Last fall, I made my first trip to California, to visit my dear friend Flynne in Mountain View, CA and to check out Stanford/Palo Alto, CA. To say I immediately fell in love with the Bay Area is an understatement. It was the weekend before Thanksgiving, I was exhausted from work and happy to leave the gray and snow in NYC. I arrive in CA to cloudless skies and 90 degree weather. Incredible!
Friday, after work, Flynne and I trekked up to Santa Rosa with her boyfriend, Tyler for a weekend in wine country! Craving pizza, we had dinner at The Red Grape in Sonoma. To start the weekend off right, I enjoyed a glass of Viansa merlot - it is definitely a new favorite, but I'm having a hard time finding it on the East Coast. I then enjoyed a crisp and flavorful Cashew Steak Salad, with napa cabbage, romaine, carrot, red pepper, and - my favorite - cilantro - tossed in a sesame peanut dressing, and topped with the most tender and flavorful flank steak, and, of course, cashews! Everything about the dinner was perfect - something quick, simple, and easy, as we were tired, but the food was delicious and the service prompt and courteous!
Before retiring for the evening, we stopped off at the local Starbucks on the way home. I know, Starbucks when you're in Sonoma, but we needed a pre-sleep steamed milk fix. I'm quite happy we went, as it was my first time trying their special Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. I love chocolate and salted caramel (Barack Obama does too!!!), so when salted caramel and whipped cream are added to uber-chocolate-y european-style hot chocolate, I'm sold. My tall drink didn't last long, nor was it the last time I had that! I'm already looking forward to next holiday season when it hopefully returns to the menu!!!