Travel & Adventure โœˆ๏ธ

LV Blog Dean Deluca FF

Travel & Adventure – Dean & Deluca Napa Valley ๐Ÿท ๐Ÿ‡

Dean & Deluca
607 St. Helena Hwy S, Saint Helena, CA 94574 (Just off highway 29!)

After our wonderful tasting experience at Prager Winery & Port Works, we stopped into Dean & Deluca for a bit of epicurean perusing. Dean & DeLuca is a chain of fabulous gourmet grocery stores for foodies. The first store was established in New York City in September 1977, in the SoHo district, a rather upscale area in lower Manhattan.

Known for itโ€™s unique selection of meats, cheese, freshly baked bread, and of course, the vast array of gourmet chocolate truffles, this is the perfect place to pick up all the fixins for a decadent picnic in between visiting wineries.

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LV Blog GWIA... Sept. 23 2016FF

Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

Pigeon Point Lighthouse just south of the charming & quaint coastal town of Pescadero, California

There truly is nothing better than a perfect sunset on the Pacific Oceanโ€ฆ

I took this photo as we meandered north along the edge of the North American Continent after the Capitola Art & Wine Festival. Pigeon Point Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States. Built in 1871, this white masonry tower stands at 115-ft. (35 m), and is recognized as one of the most picturesque lighthouses on the Pacific Coast.

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LV Blog PP FF

Le Voov! Restaurant Review: The Peasant & The Pear ๐Ÿ

The Peasant & The Pear

267 Hartz Ave
Danville, CA 94526 Ph. (925) 820-6611

This marvelous restaurant is one of my new favorite East Bay restaurants, Michelin recommended, and a prime example of 5-star dining. Under the guidance of owner Rodney Worth and his wife Natalie, the menu is dynamic, the food is unique in flavor, the ambience is lovely, and the service is impeccable.

A true Danville gem, this restaurant is quaintly hidden in a small plaza, so you may drive right past it without even noticing it. If you access the rear parking lot, it is quite easy to find.

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Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

ยฟCรณmo se llama Mr. Llama? I had a wonderful conversation with a lovely llama at Harleyโ€™s Goat Farm in the charming coastal town of Pescadero recently. After swapping stories and goat jokes with this wooly sentry, Brian and I had the pleasure of attending a 6-course farm dinner in the loft of the old barn on the property. The fresh, delicious cuisine, the ambiance of candlelight, and meeting new friends, all made this an exceptional experience! ๐Ÿ๐Ÿท๐ŸŽ‘

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LV GWIA... Aug. 26 2016

Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

Giants Game! I took this photo while attending a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park during my birthday week. It was an exciting, close game against the Pirates. As you can see from the photo, it was a glorious day in the city. What a perfect way to celebrate my special week! Go Giants!!! ๐ŸŽˆ โšพ๏ธ ๐ŸŽ‰

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LV Blog Rombauer FF

Travel & Adventure – Rombauer Vineyards

Rombauer Vineyards

3522 Silverado Trail North, St. Helena, CA 94574, Phone: (800) 622-2206

We headed North on the Silverado Trail for a tasting at Rombauer Vineyards. After driving up the curvy, narrow road to the winery, we were greeted by a few colorfully painted cow sculptures and gorgeous landscaped gardens. The winery is located atop a sunny knoll surrounded by giant trees that offer the perfect shield from the bustling valley below. As we stepped from the car, a tranquil, quiet peacefulness overcame our senses and the playful sound of songbirds danced through the air.

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LV EVS Bali FF

Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

When attempting to photograph a troop of Rhesus Macaque monkeys in the wild, always keep a watchful eye on the dominant male of the haremโ€ฆ

This naughty little monkey climbed my long braid just like it was a jungle vine and mounted my head, while whooping loudly. I’d swear all the female monkeys in the troop were laughing with delight.

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LV Cha3 FF 2

Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Cha Cha Cha’s

Cha Cha Chaโ€™s (Tapas & More)

1801 Haight Street, San Francisco 415 386-7670

After visiting the San Francisco Botanical Garden during the annual โ€˜Flower Pianoโ€™ celebration, we headed over to Cha Cha Chaโ€™s to experience incredible cuisine amid the chaos of blaring Latin music, devotional alters, and abundant laughter. The aromatic Cuban spices hang heavy in the air as the indigo walls of the restaurant envelop oneโ€™s senses. The kitchen is bustling with excitement while your stomach and your brain simultaneously define a divine hunger.

