Posted by eemilla on October 14, 2009
Thursday forced us to split up for pre-wedding events; the boys went golfing at Lincoln Park (the fog killed all Golden Gate Bridge photo ops), and the ladies were driven around by a lovely designated driver of a bridesmaid to three Dry Creek Valley wineries followed by a truncated Muir Woods visit (we arrived so late thanks to the congestion we didn’t even have to pay the $5 admission). Our first winery was Dry Creek Vineyard; this was my first wine tasting (thanks Biltmore for being so understaffed and overcrowded!) Unfortunately, we did have to pay at each winery (unless you purchased a bottle or more), but at Dry Creek we were able to choose which wines we wanted to sample. I ended up buying a bottle of their chenin blanc at a grocery store, and at 12.50 I think it’s a nice little bottle. Our next stop was a short walk across the street at Passalacqua; it reminded me of Biltmore: the grounds were much better than the wine. Our final stop was Forchini, and it combined a lovely tasting area with pleasant wines. The tasting room was closed when we pulled up, but by the time our awesome driver got the fifteen passenger van turned around in the small driveway, we were flagged down by (who I assume was) Jim Forchini. We ate our picnic lunches on his shaded patio, and Jim poured us several glasses of his wines. With all of the wines he gave what sounded like detailed discussions of the wine making. I really enjoyed the chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and reserve zinfandel; much to my surprise I preferred the cab to his Chianti styled Papa Nonno. I thought it was cool that the Forchini wines are estate bottled, and they sell their chardonnay grapes to Sonoma-Cutrer (my overpriced chardonnay of choice). On our return trip we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, but the fog was so thick that even driving over the bridge, one would have been hard pressed to identify it.
After wine country and Muir Woods, the ladies joined the boys at a dive bar briefly before we adjourned to our twenty top dinner reservation at a sushi restaurant in the Noe Valley, Hamano Sushi. Of course in classic cliched fashion the boys failed to communicate our dinner reservervations so all twenty of us crowded the tiny doorway to wait for the restaurant to find a solution. The restaurant threw together several tables with room for most of our party, but the North Carolina contingent ate apart in lieu of being crammed beside the stairs. The sushi was much cheaper than in North Carolina according to my darling husband (however, we spent more than we would have at a normal sushi outing), but I cannot say that the quality was significantly better. The selection of nigiri, however, was another plus: I had my first toro. Of course my first encounter comes as my love of sushi and flesh in general is waning; therefore, I will not be reviewing Hamano other than to say they did a wonderful job of handling our mob.
After our long days and not really knowing which buses to take, we took our second cab ride of the trip home.