m currently in Napa. My parents are watching basketball-not really my thing. I’m all about baseball! But the Warriors are currently making history so that’s cool.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I’ve had a great week so far.

Tuesday I picked up my Turkey Trot bib!

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I also went to home Crossfit, which is always fun! The WOD was a length chipper: 100 double unders, 50 deadlifts (95#), 50 burpees, 50 kb swings.

For dinner, we had a crockpot meal-chicken caccitore! Served over a bed of spinach.

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I also made some persimmon bread. I used my classic banana bread recipe, but substituted 6 peeled and blended persimmons.

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Wednesday was spent at a killer spin class, and then relaxing with my kitty. He’s a fan of my heated blanket!

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For dinner, we made salad with persimmons and goat cheese, and then a spaghetti squash “macaroni” and cheese. Topped with lightly roasted tomatoes and basil.

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My Thanksgiving began with a 10k Turkey Trot! This is my 3rd year doing the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. It’s the biggest in the world!

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It was quite chilly-low 30s on the drive up. I came prepared.

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A minute before the race started, I dropped my layers minus some ear warmers and gloves.

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This race was fun! I tried to keep a pace that was challenging but not so uncomfortable that the race wouldn’t be fun. 2 days ago I realized I ran this race 2 minutes faster than I had been thinking. I remembered 1/3 of the way into the race was that was because my last 10k over the summer was at that slower pace! I realized this as I was cruising at a much faster pace than that haha.

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30 seconds faster than last year-I’ll take it!

After the race, we had a snack and then cleaned up before heading up to Napa.

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We met my grandpa and uncle there, and then it was time for the buffet!

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The highlight, as always, was the butternut squash soup. It’s ridiculously creamy and tastes just like fall. My salad plate featured vegetarian sushi, beet salad which I added goat cheese to, and some cheeses with grapes and honey.

I didn’t catch a picture of my main plain but I has some turkey, mashed potatoes, a taste of sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and roasted carrots.

Dessert was exciting as always.

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My dessert was the inside of white chocolate cranberry cheesecake, the inside of pumpkin pie, chocolate covered strawberries, and a little chocolate cup with raspberry mousse.

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After the big meal, we gelled out in our hotel room watching The Good Wife.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

I Survived! (Napa Half)

Hey guys. Guess what? I survived my 5th half marathon!

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I was really unsure how it would go given I missed a lot of training runs, and felt terrible last weekend. I got in all the long runs of training, but the volume of the shorter runs wasn’t really there…my only goal was to finish, to take it slow, and to actually enjoy the race. I feel like I end up not enjoying my halfs as much as I should because I take off like a bat out of hell and then am dying the whole way. So let’s back up.

Pre-race day eats. I tried to keep it moderate but didn’t do the best job. Breakfast of the world’s largest blackberries and gluten-free focaccia (which is amazing btw).

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Lunch was a salad with sweet potato pop chips and gluten free cookie dough soy ice cream.

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I had some other snacks in there too-gluten free banana bread I believe?

We drove up to Napa in the afternoon and were in St. Helena in time for dinner. Somehow I found a place that had a dish that fit my complicated restrictions.

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Grilled asparagus and peach salad.

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Chicken with potatoes, mushrooms, and arugula.

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Woodhouse Chocolate. I decided trace amounts of dairy were fine since I’m feeling way better.

After an evening of working on Stats homework and baseball watching, I was ready to go when I woke up at 5:45! The race started at 8, and we stayed at a hotel a few minutes walk from the start, but I had to time my food in a specific way. I woke up not feeling that great but it passed pretty quickly.

Breakfast was banana, egg white oatmeal with craisins and a dab of sun butter.

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Stretching, as per usual. Notice that blue thing I’m holding? I got a flip belt! I wanted to carry crackers during the race, so I shoved those in with a couple of goos and stomach medicine,  just in case!

And then we were off!

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I took it super slow at the start. Slower than I ever have before, and it was awesome. I was really able to enjoy the beautiful views of vineyards along the Silverado trail. Another bonus? No SF hills! Only a few minor ones that I was more than trained for. For the race, they closed off the entire road, but on the way home we drove the race route so here are a few shots of that.

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This tree was the turnaround!

In terms of fueling, I took about 1/3 of my goo at mile 4.5 at an aid station. I accidentally grabbed gatorade instead of water, but I just went with it. It took a little while for that to settle in my stomach, so I did goo #2 a little differently. I started eating it super slowly at mile 8 (and got a much needed burst of energy!) and didn’t finish it until mile 12. I had to be super cautious that my stomach never got too empty because I knew I’d have stomach issues if that happened.

In terms of how I felt, the hardest miles were maybe 9-10? They were pretty flat, which was just a lot of the same motion. I actually felt better once we hit the hills! Overall though, this is by far the least painful race I’ve run. Around the last 4ish miles I started to think about finishing time and what I wanted, since I knew if I was feeling ok I could probably turn it up at the end. I ended up with some killer negative splits! My last mile was by far the fastest.

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I think my official time was 2:15?

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This is by far the least painful finish of a half I’ve had. So…that pacing thing? Yeah-something to work on!

After the race I had to refuel thoroughly and carefully. Such a big calorie deficit made me really nervous with my stomach. I had some crackers and a banana right away, and then a Luna bar. Back in the hotel, I had the freaking weirdest thing ever. Coconut oil cream cheese (weird) on a gluten free bagel with….a frozen hard boiled egg. Yuck. Got the job done though….but ew. The frozen egg was the weirdest thing.

Later, I had some polenta.

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And I’ve basically been eating everything since then. So we’ll see how I feel tomorrow…

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This cookie though…it’s basically free of everything-refined sugar, gluten, dairy, eggs. But SUPER delicious. My post-race hunger laughed at the “serves 2” on the label.

So. In summary. I survived my half and am in one piece. Yay!

WIAW-Latest Eats

Happy Wednesday! We all know what that means! Thanks Jenn!

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With 12 days of Christmas, I haven’t gotten to share some of the random things I’ve eaten in the past week or so! How tragic would that be?

Also-another exciting note-I entered the lottery for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC in the spring. I think the odds I get in are low but how amazing would that be??

Ok. Food. As promised.

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Spinach and artichoke soup, from a Buzzfeed article of all things! Topped with parmesan.

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Post-turkey trot, pre-Thanksgiving breakfast of mini frittatas and a crumpet.

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A really freaking amazing salad in Napa. Avocado, fresh mozzarella, tomato, olive oil, and sea salt. Simple but perfect.

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Baby fruit tart from Napa.

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Chocolate sea salt caramel cupcake.

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Trader Joe’s mushroom risotto with some spinach tossed in.

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Carrot soup with cilantro.

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Tupperware lunch of leftover broccoli and chicken. (Plus a sweet potato that was scarfed down earlier…)

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Dining hall dinner. Roasted veggies and chicken, and a mini veggie pot pie. The highlight was the zucchini, which was roasted with garlic and cheese.

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Back to my typical breakfast of yogurt+sunbutter+peaches.

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Dining hall lunch on a rainy day-eggplant parmesan, veggies with Alfredo (not my favorite veggies served that day so you gotta do what you gotta do!) and polenta with sundried tomatoes.

And a bonus because how cute is he?

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What is something that you haven’t had in a while?

For me it was the eggplant parm-I don’t think I’ve ever had it before!

 

WIAW-Back to Normal

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m linking up for our weekly food celebration with Jenn.

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After my trip and race, I’m back to what I suppose is my normal routine for the next week and a half, so here’s what I ate!

For breakfast, I had leftover cheesy mushroom quinoa (with excessive kale) and some cherries.

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In terms of my workout, as promised, I have a lot of cross training in front of me while my plantar fasciitis stops flaring so I went to the gym and did a spin workout on my own. It was a good workout, but not my best playlist ever. After my workout, I met my mom and sister on campus for lunch at my local cafe.

I started with a cappuccino (decaf).

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And then my mom and I shared a couple of dishes.The first was called Beverly Hills Chopped Salad, and was mixed greens, olives, avocado, gouda, chicken, and asparagus tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

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The second was an arepa filled with gouda cheese.

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Before dinner, I went to my favorite yoga class and stretched out my tight muscles from the race. I think going to yoga more should help my plantar fasciitis-the stretching felt good and the one legged poses really made it apparent how weak the little muscles in my ankles and achilles are.

For dinner, we made a barbecue chicken salad. My dad grilled chicken with some of the new BBQ sauce we got in Napa, and we served it over a salad with corn, red pepper, tomato, onion, and avocado in a simple lime juice and olive oil dressing.

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Plus some tortilla chips on the side!

For something sweet, I had the last of a container of caramel ice cream with caramel sauce from Napa. I didn’t get a picture, but I want to take this moment to share with you the best ice cream ever (although this wasn’t the kind I had last night because it was long gone).

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This stuff is AMAZING but I’m pretty sure you can only get it in CA since Straus is a local dairy. Their dairy is the most amazing, creamiest, smoothest ever-the yogurt is amazing-and my favorite ice cream place uses their dairy. So it’s no surprise that this ice cream is ridiculous. SALTED toffee pieces. This is by far my favorite store bought ice cream.

And that’s what I ate!

What’s your favorite store bought ice cream?