Sep 272011
 
Before I launch into my adventures in Wine Country…if you are here for the sushi click here.
I have returned from my 10th anniversary trip with the new knowledge that I am not, in fact, a city girl like I thought I was.  I’m much more of a relaxing and drinking wine all day and eating good food kind of girl.  We arrived in San Francisco last Saturday in the afternoon after a layover in Dallas where we began the celebration with Bloody Marys.

 
 
We pulled our bags off the baggage claim and dragged two bags, two sets of golf clubs and four carry-ons to the BART station where we proceeded to enter the world of public transportation.  When we arrived at our stop we then dragged all our bags to the hotels and got settled in.
 
 
The view from our hotel room at the Westin, Union Square.
 
 
Trolleys (Part of the Muni day-pass we bought.)
 
 
  Sunday we walked from Union Square to Chinatown.
We knew this place must be good.  There was a cat running through the restauraunt and a dead lobster floating in the tank.  But it was PACKED with locals.
 
We really got crazy and went with some kind of sesame ball.
 
From there we walked to the Ferry building and then headed to Fisherman’s Wharf.  On the way we got this view of Coit Tower.  We saw it from every angle that day.
 
 
 In the wharf area we hit a bar and proceeded to drink too much during the Jaguars game…
 
…THEN got bikes (this was a bad idea) because we were on our way to bike the Golden Gate…
 
 
…to Sausalito…
 
 
…we then took the ferry back and returned the bikes and started back to Union Square on foot, passing by Lombard…
 
 
…we made it back to the hotel to get ready for dinner…
 
 
…at Betelnut, a Pan Asian restaurant.
…where we had a noodle dish with sea bass that I added lots of hot chilies too and it needed cilantro. 
 
And then had a drink at the Clift hotel which was very cool but each drink was $15.  I had a blackberry margarita that I can say was almost worth it though; fresh berries and all. They have very cool paintings where the eyes move subtly so you aren’t sure if you actually saw the change or not.  I suggest going there even to see the “paintings”.  Wish I got a photo of those!
 
The next day we got up to walk Golden Gate Park… 
 
…walked to the Haight/Ashbury area where we did some shopping.  I got two super cute dresses, a belt and the flowy top I wore wine tasting for around $100…
 
 
Lunch back at the Ferry building at Delica…if you are there you MUST try this restaurant.  Japanese influence with California ingredients.
 
 
…Spicy Burdock Root Salad, Carrot Ginger Soup, Hijiki and Soybean salad.  I also tried the Wasabi Garlic Potato Salad and the Spinach and Sesame Salad at another time and had a lot of trouble deciding which was my favorite.
 
 
…after lunch we made our way back to take the trip to Alcatraz which was awesome.  You can take a audio self guided tour…
 
 
 
 
We walked back to the Ferry Building where I got dinner from the market there; that I proceeded to dump all over the street from the trolley we were riding.  No photo of my broken frosty wine bottle and salad splayed across the street.  After all the walking I was exhasuted; this was not my finest moment if you can imagine.
 
 
Tuesday day in San Fran the boys played golf and my friend Justine and I got a pedicure, ate at Delica again and then Chris and I had dinner at Perbacco.  I had a lovely lemon ricotta ravioli and Chris had sort of a short rib and egg noodle dish.  They were good but I would try elsewhere if I dined again in San Fran.
 
 
After dinner we hit the Starlight Room in the Drake for dancing.  It was SOO much fun.  Awesome music and a few of the city.  I would DEFINITELY go there again.
 
Wednesday the relaxing started when we got our very comfy minivan and drove over to visit the redwoods. Relishing in the fact that we could get in and out as we pleased without waiting and stopping at each block.  I have a renewed appreciation for what you city folk go through.  You expend so much energy getting around it’s a wonder anyone actually needs to work out.
 
As soon as I stepped out in Muir Woods I felt like I was at home (you know me, the camper that I am).
 
