Today I celebrate 15 years of marriage to Nichole. That’s right, not only is Halloween my all-time favorite holiday, but also my damn wedding anniversary.
15 years ago tonight, 110 people gathered inside a crazy Italian restaurant in Fullerton called Angelo’s and Vinci’s. I say crazy because the walls are covered in Commedia dell’arte masks and they even have a “Monster Wine Cellar”. Everyone came in costume (any character from the history of cinema), we had jack-o-lantern centerpieces, and LURCH was our ring-bearer (carrying a severed hand on a silver platter with our rings on two of the fingers). It was a spooktacular event that our friends still talk about today.
So to celebrate, we decided our big vacation this year would be to give ol’ Napa Valley a second shot. Sure, it’s another road trip to wine country with the pugs, but that’s what we wanted to do. Best of all, we agreed that we would have NO destination plans for Halloween eve. No reservations. No ideas. The drive up the 5 wound up being sensational because we actually caught a RAIN STORM, a rare occurrence these days in the Golden State.
The wife even made us make a pit stop at the Jelly Belly candy factory in Fairfield.
I love jelly beans and all, but this place was NUTS. They even had a line of deliberately DISGUSTING jelly beans. One of them came in the flavor of BARF.
NO JOKE, I SAMPLED THE BARF BEAN AND IT TRULY TASTED LIKE BARF. SO NASTY!!!
So tonight, we’ve wound up here: Suisun City, California. 19 miles from Napa Valley. And I gotta say, it’s a fabulous little New England-y-type town right here in the Delta. IDYLLIC for Halloween! Why, as soon as we checked-in to our hotel and stepped out to walk the dogs, we ran smack dab into a Halloween Costume Parade sponsored by the local fire department.
We strolled about town, spoke to some local fisherman hoping to hook some salmon, and dined at a swell little Mexican joint called Taqueria Tepa. Very authentic. And dare I say, romantic. I’ve been with this woman for 22 years total and she is FAR and AWAY the easiest person I know to travel with.
I like it here…
I’m not sure how Napa Valley and Max Koch are going to mesh this time out. The last time I came up here was pretty rocky. I remember a lot of very snobby people and overpriced tastings. But I’m keeping my mind open and am hoping to seriously relax and disconnect as best as I can from the insidious outside world. But that does NOT mean that I won’t be keeping studious notes and shooting as much footage as I can for ya.
Okay, better go enjoy some wine and scary movies with the wife. Happy Halloween to you!
WINE PAIRING: We wanted something as local as possible, so I found a Wooden Valley 2011 North Coast Zinfandel. I REALLY like it. I just wish I wasn’t sipping the stuff from a plastic-ass wine glass.