An Epic Birthday Week – Episode X

Day 10 was the main reason I planned my trip to span two weekends. It was the day that cousin Nancy was renting a bus to take a group of us to Sonoma for wine tasting to celebrate our birthdays and Evy’s business school sendoff. Since it was the main event, we had planned on taking things easy the night before. Of course it didn’t work out that way though. After two wine bars, wine at dinner, and then a bar after that, most of us were toast. When we got back to Lily and CS’s place, I went straight to bed, and I know Lily was feeling queasy too. But CS? He’s more machine than man when it comes to drinking and somehow he stayed up until 3am drinking with friends that came over. Crazy, considering we had to be up at 7am in order to get to Nancy’s in time for the bus pickup!

Impressively, Jin, who was going to drive us to Nancy’s but was one of the ones who stayed up late with CS, showed up right at 7am with a box o’ bagels. Nice. I should point out that the real reason we were getting up so early was that we wanted to stop by Philz Coffee before heading to Nancy’s, and well, you know coffee at Philz takes a little while to make. So as hungover as we all were, we were also coffee junkies that sacrificed an extra half hour of sleep in order to get our Philz fix.

We were a group of walking wounded when we arrived at Nancy’s and in truth I don’t think any of us really came back to life until we got to Sonoma and had our first glass of wine. From there, the rest of the day was a whirlwind. We hit about 6 wineries for tastings with one stop at The Girl & The Fig for lunch (where I didn’t eat because I was deeply into drink mode by that point). I didn’t really love any of the wines I tasted that day, but to be honest, by the 4th winery, Margaux and Manichewitz probably would have been the same to me. I had mainly been drinking reds all day and the tannins had turned my tongue to sandpaper. Even the oysters we had at B.R. Cohn couldn’t refresh my palate. But it didn’t matter, because this trip wasn’t really about the wine. It was about celebrating and just chilling with great family and friends. The bus ride was a hoot, especially with the shots of Cazadores tequila being passed around and CS’s crazy friend Hector holding court and entertaining everyone. It was a great day and by the time we were on our way home, most of us were nodding off as we were stuck in traffic.

But that wasn’t the end of the festivities. We got back to Nancy’s place and fired up the grill for some terrific bbq chicken and kalbi. Nancy also makes a mean spinach dip. Meanwhile Hector taught us all how to properly drink Mexican beer with lime and salt (a flavor profile which I have developed quite a fondness for after having those micheladas and chavelas). CS and Hector are old drinking buddies and the two of them just seemed to feed off of each other’s energy, egging each other on and keeping a fresh beverage in each others’ hands at all times. Very crazy considering CS had been up until 3am drinking the night before, and really, with me as a house guest, he had pretty much been drinking heavily all week. But then again, with Lily as a girlfriend, I guess you could say he’s probably been drinking heavily for two years, hahaha. Speaking of which, happy anniversary to them!

Since I was flying home the following day I knew I didn’t want to drink too much that night and wake up feeling sick. Nothing worse than being trapped on a plane when you’re feeling ill. So with that in mind, I switched to water after my 3rd shot of tequila. Lily also stopped drinking because she was designated driver. And she filled that role properly, as opposed to the kid, Mike I think his name was, who was supposed to be the DD for some of the other guys at the party, but who I guess fell victim to Nancy’s sudden urge to make people do shots (Nancy never does shots, but she was doing them that night!). When we left the party, the poor kid was on the sofa wincing, clutching a pillow to his side as if Bas Rutten had just kicked him in the liver. I felt bad for the kid, but that didn’t stop me from laughing hysterically of course.

So somehow 6 of us crammed ourselves into one car and Lily drove us back to her place, a good half hour drive. I now know what it must be like to get smuggled across the border. Those of us in the back seat were all contorted and my left leg was totally asleep by the time we got back. Oh well, as I told Hector, I guess I’m not very good at Mexican yoga.

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