The Lizard Chronicles

Some of this is true. Some of this is better. –Too Much Joy

Drink, Hike, Drink Day 10: Wherein I Promise Ian Never to Make Us Lug a Tea Set Around the World June 14, 2019

Over breakfast on the final full day of our trip, while chatting with the other couples at the table, Ian and I described how we had solved our wine problem (i.e., not being able to ship it home) with a new suitcase and some packing materials. This prompted a story from Carol and Brian (I’m actually not sure her name was Carol. I don’t think I ever caught her name, but I’m calling her Carol here for the sake of simplicity), a couple from Manchester. Some years ago, during the first few days of a 3-month around-the-world trip, Carol had come across a tea set she just adored. She hesitated in buying it at first, knowing they had a lot of travel ahead of them. But then it occurred to her that they would be meeting up with their daughter in a short while. They could give her the tea set to take home and retrieve it when they were done with their travels. For some reason, the daughter could not or would not take the tea set home. So, it accompanied them throughout the duration of their trip. Carol motioned to Brian, “Oh, he sure gave me an earache about it each time we moved from place to place, but the set made it home intact.”

Suddenly, carrying our wine home seemed like no big deal.

Our first winery stop that day was Chimney Rock. It was our second visit there, and as we did our tasting, Ian told the tasting room employee about the last time we were there (five years earlier). We had come in toward the end of the day, and a large private party had just left, leaving several open bottles behind. So, our host that day poured us several tastes off-menu, and when Ian offhandedly mentioned his fondness for Cabernet Franc, our host got a gleam in his eye and exclaimed, “Oh! You like Cabernet Franc? I have something you need to try!” He excitedly opened a new bottle.

“Cabernet Franc? Oh, that had to be Tom,” the tasting room employee said chuckling. Apparently Tom had a reputation for being a Cabernet Franc fanatic.


The grounds at Chimney Rock

Next up was Mumm. It was a lovely day, so we took advantage of their patio for our tasting. I know not everyone is as big of a bubbly fan as I am, but if you are down with bubbles, Mumm is worth a visit. The tastings there were by far the best value we had in Napa—$28 to $35 for three to four full pours! Also, there was an adorable winery cat named Kitty Girl, who sprawled out on the floor of the foyer, totally unconcerned about all the hubbub around her, seemingly waiting for the nearby patch of sunlight to come to her.


Lots o’ bubbles!


Kitty Girl don’t care

We had a lunch of giant, delicious sandwiches at Guigini’s Deli, in St. Helena and proceeded on to Rutherford Hill for a tasting. Spying a bottle sitting on the back of the bar, I nudged Ian and said, “Hey, that wine literally has your name on it.” We came to learn that this wine, Ian – Tiago, was named in honor of the two winemakers’ sons. It’s always a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon–no favoritism!


At Rutherford Hill


I couldn’t help but feel like this tree was looking at me!

We finished up with all we’d planned for the day, and it was still relatively early, so we decided to stop at Domaine Chandon. It seemed fitting to have some bubbles during our last winery visit of our anniversary trip.


Cheers to a successful trip!


I was trying to get a little artsy here

Back at the inn that evening, once we’d decided on a restaurant for dinner, Ian handed me the iPad and said, “This place is right next store. We could stop there for a tasting before we eat.” I looked at the website he had called up: Gamling & McDuck–the name alone made me want to go there.

When we arrived at the Gamling & McDuck tasting room, I noticed several things that made me immediately love the place:

  • The ceiling was sparkly (I think some kind of fiber optics were involved)
  • One of the shelves behind the bar held a Storm Trooper Helmet
  • On the counter behind the bar, I spotted a Trapper Keeper

Not something you see in every tasting room!


Good for algebra worksheets and wine tasting notes!

I soon found there was much more about the place to love. Adam (the McDuck half of the duo, Gamling was unfortunately not there at the time) was super friendly and delightful, and the wines were great. I was particularly fond of the Feral Rosé–and not just because the label is adorable. They also use this wine to raise money for cat charities!


