Category Archives: travel


Spent a relaxing and adventurous weekend this past July in Ojai, just north of Ventura with friends. We petted alpacas, picked fresh lavender, went on a walking tour, salsa’d to live latin jazz, and scoped out the local farmers market.

It doesn’t sound relaxing considering all the activities but Ojai used to attract wealthy sick people back in the days. Historically, they claim the climate has mystical medicinal powers (similar to Sedona, Arizona) as folks with respiratory problems from across the country would move here.  This town is also home to 6 of the 9 boarding schools in state. One of them requires every student take care of their own horse. Very interesting and random.

city by the bay

I was in beautiful Santa Rosa and San Francisco last week for a conference and then hung out with friends for the weekend. Let me just say, I love love the Bay Area. It’s so beautiful, interesting, and charming. If it wasn’t for my great job, I would move there in a heartbeat.

Santa Rosa and nearby Sonoma was where my conference was held and my colleagues and I squeezed in time for wine tasting at this tasting room and winery. The winemakers and staff in Sonoma were warm and friendly and the wines were delicious. The food at this restaurant was surprisingly memorable too.

A few of my colleagues at Ferrari Carrano vineyards – gorgeous

San Francisco is about 50 miles south of where my conference was. I was greeted by the golden gate bridge on my drive into the city on a clear, sunny day (and a toll fee). Iconic SF – golden gate bridge, transamerica building, postcard row–  I love the historical integrity and constancy of a place. My friend and I were debating this issue at a bakery in the mission district while waiting in line for croissants. She wished popular but tiny establishments like these would expand. Yes, it would cut down on the wait time (line wraps around the building) but doesn’t that undermine the neighborhood charm of the bakery? I digress. Their croissants are to die for and worth the $3.75; it’s a hefty croissant.

No visit to SF would be complete without a visit to the Ferry Building at Embarcadero; a foodie wonderland where locals and tourists rub elbows. A few days a week, they host a farmers market outdoors and inside, they have various eateries, like the famous Blue Bottle Coffee. Standout for me was the rosewater macaron at Miette. It’s hard not to walk away without trying/buying something – mushrooms, cheese, wine, salumi, oysters, chocolate, gelato, etc.. Of the food vendors outside, this one was my hands-down favorite. I’ve never had such an amazing tamale.  Sample away…

My favorite slogan said “Praise the LARD”, so sad I didn’t get a picture of the t-shirt.






















I think what made this trip memorable and unique was visiting friends who’ve recently moved up there and seeing how they call SF home. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was navigating the freeways (all end in ’80’) and roads. Minus the hassle of street parking, drivers seemed cool and didn’t cut you off or weave lanes (ahem LA drivers).

I was running late meeting up with friends in Oakland for dinner and the waiter jokingly gave me a hard time calling me a troublemaker and giving me ‘titude. Maybe he thought I was cute? Haha.. gotta love the local flavor. SF, you are my home away from home.