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Guess Where I Amโ€ฆ? ๐ŸŒŽ

We visited Elephant Butte Reservoir located on the Rio Grande in New Mexico, just 5-short miles (8.0 km) north of the quaint little town of Truth or Consequences. The name “Elephant Butte” refers to the volcanic core making up the island at the center of the reservoir, which is said to resemble the shape of an elephant reclining on itโ€™s side. The reservoir and the surrounding land are part of the largest state park in the state of New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake State Park…

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LV GWIA... Aug. 5 2016FF

Guess Where I Amโ€ฆ? ๐ŸŒŽ

Massive Mandala On The Beach!
As we were driving along the coast, somewhere between Half Moon Bay & Santa Cruz, when we came across this huge mandala created on a sandy beach.

A mandala (Sanskrit: เคฎเคฃเฅเคกเคฒ, circle) is a geometric concentrically structured pattern representing the cosmos or the universe. In many spiritual traditions the creation of a mandala is a practice to invite focus, meditation or an induction into trance state. Mandalas are also used to establish a sacred space.

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LV Blog Rangoon Ruby FF Final

Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Rangoon Ruby ๐Ÿด

Rangoon Ruby, (Burmese) 680 Laurel Street, San Carlos, CA 94070

Traditional Burmese food is quickly becoming the rising star of Southeast Asian cuisine, surpassing even sushi and Thai food in popularity throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Under the experienced guidance of Chef Max Lee, Rangoon Ruby captures the pure essence of authentic Burmese cuisine with flavors influenced by Thai, Indian and Chinese traditions. The plates are served family style (shared) and beyond being delicious with great, unique flavors, the presentation is lovely. Similarly, the dรฉcor of the restaurant is elegant and well thought out.

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GWIA... July 29 2016

Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

We took this photo while strolling along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. This exciting sculpture is called ‘Cupid’s Span’, created by famed pop artist Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen. ๐Ÿ’˜

The brightly painted fiberglass-and-steel sculpture stands approx. 60 feet (18 meters) in Rincon Park at the foot of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Installed in 2002, the artistโ€™s inspiration for this piece was San Franciscoโ€™s reputation as the โ€˜City of Passionโ€™, invoking the mythological account of Eros shooting his arrow into the center of the earth to make it fertile. Many have commented that while Cupidโ€™s bow is symbolic of love, the shape of this magnificent work also evokes sailing ships and the Bay Bridge itself.

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LV Boon Fly Cafe FF

Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Boon Fly Cafรฉ ๐Ÿด ๐Ÿท

We began our second day in Napa with breakfast at the Boon Fly Cafรฉ. This contemporary roadhouse restaurant has a fun, bubbly atmosphere and an eclectic menu full of scrumptious culinary options. Our morning dining delight started with an order of the signature Boon Fly mini-donuts. These cute, mini-sized wonders proved to be an excellent dipping partner for their rich, dark roast coffee.

For my meal, I ordered the Chilaquiles with scrambled eggs. To my surprise, the eggs were outrageously light and fluffy, pairing beautifully with the deep seasonings and the freshness of the accompanying salsa. This combination made the dish a true winner in my book.

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Guess Where I am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

We had an enchanting visit to Safari West in the heart of Californiaโ€™s Sonoma wine country recently, where this picture was taken. Commonly known as the โ€˜Sonoma Serengetiโ€™, Safari West is comprised of 400 acres cradled in the mountainous area above Santa Rosa. Visitors are welcome to wander the trails and partake in the open-truck safaris to experience over 1000 exotic African species of mammals and birds within the natural habitat of this beautiful wildlife preserve.

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Guess Where I Am…? ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ’ฅ ๐ŸŒŽ

Last 4th of July, we spent a glorious night watching the San Francisco Fireworks from Angel Island State Park. We took the Blue & Gold Fleet ferry service out from the Embarcadero and enjoyed an afternoon of great food, celebration, and merry making with hundreds of other people. Once the fireworks got started, there was clapping, whistles and singing from all around the port. What a wonderful place to enjoy our country’s Independence Day! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ’ฅ ๐ŸŽ‰ ๐ŸŽ†

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LV Chez Panisse FF

Le Voov! Chez Panisse – Black Truffle Event ๐Ÿ„ ๐Ÿด ๐Ÿท

Le Voov! Local Culinary Adventure โ€“ January 2015

I am very fortunate to be married to an incredibly thoughtful man. Early last winter (late January 2014), I told Brian that someday I wanted to attend Alice Watersโ€™ Black Truffle Dinner Event at her world famous restaurant Chez Penisse in Berkeley, California. Well, guess what? Eleven months later, I received an invitation to attend the 2015 event from my amazing hus-Bee. He remembered!

