rone: (asplode)

Now sick with some respiratory ailment for the third time this winter (possibly a fourth that i fought off with minimal distress).  Body aches, too.  But at least i managed to feel well enough yesterday to enjoy five wineries in the Santa Clara Valley AVA with [livejournal.com profile] 2wanda:

It's yet another local wine country that we'd neglected to visit, which oversight has now been corrected with spontaneity (we were just gonna drive to the beach at first).

Oh, dear, new symptoms... which you probably don't want to hear about.  Bye now!

rone: (yikes)

My barber is well off.  He bought himself this little flivver a few months ago.  But he loves cutting hair, so he comes in four days a week bright and early (and on three of those days, he stays very late).  He's been cutting hair for some guys for decades.  We bring him wine, especially near the end of the year.  I brought him a modest zinfandel from Magito that i picked up on my last trip to Sonoma; i left it on his counter today, right next to the Beaulieu Vineyard 1985 cabernet sauvignon that another client dropped off yesterday.

I'm a little envious.

rone: (kimmy `n' rone)

Sometimes, sleepy suburbia gets just a tad too exciting, and one must slip the surly bonds of home for less familiar surroundings, accompanied by one's best girl Friday (but that should go without saying), in order to again achieve a baseline level of boredom.  Three weeks ago, [livejournal.com profile] 2wanda and i headed to DC, under the pretext of some job-related conference which she was to attend with some of her coworkers.  The horrors of air travel aside, it was an enjoyable few days in our nation's capital, which i had not visited in over two decades.  Visiting the National Air & Space Museum rekindled all of the "i wanna be an astronaut when i grow up" urges i had as a boy, and we walked our legs off; outside the museum, a guy with the stereotypical Vietnam vet look played guitar under a pavilion in front of banners decrying the Chinese Communist Party's repression of Falun Dafa, and as we left the building, he was ranting about the evils of secularism and Marxism to someone who was obviously provoking him.  The next day, we walked what legs we had regenerated overnight right off again at the National Museum of the American Indian, which featured an excellent cafeteria with all manner of cuisine from native cultures all over the Americas.  After that we headed to the National World War II Memorial because Kim wanted to look up her grandfather.  Then we took a taxi back to the hotel because we were totally pooped.  I flew home the next day and spent two very lonely days until Kimmy came home.

Last weekend, we hit Sonoma Valley for our birthdays.  We stayed at the Birmingham Bed & Breakfast, which was conveniently located a short walk away from several wineries, which meant that we didn't drive at all during our stay; they were very good hosts and easily accomodated both Kim's gluten-free diet and my incessant list of food aversions.  We hit Meadowcroft (good wine, poor service), Chateau St. Jean (good [albeit overpriced] wines but a lack of warmth from the people), Kaz (wacky characters galore, from the winemaker to his daughter to the wines themselves), Landmark (good but nothing remarkable), and Kunde.  Kunde was definitely the best overall experience; a wide array of wine at a fair price, gorgeous grounds, cave and field tours, and nice folks.  Plus, their estate is where a great deal of Bottle Shock was filmed; we drove past the boxing ring that was specifically built for the movie.  The view from their mountaintop tasting patio is stunning and i highly recommend it.

rone: (FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU)

A simple invocation of lynx -dump http://ronebofh.livejournal.com/tag/ | grep ' use' | sort -nr -t - -k 2 | head' yields my 10 most used tags:

  • music - 192 uses
  • friends - 136 uses
  • politics - 131 uses
  • soccer report - 128 uses
  • fuckheads - 122 uses
  • random stuff - 69 uses
  • wine - 67 uses
  • meme - 66 uses
  • food porn - 65 uses
  • pop culture - 64 uses
music: i haven't stopped listening to new music, but i've not gone to any concerts in quite some time.  Not really sure what's going on there.  I wanted to go see Imogen Heap but she was playing in the area while i was in Ecuador.  Pandora has yielded a fair amount of new artists (including Heap) now that i haven't had my XM-empowered car around ([livejournal.com profile] butterflygenius is driving it), but i've purchased a whopping 6 albums and 1 EP in the last 9 months.  I'm probably due for making a run through the wishlist (as well as take out the unwanted to the used CD store).
friends: amazingly enough, i still have some, but i've stopped talking about them because, i dunno, i suck or something.  Maybe they suck, too.  Working graveyard means that Kim and i just want to spend time together and not hang out much with others, although we are taking advantage of our fortnightly clean house and having guests over for dinner every other Friday.  So that's something.
politics: between the Dastardly and the Repulsive, it's hard to really find the desire to talk about this anymore.  I registered GOP to vote in the primary governor election for Tom Campbell, The Last Sane Republican in the Universe, but then he switched to the Senate race and started talking to Tea Party fucknuts, and well, serves me right for trying to game the system.
soccer report: still playing.  Haven't gotten injured since i got back from Ecuador (which i didn't explicitly mention, so i'm sure some of you were wondering when i was coming back).  We ended up tied for last place in Division 9, so we got to enjoy the sweet taste of relegation and are so far 2-2 in Division 10.
fuckheads: as alluded to in 'politics', they're still out there.
random stuff: the frequency of each tag takes a big dip here.  I go through this tag occasionally and recategorize the entries, because i shouldn't have that many of them here; at the same time, i have 29 singleton tags, and that's dumb, too.
wine: still drinkin', oh yeah.  That's slowed down, too, with the graveyard shift (feels funny to have wine with dinner when dinner's your breakfast).  Shit, we went to Livermore for our birthday last year and i didn't write about it.  Livermore is awesome and deserves better press.  I need to follow up on this later.
meme: more of a hall of shame than an active category.  Don't think any of you are bothering with this balderdash anymore, and thank goodness.
food porn: we still love finding delicious new restaurants (and perhaps go a little too often for the good of our pocketbook), and Kim is still an amazing cook.  She just whipped up the best chile verde of all time with half a pork shoulder and homemade tomatillo sauce.
pop culture: maybe i can find a better use of my time, but i fear that my brain is merely playing out the string of infection.








The task will be to coalesce actual writing out of the inchoate sputtering i inflict upon Facebook and Twitter.

rone: (Default)

A simple invocation of lynx -dump http://ronebofh.livejournal.com/tag/ | grep ' use' | sort -nr -t - -k 2 | head' yields my 10 most used tags:

  • music - 192 uses
  • friends - 136 uses
  • politics - 131 uses
  • soccer report - 128 uses
  • fuckheads - 122 uses
  • random stuff - 69 uses
  • wine - 67 uses
  • meme - 66 uses
  • food porn - 65 uses
  • pop culture - 64 uses
music: i haven't stopped listening to new music, but i've not gone to any concerts in quite some time.  Not really sure what's going on there.  I wanted to go see Imogen Heap but she was playing in the area while i was in Ecuador.  Pandora has yielded a fair amount of new artists (including Heap) now that i haven't had my XM-empowered car around ([livejournal.com profile] butterflygenius is driving it), but i've purchased a whopping 6 albums and 1 EP in the last 9 months.  I'm probably due for making a run through the wishlist (as well as take out the unwanted to the used CD store).
friends: amazingly enough, i still have some, but i've stopped talking about them because, i dunno, i suck or something.  Maybe they suck, too.  Working graveyard means that Kim and i just want to spend time together and not hang out much with others, although we are taking advantage of our fortnightly clean house and having guests over for dinner every other Friday.  So that's something.
politics: between the Dastardly and the Repulsive, it's hard to really find the desire to talk about this anymore.  I registered GOP to vote in the primary governor election for Tom Campbell, The Last Sane Republican in the Universe, but then he switched to the Senate race and started talking to Tea Party fucknuts, and well, serves me right for trying to game the system.
soccer report: still playing.  Haven't gotten injured since i got back from Ecuador (which i didn't explicitly mention, so i'm sure some of you were wondering when i was coming back).  We ended up tied for last place in Division 9, so we got to enjoy the sweet taste of relegation and are so far 2-2 in Division 10.
fuckheads: as alluded to in 'politics', they're still out there.
random stuff: the frequency of each tag takes a big dip here.  I go through this tag occasionally and recategorize the entries, because i shouldn't have that many of them here; at the same time, i have 29 singleton tags, and that's dumb, too.
wine: still drinkin', oh yeah.  That's slowed down, too, with the graveyard shift (feels funny to have wine with dinner when dinner's your breakfast).  Shit, we went to Livermore for our birthday last year and i didn't write about it.  Livermore is awesome and deserves better press.  I need to follow up on this later.
meme: more of a hall of shame than an active category.  Don't think any of you are bothering with this balderdash anymore, and thank goodness.
food porn: we still love finding delicious new restaurants (and perhaps go a little too often for the good of our pocketbook), and Kim is still an amazing cook.  She just whipped up the best chile verde of all time with half a pork shoulder and homemade tomatillo sauce.
pop culture: maybe i can find a better use of my time, but i fear that my brain is merely playing out the string of infection.








