Have I mentioned that I was going on a trip to California?
Well, I did! From Thursday to Sunday, my roommate and I ran around northern California for real life/outside-the-college-bubble stuff and little bit of fun. Oh, and food. Always, always food.
15 minutes after our morning classes were out, we were on the road to the Charlotte airport. California adventure? Bring it on.
We stayed with my uncle and his family in the San Rafael area (thanks, family!!), and rented a car to get us around. After the 45 minutes from the airport to their house in which I bit my lips repeatedly, gripped the steering wheel like my life depended on it, and emitted the occasional profanity when someone 2 lanes over sped by at 90 mph, I got quite used to it.
PS, South Carolina drives way too slow.
Day 1: Getting down to business
My roommate is a music therapy major, and as part of her degree she has to do an internship after graduation. Her top choice was (yes, was) in Sacramento and when she started planning the trip so she could audition for them live, I jumped at the opportunity to visit the CIA Greystone campus. Plus – adventure tiiiime! [When you call a trip to the grocery store an adventure, a good reason to go to California in January looks like an epic journey. You understand.]
We dutifully bounded out of bed at 6 in the morning on Friday (is that sarcasm I hear?) to beat rush hour traffic into Sacramento. At least we got to see a pretty sunrise!
After dropping her off, I zoomed to Napa Valley! The CIA is located in St. Helena, just down the road from Napa and across the street from a vineyard.
Culinary school….or castle??
mmmm, grapes 🙂
Turquoise lamp posts! If you are unfamiliar with my turquoise obsession…consider yourself warned.
The herb garden!
I have to admit, part of the pull of this school is its location. Not just wine country – M.F.K. Fisher lived in St. Helena with her 2 daughters at one point in her life. I’ve walked the same ground as M.F.K. Fisher. Whoa.
The town of St. Helena is as cute as it can be! Love at first drive-though.
Note the G on the clock!! Omen?
While I waited for my 3 o’clock appointment with admissions, I spent the afternoon in – where else? – a bakery. A really cute, local organic bakery with incredible coffee.
I had to stay for lunch, of course. It’s just polite.
After the tour of campus, during which I asked tons of questions and all my mother’s hopes of my liking the New York campus better flew out the proverbial window, I headed back to Sacramento to pick up my
kid roommate. Not without about an hour and a half of rush hour traffic. But I did manage to get something out of it…
If anyone asks, I most certainly did not take these while driving/sitting in traffic. That would be dangerous.
Out of hunger and desperation, we chose a brewery on the same street as the internship location for dinner. It actually turned out to be a pretty good choice!
Spinach salad with feta, artichokes, crispy onions and little baby bay shrimp that I subbed for chicken. I’m on the west coast, people – seafood all the way! It was in a really delicious garlic-basil dressing that I am going to try to recreate – both flavors balanced so nicely! Paired with a glass of wine, I was a very happy – and exhausted – girl.
We slept in a bit til about 9 and I made us breakfast – oatmeal, of course!
2/3 c oats, 1 c. of water and 1/3 c. of low fat milk. Topped with a barely ripe banana (when they are not quite ripe, they are better on top – if you mix them in the pot, they are just to starchy and lose all the sweet flavor), peanut butter, and whipped cream. Because it was there. I recommend it heartily 🙂
We decided to have a low-key day because, well, we are pretty low-key people. We headed to Sausalito, a really cute little town (that was apparently the theme of the weekend!) on the other side of the bridge from San Francisco. We wandered, drank more amazing coffee while sitting on a bench and gazing at the water, and of course, we ate.
We didn’t plan that…we swear.
For lunch, we decided on the bakery where we found the wonderful coffee. I’ve decided that local bakeries are generally the best choice for dining when traveling. How can you go wrong with bread?
We ordered 2 panini for lunch and split them.
This was the veggie filled with beets, chard, pepper, other veggies and either mozzarella or fontina cheese – the bread was great and the veggies had a lovely sweet flavor that went well with the melty cheese.
We also ordered the prosciutto panini, which had spring greens, peppers and fontina – it was like a crispy, crunchy rainbow! It reminded me how much I love prosciutto. It just has such a wonderful smokey flavor, but it’s so thin. That’s saying a lot coming from an almost-vegetarian!
Dessert is, of course, a necessary thing.
We spent the late afternoon crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve been to San Fran a couple times, but I was way too young to remember if I’d even done this before, and this time I had a camera!
Night night, sun!
It took 16 hours, 2 cars, 3 planes, 4 states and time zones, and a grande sub-par latte from Starbucks to get us home. But it was worth it.
Well worth it.