Sunday 25 November 2012

Thanksgiving in San Rafael

I'm catching up on posts. We had a great thanksgiving: we rented, via airbnb, a fancy house in San Rafael, less than an hour's drive from home, with two other Aussie couples (for the record San Rafael is apparently pronounced something like San Rafel rather than San Rafayel, the house owners set us straight).

We cooked a giant turkey, ate ourselves silly, admired the view, had beers in the hot tub, and stayed up all night playing a crazy addictive card game.

View from the deck
When we started to go a little stir crazy in the house, we headed to Petaluma for a great brunch at Della Fattoria, including some impressively crafted coffees, and wandered around antique stores.

I also brought my mountain bike and hit the fantastic mountain bike trails of China Camp state park and the adjoining open space, which you could access right from the back of the house. Spectacular views across the bay to the Golden Gate from the top of the ridge.

It was a great way to get away, without the hassle of travel during Thanksgiving.

Saturday 17 November 2012


For a friend's birthday we hired a limo and headed to wine country. It was a great time. We picked up some fantastic picnic food at Oakville Grocery, which the birthday boy described as the 'the bourgiest and best grocery store on earth'. I tend to agree, it is very impressive.

Armed with fancy sandwiches, cheese and cake we had a picnic lunch at Rombauer, hit some other wineries I can't remember, then finished with oysters and champagne at Domaine Chandon. The word decadent springs to mind.

Rombauer by Brandon
Vines in autumn by Patrick
Chandon by Brandon
Getting around by limo was great, although you should be prepared for the experience of sideways and rear-facing seats after wine consumption...

Thursday 8 November 2012

Gig: Diamond Rings and Sky Ferreira @ The Rickshaw Stop

Sky Ferreira, photo:
Grady Brannan
This band Diamond Rings from Toronto with their album Free Dimensional showed up in my rdio recommendations. After listening to it for a few weeks, I thought I'd check when they were touring, since I wanted to start seeing more live music. Turned out they were playing that night at the Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley, so I quickly recruited two friends, which included a place to sleep, and bought tickets. It was sold out.

Diamond Rings, photo:
Grady Brannan
Sky Ferreira supported, and she was really good. When it was Diamond Rings' turn a lot more guys turned up, bringing the crowd gender balance to about 95% male, turns out he is very gay, and this is San Francisco. The music was awesome though, I had a great time, and despite the mostly gay audience my friend still managed to get felt up by a woman whilst standing next his wife.

4 stars.