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Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

We snapped this picture just off the side of Highway 29ย while visiting the Napa Valley wine country in Northern California. The mustard flowers were in full bloom while the grapes were still dormant. Stay tuned for another fabulous Napa Valley tour coming this autumn! ๐Ÿท ๐Ÿ‡   ย 

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LV GWIA June 17 2016

Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

On a recent trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we were mesmerized by the massive jellyfish exhibit. Watching the colorful cast of gelatinous characters undulate before us was such a peaceful, relaxing experience. The music from Disneyโ€™s Fantasia danced through my head as we observed their graceful movement. I also kept thinking that this would be wonderful place to hang a hammock and take a nap! But, alas, the tens-of-thousands of other aquarium guests may not have appreciated my wish for a peaceful siesta, and perhaps would have disturbed my slumberโ€ฆ. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฆ€๐Ÿ ๐Ÿก๐ŸŸ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ’ค

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Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

Answer: We snapped this picture at Disneyland, Anaheim CA during the evening World of Color Light Show, set to the timeless tunes of classic Disney. This spectacular event was followed by an amazing blaze of fireworks bursting in the sky above us. What a fun way to celebrate life with the family…ย  ๐ŸŽ†   ย  ย 

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LV Blog Domain Carneros Layout FF

Travel & Adventure โ€“ Domaine Carneros By Taittenger

We had a few beautiful days to spend in Napa during the month of January. Our inspiration you ask? Seventy degree weather in the middle of winter! Frequently I forget that Napa Valley is just over an hours drive from the San Francisco Peninsula (approx. 70-miles). So, my partner in crime and I packed a small overnight bag and headed to the wine country!

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Guess Where I Amโ€ฆ? ๐ŸŒŽ

This photograph was taken from our bed at dawn from the Arenal Observatory Lodge, Smithsonian room, in Costa Rica. We had arrived the night before in darkness, under a sky filled with massive lightning and bomb-like thunder. The road was flooded and when we finally arrived, we fell into a deep slumber with the sound of the rain dancing on the floor to ceiling windows. This was our very first visual of the Arenal Volcano. What a glorious way to awaken from a night of magnificent tropical dreamsโ€ฆ

We plan upon touring Costa Rica again and will provide a detailed account of our wild fun and adventures. Stay tunedโ€ฆ! โœˆ๏ธ ๐ŸŒด ๐ŸŒž

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Guess Where I Amโ€ฆ? ๐ŸŒŽ

Indy 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana. My sweetie and I enjoy exploring exciting, new places & events together. This year the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 took place on Sunday, May 29, 2016. For the first time ever in the history of Indy racing this event was completely sold out, with a full-house of 350,000 people in attendance…

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LV Cafe Capistrano

Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Cafe Capistrano ๐Ÿด ๐Ÿท

Cafรฉ Capistrano, (Yucatan/Costa Maya) 523 Church St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019 (650) 726-7699

It was raining cats and dogs, but we decided we were going to trust the weather report and headed over to the coast despite the very wet conditions. The forecast was for clear skies by noon. As we approached the western edge of the North American continent, where the Pacific Ocean tickles the charming town of Half Moon Bay, the gentle rain had turned into a deluge. (Iโ€™m not complaining. We desperately need rain given the California drought of the last 4-years!)

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Guess Where I Amโ€ฆ? ๐ŸŒŽ

The Fire Octopus at the Makerโ€™s Faire, San Mateo, California. This annual event is a perfect showcase of science, innovation, creativity and resourcefulness to celebrate the Makerโ€™s Movement. The Makerโ€™s Faire brings together scientists, teachers, tech enthusiasts, crafters, engineers, tinkerers and hobbyists to explore the realm of possibilities for the future. Itโ€™s taking place at the San Mateo County Event Center this weekend. Go out and experience this fun, family-friendly event! Enjoy!!!!

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The Druid Cemetery, Cuffeyโ€™s Cove, Mendocino, California. Honestly, it is unclear why there is a Druid cemetery in Mendocino, and the more locals I spoke to, the wilder the stories became…

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Zuzu

Restaurant Review – Zuzu Tapas & Wine Bar ๐Ÿด ๐Ÿท

Zuzu, located in Napaโ€™s historic Old Town, has masterfully blended the culinary traditions of Spain and South America with the warmth of Mediterranean dรฉcor to create a true gem. The complex layering of flavor and spice in each dish was uniquely divine.

Our server Darlene was very knowledgeable and made some fantastic suggestions for our maiden voyage at the restaurant. Zuzuโ€™s signature sangria was delightfully fresh and fruity. Given the ease with which the first glass went down, I had a great appreciation for the speedy arrival of our first plates!

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Guess Where I Amโ€ฆ? ๐ŸŒŽ

We enjoyed the NASA exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry while visiting Chicago recently. Brian really liked getting a feel for what it would be like to play in a space suite!

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Guess Where I Amโ€ฆ? ๐ŸŒŽ

This picture was taken at the Puerto Vallarta Zoo in Mismaloya, Mexico. Just prior to this photo being taken, the giraffe bent down and licked the sweat from the back of my ear!! Feeding a giraffe a carrot from my mouth was also a pretty thrilling experience!

