|The Tosetti Family's VA-cation|
|Monday, 13 July 2009 04:00|
Paul and Dante in front of Castillo di Amorosa
After feeding our crumbs to the local birds, we headed another seven miles North to Castello Di Amorosa winery. The winery is a castle with stones brought over from Italy. The owner of V. Sattui Winery is the one who built the castle. Being avid history fans, Paul and I took our time exploring it with Dante in tow.
We made our way to the tasting room where we indulged in the Reserve Wines tasting which included a complimentary chocolate pairing at $22 per person. We savored eight different samples of wine along with the chocolate. I fell in love with their 2008 Il Raggio Del Sole Muscato Canelli Dessert Wine ($29). It is by far the best dessert wine I have tasted.
Paul really liked the their 2005 Merlot ($34). We each picked up a bottle of our favorites. We usually try to keep our wine purchases below $15, but give ourselves leeway when we are visiting wineries or fall in love with a particular bottle.
After exploring the castle a little bit more, we got back in the car and drove 30 miles east to Paul's family cabin on the Russian River, or as we like to call it, "The River".
One of the things I love about going to The River is that it really feels like summer there. The days stretch out and are long and lazy. You spend the majority of your time either on the river, on the deck or the side yard. You're priorities include eating, reading, playing in the river and enjoying a glass of wine, cocktail or beer. There is often a steady game of cards going on under the side yard umbrella.
A highlight for me was when we put Dante's life vest on him, threw him in a raft and took him down the river as we all sang "Yo Ho Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me". It was highly amusing to ourselves as well as the other people enjoying the river. It's no wonder every time Dante sees a boat he points and yells "Pirate"!
On Saturday, we decided to do a little exploring of the area. We headed over to Santa Rosa to look for a bookstore and do a little shopping. While driving, I spotted Tex Wasabi, which is the restaurant owned by Guy Fieri of FoodTV fame. I am a huge fan of his show, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. We decided to stop in and give it a try.
The restaurant is famous for its southern and California style BBQ and sushi. I know, wrap our head around that combination for awhile. I have to say, the blending really works. Both Paul and I were ready for the restaurant to be overhyped, but the food was original and delicious.
We ordered a stack of onion rings as an appetizer. Crispy and delicious! It included a red pepper aioli that we thoroughly enjoyed.
Paul had the Red Dragon Roll and I had the Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwich with their Vegas French Fries. The unique thing about the pulled pork sandwich is that it included cole slaw within the sandwich. As for the Vegas French Fries, they are impossible to describe. You just have to try them.
As we usually do at restaurants, we got an extra plate for Dante and he enjoyed a little of both mine and Paul's food. We now know that he is a big fan of Red Dragon Rolls.
One of the things I was impressed by Tex Wasabi's is the price. Despite the fact that it is owned by one of the most popular celebrity chefs, the prices were the same as any other mid-range restaurant you would go to.
To celebrate the 4th of July, we had thought about heading into Healdsburg to watch the fireworks show at the high school but we were enjoying our lazy day too much. I had purchased some "fireworks" at Target the previous week. They are actually just various poppers that you often see on New Year's Eve. For a 2-year old, they were the coolest thing ever! For my $19 investment, we got a good 20 minutes of entertainment and gave Dante a taste of the 4th.
In the evenings we played Trivial Pursuit with Paul's family. Paul's sister Maria and I enjoyed the Muscato which we bought at Castello di Amerosa. It was a perfect weekend for indulging in a special bottle of wine.
Throughout the weekend, we kept the meals relatively simple. One night I cooked tacos for everyone. Another night, Paul's dad made veal steaks and penne pasta.
We had a lot of fun making homemade ice cream although next time, I want to do a different recipe. The recipe we used was a bit too custardy for me. I should have known when it called for SIX egg yolks.
All in all it was a wonderful holiday for us and we thoroughly enjoyed the break. As for our staycation vs. our vacation, I think the perfect break for me is when I have both. If I can spend a few days at home prior to leaving town, I feel much more relaxed and inclined to enjoy my actual vacation more thoroughly.