San Fran for Some Food…

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On our way home after our weekend in Sonoma we made sure to book a late departure of 6 pm so we had time to hang in San Francisco. What we really ended up doing was eating our way around the city. We took a one minute pit stop to take a picture at the Golden Gate Bridge and then headed for soup dumplings.

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We went to Yank Sing in the financial district and the dim sum was awesome! The vinegar and ginger served with the soup dumplings were the key to the perfect experience! We walked through the Ferry Building after to work off some of the food before heading to our next stop.

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Though I love dumplings I was more excited to go to Swan Oyster Depot. We were lucky and didn’t have much of a wait, I would say about 25 minutes. This was probably because we went at  3 pm on a Tuesday. When we got sat at the long bar I was in heaven. The ambiance is the perfect casual yet elegant because you are eating amazing seafood. We had oysters, clam chowder, crab fat, Sicilian sashimi, and of course bread and butter. I think these were the best oysters I have ever had in my life. So fresh and exactly how they should taste; like the ocean. Another favorite was the Sicilian sashimi; zesty, oceany, salty with the capers, creamy from the oil, seriously heaven in your mouth. Everything about Swans was amazing. DO NOT MISS if you are in San Francisco but be prepared for a much longer line if you go on the weekends.

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Drinking and Running from Napa to Sonoma

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I ran the Napa to Sonoma half marathon on July 19th. Though this was my second half I technically consider it my first. This is because my first one I ran my senior spring semester of college and let’s just say my extra curricular activities cough drinking cough kept me from performing at my best. That and I only trained for three weeks. This time though I almost did it right. I tried to follow a three month training schedule but didn’t do as well with that either since my longest run I completed was nine miles. But that was enough! I ran this race without stopping and it was awesome! Well till the last three miles, those dragged, but the first 10 were great! Beautiful scenery and great company. I ran the Napa to Sonoma half marathon with my friend Shana, sister Kara, and brother-in-law John. If you are looking for your next (or first!) half marathon this should be it!

The obvious perk of choosing a destination such as wine country is the wine. After we crossed the finish line, caught our breath, and drank water, we were given wine glasses to start tasting. By 10 am, we had ran 13.1 miles and already tasted four different types of wine. My body was very confused.

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After a few glasses of wine we realized a nap was necessary so headed back to our Airbnb. After that we picked up right where we left of; we headed to Gloria Ferrer where my sister got married for some sparking wine flights.

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After our sparkling wine we headed into Napa for happy hour and had some amazing cockatils at Mercantile Social followed by dinner at Oenotri. Our bodies were very ready for rest when we got home that evening.

When we woke up the next morning I was so excited. No more running to worry about but an entire day focused around drinking wine! This was the day we had planned a wine tasting in the Russian River which is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. We had hired a van and had three vineyards to go to. Before that though we started the day in the Sonoma Square at the Sonoma Bakery and I had my first cronut experience. Flaky, buttery, creamy from the filling is all that comes to mind. Yes, it was good.

First stop was Thomas Georges Estates. My absolute favorite and I would say a must see! We had a tour and below are pictures of concrete eggs which are used to ferment the wine. The concrete gives the wine a different flavor than oak barrels.

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The van we hired had cheese and crackers for us in between the wineries. I would say this plate was gone in about 42 seconds after this picture was taken.

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The second stop was Gary Farrell Winery. Here we had a cheese pairing with each wine and a killer view. The terrace over looked the valley.

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After the second stop we realized the cheese plate wasn’t enough and we needed more food; because we were hungry and we needed something to soak up the liquid. We stopped at the Oakville Grocery  in Healdsburg and I got the chicken gruyere sandwich. It had rotisserie chicken, balsamic onion, pancetta, gruyere, with a dijon aioli on a sour baguette. That sandwich was the best. I thought it was maybe just the wine talking but now that I am thinking about it again it wasn’t the wine, the sandwich was just that good.

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The final stop was Stryker Sonoma Winery. Nice vineyard and great view of the vines. We headed back to our place and ended up getting Mexican take out for dinner. A great way to end a wine tour day.

Swiss Please

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The final stop on my Europe tour was Switzerland. We started in Zurich. Well I technically went to Zurich but in reality I stayed at a hotel that was about five minutes away from the airport. Instead of exploring Zurich we went to the Rhine Falls in Neuhausen. It was a pretty fun excursion and the kids loved it.

The final Swiss city we went to was Davos and this is where the Global Student Leaders Summit was held. The GSLS was held at the Davos Congress Center which is more commonly known for as the location of the World Economic Forum. The GSLS is basically two days where EF Educational Tours brings kids together from all over the US and the world and have them work on a problem in the world. This year’s topic was Innovation and the Future of Education, with Sir Ken Robinson as our Keynote speaker.