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LV Blog Prager Layout Ff

Travel & Adventure – Prager Winery & Port Works ๐Ÿท ๐Ÿ‡

We had a few beautiful days to spend in Napa during the month of January. Our inspiration you ask? Seventy degree weather in the middle of winter! Frequently I forget that Napa Valley is just over an hours drive from the San Francisco Peninsula (approx. 70-miles). So, my partner in crime and I packed a small overnight bag and headed to the wine country!

As we entered Prager Winery & Port Works we found ourselves surrounded by lush green gardens. Not the manicured, stately gardens of Domaine Carneros, rather, the kind of gardens surrounding a sweet country cottage far, far away. The dirt road leading to the winery is very narrow and easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled as you approach on highway 29.

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Hotel Sofitel, Redwood City, California: Dale Chihulyโ€™s Glass Chandelier. This amazing explosion of blue and green blown glass greets the eye in the lobby of the Sofitel hotel. I first became acquainted with Chihulyโ€™s ethereal mastery of glass sculpture while visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium exhibition entitled โ€œJellies: Living Artโ€ in 2002. Photography of his work is gorgeous, but viewing it with your own eyes is nothing short of pure magic!

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Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

Answer:

Rooftop of The California Academy Of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.
This was always my favorite place to go as a child. Newly remodeled in 2008, the natural science museum now features a living rooftop with over 1.7 million California native plants, which opens to allow natural ventilation throughout the building. If you get the opportunity for a visit, don’t forget to stop by the alligator pit and say ‘hello’ to Claude, the albino American gator.
Adult admission is $35 and family memberships are available for $250/year. http://www.calacademy.org/

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Guess Where I Amโ€ฆ? ๐ŸŒŽ

San Francisco Bay, California. The photo of the Stรคmpfli Express was taken by one of my talented masters rowing teammates Karen Gheno last December. Iโ€™m in the #7 seat from the bow (back/left side) of the boat!

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LV Blog Napa FF

Travel & Adventure – Napa Valley, CA ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿท

We had a few beautiful days to spend in Napa during the month of January. Our inspiration you ask? Seventy degree weather in the middle of winter! Frequently I forget that Napa Valley is just over an hours drive from the San Francisco Peninsula (approx. 70-miles). So, my partner in crime and I packed a small overnight bag and headed to the wine country!

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Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

Spires at Antoni Gaudiโ€™s La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. Construction of this amazing cathedral began in 1882 and as of 2015 was approximately 70% completed. To honor Gaudi’s commitment to the design and construction of this extraordinary structure, a final completion target date of 2026 has been projected to mark the 100th anniversary of his passing. The annual construction budget is 25 million euros ($28 million+ US). If you have an opportunity to visit, the entrance fee is 15 – 20 euros ($17 – 22 US)

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Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

Harley’s Goat Farm, Pescadero, CA. This sweet little goat is only 1-day old. She smelled just like a newborn baby and her soft ‘naaying’ melted my heart. Owner of the farm Dee Harley is praised internationally for her amazing, award winning goat cheese. Stop by the shop to taste them all! Yummy!!!! *Please check back with Le Voov! for a full post about Harley’s Goat Farm… ๐Ÿ™‚

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Artichokes 1 May 2015

Le Voov Artichokes!

Did I mention I love artichokes?

When most people see an artichoke for the first time, they are reminded of the giant man-eating plant โ€˜Audreyโ€™ from Little Shop of Horrors. Artichokes have thorns that look like dangerous claws on the end of each fibrous leaf. Encountering them for the first time may be a little intimidating, bringing about a cautious apprehension present when attempting to break up a cat fight while naked. It is neither obvious nor intuitive how to approach eating an artichoke for the first-timer. However, if you are fortunate enough to live in an area where artichokes grow, and you are in-the-know on just how to prepare and eat them, they are truly a glorious delight.

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LV GWIA... Sept. 16 2016

Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

Napa Postal Mushrooms! We came upon this glorious stone mushroom installation in front of the post office while wandering through Napa Valley wine country. The long shadows of the autumn light made for a dynamic, interesting composition. ๐Ÿ„ ๐Ÿท ๐Ÿ‡

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LV GWIA... July 8 2016

Guess Where I Am…? ๐ŸŒŽ

Answer:

On a rainy day last December, we visited the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, which is affiliated with University of California, Santa Cruz. To celebrate the seasons, they had decorated the giant whale skeleton out front with thousands of Christmas lights. After out tour, the sun broke through the clouds and provided a lovely rainbow right over the facility. What a glorious treat!

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Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Picaro ๐Ÿด ๐Ÿท

We stumbled across this tapas restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco. We werenโ€™t even thinking about lunch, but the rich, earthy aroma coming from the kitchen lured us in like moths to the flame. The colorful, art-filled walls and the bustling atmosphere contributed greatly to the lively tenor. Our waiter Jose gave us a few thoughtful suggestions.

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