August 22, 2011

Go Greek!

On Saturday Leah and I went to the Anchorage Greek Festival. A fundraiser for a local Greek Orthodox Church, the festival lasts all weekend and includes traditional Greek food, dancing and arts and crafts.

We met up with our good friend Tammie, who brought two mutual friends, Joshua and John Paul.

They were in the church, so after a quick look-around, we headed for the food to eat lunch.

Leah settled on a gyro...

...and I decided to try the Greek salad and dolmathes (grape leaf wrapped around rice and vegetables and tomato sauce).

Dancers took the stage while we were eating our food and provided some traditional entertainment.


These kids were pretty impressive. I think they were probably in middle school and high school and could really, REALLY kick their legs in the air.

After finishing our food and walking around the lot to look at the different crafts and nick knacks that had been brought over from Greece (think scarves, table clothes, bowls, etc), we headed for the bakery tent. This tent had pastries and bread homemade by volunteers from the church as well as hot chocolate and American and Greek coffee.

Tammie purchased a quartet of Baklava, which is phyllo pasty layers filled with nuts and covered in honey.

Tammie with the Baklava and her beautiful smile.

Another pasty we decided to try = Galaktoboureko, which is lemon custard inside phyllo, rolled into individual servings, and drizzled with honey.

We ended our dessert samples with hot chocolate (Leah and Tammie) and Greek coffee (me). With the cool Alaska weather, the hot drinks hit the spot.

Going Greek was a great way to spend part of my weekend. I hope you had a nice weekend as well.


August 21, 2011

California (part 2)!

I'm reminiscing about the fun I had just a few weeks ago...and decided to post part 2 of my trip to Northern California...

Thursday = plane + greetings + happy hour + Bodega Bay house rental

Our house rental was in Bodega Bay. Although much cooler than Napa and Sanoma, our views of the ocean were beautiful...and the landscape outside our rental was gorgeous.

Friday = Napa + wine tasting + Ben F + Italian supper.

We began the day with breakfast at a cute cafe for bagels and coffee and then met our chauffeur at a nearby hotel. We were so excited to begin the day.

Winery number one = Andretti Winery.

Winery number two = Hagafen Cellars. This winery was my favorite...perhaps because of the sweet corn they had growing behind the tasting room?

We met Tom, The Wine Guy (his name on Facebook). He went to the University of Iowa and is a huge Hawkeye fan! Yes!!

I also met Anie who assisted me with my wine purchase.

No, I did not purchase the bottles shown above. I just thought they were cool and wanted my picture with them. I did purchase several bottles of wine here though. :)

All of us with Ernie Wier, owner, grape grower and winemaker.

Winery number three = V. Sattui Winery. We ate lunch here as well.

Winery number four = Folie a Deux Winery = makers of Menage a Trois. Leah, Matt and I drink this frequently because it is one of the cheapest wines we can get at Fred Meyer. I thought it was funny we ended up at this winery.

Heading to our last winery...

Next time I go to Napa, I am taking a bike tour.

Winery number five = Domaine Chandon Winery.

We were dropped back off at the hotel mid-evening and decided to head to downtown Sanoma for dinner. 

A few of us had researched a few restaurants and we decided on Della Santina's. It so happened that Ben F. (Flagnik), owner of Evolve Winery and runner-up on The Bachelorette, was hosting a wine tasting that same night. 

We ended up being too late for the wine tasting; however...

after Sarah and I went back to the car to grab my wallet, which I had left in the car, we actually ran into Ben F. himself.

We were quite ecstatic.

Sarah and I went back to tell the rest of the girls and while we were jumping up and down with excitement, he looked back and waved us all down for a group photo.

Quite classy of a fellow.

The rest of the night pretty much consisted of how cool we thought we were because we saw and had our pictures taken with Ben F.

The restaurant had one bottle of white wine left from the Evolve Winery/Ben F. wine tasting that had taken place earlier in the evening. We purchased the bottle in addition to a red table wine.

The evening was a great way to end our day in Sonoma/Napa.

The sunflowers made me think of Matt (he's from Kansas...he likes sunflowers.)

Adios, Della Santina's. 
Thank you for the memories.

That concludes day two of my trip to California. More to come early next week...