The task will be to coalesce actual writing out of the inchoate sputtering i inflict upon Facebook and Twitter.

rone: (waagh)

I got up at 05:10 on Saturday to go to Los Altos Hills and pick grapes for Hallcrest, along with eight high schoolers who were raising money for their soccer academy.  We harvested about 2 tons of chardonnay and a half-ton of pinot noir.  After a midday break, i headed to the winery to experience the first crush of the season.  The chardonnay fruit was dumped straight into the press, and while that was being processed, the pinot noir fruit was crushed and destemmed, then packed away with a CO2 blanket.  I was exhausted by the end of the day, and a full night's sleep wasn't enough to restore me.

On Sunday, after going to the garden and picking about a bajillion tomatoes, [livejournal.com profile] 2wanda, her mom, and i headed to Hollister to buy our pinot noir for this year's wine.  We bought it from the same folks from whom we bought it last year.  After that, we headed down the road to taste at DeRose, whose wine is notably higher in alcohol than average, but you wouldn't know it from its flavor.  I've been a fan of their négrette, but their late harvest viognier was a revelation; it was subtle and far from the sweetness you'd expect in a dessert wine.

rone: (Default)

I got up at 05:10 on Saturday to go to Los Altos Hills and pick grapes for Hallcrest, along with eight high schoolers who were raising money for their soccer academy.  We harvested about 2 tons of chardonnay and a half-ton of pinot noir.  After a midday break, i headed to the winery to experience the first crush of the season.  The chardonnay fruit was dumped straight into the press, and while that was being processed, the pinot noir fruit was crushed and destemmed, then packed away with a CO2 blanket.  I was exhausted by the end of the day, and a full night's sleep wasn't enough to restore me.

On Sunday, after going to the garden and picking about a bajillion tomatoes, [livejournal.com profile] 2wanda, her mom, and i headed to Hollister to buy our pinot noir for this year's wine.  We bought it from the same folks from whom we bought it last year.  After that, we headed down the road to taste at DeRose, whose wine is notably higher in alcohol than average, but you wouldn't know it from its flavor.  I've been a fan of their négrette, but their late harvest viognier was a revelation; it was subtle and far from the sweetness you'd expect in a dessert wine.

rone: (invincirone)

It's been a rough few weeks, interviewing for jobs, getting turned down by some, waiting for contact from others, and dealing with family shit.  Once we finished moving [livejournal.com profile] butterflygenius to her new digs yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] 2wanda and i finally got to unwind and went to Hallcrest Vineyards for a barrel tasting which [livejournal.com profile] toropeza kindly paid for.  While there, i spoke to the winemaker, and knowing that it's getting pretty close to harvest time, asked him if there was anything i could do for him, so that i could get practical experience in commercial wine production to go with my fancy book larnin'.  He told me that, in fact, he'd be giving some training today on using the equipment involved in the crush, such as the crusher/destemmer and the bladder press, as well as other equipment and steps.  I jumped at the opportunity and not only did i learn a lot this morning, he fed us all some very tasty baby back ribs for lunch.  I need to look at my schedule so i can send it to him so he can let me know when he can use me next; they'll be bottling tomorrow, but i have an interview, so i'll be sadly missing that.  Nonetheless, today was very encouraging and educational.

rone: (Default)

