Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pops' Travel Guide, California Grappa

I know there are not a lot of you out there that like Grappa. I happen to be one that does so indulge me. My son and I made the trek up to the Amador Wineries in Northern California to pick up our wine club selections. The Amador Wineries are about a 45 minute drive from our house. We usually drive up, go to the 4 wineries I am a club member of, have lunch and then drive home. It's a nice relaxing day in a beautiful part of California with the rolling hills full of vineyards. The best part is it's hardly ever crowded and the scenery and wine quality matches that of the more familiar areas in California. It's like going back in time to Napa when you didn't have to pay to taste and there were no crowds. Spring is coming soon and you might want to consider this option.

Now to the main point of this post. While I was driving from winery to winery I remembered that I was out of Grappa. For those of you that don't know what Grappa is, it's made by taking the leftover mash from the wine process and distilling it. My cousin Roberto in Italy makes his own and that's where I fell in love with it. There is one winery in Amador, that I know of, that makes and sells Grappa. If you know and love Grappa you will know that Grappa can have different tastes depending on what grapes the mash came from. We went to the Vino Nocheto Winery to buy the Grappa. There they had a Barbera and Sangiovese and I bought both. You can also get Moscato and Zinfandel.

Now Grappa is not for everyone and most of my friends think I'm crazy for drinking it but if you are like me and love Grappa then Vino Nocheto is a great option. If you live in the area and want to buy some, California law won't let you taste at the winery, then make the trip to Amador County and spend a day in the area. If you live too far away you can find locations that sell it online.

The address is 11011 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, CA 95669 and they are open most days 11am to 4pm.   Amador County is just southeast of Sacramento off of Highway 49 in the gold country.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Travel with Pops, Napa and Sonoma Wine Country

For those of you looking to travel to the California Coast, October is the perfect time to go. The weather is perfect as it is before the rainy season and the temperature is mild. It is also my favorite time to visit the wine country in Napa and Sonoma.

Usually October is also when the harvest is going strong but this year with our drought and hot summer the harvest was a little earlier. Don't let that stop you, this is still a good time of year to visit the wineries. If you can I would go mid-week. The crowds are a lot less and you will find it easier to get to the tasting bar and to find a table at a restaurant.

For a day trip I like to make my way up through the Sonoma county wineries, cut across when you hit Santa Rosa and then work my way down Napa Valley. The wineries are up to you but some of my favorites are Kenwood and Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma County; and Grgich  Hills and for sparkling wine Chandon in Napa Valley. Look at a wine map and pick your own.

You still have time. The weather should be great into early November.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Travel with Pops, Marina Bay Sands

View from our seats at the race

On our recent trip to Singapore we went to the Marina Bay Sands. This is a complex of 3 highrise buildings with a park, pool and observation deck that spans all 3 buildings on top. The top spanning the 3 buildings is in the shape of a ship. The complex also has a hotel, casino, and shopping mall in the 3 buildings. For access to the park and pool you need to be a hotel guest but for a small fee you can go to the top observation deck and enjoy the beautiful view of Singapore. This is something I would highly recommend.

Enjoy some of the pictures we took.

View of our seats from the top of Marina Bay Sands

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Travel with Pops, Macau

St. Marks

Today was our last day in Asia. We were in Hong Kong and decided to take the ferry to Macau for a little siteseeing and gambling. What made the trip better was hiring a guide that took us around the city. We saw the second oldest church in Macau, the ruins of St. Pauls, a Buddhist temple, the fortress,  and the many casinos. One of the casinos had 55 gold bars inlaid in the floor entrance. We got out at the Venetian and spent a good 3 hours gambling. Between Kevin and I we came out a little ahead. That means I lost some and Kevin won more. Kevin was also able to capture a video of someone bungi jumping off the Macau Tower. I'll add that later.

When I get home I'll add more detail and more pictures. This has been an awesome trip.

Gold bars

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Travel with Pops, Snake Temple

I took Kevin to the Snake Temple in Penang, Malaysia and talked him into getting his picture taken with the snakes. It's not "Snakes on a Plane" but close enough.

Travel with Pops, Langkawi

Today we went over to the island of langkawi. From Penang it's a 1.5 hour drive north to Kedah and then another 1.5 hours by ferry. The day didn't start out well because we were in a downpour all morning. About 2pm it started to clear and we tried the cable car to the top of the highest peak. Usually it has an incredible view but today the weather did not cooperate. We started in the clouds but soon it started to clear and we could see the ocean. On the way back we stopped at the beach for a walk and view of some of the islands. By then the weather was awesome. Cenang beach is very long and the sand is like powdered sugar. The water is very warm and there are many activities from jet skiing to parasailing. Only thing to watch for are the jellyfish.

Now we are waiting for the ferry back to Kedah. More details when I get home.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Travel with Pops, Singapore Grand Prix

The race last night couldn't have been better. Mercedes lost and I won $100 from my son. The seats were good but we didn't expect to see much action. We were wrong and we did see some overtaking. Singapore was a great trip.

We are now in Penang Malaysia and staying at the Equatorial. I have already talked Kevin into eating jellyfish and chicken feet for lunch. We get free happy hour for 2.5 hours, then a nice dinner at the hotel and then off to the Slippery Seniorita for more drinking and live music.

More tomorrow.