Davos is beautiful. It is exactly what you would think a Swiss ski town would be like. It is definitely a city I would like to go back to and explore more—summer or winter.

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Peachy

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I finally found my way back to the kitchen and baked peach cobbler yesterday! This recipe was amazing. There is minced crystallized ginger in the biscuits and it gave it such an intense flavor.

There are lots of different options for peach desserts this time of year but I decided to go with a cobbler. A cobbler gets the name because the drop biscuits on top end up looking like cobblestone roads. Cobblers are not to be confused with a crisp which have a streusel toppings. A crisp should have oats which is why it has the name crisp. Just some cobbler/crisp facts for your Monday.

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Barely Healthy in Paris

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This was my second trip to Paris this year and I was doing my usual thing…eating. I truly believe if you don’t gain weight in Paris you aren’t doing it right. I was training for my half marathon while I was in Paris and I was stuck between a rock and a hard place; running and cheese/wine. Since I was a chaperone our adult free time was from 9 pm til 11 pm when we would do bed checks. This was our time to breath a little, drink some wine and enjoy some nice cheese, and chat. So as soon as we released the kids to free time at the hotel I would quickly change and then go for a 30 minute run. Instead of walking, stretching, and drinking water I would run straight back up to the adult group sweaty and gross and catch up for my missed time. Sure a morning run would also be an easy solution but I am the Queen of the snooze button so that really wasn’t an option.

(Fabulous lunch in Le Marais)

I also was able to do a few “first” in Paris this time. I went up the Arc de Triomphe and and then deep underground to the catacombs. I wasn’t impressed with the catacombs but that could be because I am a little bit claustrophobic. The Arc de Triomphe though was not a let down. I personally think the views are better than the Eiffel tower.

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Where To Eat In Oxford

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Oxford is a town that shouldn’t be missed when visiting England. You can spend the day bouncing around to one of the 38 colleges and see the beautiful different architecture of each one. You can also find many spots where Harry Potter was filmed or see the original rooms (example the great hall) that were replicated in a studio for filming. When you find yourself ready for a meal, and I mean ready because this one isn’t light, head over to Pieminister. It is located in the Covered Market that opened in 1774 and has different restaurants, meat shops, flower shops, and more. At Pieminister you will find pretty much any variation of a meat pie you can think of. I had the Moo and Blue which was steak and stilton with a side of mashed potatoes and mushy peas. The gravy was rich and the meat was tender. With each bite the finishing flavor was the stilton.  The mushy peas were a good refreshing side because they were full of mint that helped lighten the meal. Like I said, this is a heavy but fabulous English meal.

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New in London

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London is a city that will always be calling to my heart. I have been a few times now and I love it. I feel comfortable there. When I go on my work tours I typically only see the usual tourist sites but this time I found two new places I haven’t been. One spot involves Buckingham Palace and though I’ve seen the palace a handful of times this is a different view. If you stand on the Blue Bridge that crosses the lake in St James’s Park you will get the view below. I will say my photo skills were lacking and this doesn’t do it justice because it was truly breathtaking.

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The next spot is the Southbank Centre Market. This a street food market full of all different kinds of cuisine—doesn’t get much better than that. I got the curry dish pictured below and not pictured was my friends truffle duck confit burger with a side of duck fat fries topped with truffle mayonnaise. I finished the fries.

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Campin and Snoozin

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This past weekend camping was exactly what I needed after chaperoning teens around Europe for two weeks. Besides enjoying the fresh air and nature I really really enjoyed my naps; drink a beer then nap, get in a hammock and nap, eat lunch then nap. I also discovered why people love hammocks so much. They really are the most amazing thing ever. We had one in our backyard as a kid but these camping hammocks are even better.

The only annoying thing was the mosquitoes. We ended up moving camp about half way through the day to the beautiful spot you see in the photo above. It was an easy move and we packed up impressively fast. So fast that we actually left the cake at the old spot. We went back to find it and luckily though there were people now in our spot they had not eaten the cake. Crisis averted.

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Pole to Pole- Culture Unparralleled: The Celebration of Corpus Christi in Assisi

I started writing a series called Pole to Pole for EF’s blog Equator. Check out my first post!

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Welcome to the Equator’s new series, Pole to Pole – Culture Unparalleled. While working with EF, and on my own, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some amazing places and witness just how beautiful our world can be. This series is all about highlighting special cultural moments or traditions that I’ve experienced while traveling through the northern and southern hemisphere. I hope you enjoy, and happy reading!

The coordinates
Head about two hours south of Florence and you’ll find the town of Assisi nestled in the Umbria region. Known as the birthplace of St. Francis, it’s also home to the Feast of Corpus Christi. This is the celebration of the belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ.