Friday, January 4, 2008

A Great 2007 Holiday

We spent Christmas this year with family and good friends, old and new, in the Bay Area. It was great to see everyone, catch up, and even enjoy some touristy R&R in our old haunts.

We spent Christmas Eve at Jon's Uncle Gary & Aunt Linda's--an annual tradition for Jon since childhood and for both of us since we started dating 6 years ago. Aunt Linda makes an amazing gingerbread house--from scratch!--every year. Rumor has it that the kids devour it on Christmas morning while opening gifts. Such a great tradition!

We spent most of the evening gathered around their Christmas tree catching up with Jon's cousins, aunts, uncles, innumerable nieces and nephews, and immediate family too. As they do every year, Aunt Linda and Uncle Gary treated us to a multi-course feast of Italian goodness: antipasti, fresh roasted red bell peppers with anchovies, homemade canneloni, Christmas ham with scalloped potatoes, and finally, DESSERTS from the connoisseurs of the family (including this outrageous cream puff cake and Jon's mom's rum cake--YUMMM!).

Christmas Day we spent at Jon's sister's house in Montara, a small community near Half Moon Bay on the beach. This has also been our tradition the past 6 years. More eating: we start with brunch--pastries, coffee, breakfast casserole--watch the kids open their gifts, then ruminate to snacks in the afternoon and finish off with an early dinner, after helping the kids assemble their gifts (this year, we helped them break in their new Wii player--much fun!).

The day after Christmas, we coordinated a gathering at the Village Host pizzeria in Burlingame--a perfect meeting spot for our friends with children! It was fantastic to see old friends, roomies, and their children and families while noshing on fresh veggie pizza pie and beer (MORE food! humph!).

Thursday we set off for an overnight getaway in Sonoma, but before heading north, we met friends Eric & Lauren, makers of Shoe Shine Wine, for breakfast at Chloe's Cafe in Noe Valley. We met Lauren's parents, who were visiting from Santa Fe, and discovered that we share a favorite restaurant in New Mexico: The Range Cafe in Bernalillo! Small world....

In Sonoma, we visited several wineries, including the beautiful Ledson Estate, pictured here, but their wines weren't anything to write home about. Our favorite winery on this visit was Preston Vineyards.

Off the beaten path, Preston is more of a farm and an experience than just a winery. During the spring you can buy their cheese, produce and bread in their tasting room and take it outside with a bottle of their excellent wine and enjoy a picnic on their tables on the patio. It's such a charming, relaxing place, and aligns so well with our buy-local philosophy! The owners are also a little cooky, if not artistic--this udder tree in their tasting room was their version of a Christmas tree....After a glorious Italian dinner at Santi Restaurant that evening, we met friends Natasha and Dario for some tasting on Friday before heading back home to the Farms. So wonderful to be back in the Bay Area, but we were so happy to return home as well!

Finally, we spent New Year's Eve as hosts to friends Scott, Chere, and their Labradoodles, Bosco and Bailey, from Arizona. It had to be the coldest week on record, so we didn't do much but cook and eat MORE food, play SceneIt, and watch college bowl games on New Year's Day. We managed a trip up to Santa Fe, but the whipping winds and sub-freezing temps were so cold, we couldn't even walk around the plaza! So, we did a pub crawl instead, starting at the quirky, historic Pink Adobe Dragon Room Tavern. Happy New Year everyone!

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