Dublin, Ireland. Pt.2

Dublin, Ireland. Pt.2

One of the highlights of out trip was a guided tour to Cliffs of Moher and Galway. Not only is the scenery gorgeous, the fact that you can relax on a very nice coach is outstanding. It’s an earlier tour so be prepared to wake up at 5-6AM and don’t stay up late at the pub the night before. 

We booked this tour a day in advance and I’m so glad they still had a couple of spots for us. We met our shuttle in front Trinity Colleges’ gates, they make sure you’re in the right group since they offer multiple pick ups for different tours. Our guide was amazing from the minute we met him. It’s a pretty long ride to the first stop but he kept everyone entertained and happy with his stories, history of Ireland and local treasures. Plus, wifi and comfy seats didn’t hurt – if you must take a nap, you can. I might have taken a few. 

First stop oddly enough is the Obama Square (or something close to that). They have a little statue of Obama and all. As an introduction, you might hear a lot of Trump jokes which I’m all about. Sorry not sorry midwest. 

Then, off to the Cliffs we went. Driving through Irish countryside is an experience of it’s own. I don’t know how the driver managed to get us though all the skinny, windy road in a bus. Very impressive! Very scary! A couple hours later, we arrived to the Cliffs of Moher. Not going to lie, I cried a little. The most beautiful ocean side with magnificent cliffs going nowhere… Something you must see at least once in lifetime. It’s breathtaking and I could easily spend a day just starring at the view. The paths, just like the county roads are skinny and windy. Walking to the edge of the viewpoint is a bit scary, but worth it. Sure enough, there will be a plenty of brave soul taking photos all the way at the end.  

Another thing about the Cliffs –  be prepared for the ever changing weather. It might rain on and off every 20 minutes with a bit of sunshine in between. It’s romantic and makes for good photos for Insta. 

Once that part of the tour is over, it’s another 2 hour drive to Galway. We didn’t get much of the tour there just the basic facts about the town. It’s very old, quaint and picturesque. The tour guide suggested visiting the King’s Head pub which we did. After which, we decided not to take the bus back but find a hotel to spend the night in instead. 

We booked a hotel just off the main square and were happy to get another night and morning to enjoy this beautiful town. Just like Dublin, the food scene is amazing… Architecture, history, people. Worth exploring for a day or two. 

I know many people rent a car to get around Irish coast, but it you prefer to relax and be transported from place to place this tour is definitely a must. Warn the driver that you’re staying in Galway and he won’t have to worry about loose Americans not making the bus back. 

To get back to Dublin or keep traveling, simply buy a train ticket. Super easy to buy online (make sure to put in current date and time. Looking at you, husband).

Note from Shawn: I loved all of the stories that our tour guide sewed during our bus ride. On this trip we really learned that the Irish love to sing and tell stories. We learned about a highway that was diverted (for millions of dollars) to avoid disturbing the faeries. In Ireland their are faery bushes and it is said that any person that cuts down one of these bushes will be cursed to die within the year. The government had approved the plans for a highway and in it’s path lay one of these bushes. Nobody in Ireland would cut down the bush, fearing imminent death. Because of this the Irish government had to contract engineers and re-design a curve into the highway, allowing it to pass to the side of the bush. Crazy stuff. We also passed the castle of a goblin kings on the way to Galway, it was a real, tiny 500+ year old stone castle. Overall it was a very fun tour with lively storytelling and a funny guide, would definitely recommend.

Trip Advisor tour  https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g186605-d11464672-Cliffs_of_Moher_Tour_Including_Wild_Atlantic_Way_and_Galway_City_from_Dublin-Dubli.html?m=19905

King’s Head Pub – a must visit in Galway – 

https://www.thekingshead.ie/pub

Breakfast and tea – http://www.ardbia.com

The best Spanish tapas with an Irish twist   

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g186609-d4946141-Reviews-Cava_Bodega-Galway_County_Galway_Western_Ireland.html

 

 

Fisher’s Wine and Cheese Bar

 

It might not be a brand new spot but it is my favorite wine bar in Marin. Located in the Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, Fisher’s Wine and Cheese won me over with the warm decor, changing wine selection, and amazing food.

