California Dreaming

As I mentioned before, given I am in the U.S. for four weeks, I managed to fit in a trip to California. The plan was to fly into Reno so that I could spend NYE in Tahoe with Andrew’s family, then drive to SF and spend a few days there before heading back to VA.

Plans slightly changed and I had a nice tour of the U.S. in between! Winter weather caused a ton of flight delays nationwide, so I missed my connecting flight in Denver to Reno. I stayed the night in Denver and woke up the next morning to discover I didn’t have a seat on a flight to Reno! A very helpful service agent found an alternative trip plan that flew me to Boise and then on to Reno by Tuesday night, getting me to Tahoe a full day later than expected. But I made it! The very next morning I caught up with the Kuntz family to hit the slopes and take advantage of all the snow that has fallen on the West Coast thanks to El Niño.

We ended up spending both of my skiing days at Heavenly as the snow was pretty good there. It’s the best snow I have seen on the mountain since I first moved to California!
Heavenly with Andrew’s family 

New Year’s Eve we took a day off from skiing to sleep in and relax. It was incredibly cold at Tahoe this year. The temperature never rose above freezing, so we were quite happy to stay indoors and cuddle up on the couch. We did make it out in the afternoon for a walk on the beach, it was a beautiful day! For NYE we stayed at the house for a home made dinner and played liar’s dice (a fun group game!). I have to admit I didn’t make it to midnight, I was asleep by 10:30, but all because our plans involved waking up early on New Year’s Day to be some of the first on the mountain (hoping the lines would be short while people were home nursing their hangovers).

Beautiful New Year’s Eve walk on the beach at Incline
Andrew gave his family a fondue set from Switzerland for Christmas, so we made some Swiss fondue for our NYE dinner appetizer. Andrew and I attended the KPMG Lausanne office’s Christmas fondue party in December and luckily learned a few tips. We did our best to replicate it, but in a restaurant, you begin a fondue meal with viande séchée (dried meat), cornichons and pickled pearl onions. You are only provided bread for dipping in the fondue (which again, Swiss bread is amazing!!) There are a few rules for what you drink. First: Always drink white wine (according to them, helps with digesting the crazy amount of cheese you put in your belly), Secondly: Do not drink water (according to them, does not help digestion. I struggle with this one, all the salt made me so thirsty for water!), and Thirdly: Drink hot tea afterwards (Again, to help with digestion – up to you to believe it or not, but, you know …. when in Rome). All in all, fondue is super fun given the social nature of sitting around a pot of melted cheese and chatting it up. Andrew found our recipe online, if anyone is curious what goes into it (which is more than just cheese!), check the link out here. We brought some Chasselas wine home from Switzerland, which I think really helped bring the flavor closer to what we had in Switzerland. We had to bring it because, side note and fun fact: Swiss wine is not exported out of the country! It is consumed entirely in Switzerland! Interesting, huh? So, every time we fly home our bags will be extra heavy with some Swiss wine to bring home to our families 🙂
We started 2016 off on a good note! We all woke up early and made it to Heavenly to be there when the lifts open. It was 5° F to start, and eventually “warmed up” to around 20° F, but was perfect. A couple inches of fresh snow had fallen the night before and the conditions were great despite the cold. It was a beautiful New Years’ Day.

Saturday, Andrew and I packed up our things to go on the move again. Andrew’s parents were kind enough to drive us down to Rocklin (outside of Sacramento) so that we could get a rental car to drive to SF. We ended up taking a slight detour to wine country (couldn’t resist!) to stop at the winery where we used to belong to the club, Lynmar Estate.

Andrew’s sister, Robin, and her boyfriend John met us at Lynmar for a tasting. It was a little overcast and cool in Sebastopol, but so nice to get to return to one of our favorite spots in the Bay Area and hang out together!

The rest of our time in SF, we focused on eating at our favorite restaurants (Mamacita, Park Tavern and Trattoria Contadina – so much love!), catching up with old co-workers and friends, and fitting in a run from North Beach to the Marina Green. It was so fun to be back in the city, seeing familiar sites, seeing what has changed in six months (umm hello to the FINALLY OPEN expansion of the 101 when you enter SF in the North from the Golden Gate bridge) and catching up with friends!

Bobbi, a good friend I met while working for Williams-Sonoma, came and met up with us on Sunday at Kennedy’s to watch some football. So good to catch up with this gal!
We caught up with Alex on Sunday night at Richmond Republic Draft House. Alex is a friend we met at KPMG SF while we all worked on the same client. So good to see this girl, too!

<<<< Insert photos I sadly missed to take of Saturday’s dinner at Mamacita with Cody and Kim, Monday lunch at Blue Barn with all my old co-workers from Williams-Sonoma, and Monday dinner at Trattoria Contadina with Ashley, Kevin, Sara and Vince. I loved seeing you all!!!>>>>

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