San Francisco and Wine Tasting in Napa

Into The Storm, Part 3

Today we’re heading into San Francisco! We booked museum tickets in advance of our trip to see Egyptian antiquities in Golden Gate Park. More rain is in the forecast, but the day starts out with a rainbow while we sip our morning coffee. So, feeling confident, we take our time. It’s only a 45 minute drive into the city.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Our rainbow did not last long! As we approach the Bay Bridge a new rainstorm is raging. It’s high tide with pounding waves, high winds, thunder, lightening, and a downpour! Literal warning signs are flashing, “Severe Storms: Caution, Avoid Travel!” A little late for that!

And as we drive onto the Bay Bridge, my iPhone sounds off with warnings too. Yup, I am having a full bridge freak-out!

And then, just like that, it’s over. The moment our tires hit the streets of San Francisco, the rain stops and the sun bursts through the clouds. Everything is glistening and clean. No one is out, so it’s smooth driving to Golden Gate Park and parking is easy to find. We have plenty of time and the park to ourselves, so we enjoy some exploring before our museum time.

Golden Gate Park is 1,017 acres, actually bigger than Central Park in New York City. It opened to the public in 1870, and there is something for everyone: a Japanese Tea Garden, polo fields, botanical gardens, The California Science Academy, fountains, statues, sprawling lawns, and much more.

We See Ramses

Today we are checking out the Ramses The Great exhibit at the de Young Museum. He was also known as Ramses II, and ruled from 1279-1213 BC. And he had anywhere from 88-103 children! Busy guy… made a lot of mummies!

This exhibition will be touring the globe until 2025. As of this writing, it is now in Paris. It offers an immersive experience that includes 180 artifacts from Egypt. We see everything from jewelry and sarcophagi to inscribed statues and mummified cats!

We are very impressed. There are so many beautifully displayed items. The interactive displays are fascinating and informative. If Ramses shows up in your town, we recommend you get tickets. A shout out to the museum as well. They are very helpful. We arrived well before our scheduled time, and they let us right in.

Back into the Brightness

Once we leave the museum, the sun is shining even brighter and we are famished! Not far from the park, we meet a friendly girl with pink hair and ask where we can get some great food. She directs us to Clement Street, where there are plenty of restaurants and Asian grocery stores.

It’s 4 pm, and most places are closed before the dinner rush. However, us early birds find Taqueria Los Mayas, a little hole-in-the-wall joint, and we get two orders of chicken tamales… which are WOW! They are beautifully plated with rice and beans. The tamales are tender and smothered in a tasty mole sauce, drizzled with crema, and garnished with pickled red onion and sliced radish. The mole is out of this world!

We add a Margarita and a Sangria for sipping. They are tasty and beautifully presented. The Sangria is loaded with fruit. This was way more than we expected from a walk-up taco counter!

Golden Hour on the Golden Gate

We want to time our drive over the Golden Gate Bridge for sunset. So we stall a little in the city and drive around peeking at vintage houses, land marks, and points-of-interest related to Andy’s family.

We hit the Golden Gate Bridge right at sunset. Not too many cars on the bridge for rush hour. Likely, most people were smart, played it safe, and stayed home today. Now it’s much calmer than our white-knuckled arrival over the Bay Bridge. Still, I have to pretend it’s scary and let out an “EEEE scarrry!” as we roll along shooting a video.

Andy surprises me with an amazing spot he knows: The Golden Gate View Point at the Marin Headlands. It’s windy and freezing, but as it begins to get dark and the lights of the city begin to twinkle and glow, the chill is well worth it. We take in the sights and shoot a short video as well as get some iconic shots of the bridge and the rugged shoreline along the Bay.

This is another spot to keep a watch out for coyotes. We had one decide to hold up traffic, probably hoping to get some treats. What a great way to wrap up our day in San Francisco!

Migrating To Napa

Today is our grand finalé. We must add a little wine tasting to our Bay Area culinary tour! We also want to treat Andy’s cousin, who has been so generous with us on our visit. Of course it’s raining, so I do a little research to find a winery in Napa close to our home base. We find Migration Winery, close and dog-friendly, so Farnsworth is along for the ride. “Dog-friendly” turns out to be an understatement!

We call and make reservations for three hoomans and a dog. The friendly person on the phone, Josh, makes sure we know they are looking forward to meeting Farnsworth. Tastings are $55 (plus tax) per person, and reservations are required… especially if your furry companion will be joining you.

When we arrive, we are greeted with a glass of sparkling rosé and escorted to a spacious, semi-private indoor seating area. The couches are perfect for lounging, and will accommodate large groups. It’s raining, so Farnsworth is welcomed inside. Otherwise, there is a lovely outdoor patio area for sunny day dog guests.

Even as we’re sipping rosé, Farnsworth is quickly offered a bowl of water and a comfy dog bed to lounge on for his visit. After some love from server Dominique, Farnsworth feels comfortable enough to order a “Barkuterie Board” for $10. Yes, that’s right: charcuterie for the dog. It includes a large Migration peanut butter biscuit, duck sausages, chicken apple sausages, and chicken-wrapped sweet potatoes. Farnsworth is in heaven!

Back To Us Hoomans

Dominique is not just here to pour wine. She is here to guide, educate, and give us personal attention. Migration is known for their Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. They feature grapes grown not only on the property we are visiting today, but all over California, including Santa Rita Hills near Santa Barbara.

We start with a flight of four Pinot Noirs from Drum Canyon Vineyards, years 2017, ’18, ’19 , and ’20. Migration includes some light cheese and cracker plates to nibble on as we sip our wine. We order up an additional large plater of charcuterie, since we are going to get comfy and hang out awhile.

Dominique tells us 2018 was a very good year for these Pinot Noirs. Good to know! After a few sips, I’m in agreement: it’s my favorite of our flight. It’s described as having notes of “wild sage in the wind.”

We all relax on the couches and take our time with our wine and charcuterie. There is really no rush. A good red wine is always wonderful on a rainy day like this.

After our flight of four Pinots, we’re invited to look over their wine list and pick two more wines for our tasting that pique our interest. I try the Migration 2020 Chardonnay and the Goldeneye 2020 Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay has that distinctive oaky quality of Napa and Sonoma wines I enjoyed sipping years ago when I lived in the Bay Area. I’ve decided a bottle will becoming home to add to our collection. Andy adds a bottle of 2020 Decoy Pinot Noir to our purchase.

Our visit to Migration is a wonderful success! We’re all feeling cozy and very relaxed.

The Dead Fish

It’s our last night with our hosts, so we’re wrapping up our visit with a family dinner at the restaurant on the site of Andy’s favorite boyhood restaurant, Vera’s, now called The Dead Fish! This fun-sounding restaurant overlooks the Carquinez Strait in Crockett. The night views of city lights and bridges reflecting on the water is stunning.

Andy and his cousin order the winning dish: Angel Hair Pasta Lasagna with crab and a tasty cream sauce. I did delicious crab sandwiches on soft Epi bread (that’s bread shaped like wheat). I sneak a taste of Andy’s lasagna. That cream sauce is a winner.

What a great way to wrap up our visit! In the morning we’ll try to outrun another storm as we head to our next destination: Santa Barbara! Stay tuned for Part 4 of our adventure.