Thursday, July 06, 2006

July 4, 2006 - What a "gourmet" weekend!

June 30- July 4, 2006.

In what was the most event-filled long weekend I have had in the US, we ate and ate and just seemed like we were eating all the time;)

Subhash's friend from IIM-C,Yso, was in the US on a project. He is based out of Bangalore. He was coming over for the 4 of July weekend so we decided to chill it out in CA and the Bay Area. Another friend of theirs, Shroff (Sharat) also lives around here in San Mateo and he is an SFO veteran, so we left it to him to plan the trip.

We had July 3 off as a bridging holiday as per Cisco's traditions so I was really happy though Subhash, Shroff and his wife Prashee had to work on that day. Yeah, right, work!

Yso (of course that is a nick name) landed late on Friday night (June 30). We picked him up from the San Jose airport and he had dinner and we talked for sometime and called it a day.

On July 1, our culinary experience started. I made Pongal at home which we had for a late breakfast/early lunch, finished watching a "not very entertaining" England vs Portugal match and packed our bags and left for Shroff's place in San Mateo where we were going to spend the night. We reached pretty late but just in time for the Brazil vs France match. We thought the one in the morning was boring! We sat through with the match then had some amazing Pulao that Prashee made. It was too good. Of course according to Shroff the Pulao was so good because of his tomato filled exquisite raitha in which he contributed his master culinary skills by expertly mixing the ingredients that Prashee had cut and given him;)

After that amazing lunch we had some really nice saunf and gulkand, yes they are worth mentioning here as well;) Then around 4.30 we headed out for San Franciso with the expert guide Shroff at the wheel. I have to mention here that Yso was totally bowled over by the talking GPS in the Acura. We headed straight for Golden Gate as we usually do when I am tour guide, albeit through some happening places in San Francisco (of which I have no clue so I just drive along 101;) ). We had some tough time with the Vista point parking eventually found parking, walked half way through the bridge till the wind overwhelmed us and we walked back. Then we headed out for downtown San Francisco.

We HAD to go have Tiramisu and buy Sacripantina from the only two places that could make them so excellently in SFO. First headed to the "Steps of Rome" and loaded ourselves with that "ohh! so melting" Tiramisu. Prashee went and bought a box of Sacripantina cake from Stella Pastry Cafe.

This is another amazing cake they discovered and introduced us to last year. So light and heavenly! We decided to save some place for what was coming and so stashed the Sacripantina for later. We then headed for the shopper's paradise in SFO, Union Square. Subhash loves this place just for the "retail" paradise it is. We headed up to Cheesecake Factory on top of Macy's as usual crowded and overflowing. We bought THE Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, chocolate lovers dream;) We went down to the square sat down at a bench and finished both those sinful slices. At this point I had it for the day. Any more mention of sweet or even food my body was revolting and I was feeling nauseous;) All I could think of was Tabasco and Fiery Habanero by Doritos! I thought I might even just dream of those if I didn't have some spice before I slept;) Then we went driving to try to get down Lombard street, the crookedest street in the world. We tried to get around all those one-ways they had made just to streamline the rush on that day. We had a good time looking at all the flowers along Lombard and turning back and having our final glance.

Then we decided to drive back along the ocean. We took the oceanside drive and on our way stopped at the Monet museum. Shroff also enlightened us that Sharon Stone and Robin Williams had their homes among some of those lovely ones we had seen.

We were back home after the all-out eating at around 8. Then we started playing Taboo, one addictive game it turned out;) We were at it till almost 12 or 1.

In the meanwhile the rest of the team had Maggi, I was still dreaming of Tabasco and was so full of the Godiva that I could not think of food anymore. So I skipped that, what a loss, I shall feel it for a long time;)

We decided to open the Sacripantina the next day, I will be ready for anything after a 5-6 hr sleep!

The next morning we woke late had again some amazing Vermicelli and Poha, kudos to Prashee's cooking!!!!!! Of course, Shroff too:P Also we had some real nice Strawberry smoothie which Prashee made, boy! she is a good cook:) So much good food, my system was elated and happy!

The plan for the day was Napa. We set out 12.30ish and took Taboo with us in the car. Played Taboo on the way and reached Napa around 2. We went to the visitors center as this was probably one of those rare places Shroff didn't have geographical expertise in. I want to describe the wine land and the beautiful countryside etc etc but I need to really rush to the lunch part which was 4 hrs away yet;) So I will just give a brief on where we went etc. We decided to go to Rutherford Hill winery and take a tasting and tour there. I had port first that was ok. With chocolate I did think it was ok;) The rest of the wines I had a sip each they were all so strong and so not sweet and pungent! Yuck to me;) So I just had one sip and kept throwing away the rest. How do you guys drink wine really!

