Oct 18 2015

Best Bagel, 2015

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Oct 18 2015

Autumn is here

The American flag at the post office.

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More flag pix

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Oct 17 2015

An addition on top of the garage

The first two pictures were taken on Friday, Oct 9. The progress is quick. A little over a week later (the second two pix), the second floor is added
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Oct 12 2015

Shadow Lane



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in great neck

Oct 11 2015

Napa & Sonoma 2015: save water drink wine

pretty neat
I spotted this sign (and a few more) at Chez Napolèon on 365 W 50th St., @ 9th Ave in New York, back in 2008. California is in its 4th year drought, so I thought this would be an appropriate title for this winery trip.

If there’s one thing I take away from this trip, it’s the American wine have honestly arrived, without adding sugar, like the old master Europeans.

This USA news top 10 wine tour rated Napa and Sonoma 2 and 3 respectively (#1: Tuscany).
A few vineyards, all with limited productions we visited:


  1. Wolf Family Vineyards
  2. Bressler Vineyards
  3. Tamber Bey Vineyards



  1. Rochioli Vineyards
  2. Martinelli Vineyards
  3. Limerick Lanes Vineyards
  4. Macrostie Vineyards
  5. William Selyem Vineyards
  6. Robert Young Vineyards
  7. Lynmar Estate Vineyards

Restaurants in the wine country:

  1. Torc, in Napa
  2. Farmstead
  3. The Girl & The Fig in Sonoma
  4. Valette Restaurant
  5. El Dorado Kitchen

Wine consumption has really taken off in USA for the past few decades. North Fork in Long Island has become an destination from its infancy. Napa and Sonoma are on the super stars. I remembered my first taste of Zinfandel in 1986. It’s light like sweet juice.

All the vineyards we visited are small, annual production measure in hundred cases (one case contains 12 750-ml bottles). The commercial giant Kendal-Jackson churns out 1.3 million cases Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay alone.

Most tastings don’t provide snacks. However, they pour generously, I’d say more than 1 oz. And often saying: “please don’t feel bad to dump it …” I wondered, for the type of wine when they produce as little as 200 cases a year, it’s 2,400 750-ml bottles, would they have enough wine left to sell?

IMG_1905French oak is predominately used here. Silver Oak Cellar uses American oak tho. Many vineyards spend millions to buy new oak barrels, using them for 3-4 years and sell for a penny. Each barrel, that holds about 60 gallons cost US$1,600. One vineyard said they sell for US$400 and another one said $200. Some vineyards age their wine with used barrels.

it is during this trip, I was bit shocked to learn adding sugar to the wine isn’t the Chinese invention. It actually the old trick employed by the Europeans. Cheating comes to mind. The wine guide said, Americans have far more rules governs the wine making, every step of the in the long process (they do in many other fields as well – such as finance. In long or short term, it serves USA well.)

imageWe flew into SFO, and spent two nights in Monterey and Carmel. Then moved north to Napa (2 nights) and then Sonoma (3 nights). The gang left home on Saturday. I stayed for two more nights in Oakland.

The wineries we visited, needing reservations, some were private. These small vineyards have very limited production, some make as few as 200 cases a year (1 kind of wine) where commercial giant like Kendall-Jackson, they churn out 1.2 million cases of Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay a year. (Reserv seems being abused here.)

Shipping, is expensive. In general, it cost $35 and up. The vineyards usually avoid sending in the heat of summer and dead cold winter time.

imageI’ve known how crazy the wine connoisseurs would do to take care of their babies, but it’s the first time I’ve learned that European wine makers are allowed to add sugar. Are you kidding me? This is cheating. US, the new kid on the block, has always more regulations (think finances …)  than the sissy Europeans.

One learns something new every day. The joy of travel, and joy of living.

In spite of two cancellations from AirBnB – we only made three -:), we had a wonderful trip.

Google map and CA 1.


  1. Sat, MontereyLovers Point; Monterey Bay Aquaium; Bistro Moulin
  2. Sun 9.27, Point Lobos; Bixbycamp/picnicBig SurCarmel & dinner
  3. Mom, Napa: Moss Landing; Karen @ Wolf; Bressler; Torc; Benicia
  4. Tue 9.29, Tamber Bay ; Farmstead
  5. Wed, Sonoma: Rochioli; MartinelliThe Girl & The Fig
  6. Thur 10.1, town square Limerick, MacRostie (lunch); William SelyemHealdsburg; Valette
  7. Fri, Robert Young; LynmarEl Dorado Kitchen
  8. Sat, Oakland, Golden Gate bridge at SF
  9. Sun 10.4, PleasantonAndrás Schiff: men are vain
  10. Mon, the cross; flight lands early

Oct 5 2015

Oakland Chinatown

Visiting Oakland Chinatown on the last day, I spotted this intersection: pedestrians can cross anyway they wish: straight or Diagonal. The city planning people probably know how Chinese cross: they cross at will, from anywhere.

I feel the area has improved a lot, becoming cleaner and neater.

Dad said the previous mayor was a Chinese lady who lives in the area. She did a lot for the people but served only one term, didn’t do too well, politically.

The GMD party headquarter, reportedly this particular chapter is the wealthiest.

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Oct 5 2015

Carol Ann Read Breath Health Center

At the Sutter Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.
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Oct 5 2015

Oakland, CA

To the image center – Carol Ann Read. Chinatown.

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Oct 4 2015

Taste of Sing-Ma

824 Main St,.
Pleasanton, CA 94566
(925) 249-9448

A neighborhood restaurant, with pleasant setting. Sing Ma is short for Singapore and Malaysia.

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The main street of the town is small and quiet on a Sunday afternoon.

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Oct 4 2015

András Schiff: are men vain?

I caught András Schiff’s recital at the San Francisco symphony. I love classic music but don’t know enough to comment on his skill. He played the following four and one encore.

  1. Hayden: Sonata No. 45 in E-flat major
  2. Beethoven: Sonata No. 32 in C minor
  3. Mozart: Sonata in D major
  4. Schubert: Sonata in B-flat major

He’s 62 (born 1953 in Budapest) but his picture for advertising must be an old one. On stage, he walked really slow, like someone in his 80s. That reminds me of Radu Lupu whom I last saw in Frankfurt in 2014, much younger in ad picture but old on stage.

Are males vain?

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In any case, I’m still looking for that elusive Beethoven’s violin concerto.

Regarding the look of the male musicians, Hindman wrote in her memoir “There he is, Itzhak Perlman, looking older than the photographs on your CD jackets.” -:)