Monthly Archives: June 2008

second favorite part of trip (hint: booze involved)(yeah, shocker)

Hidden in Alameda, CA, is one of the coolest distilleries I’ve ever encountered.  If you go, I highly recommend borrowing a GPS to help find your way.

St. George\'s Spirits

St. George’s Spirits is known for their very nice vodkas – the brand is Hangar 1 – flavored with real whole fruit – the Buddha’s Hand citron flavor vodka was fantastic.  Rightly so, the distillery is all located in the old Hangar One building adjacent to the Alameda Naval Station (mostly defunct and reimagined now).  They are also known for being the first distiller in the US to make and distribute absinthe.  Now don’t get the wrong idea – I like to sip absinthe as a digestif – I don’t knock them back like some idiot club kid.  The chemical reaction that results from adding water to absinthe is kind of cool (when the drink becomes cloudy as the water hits the oils).

absinthe

We had the tasting room to ourselves and a very capable/friendly representative to walk us through the eau de vie’s, 4 of the vodkas, the whiskies, the white tea and black tea liquors, and sweet liqueurs (Aqua Perfecta).  Oh, and the absinthe.  I drank a bucket of water to try and stay sober.  This made the trip back on the Bay Bridge a particular torture (yes, I went before I left – but the damage had already been done).  Have you ever done the peepee dance while in traffic?  In San Francisco?  Oof.

must pee soon!

Teh Smitten bought himself a bottle of the Qi Black Tea Liquor, flavored with smoky lapsong souchong tea.  It is really nice.  I got a bottle of the raspberry Aqua Perfecta – it will be wonderful in Kir royales or drizzled over the top of frozen yogurt and brownies.  We also bought matching (!) t-shirts to celebrate our love of their absinthe.  We have promised to never wear them at the same time.  The St. George Tasting room is really quite nice – they have a direct view across the bay of San Francisco.  They’re having a big opening party on the 28th that we so wish we could attend…  If you live in the area, get on their mailing list.  I get the feeling that their events are quite something.

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my favorite part of the trip

Big Sur. Of all the places in the world, it is among the most beautiful. Teh Smitten and I drove down from Carmel to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park on the 9th. My parents took my sister and I out there and drove US 1 from LA to San Francisco when I was five (and my sister was three). I did not appreciate it then (nay, I don’t even really remember that trip except for the smell of Fisherman’s Wharf), but surely do now. We weren’t equipped for the hike all the way down to this beach where an 80 foot waterfall meets the beach, but did appreciate it from the well-situated walkway. We stayed at this lovely B&B in Carmel by the Sea – the Seaview Inn – where a very friendly couple from San Luis Obispo recommended the park and lent us a book Big Sur’s best hikes.

the beach at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

After Burns State Park, we headed back up the road and had lunch at Nepenthe – former hippie paradise/current post-hippie consumer mecca. The burgers are way overpriced – you essentially pay for the view. Also, gift shop!!! Filled with many overpriced and nice items (not just incense). I bought post-cards as they perk up scrap books a bit.

A few miles up from Nepenthe there is a poorly marked road that leads you to Pfeiffer Beach. An incredibly windy (pronounced whine-dee) one-lane road leads you about two miles down a steep decline to the beach, known for great rocks that have been carved through by the sea. We rested for a while here and just enjoyed the 70 degree weather (we had just left 100+ degree weather in DC). You’d think that I would have gotten some color out in all this gloriousness. You’d be wrong. Teh Smitten insists that my only two colors are white and pink. I no longer tan. Also, the Pacific is c o l d ! And kelpy.

Pfeiffer Beach

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back

We have made it back.  We are seriously jet-lagged.  Woke up at 1 am last night and didn’t know where I was.  Fun was had.  I was maid of honor at friends’ wedding.  There may be video of me spilling plum sake on the bride and into a koi pond.  Things we love:  Big Sur, St. George Spirits in Alameda, Boulevard on Mission Street and Brandy Ho Chinese restaurant in Chinatown.  Things that suck: gas is at least $4.59 out there.   More to come along with snaps.

Despite the jet lag, we learned that Olssens Books is closing their Penn Quarter location via email today, so Teh Smitten and I headed over after work to take advantage of the 50% prices – listed most of the buys on my Facebook page.

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gah

We are leaving this hellhole just in time.  The temperature will hit 99 F tomorrow, and with the heat index Monday could see the 100s.  INSANE.  Of course, we are none too pleased to have to worry about getting ourselves and our excessive amount of luggage all the way to Dulles tomorrow while trying not to get too warm.  There’s nothing like being smushed up against other passengers when either you or they are scented with sweat.  Blech.

So, guess what its like in California?  First of all, its freaking gorgeous.  No sign of thunderstorms.  Its the foggy time of year for San Francisco.  Highs for the coast will be the mid 60s to 70, highs around San Jose will be maybe 80.  People staging outdoor weddings out in San Jose have little to fear when it comes to weather.  (Manic – you’re going to be glorious against the backdrop of those gardens.) Hell, I’m afraid I will be too cold!  What ho!  Another reason to shop?  I hope to boost the local economy in my own small and insignificant way.