So we took the tour next and got a brief on how much goes into making wine, so much effort for a non-sweet drink is not even worth it is my humble opinion;) But yes, it was worth appreciating the art in winemaking. So I have to say.

Now comes the most interesting part, maybe I can go as far as call it the peak of our culinary experience. Tra Vigne! I was intent on having Tabasco (still!) and wanted to go to some Mexican restaurant but everyone else was ok with Italian, they were willing to go to Mexican for my sake (so sweet) but I decided, for one person to change is better than for four people to change, and boy, my adjusting nature truly paid off;) I had some of the best Italian food I have had ever, not even in that restaurant in downtown Rome did I have such good food! Of course we had a lot of trouble looking for their pizzeria, they had boards in all the possible inconspicuous places, so we went into their restaurant and inquired, and even after that took nearly 5 minutes to find the building that was "next door";) We had the standard Bruschetta (the topping salad was AMAZING) and garlic bread for starters. Then tried the Pizza, Piadine and Linguini. Once again, amazing food!

Then we headed back to San Mateo, of course, playing Taboo on the way back. Very tired from all the eating and the wine tasting/tour. All except me and Yso had to work on Monday so we decided to head back home "early". We played "Shanghai" aka "Me" which is a card game basically and headed back by 11 in the night. Too much accomplished today;)

The next day, July 3, we woke as late as we could and I made some soggy upma, which the three of is had and then took our time to get ready. We were headed to Great America Park, a theme park in the midst of all the hitech companies;) We were intent on going to the water park and get wet:) Before leaving we booked all the five of us for the SUPERMAN showing in the IMAX Dome theater in San Jose's tech Museum. We arrived at the park around 2 pm and were there till around 6 I think. In one of the rides, Castaway Creek, Subhash could not get on hid tube so he toppled over. And at the end of the ride almost 5 minutes later he realized he didn't have his glasses on. So we had to go another round in the water looking for it, but didn't find it. Then when we were just giving up, one of the lifeguards came over and gave it to us, completely scratchy with floating on that rough surface. In terms of gourmet, we had typical fair food: Funnel Cake, Cotton Candy and Churros. All yumm!! After the park, we went to IHOP and had our standard vegetarian spread with Garden Omelette and Chili and Cheese Omelette with pancakes. We were running late for the movie (more importantly for the good seats) but Subhash HAD to go back home to get a spare pair of glasses.

We went to the IMAX around 8.45, too late to get good seats. Shroff, Prashee and Yso left after a while but Subhash and I stayed on throughout the movie:) Meanwhile the three musketeers had gone bowling, good fun. Then headed back home and all of us took turns racing on the XBox360. We played the NFS-Most Wanted. (Shroff really enjoyed it so much that the next day he woke an hour earlier than the rest of us just so he could race;) He got pretty good at it for a beginner, so much so that Subhash was wondering if indeed it was his first time:P ) We then played Taboo for some more time (actually more like till 4.30:P) and called it a day. Yso was leaving the next day so we HAD to sleep;)

The next morning on July 4, we woke up only at 10:( Yso's flight was at 12.30 so we had to hurriedly go out for lunch, and guess what! All Indian places here were closed except for Lucky Dhaba, so we ordered a take out for him to eat on the flight and dropped him off at the airport. Then we came back and went to have lunch at Chaat Paradise (we took sometime to find it, finally asked Venu for directions) and the food was YUMM! The chat was amazing as well. I give it five stars. We had cruise tickets for the evening to watch fireworks from the Bay waters. So we got back after lunch and I went straight to bed and slept like a log till maybe 4 when Subhash woke me up. We had to get ready and get to Millbrae BART by 6 to catch the Caltrain to downtown SFO. It would be maddening to drive in downtown so we planned on taking the train. We made it well in time but the train did not! Finally we went to SFO and transferred to a shuttle bus and got to the Cruise office (on the way we saw the elite financial district of SFO, it was something!). We went on the cruise started around 7.30 and he took us to all the uninteresting places. We went under the Bay Bridge and to AT&T park when the sunset eluded us, thanks to the cruise driver's planning. We got back towards Alcatraz and then the cruise boat stopped on the waters in front of the Ghirardelli Square and we had a good look at the fireworks. The whole thing was such a feast.

Then we finished the cruise and got back to Millbrae by Caltrain and then drove back to Sunnyvale, reached around 12.20 am;) Then called it a day! Boy, do I have to go to work tomorrow or what:))

Fun-filled and very gourmet;)


Shruti said...

Saali, mere bina itna kha gayi!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you guys had a terrific time! Nice!
My stomach's growling now. Wonder where I can get Tiramisu ;-)
-Mrs. Yso

Kaumudi said...

Food and games.. make me crave for a holiday.. next holidays we are coming to bay area and you should take us to the italian place in napa valley ...

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