It's been a rough few weeks, interviewing for jobs, getting turned down by some, waiting for contact from others, and dealing with family shit.  Once we finished moving [livejournal.com profile] butterflygenius to her new digs yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] 2wanda and i finally got to unwind and went to Hallcrest Vineyards for a barrel tasting which [livejournal.com profile] toropeza kindly paid for.  While there, i spoke to the winemaker, and knowing that it's getting pretty close to harvest time, asked him if there was anything i could do for him, so that i could get practical experience in commercial wine production to go with my fancy book larnin'.  He told me that, in fact, he'd be giving some training today on using the equipment involved in the crush, such as the crusher/destemmer and the bladder press, as well as other equipment and steps.  I jumped at the opportunity and not only did i learn a lot this morning, he fed us all some very tasty baby back ribs for lunch.  I need to look at my schedule so i can send it to him so he can let me know when he can use me next; they'll be bottling tomorrow, but i have an interview, so i'll be sadly missing that.  Nonetheless, today was very encouraging and educational.

rone: (thanks)

Two weekends ago, Kim and i ran away to Calistoga for restoration via mud bath and massage at Golden Haven Hot Springs.  On our way there, we stopped at our favorite wineries, Summers and Ehlers Estate; on the way back, we stopped at Heitz, whose Grignolino wine and port i've admired for some time.

Last weekend, i nerded it up, as ever, at DunDraCon, but i did not neglect my sweet Kimmy on Valentine's Day, and brought her flowers and a card, and then took her out to sushi. DDC was fun as always; although i missed seeing some of the usual suspects, i did get to see [livejournal.com profile] vanmojo and [livejournal.com profile] dr_strych9, albeit in passing through the LARP in which they were participating (not judging you, guys... well, not too much).

Tonight, Kim and i drove to San Francisco to spend a little time with old Macromedia coworkers.  It's obvious that we're a bunch of nostalgic romantics, and that's fine with me.  I wish we'd've been able to get there earlier and stay later, but an hour-long drive home is always rough.

rone: (Default)

Two weekends ago, Kim and i ran away to Calistoga for restoration via mud bath and massage at Golden Haven Hot Springs.  On our way there, we stopped at our favorite wineries, Summers and Ehlers Estate; on the way back, we stopped at Heitz, whose Grignolino wine and port i've admired for some time.

Last weekend, i nerded it up, as ever, at DunDraCon, but i did not neglect my sweet Kimmy on Valentine's Day, and brought her flowers and a card, and then took her out to sushi. DDC was fun as always; although i missed seeing some of the usual suspects, i did get to see [livejournal.com profile] vanmojo and [livejournal.com profile] dr_strych9, albeit in passing through the LARP in which they were participating (not judging you, guys... well, not too much).

Tonight, Kim and i drove to San Francisco to spend a little time with old Macromedia coworkers.  It's obvious that we're a bunch of nostalgic romantics, and that's fine with me.  I wish we'd've been able to get there earlier and stay later, but an hour-long drive home is always rough.

rone: (cigar)

There's been a ton of shit i've been meaning to mention.  Let's see if i can remember most of it...

Just over a year ago, i got a T-shirt addressed to 'rone'.  Then about a year after that, i received an envelope addressed to Ron 'Tron Guy' Echeverri, with a PO Box in San Luis Obispo as its return address, containing a ten-dollar bill.  The "Tron Guy" is an amusing touch given my antipathy towards [livejournal.com profile] jmaynard.  I don't mind getting random stuff, although i suppose i would prefer getting stuff off my Amazon wishlist.

Speaking of Maynard, [livejournal.com profile] lammah mentioned that Maynard James Keenan and his winemaker, Eric Glomski, would be signing bottles of their wine at the Whole Foods in Cupertino.  Kim and i showed up about 75 minutes early and there were already about 100 people in front of us (Kim heard someone inside mention that some clowns got in line at 06:00, eight hours early).  Keenan isn't very comfortable as a celebrity, which showed as he barely looked at us when we came up, but Glomski was engaging and while they signed our bottles, i got to talk to him about the pinot noir that Kim, Kim's mom, and i are making.  If you feel like you missed out, he'll be at Fresno's Whole Foods on February 17, Petaluma the 18th, and Sacramento the 19th, all starting at 16:30.