So, things to buy:  a surf shirt and “cool” stickers for his skate board for my nephew, maybe earrings for my mom, Pebble Beach golf stuff for my dad, Hello Kitty stuff for my niece, a bento box for Teh Smitten and me, maybe some  granola  comfort  sandals for me…

In any case, we cannot wait.  I’ve got us pretty much packed.  We can sleep in tomorrow, have a relaxed brunch, finishing packing our carry-on bags and head to the airport around 2.  Tomorrow night we’ll be staying south of SFO, and then we head to Carmel, CA for a couple nights, Santa Cruz for a night, back to SF to pick up some friends, then a couple nights in San Jose for the Manic Bride’s nuptials, and then one last night in SF…  We have lunch reservations at the highly regarded Boulevard on Mission Street on day, and hope to make it to the Winchester Mystery House as well.  Wish us luck, and please send me comfortable shoe karma.  My dogs are killing me.

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daydream believer

Picking up from Obscurorant, an oversharing meme:

1. Name the singer/band/performer you are most embarrassed to admit you actually paid good money to see in concert.

This is easy.  My mom made me go see The Monkees with one of her friend’s daughters when I was in HS.  Mortifying.  It was at The Fox Theatre, which is this very lovely sit-down concert hall in St. Louis.  We were definitely the youngest people there.  Wait, I also saw The Thompson Twins there but I’m not embarrassed about that.  Really.  Anyway, its kind of like the National Theatre or Kennedy Center- you feel undignified dancing in front of your seat. Teh Smitten got me tickets to see The Zombies in July.  I have a feeling we will be the youngest people there too.  Since I’m no longer an idiot teenager whose mom guilts her into hanging out with clingy needy doofi (the plural of doofus), this doesn’t bother me.  This is the one good thing about getting older; I just don’t give a crap about what other people think.

2. Which reality TV show have you watched more than once (come on. I don’t believe you if you say “none,” unless you don’t own a TV)?

Hah!  Beauty and the Geek.  It has opened up whole new worlds of words for me.  Like LARPers.  I’ve also been guilty of Paradise Hotel, Temptation Island, and American Idol.  I have enjoyed reality dating shows like X-treme Dating, the Bachelor (we went to HS with Trista), and Love Connection.  Be back in 2 and 2!

3. Which complete trash novelist have you not only read but enjoyed enough to read more than one book of his/hers?

Well, “trash” is kind of subjective.  Anne Rice.  What?  I’m a girl; I’m allowed.  The Beauty series got me through having my tonsils out at age 23.

4. What sappy musical could you watch over and over and over again?

The Sound of Music.  I hate when I miss it.

5. Who was your first celebrity crush?

Ricky Schroeder a la Silver Spoons.

6. Who is the most embarrassing celebrity on whom you have a slight crush today?

Me:  Baby?  Who’s the most embarrassing celebrity I have a crush on?

TS:  Me?

Me: No.

TS:  Who’s the Scottish guy who has the late night talk show and who was in that movie about growing mj?

Me:  Craig Ferguson?  Is he embarrassing?

TS:  He’s not exactly hot.

Me:  I see.

TS:  You also like Dylan Moran from Black Books.

***

I don’t think either of them are embarrassing.  I also crush on Angelina Jolie, but who doesn’t?

7. What movie that everyone else and his cousin and even his dog has seen have you never seen?

Apocalypse Now.

8. What were you drinking the first time you ever got drunk?

Well, its been a rather long time, but I think it was wine coolers.  I swear they once came in two-liters.

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four more days

I can’t believe its only Tuesday. Today seemed to last two entire days. Crap at work hit the proverbial fan: I have to move offices while I am on vacation – the lack of control over whether my stuff makes it to my new office across town is causing my heart to beat fast. Also, a project is cresting while I’m on vacation despite all efforts to avoid this. At least I have a great person backing me up on that one, but I fear that I will be spending absurd amounts of time on my blackberry and phone instead of enjoying Carmel, Big Sur and Santa Cruz next Monday through Wednesday. Boo! I had briefly hoped I might be able to leave the smackberry at home. No such luck. I am beginning to regret not taking more time off and slightly resent work for not really allowing me to take a real vacation. Things to raise with the bosses tomorrow…

My mom is great at mixing metaphors and names. Hence, “Facepage.” I think that’s pretty funny, but also fear that I will end up mixing it up like she does. On the Facebook front, I learned from this idiotic music application that I am woefully lacking in my Moby and Creed knowledge. I am also woefully not lacking in my Kelly Clarkson knowledge. Teh Smitten is embarrassed for me.

We leave on Saturday afternoon and I am beginning to panic about having the right vacation clothes. However, I understand they have malls in CA.

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