Beware, this is a monster post. In fact, I'm going to split it in 2 so I don't overwhelm anyone!

Well, I finally got washed back into NYC at 2am on Tuesday via air (San Fransisco -->Atlanta --> Baltimore) and car (Baltimore --> NYC). The original plan was to get back Sunday morning via air (SF --> NYC) and minimal fuss. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene ruined all of that and we spent $500 (!!) between accomodations for 2 extra nights in San Fransisco (but only 1 extra vacation day!) and a car rental. Luckily we had a hitchhiker of sorts to split some of the car cost with us. I even made it to work, missing only 1 day. 

For the readers who live on the East Coast, I hope everyone and their families and belongings are safe and in one piece! 

Anyway, now that everything has gone more or less back to normal, I will have to start cooking again. SIGH!! Man, spending a week eating amazingly fresh, local, organic, real whole food has been absolutely wonderful. The scale did not even object this morning. No surprise there of course, since our vacation featured enough walking, hiking, scaling and biking to make my daily workouts seem tame in comparison. Yes, we need a vacation from our vacation!

Our week started by a drive through San Fransisco and straight out to Sonoma on Monday. We went right to the first pretty winery that was described in our guidebook and just inhaled two wine tastings and this wonderful lunch. An antipasto plate with cheese and pork (for Boyfriend) and some really fresh artichoke salad and a delicious baguette. Along with a shared glass of Chardonnay.

A note on the wine tastings: when we didn't get 2 for the price of 1 (this happened twice) or had free wine tastings (once) we either had 1 tasting each and shared each taste (thus tasting many more wines for the same price and volume) or just shared one tasting (especially useful when biking/driving).


We then walked all around the little village of Sonoma, bought some trinkets and had a small dinner at a Portugese place. We shared a little plate of tapas (these are spiced almonds, sardines, anchovy pate, chorizo and roasted octopus)


And a sea bass filet. Mmmmm..... Just the garnish (corn and kale?) under the fish tasted fresh and straight from some nearby farm. This is an actual picture of our plate, no google-imaging this time!

Then we went to Sonoma Market to shop for our next adventure: Yosemite!

The market was absurd. I could have literally lived there. Besides the intense selection of cheeses (esp the local ones!) there were olives galore, increadibly cheap wine and bulk bins full of delicious trail mixes and dried mangos that put anything I've bought in NYC to shame.

We then drove out to the middle of nowhere where we spent a night before heading out to Yosemite National Park. It was a 2 hour drive right through the most breathtaking scenery as the morning fog was lifting. We wanted to be in super-early in order to start our Practice Hike (9.4 miles!) up to Yosemite Point. It was a straight 4.2 mile climb up narrow little rock stairs to the top of a waterfall. Once we got to the top there were big pools there where people were swimming. We were NOT wearing bathing suits =( =(


We brought with us 1/2 lb turkey + a block of locally made Jack cheese and a REALLY buttery Dutch crunch bread as well as a roasted pepper tampenade. Here they are,  heading right into my belly atop of Yosemite Falls!  We then proceeded upwards to another summit and got a view of the Half Dome (actually more like 3/4 Dome!) which we would be climbing the next day.


Here's me, looking at what we are going to be climbing the next day (upper left)


Actually to climb this thing you need a permit. These get completely sold out months ahead of time and our only hope was to get one when they started putting out cancellations at 7am the previous morning (we managed to snag one!). The other thing you need is a lot of cajones because it's a 14.2 mile hike (7.1miles straight uphill) with some majorly steep stuff and the cables that are simply terrifying. But we definitely did it.'s a LOT steeper than it looks in the picture!


This is more accurate.


When we finally got up 6 gruelling hours later we saw the most incredible views and got to perch with our lunch (too sad to take pictures of: super processed stuff that we figured would hold up best for 6 hours of hiking in the sun) on top of these crazy cliffs. we had to fight off some squirrels though, who would have thought they'd be up here?

I think Boyfriend nearly had a heart attack with some of my antics! That tiny little dot on top of the rock is me.


We even met some girls from Boston who were kind enough to share some champagne with us when we got DOWN the cables (this was actually much scarier and I even took a slip which really got my heart pounding!).

After the Half Dome hike we got some wine, some hummus, cheese, carrots, some crackers (cheddar cheese and pumpkin seed crackers were ahhh-mazing!), more jerky and mustard and had a picnic under the stars. Of course, living in the city that never sleeps we almost never get to see real stars, so this was just fantastic. It looked like someone had sprinkled powdered sugar up there!

Day 3 was an "easy" day. We started by climbing all over the Bridalveil fall to the amazement of some families down at the bottom who ogled Boyfriend and I while we scrambled the boulders up to almost the top of the falls.


We finished up our day by seeing the huge sequoia trees (seeing=hugging) and taking a look at El Cap, the most absurd climbing wall ever. Lunch continued to be a sad little affair of left over cheese/meat/jerky/crackers. Clearly our culinary adventures had to wait for Sonoma/San Fransisco again =)

I will leave those for the next post also. There are fewer pictures because we spent our time on bikes and then walking through foggy, gloomy, flipping COLD San Fransisco. You hear that West Coast? Your weather isn't all that after all!

Tonight I am defrosting my dad's cod, baking that up along with some microwaved Bird's Eye Chef's favorites risotto for an easy dinner after my first workout in 8 days. I have full confidence that we will be going to sleep before 10pm tonight.

Hope everyone had a great (and yummy!) week!


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    I'm a recent graduate from medical school and a pathology resident living in New York City. Like most girls living in the city, I've found that a lot of my social life revolves around the regular consumption of high-calorie food and alcoholic beverages. I've decided to start a blog about how I am trying to beat the bulge by eating and cooking defensively between social engagements and how even a busy girl can fit exercise into a busy life.

    All recipes are on Petitchef


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