Speaking of wine, i passed Viticulture for Winemakers, which was the final class towards my Certificate in Winemaking from UC Davis Extension.  So as soon as i cough up the certificate fee, i should be receiving my first academic certificate since my high school diploma in a week or two.  I'm a bit excited about it, but i'm only getting started with figuring out if i can make this wine thing go.

[livejournal.com profile] peglegpete moved from Dallas to Seattle, and stopped by our humble home for room and board.

johnny and kimmy

I got to go back to playing soccer last month.  This Thursday marked the first time i won a game while on the field since... i dunno, last summer.  A last minute squeaker, too, thanks to my teammates losing their minds in the final minutes of the game and leaving me defenseless.  It felt good to win, and i feel like i've finally gotten back into playing shape.

I picked out a bottle of shochu at our local sushi joint, but it turned out to be not shochu, but awamori.  It smelled like tequila a bit, and was quite tasty.

rone: (Default)

There's been a ton of shit i've been meaning to mention.  Let's see if i can remember most of it...

Just over a year ago, i got a T-shirt addressed to 'rone'.  Then about a year after that, i received an envelope addressed to Ron 'Tron Guy' Echeverri, with a PO Box in San Luis Obispo as its return address, containing a ten-dollar bill.  The "Tron Guy" is an amusing touch given my antipathy towards [livejournal.com profile] jmaynard.  I don't mind getting random stuff, although i suppose i would prefer getting stuff off my Amazon wishlist.

Speaking of Maynard, [livejournal.com profile] lammah mentioned that Maynard James Keenan and his winemaker, Eric Glomski, would be signing bottles of their wine at the Whole Foods in Cupertino.  Kim and i showed up about 75 minutes early and there were already about 100 people in front of us (Kim heard someone inside mention that some clowns got in line at 06:00, eight hours early).  Keenan isn't very comfortable as a celebrity, which showed as he barely looked at us when we came up, but Glomski was engaging and while they signed our bottles, i got to talk to him about the pinot noir that Kim, Kim's mom, and i are making.  If you feel like you missed out, he'll be at Fresno's Whole Foods on February 17, Petaluma the 18th, and Sacramento the 19th, all starting at 16:30.

Speaking of wine, i passed Viticulture for Winemakers, which was the final class towards my Certificate in Winemaking from UC Davis Extension.  So as soon as i cough up the certificate fee, i should be receiving my first academic certificate since my high school diploma in a week or two.  I'm a bit excited about it, but i'm only getting started with figuring out if i can make this wine thing go.

[livejournal.com profile] peglegpete moved from Dallas to Seattle, and stopped by our humble home for room and board.

johnny and kimmy

I got to go back to playing soccer last month.  This Thursday marked the first time i won a game while on the field since... i dunno, last summer.  A last minute squeaker, too, thanks to my teammates losing their minds in the final minutes of the game and leaving me defenseless.  It felt good to win, and i feel like i've finally gotten back into playing shape.

I picked out a bottle of shochu at our local sushi joint, but it turned out to be not shochu, but awamori.  It smelled like tequila a bit, and was quite tasty.

rone: (dust)

  • Time's Joel Stein drinks 50 wines from 50 states and offers a quick review of each.  There are a few surprises, and a few hilariously scathing reviews.
  • I'd never heard of Davey Graham (although i'd guess that [livejournal.com profile] tronpublic and [livejournal.com profile] pdcawley had), but he was a seminal figure in English folk music in the `60s.  He was also one hell of a guitarist, doing stuff people wouldn't catch up to for another 10 years.  Ben Myers at the Guardian posted a retrospective out of YouTube clips.  Graham passed away on December 15.

rone: (Default)

  • Time's Joel Stein drinks 50 wines from 50 states and offers a quick review of each.  There are a few surprises, and a few hilariously scathing reviews.
  • I'd never heard of Davey Graham (although i'd guess that [livejournal.com profile] tronpublic and [livejournal.com profile] pdcawley had), but he was a seminal figure in English folk music in the `60s.  He was also one hell of a guitarist, doing stuff people wouldn't catch up to for another 10 years.  Ben Myers at the Guardian posted a retrospective out of YouTube clips.  Graham passed away on December 15.

rone: (evil)

"If you care about the exact lot your wine grew in, the terroirists have already won!"
        — [livejournal.com profile] vatine

rone: (Default)

"If you care about the exact lot your wine grew in, the terroirists have already won!"
        — [livejournal.com profile] vatine

rone: (thugish-rugish)

rone: (Default)

rone: (cigar)

The menu says, PROPER ATTIRE ENCOURAGED.  I wish the dude in the frayed jeans and the "I LOVE MY GIRLFRIEND" T-shirt had read it.

