The last couple weeks have been a slight whirlwind of decompression as I got through the Thanksgiving holiday. I tried my best to stay out of the MyFace and Twitter spheres except for a few posts from Delectable and streaming announcements via Twitch (Warlords of Draenor ain’t gonna play itself!). However I figure it is once again time to get back into the fold.
Thanksgiving over the last two years has been spent in Los Barriles, Mexico. As some of you might remember it has been dubbed #mexigiving from my post last year. This year we shook things up a bit, largely due to a hell of an increase in airfare, and road tripped down to Santa Barbara for our annual Thanksgiving shenanigans (I think we decided on #SBfriendsgiving14). Plenty of wine and beer were had though we did trade the tequila for bourbon on this go around. Wednesday afternoon through Sunday afternoon we ate and drank way too much while putting our feet up, playing Cards Against Humanity, watching football and spending our evenings in downtown Santa Barbara.
Speaking for myself it was exactly what I wanted out of our little vacation: No Agenda. This trip allowed me to get in some geek-out sessions, read a few chapters in Setting The Table, watch football, nap a bit and party hard with a few of my best friends. A couple quick recommendations if you ever find yourself in the Santa Barbara area: The James Joyce, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., and Joe’s. The James Joyce is just an awesome pub both early or late in an evening. I hadn’t had any of the beers from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. prior to this trip so it was good to check out some new digs. Great beer and their pub is equally inviting and perfect for a mid-afternoon cold one. Joe’s seemed like it was a restaurant by day and bar by night. In the span of about 15 minutes we were able to walk right in and then noticed a line forming outside around the corner so my best suggestion is to get to Joe’s a little earlier than later. For that mid-evening or late night snack Ana’s Taco Bar will help soak things up for you and since it was a taco bar I definitely ordered a corn dog and fries because I do what I want.
There were some other stops in there but my memory is a little fuzzy… I am pretty sure this was due to some ultra stiff drinks at O’Malley’s.
Of course the going out we did came secondary to Thanksgiving. All of us chipped in by making at least one dish in a tiny kitchen with one oven and four burners. While our timing wasn’t perfect we knocked out an awesome dinner that would provide leftovers until we left on Sunday. I was able to make my family proud by executing Yorkshire Pudding semi-correctly (it is a surprisingly easy dish to make but also surprisingly easy to mess up). Of the wines we had I think there were definitely some that stood out to my taste buds, and a few more that were excellent bridges from one glass to the next. To be fair there wasn’t a bad wine that made its way down with us though there were definitely a couple that were more interesting than anything else; particularly a comparison between 1996 and 2006 Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Chardonnays. Oddly enough both seemed about on the same level despite a 10 year difference between the two: very nutty and carmel-y but still enough spice, fruit and acidity to show that they weren’t dead yet. A couple of my other favorites that were fun to share with the crew were:
- 2009 HdV Belle Cousine Red Wine from the Hyde Vineyard. I honestly did not know HdV made red wines largely because I have always thought their Chardonnays are rockstar and haven’t ventured passed them. My mistake cause this guy was equally as awesome.
- 2013 Robert Sinsksey Vin Gris of Pinot Noir. Just plain ole yummy, if you haven’t tried Sinskey’s wines do yourself a favor and get this one, Abraxis and their Pinot Gris.
- 2013 Lightening CdP Blanc from Paso Robles. Another very cool white wine blend of Grenache Blanc, Piquepoul Blanc and Roussane. Plus Randy and Brooke are awesome folks.
- 2001 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon. Numerous people I have run into lately have been mentioning some of the older Corison wines as some of the best they have had from Napa lately. Based on this ’01 I cannot say I disagree.
Beyond that there were plenty of honorable mentions: ’08 Stony Hill Magnum of Chardonnay, Domaine Allimant-Laugner Crémant d’Alsace, ’94 Cabernet Sauvignon and an ’02 Pinot Noir from Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards which were showing well, some specials from Patz & Hall that I forgot to take pictures of (doh!), an ’07 Stony Hill Riesling… the list just went on and on. As you can tell we had no fun.
Now despite the gluttony that took place last week I was really ecstatic, and thankful, to be spending the holiday with some of the coolest folks I know. Even more people were missed since they were spending their holiday at home with their friends and/or family. I did have a moment were I couldn’t believe that I had the ability to pull of a trip like this and live care-free for a few days (it was definitely more than just a “treat yo’ self” kind of moment). In short I am extremely thankful for my friends, family, career, for you and anyone else to takes the time to check out MTGA because without you guys I would not be where I am today!
With that it is back to reality; which isn’t so bad either.