2011 continued

The blog image I selected is of the samples of ceviche you can order at Jaguar in Coconut Grove Florida.  It’s a funny little story, but our friend Jorge picked us up from the airport.  He drove us into Coconut Grove, but before dropping us at our hotel, he toured us through the neighborhood real quick and pointed out all of the dining and shopping options.  There’s the usual franchise chain eateries and coffee shops, but he made sure to point us to a handful of independent restaurants and what they feature.  Well, Jaguar was one such location and at one point when Jorge called to check in with us, Paul said “at this point it would be less embarrassing to tell you we’re at Cheesecake Factory than Jaguar”.  The ceviches were fantastic and so were the margaritas.  One thing they do there that I keep forgetting to do at home, is to use clear glass wine bottles to serve water in table-side.  Anyway, that’s the story of the ceviche spoons…part of the Miami trip.

In July we drove to Colorado to meet up with my family.  My brother Mike and his daughter Makana went on a hike up Missouri Mountain, to check off another Fourteener, and didn’t make it back down.  Search and rescue found them after several days and we gathered at his home in Boulder to take care of the necessary arrangements.  In the photo above, I have my arm around Ila, that’s Millies sister that lives in a town nearby to where we stayed.  In all the years I’ve known her I consider her family and was glad for the friendly face during such a shitty time in my life.

A photo of my niece Makana and my brother Mike from a photo they took together in Telluride in 2010.  Each year in June for Fathers Day and Summer Solstice, the would spend the week together and usually hike a 14er, that’s what they call the peaks in the Rockies that are over 14,000 feet.

In October, while we were in New Orleans, Paul said he would like to rent a car and drive up into Mobile, Alabama for lunch and to see what was there.  So we did.  From the French Quarter, we headed to Lake Pontchartrain, drove across it and headed East from there and followed minor roads through less developed areas.  Bay Saint Louis was still in major disrepair since Katrina (2005) and Gulfport Mississippi was clearly struggling to recover still.  The center median along the coastal highway has become a sculpture garden.  Someone carved animals into the tree stumps of trees that were blasted by the hurricane, it was pretty amazing.  The last time I drove to Biloxi was ten years or so ago and to see so much devastation and ruin was heart breaking and even worse was knowing the damage was six years old.

Mobile was smaller than we thought it would be, but we enjoyed oysters and gumbo at Wintzells before heading back.

I keep forgetting about the event in Las Vegas.  Sorry for the blurry pic, it was the best one of the group…this was the annual Wine Amplified event at Mandalay Bay.  The band in 2011 was Train and the event was a huge success.  We got our usual cabana just to the right of the stage and had a great time pouring.  Millie joined us on our “company retreat” and spent the day with us lounging pool side at the cabana at The Green Valley Ranch.

Pretty sure I mentioned these guys earlier in the year, but here they are again. Our new roommates, Fat Cat (far side), and Little Bubby.  I adopted them years ago for a friend and in a bizarre tale of lesbian divorce and custody battle, I ended up with them.  We love having them around and I can’t imagine my life without them ever again.

And with that, I’m wrapping up the highlights and low lights of 2011.  Next up…winemaking related blogs as we kick off pruning on January 7th.