 
We walked through the woods, smelled the pine in the cool misty air and walked through the muffled quiet.  We headed back to the car after a short walk and took the winding (and tad bit foggy) ocean drive to wine country.
 
 
    The hotel there in Petaluma was much quieter, there was a lovely pool and we could park right out front and walk in. 
 
We found a fabulous little café called Luma that was so amazing we ate there two nights in a row. 
 
 
The first night I enjoyed a tomato ginger soup with the most wonderful texture; not too smooth, just perfectly rustic, and then a colorful Asian inspired salad that was topped with sesame seeds, a light sesame vinaigrette and blackened shrimp.  The result was shockingly perfect.  SO mad I didn’t get a photo.
 
 The next day we rented a driver to drive us around to the wineries outside Sonoma Valley.  We chose to go to all wineries with wines that we could not buy at home. 
 
We hit Ledson…
 
 
…Chateu St Jean, our favorite was Chateau St Jean where Bob, the sommelier, took us through the most informative wine tasting as well as gave me a priceless tip on taking daytime photos of sim ply forcing the flash.
 
 
And finally Deerfield.  Yes, only three, but it took us five hours and by the end it was probably good we didn’t hit two more because we started taking silly photos of ourselves stopping to smell the flowers.
Ok drunks…on to “the caves” at Deerfield.

 

Stick a fork in us.  We’re done.  Time for dinner!
We closed out the day back at Luma again with apps, pizzas and salad.
The next morning the boys played their second round of golf at Bodega Bay which was GORGEOUS.  Every hole was on the ocean.
  Justine and I wound our way through the hills close by.  We discovered Wild Flour Café with the MOST amazing scones we have ever experienced. 
Pumpkin, pecan, chocolate chip and an asiago, green onion, which we enjoyed in the actual wildflower garden complete with frolicking children. 
 
We made our way over to the town of Occidental where we found a small gift shop and coffee bar.  We both had a chai tea coconut latte and decided it was the best we ever had.  From there, at the suggestion of a long time yogi that was partaking in a most fabulous concoction called “Desire”, we went to my most favorite meal on the trip at….Lowell’s.  All organic, local, vegetarian. 
I got a macro bowl with brown rice, greens, roasted root vegetables, tempeh, lentils and a miso ginger sauce.  My body had been screaming for that exact sort of dish that I had so been missing since I left home. 
It doesn’t look that great here but in the dish’s defense we bought it in Occidental and didn’t eat it till we got to the beach on Bodega Bay to wait for the boys to finish up. 
Roasted root veggies, greens, tempeh, brown rice, lentils and a miso ginger sauce.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
 
Now for the “sushi”.
What did I do with all that delicious mango salad from my last long ago post?
 

I made another take on a Forks Over Knives recipe.  Simply cutting the stems off some gorgeous green collard leaves, blanching them in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then wrapping my delicious fillings.  Not only did the leaves hold up well for three days but they were almost easier than the standard wraps to use!

 
Alas, I can not provide nutrition information for this one as I did not measure the amounts I put in, however, it was so wonderful that I simply had to share.  I know there are those that need to follow exact recipes, however, I hope that this one allows you some freedom to experiment and at the same time, enough information to allow you to do so.
 
Collard Sushi with Hummus and Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad
Vegan and Gluten Free
Inspired from Forks over Knives pp. 172
Ingredients
Collard Greens (1 leaf per serving)
Fillings such as:
Hummus
Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad, or any mango salsa would work as well
Sprouts
Corn
Directions
1. Prepare a large bowl filled with ice water.  Bring a large, straight sided skillet or Dutch Oven filled with water to boiling; remove stems from collards and blanch for 30 seconds.  
2. Cut the thick woody part of the stem out, spread the hummus, fill with toppings and top with sprouts, just under and around the main rib line.
3. Fold in the sides and roll from the bottom up until closed.  Cut into sections and enjoy!

  3 Responses to “Collard Sushi with Hummus and Moroccan Mango Chickpea Salad and My Trip to California”

  1. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.

    I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already
    ;) Cheers!

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