Wine. Surprises. Great Friends.
Plans for the day were to visit my friend Nancy and do some wine tasting in Napa, afterwards drive to Concord quickly say hi to Brandon, then drive to Fresno to visit J & L Vineyards, and drive south to Hemet, our final destination. A PACKED DAY!!
After thanking Brandon for his hospitality, he explained that the extra effort came from a special staff member, Passion Unique. Brandon explained that she was a former foster youth and once Brandon told Passion about my t-shirt campaign, One4OneFrom50, she wanted to put together something special for us. It was an inspirational moment to have met such a courageous young woman and to have heard about her journey.
Passion is a native Oakland, CA and a former foster youth along with her brothers. She and her brothers were separated when they were in the foster care system, and they never regained contact with each other, but she is in the process of finding them.
It was time to move on to get our morning coffee, and everyone at the hotel told us that the best coffee in Berkeley was Philz Coffee within the Ghetto Gourmet District. The Gourmet Ghetto District, is world famous for its restaurants, and every step of the way we smelled why.
We walked in, and the atmosphere was filled with students and the rest of the working world trying to get that ‘Monday coffee buzz’ to wake up. The most enthusiastic and delightful server address us and explained how to pick the coffee best suited for us and our needs. My love for coffee runs deep, deep like the roots of an old southern oak tree. So I’m leery when people boast about how great there coffee is supposed to be, and it turns out to be a failure. BUT, when I took that first sip of coffee, called sound the alarm, it put me in coffee heaven.
Not only was our coffee enjoyable but so was the story of our coffee server. She moved from LA to Berkeley for school, and her goals a to learn all that she can about food in order to take that knowledge and enthusiasm for food back to her community to educate and to give back to them.
Forty-five minutes later, we were in Napa. We stopped at Nancy’s to regroup and to find a vineyard. Within minutes of driving through what I called Vineyard Lane, we came to a fork in the road. To the right was the direction of the vineyard that we had chosen, but we ended up turning left, because Malaika had a feeling. No more than 100 ft after we turned, Monticello Vineyards was in big bold letters. As Malaika always says, “Oh la la. I like the name Monticello. This is the one.” We stopped and had an unforgettable experience. Even though I had a stomach bug, I didn’t care. It was another chance of a lifetime. Malaika had all Cabernets, and I had a mix of vines consisting of Chardonnay, Rosé, and Cabernet. DELICIOUS!! Money and time well spent. 🙂
By the time we finished, it was after 3pm. We still had to drive to Concord, Fresno, and Hemet. I walked towards the car patting my pants and jacket pockets searching for my keys, and I couldn’t find them. So, I looked inside my purse, AND I knew it…I LOCKED MY KEYS INSIDE THE CAR!!! As I got to the car, their they were, in the ignition. Malaika looked inside and then at me and said, “everything happens for a reason, and this is God’s way of telling us that we’re trying to do too much.” I agreed. So instead of suffering through miles of traffic, tired bodies and nightfall, we ended up driving to Concord for dinner at Brandon’s. He invited us to stay overnight, which was a blessing. We ended the evening, surrounded with love and friends.