We're home now.  Vacation is over.  It's 20 degrees outside, not 70.  Sigh.

We left the wine country kicking and screaming.  Rather than head right to San Francisco from the hotel we decided we had to get a couple bottles of cuvee, one from Kunde and one from Valley of the Moon.  The Valley of the Moon Cuvee de la Luna had been our favorite.  Then, while at Kunde earlier in the week we tasted their Dunfillin Cuvee and thought we might just like it better!  It was late when we left Kunde so the plan was go to back and get a bottle.  The Cuvee de la Luna used to be around $18 on sale.  Since Valley of the Moon was sold by Korbel, the price has skyrocketed to $45!  The Kunde Dunfillin Cuvee is $35.  We're going to have a Cuvee showdown!  I've even started planning the menu!

We stopped to peer in the windows of Jo's bar from Bottle Shock while we waited for the wineries to open. 

Then we were on our way to San Francisco!  In typical San Francisco fashion, there was fog.  It was pretty cool heading over the bridge.

The hotel, a Radisson, was very nice.  We were on the top floor, we got a robe and slippers and chocolate!  And if we really wanted to we could have shined our shoes!  And the best part, we got the room with points so it was free!

We had tickets to the night time Alcatraz tour but other than that the day was ours. On the way I did some research on parking and made the executive decision that we would return the rental car on the way down, shuttle to the airport and take a cab to the pier. I didn't read anything good about the parking situation near the piers. Turns out it was the right decision. The cab raced us through traffic!

Pier 39 is a total tourist trap but we decided to embrace it!  We had about an hour before we had to pick up our tickets for the cruise and about two hours before the cruise itself.

We walked up and down the pier before picking a place for lunch.  There was a Bischoff shop.  If you've flown lately you've probably had these yummy cookies (not on Sun Country though!).  We get them on the 3-Day too!

We stopped to listen to the sea lions for a bit.  That noise gets old!

We decided to eat at the Pier Market.  I had a crab cake sandwich which was pretty much a crab sandwich!  I couldn't finish it.  Dave had a salmon "burger" which was really a nice piece of salmon grilled and placed on a bun.  Both were good!

They had the heaters going full blast and it was totally unnecessary.  It was in the 60's!

We picked up our tickets and wandered a round a bit more then it was time for the cruise!  They had a lot of pictures and displays out on the pier from which the boat left.  This picture reminded me of my mother's family for some reason...

Out on the water it was cold and windy and you could just barely see the Golden Gate Bridge through the heavy fog.  I had straightened my hair that morning.  By the end of the evening it was curly again!

Everyone told us the nighttime tour was spooky, scary, creepy.  I didn't really think so, even with the fog.  It was interesting but I didn't think it was particularly spooky.  I guess the ghosts had better things to do.  Here are a few pictures.

We could jusst see the tips of the Golden Gate over the fog.
Heading to The Rock


The Exercise Yard
The Library

The Excape Route
While we were waiting to board the boat back to SF I saw this little guy! 

We had every intention of walking to Little Italy for dinner.  We were told it was only a mile or so away.  But by the time we got off the cruise we were really not in the mood to walk through the misty streets so we hired this fine gentleman to take us up the hill!  It was great!  I can't imagine what kind of shape he is in.  At a couple of intersections I really wished I hadn't eaten so much the week before!

Little Italy was great. 

Everyone was speaking Italian and there were tons of restaurants.  The Stinking Rose, a garlic restaurant had been recommended.  Both people had warned us it would be a lot of garlic.  So we opted for Panta REI Cafe Restaurant.

Our waiter, Lucas was great.  He flipped fluently back and forth from Englis (no accent) to Italian.  He suggested the burrata bruschetta as an appetizer.  It was delicious!  The artichokes were nicely marinated and very tender and the buratta was very creamy and had great mozzarella flavor.

For dinner we had a trio of pastas, bowties with "pink" sauce, chicken ravioli in white sauce and gnocchi in red sauce. The chicken ravioli was by far my favorite. The gnocchi was good but after having it at Cafe Citi, well, Cafe Citi one that round. I couldn't really figure out the pink sauce so that came in third. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't fabulous.
And, of course, we had wine!

We asked Lucas about how to get a cab during dinner.  He said you just had to wave one down and they would stop.  Well, as we were exiting the restaurant he had already flagged one for us!

We hopped in and went for the ride of our lives!  Talk about crazy Italian taxi driver!  I clenched the door handle the entire ride back to the hotel but we made it back safe and sound and for $10 less than the trip to the wharf cost!

We were up early the next morning for the flight home.  It was very foggy, very foggy!  I knew I wasn't going to want to cook dinner when we got home but I knew we would be hungry having not had anything since breakfast (we don't pay for bad airline food).  They were selling loaves of sourdough bread in the airport so I bought a loaf.  I knew I had bolognese in the freezer and pasta is easy!
The fog delayed us about an hour but we had an uneventful flight home after that.

When we got home Dave went to relieve the dog sitter of the dogs while I unpacked, started laundry and started dinner.  Yippee, all the wine made it!

I have to say that this was the best trip out there yet.  We met amazing people, had fabulous food and even better wine and we relaxed.  We so need to win the lottery so we can move out there!

What did we learn?  Fly in to Sacramento not San Francisco.  The Sacramento airport is just easier and there's far less traffic!  Skip Sun Country and go back to either Delta (not significantly better but they can load a plane in under 45 minutes) or better Frontier (but then you play the "what's the weather in Denver" game).  And finally I love my new ThirtyOne make up bag!

We have a line on cheaper accommodations next year and it was suggested that we go earlier in November so that we can attend the Napa Valley Food and Wine Experience.  We may just have to do that!

And now... back to reality...

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