Shut up and take my money!

Another one of their labels features not only a drawing by Adam’s young niece but also a MadLibs!


Wine that comes with built-in activities!

To join their wine club, all they ask (aside from paying the fee) is that you draw Tippy the Turtle. It doesn’t have to be good, but you do have to try.


I’m having Teen Magazine flashbacks!

I was utterly charmed by the place, and I believe at one point I asked if I could live there. I never did get an answer on that.


Gamling & McDuck greeter

Next door, we had a lovely dinner at Grace’s Table. The thought of the goat cheese-stuffed grape leaves appetizer we had still makes me salivate.

Later that night, as we packed up in preparation to head home the next day, Ian decided to reconfigure some of the wine packing he’d previously done. I only poked fun at him a little bit for it, and I honestly did appreciate all his efforts to ensure that our wine made it home unscathed.* As he redistributed bottles among the pieces of our luggage, I looked at him and said, “If it helps at all, please know this: I promise never to make us lug a tea set around the world.”

But you know, even if I did want to carry a tea set around the world, I have no doubt that Ian would pack it up securely for me. That’s love, folks.


* It did–all 14 bottles of it!





Drink, Hike, Drink Day 9: Gondolas, Goats, and a Geyser June 12, 2019

Filed under: Life tales,photography,Travel,wine — lizardesque @ 11:54 am
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The fact that we wouldn’t be buying anymore wine during our trip didn’t mean we couldn’t taste some, so our first stop on day 9 was Peju Winery. The grounds were beautiful, and the wines were tasty. I have no idea why, but as I looked at the price list during our tasting, for some reason, I mistook the two prices listed as being per glass and per bottle. Geez, I thought as I eyed the prices of $28 and $336 for one wine I especially liked. I remembered Napa wines being more expensive than those from Sonoma, but this was ridiculous!

Before long, I realized that prices were per bottle and per case. *facepalm* Of course! That much more reasonable!



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Next up was Sterling Vineyards. Outside the front doors is a large chalkboard with Before I Die… across the top of it. Visitors are encouraged to fill in the blanks with things they want to do before they shuffle off this mortal coil.


Contrary to popular belief, mine is NOT the first one on the left

As we stood in the short line behind the ticket window at the entrance to Sterling, I couldn’t help but feel a little like I was going to an amusement park instead of a winery. That feeling continued once we had purchased our tickets and got on the gondola tram, which took us up to the winery and offered a great view along the way.

Our wine tasting was combined with a self-guided winery tour, with a different stop along the tour for each wine we tasted. The wines were fine–nothing wowed me, but they were all perfectly respectable. The rooftop terrace at the end of the tour was lovely, though!


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During our tram ride back down to the parking area, the car ahead of ours got stuck. I’m not sure what had to be done to unstick it, but whatever it was involved something that made noises straight out of a Star Wars movie.

Our next stop was Old Faithful Geyser of California. Before this trip, I hadn’t heard of it, but apparently, it’s one of only three geysers in the world with the old faithful designation (I’ve now seen two!). Because of all the recent rain, the geyser was even more active than usual, and we got to see it erupt a few times while we were there. There’s also a little farm there with sheep, llamas, and goats, including fainting goats. I was slightly disappointed that none of the goats fainted during my visit. Then I felt enormous shame for wanting to see goats faint. Clearly, I’m a monster.


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We ate lunch at the Calistoga Inn and continued on to Brian Arden for more wine tasting. It was a slow day in the tasting room, and the two women working there seemed happy to have people to chat with. When we mentioned that we were on our anniversary trip, one of them asked how we’d met, and they were both delighted and encouraged to hear that we’d met the old-fashioned way–in a bar. “There’s hope for us yet!” one exclaimed.

We returned to the city of Napa and did a couple more photo re-creations, browsed some shops, and went to the Oxbow Market for a beer at Fieldwork Brewing. OMG, this beer I had–Vanillaberry. YUM! I kind of wanted to buy yet another suitcase and fill it up with crowlers full of that!