Wine: selection changes every 2 weeks and the wines are picked by their wine buyer, Carter. I was able to find a rare Greek wine, local wines from Sonoma/Napa that are not sold in stores as well as other limited releases.

Food: traditional California eats. With a twist. I recommend meatballs, Mac and cheese, and cheese platters. Everything is made in house and available for lunch and dinner. They offer a sandwich of the month which is always popular and is usually sold out by lunch time.

Atmosphere: small wine shop with cozy decor. Small selection of gifts, cheese and meat for sale, wine for sale, to go lunch boxed, etc. I love sitting outside on their patio with live music and bay views. They always have fresh flowers for the table too.

Fisher’s Wine and Cheese is a stylish spot for wine, California eats and gifts.

 

Wedding Planning. Pt. 1

Wedding Planning. Pt. 1

It’s been 5 months now since Shawn and I got engaged so it’s probably time to share my experience with wedding planning, vendors, and other stress that comes with weddings.

First of all, I’m always the one making plans, booking trips, and organizing our free time… So naturally, the day after we got engaged I jumped right into the planning phase. Since we live so close to wine country and love spending our free time there it was not a question that we will be getting married at one of the wineries. But which one?!

We scheduled tours at two of our favorite places: Brasswood Bar + Kitchen and Cline Cellars.

We discovered Brasswood on one of our getaways and fell in love with the atmosphere, food and location.  On our tour, Karen was amazing and showed us all parts of the venue that we would be able to use for the ceremony, reception, cocktail hour, bridal suite, etc. We were in love with the place already, however, after receiving the quote for the venue rental itself it didn’t make sense to go “wedding poor” and spend all that money plus more on actually food, drinks, flowers, and other necessities.

Or next stop was Cline. To give you a little background on this venue  – one of our first dates happened there, Shawn proposed to me there on our second anniversary… Many, many amazing memories have been made at Cline. After taking the tour with one of their planners, we realized that it was just meant to be.

The venue represents our style and taste, and holds a special place in our hearts. I hope our guests will see that and enjoy our special day with us next year.

 

 

 

Silver Oak Cellars Food & Wine Pairing

A quick summary of the amazing tasting experience my fiancé and I did for his birthday back in July.

Silver Oak is one of the best wineries in Napa county that specializes in Cabernets. We wanted to do something more interesting than just a wine tasting so we opted for the wine and food pairing experience.

Not going to lie, I expected a simple cheese and meat selection, maybe a main course… BUT the experience we received was so much more.

We got there about 15 minutes early and were greeted by our amazing host. She asked us to browse for a bit since we were waiting on 2-3 more couples to arrive. At 11 o’clock, she asked us to meet her at the tasting station to start with our first pour. She didn’t make anyone wait for the people that were late and we went right into the tour. We learned a lot about the history of the winery, the owners, their processes and culture.

After a little tour, we went upstairs for the actually food pairing. We were seated in a large rustic room decorated with black and white photos of the people who work there. The winery definitely seems like a family run operation and feels comfortable and inviting.

The chef presented us the first course  – Hamachi Crudo. Amazing start! Complemented by Twomey Sav. Blanc.

Cauliflower Risotto – not usually my thing, but it was delicious. Paired with Twomey Pinot.

Followed by A5 Wagyu steak which was my first time trying this grade of steak. Juicy, melts in your mouth… I will never forget. The steak was paired with two of their Cabs – 2013 Alexander Valley and 2013 Napa Valley.

For dessert, we had an interesting take on a classic cream brûlée made with gouda cheese. Again, couldn’t get enough.

The tasting menu is seasonal and I am very excited to go back for a different experience. Perhaps this winter?

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Crudo
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Risotto
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Steak
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Gouda cream brûlée
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Wine selection

 

 

 

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Wine Cellars
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Tasting Room

 

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