We considered the omakase, but i really didn't see myself eating that much.  I went in with the firm idea that, given the high level of culinary art on display, i would try everything i was served, even if it's not to my normal taste.  So i tried the blue cheese dressing with my iceberg wedges salad and enjoyed it; i got the beef and reef, and ate all the mushrooms, which went well with the filet mignon; and for dessert, i ordered the Ooh!, and ate the black olive ice cream.  I generally abhor olives, but the waiter explained that the saltiness of the ice cream was there to cut the richness of the various chocolates; i figured i had nothing to lose.  I don't know if i would have liked it on its own, but the ice cream fulfilled its duty as a richness buffer with flying colors, uh, flavors.

Kimmy had the baby lettuce salad and the filet mignon, and the Pearadise for dessert; we also ordered the haricot verts, and a couple of hamachi shots, which were simply delicious.  The amuse-bouche were also very good.

As for the wine, i opened with a glass of the aged riesling (not the one listed; it was a 1989 Dr. Heyden Oppenheimer Kruez Auslese from Germany), which was a highlight for me; it was quite complex for a white wine, it showed its age very well, and it adapted well to everything i had before my entrée.  We then ordered the Barbaresco half-bottle to go with our filets, which did an admirable job despite my initial skepticism (it tasted like a pinot noir trying to impersonate a merlot).  For dessert, Kimmy got a glass of their muscat, which was excellent, not too sweet, and paired perfectly with the Pearadise, and i asked for a glass of 1968 madeira.  Sadly, they were out, so the server upsold me to a glass of 1983 vintage port and one of the 10-year madeiras (the latter came at no charge).

I have to showcase my dessert.

a partially melted hollow chocolate sphere with a dollop of fudge within, surrounded by rich chocolate cake on the left; on the right, a dollop of black olive ice cream surrounded by minced cacao nibs, and a small, thin brownie slice

It is as described in the dessert menu, except that the bits you see surrounding the black olive ice cream on the right are minced cacao nibs.  The chocolate sphere was not precisely filled with fudge; rather, it was a dollop of fudge about the same size as the ice cream.

a side view of the jagged edges of the chocolate sphere

When the dish was brought out, the sphere was complete; hot melted chocolate was poured upon it until it melted through and fell upon the fudge within the sphere, leaving the jagged edges you see above.

a tiny disc of custard on a large dish upon which 'happy birthday' is written with chocolate

They brought this out as their gift, purportedly some sort of apple crème brûlée, but Kimmy thought it tasted more like pumpkin.  It tasted more like apple pie to me, with a definite cinnamon flavor which i did not care for.  The other freebies we got were two flutes of Cristalino Brut, which were the first things to arrive at the table.

the cork pulled from our barbaresco, trapped between two rows of long pins on a small pedestal

When our server pulled the cork from our bottle of Barbaresco, he put it in this weird contraption, clearly intending to display the cork, but the next time he came by our table, he took it away.

Our meal, overall, was fantastic.  But i have some complaints:

  • Their online menu wasn't updated, so a few dishes we wanted were missing.  The omission i found most puzzling was the Divinity, the chocolate soufflé, which was inexplicably replaced by the Rise ‘n’ Shine, a banana soufflé.
  • We were amused by patrons receiving cotton candy as the sweet that comes with the bill; we were looking forward to ours, but the blasted machine broke just before we received our bill.  We received some odd ultra-French toast-like squares instead, which weren't all that and really were too sweet for that point in the evening.
  • There's no other way to put this: the men's room smelled like tinkle.  If i'm going to a ballgame, fine.  If i'm going to a fancy restaurant, unacceptable.
  • Kimmy found the chairs almost too uncomfortable.  Again, not what you'd expect at a high-end restaurant.
Regardless, it was all fabulous and i'd do it again, especially if someone else is paying.

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