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san fran 2011

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S: Kristina's Christmas Present to San Francisco 2011

FC: San Francisco April 26 - 29, 2011

1: We arrived in San Fran, checked in to the Hilton, and headed straight for lunch at R & G Lounge and shopping in Chinatown.

2: Old St. Mary's Church | built in 1854 as the first cathedral of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

3: Dragon Gate | We had a great time getting this picture. This is was our 10th attempt.

4: We hung out in Union Square Plaza, had cocktails at Emporia Rulli Caffe, and went shopping at Tiffany's!

5: After relaxing in our room, we headed downstairs to urban tavern for martinis, dinner, and Hornets Basketball. We had a great time recapping our day, watching game 5 of the playoffs against the LA Lakers (we lost 106 to 90), and eating burgers and fish-n-chips at the bar. We ended our perfect 1st day having our chocolate cake for dessert in bed.

6: We grabbed some Starbucks breakfast and waited in the lobby for our car. We left the cold summer weather of the city and headed to beautiful Sonoma County. Our 1st stop was on the Marin County side of The Golden Gate Bridge to take in the fabulous views. | Good Morning San Fran! Sunrise from our hotel room window.

8: Cline Winery | In 1991, Fred & Nancy Cline relocated the winery from Oakley to the Carneros region of Sonoma County on a historic 350-acre estate with new vineyards and facilities. We tasted the '09 Pinot Gris, '10 Sonoma Coast Viognier, '10 Cashmere, '09 Ancient Vines Zinfandel, and the '09 Live Oak Zinfandel.

9: There wasn't a wine we didn't like. We loved & bought bottles of the ' 09 Live Oak Zinfandel and the '10 Sonoma Coast Viognier.

10: Founded in 1980 by Walter & Gertrud Schug. Michael Cox joined in 1995, became Winemaker one year later, and runs the day-to-day operations including the Voll Tauchers (hydraulic punch-down fermenters that automate the process of gently punching down the cap during fermentation).

11: Schug Carneros Estate Winery | We tried the '09 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, '08 Carneros Pinot Noir, '06 Carneros Heritage Reserve Merlot, '05 Sonoma Valley Heritage Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and the '02 Cabernet Sauvignon Heritage Reserve. We loved the smell of the '06 Merlot and the smooth taste of the '05 Cabernet Sauvignon, but we just had to buy the last Michael Cox signed bottle of the '02 Cabernet to thank Granny for watching Elizabeth during the trip.

12: In 1996, the Deerfield Ranch Winery facility, located in Kenwood, was bonded by Robert and PJ Rex. The tasting room is in the center of their 23,000 square feet wine cave.

13: Deerfield Ranch Winery | We loved the ambiance @ Deerfield. Our tasting host was Ben Larks, who before pouring Deerfield wine was making it! We tasted the '09 Windsor Oaks Sauvignon Blanc, '04 Cohn Vineyard Pinot Noir, '05 Cuvee Shiraz, '06 Organic Estate Syrah, '04 Los Chamizal Cabernet, '06 Sonoma County Red Rex, '03 Meritage Trio Vineyard Napa Valley, and the '01 DRX. Although we enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc, the Shiraz, and the Meritage, Fred LOVED the DRX and we just had to buy it. Since it was "the bottle to buy"...Ben joined us in tasting alot more of it!

14: We stopped at Kenwood Market Grocery Store to pick up sandwiches for our picnic lunch on the grounds of Chateau St. Jean. | Founded in 1973, the estate is located at the foot of Sugarloaf Ridge in Sonoma Valley. The main courtyard is surrounded by a lush garden. Although we did a tasting here, the elegant landscape was the highlight and we didn't buy any wines.

15: Chateau St. Jean

16: After experiencing the vast Chateau St. Jean, we headed to a smaller winery. VJB Vineyards & Cellars began in 1999 as a partnership of two brothers: Victor and Henry Belmonte. We tasted the '09 Gabriella Ranch Chardonnay, '09 Tocai Friulano, '07 El Dorado Zinfandel, '07 Rosso Family Blend, '06 V'Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, '07 Sonoma Valley Primitivo, '07 Dante, '06 Barbera Port , and the "off the menu" '08 Baci di Famiglia Chardonnay Port.

17: We really liked all of the wines, but the port just blew us away. We brought two bottles of the '08 Chardonnay Port, a bottle of the '07 Dante, a Chardonnay Port Caramel Sauce, and a Cabernet Chocolate Wine Sauce. | After an adventurous ride back to the city, Kristina took a much-needed nap. Fred went back Union Square and got himself a much-needed new sweater at Macy's.

18: We headed out early with our coffee, caught the trolley @ Powell and Mason, and headed to Fisherman's Wharf.

19: We enjoyed the quiet early morning walk on Jefferson Street to Ghiradelli Square.

20: We watched the ships in San Francisco's Bay and chocolate making at Ghirardelli.

21: We strolled down The Embarcadero, looked around Pier 39, sent Elizabeth a picture of a punch buggy, and caught the ferry to Alcatraz Island.

24: Welcome to Alcatraz | "You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. Anything else you get is a privilege."

25: The Gun Gallery | "Michigan Ave"

26: Doorway to the Rec Area | The peep hole in the door blocking out the outside world.

28: The only source of sunlight on the D block was through covered windows . | D Block | Sound-proof disciplinary cells

29: Attempt #10 "The Battle of Alcatraz " May 2, 1946 | The bloody attempt was 3 days long. The 6 inmates overpowered the guards and captured weapons by using the bar spreader. They took over the cellhouse, but did not get the key to the exterior door. | Shatter marks in C-block Cut-off where the ceiling was cut by Marines so they can drop explosives to end the take over.

30: Attempt #13 June 11, 1962 | Three inmates escaped from their cells through enlarged air vents. Dummy heads were left in their beds. The men climbed to the top of the cellblock and onto the roof along a ventilator shaft. They climbed down a cast-iron stovepipe, entered the water with floatation devices made from raincoats, and were never seen again.

31: The Mess Hall | Gas could have been released at any time, but was never used. | Alcatraz closed on March 21, 1963 by order of US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

32: The Other Side of Alcatraz | Visitation | The Warden's View Command Center

33: Warden's House | View of the City | View of the Bay | The Lookout | Officer's Club

34: We left THE ROCK and head back to the city.

35: Eating Nonna Rose’s Cioppino and Steamed Dungeness Crab at Alioto’s Waterside Café

36: State Belt Railroad's Slip @ Pier 43

37: Having Irish Coffee at Buena Vista Cafe

38: After our Irish Coffees, we took a very steep walk to Lombard St. Then we took the Powell-Hyde cable car back to the hotel and got ready for dinner.

39: "The Crookedest Street in World!" | Lombard Street

40: With Chef Hubert Keller and his wife Chantel at Fleur de Lys.

41: Ending our night and having fun at the bar in the Clift Hotel.

42: The next morning we headed out early to the Ferry Building Marketplace. We had coffee, cheese and pastries from Cowgirl Creamery and Acme Bread while hanging out and enjoying the views of the Bay Bridge.

44: Back to Union Square

45: After people watching, we took a steep walk to Grace Cathedral atop Nob Hill.

46: Ghiberti Doors

49: Huntington Park

50: We took the cable car back to the hotel & checked out. Melissa picked us up for lunch @ Cha Cha Cha in the Haight-Ashbury District. We hung out for a bit in her back yard before heading home to our door sign.

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  • By: Kristina T.
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