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Drink, Hike, Drink Day 8: a Wine Conundrum, Peculiarly Priced Pancakes, and an Alien Fireplace (also, airplanes and some patriarchal BS) June 10, 2019

Filed under: Food,Life tales,Nation,Oddities,photography,Travel,wine — lizardesque @ 1:35 pm
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The last time we’d visited California, Ian and I had used UPS to ship our newly purchased wine home. Something Bob from Butterfly Creek Winery had said in one of his many stories had stuck in Ian’s head, though, and he decided it would be prudent to check if UPS still performed this function. Turns out, UPS now only accepts packages containing alcoholic beverages from licensed shippers.

Well, shit.

We’d purchased 15 bottles of wine and a bottle of cider, and we hadn’t even been to Napa yet! Faced with the conundrum of how to get our wine home, we considered the options.

  • Lie. I’m not necessarily opposed to breaking laws when they are stupid, so I had no particular qualms about lying to UPS regarding the contents of a shipment. However, considering that getting caught would mean not only possible fines but also confiscation of the wine, lying didn’t seem worth the risk.
  • Drink it all before we went home. OK, this was not really an option. We’d be ill and probably wouldn’t remember the latter part of our vacation.
  • Buy a new suitcase and some packing material and check it on the return flight. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d purchased a suitcase to bring wine home .

We still had a few days before we went home, so we decided to defer the decision, at least until after breakfast. We’d been considering two places for our morning meal and decided to try the closer place with the other one as a plan B if the first one seemed too crowded. Upon seeing a bunch of people waiting at plan A, we continued walking toward plan B. A light rain started to fall, and I became irritated with myself for leaving both my umbrella and my rain jacket back at the inn. We arrived at plan B, Jantz Bakery, only to find that they did not serve breakfast per se. They sold pies, cookies, and other baked goods, but did not serve pancakes, waffles, or other breakfast items. The employee there informed us it was their other locations that served breakfast, a fact that (at least at the time) was not clear from their website.

As we walked back to plan A (the Sugar Pine Cafe), I grumbled about all these first-world problems (the wine conundrum, forgotten rain gear, breakfasting options) combing to make me cranky. However, the wait at the cafe turned out not to be too long, and all the while we were there, I was oddly uplifted by the voice of Morrissey as Louder Than Bombs served the restaurant’s background music. The Smiths had provided much of the soundtrack for my teenage angst, and hearing them reminded me of all the ridiculous wallowing I’d done over trivial problems at that time in my life. My crankiness dissipated. I laughed at the inexplicably priced pancakes ($6.50 for a stack of two, $3.00 for a single pancake*) and enjoyed my breakfast.

Afterwards, we packed up and headed out of Mariposa. As we drove along Highway 140, somewhere between Mariposa and Merced, I noticed an oddity–a stone fireplace sitting in a field that was otherwise populated only by grass and trees. I did a double take, but there was no mistaking that it was a fireplace. How did it get there? What possible reason was there for its placement? Were aliens involved?? I didn’t get a photo of it, but once again, I searched handy-dandy Google Earth and found one. No amount of Googling provided an explanation for the presence of this fireplace, though. It remains a great mystery to me.


A seemingly normal field until you notice the fireplace (image from Google Earth)


A closer view. I’m not saying this is definitely the work of aliens, but… (image from Google Earth)

In Atwater, we stopped at the Castle Air Museum. Again, for some reason, I neglected to bring my umbrella or rain jacket with me, so we were, of course, caught in a downpour. Thankfully, the deluge was short-lived.



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Seeing the planes was cool, but this piece of patriarchal bullshit rather ground my gears.


Friggin’ patriarchy

Having made the decision to bring our wine on the flight home with us, we stopped at Target to buy a suitcase, bubble wrap, packing tape, and plastic bags to accomplish the task. I wanted to get the suitcase with adorable little foxes on it (it would be so easy to spot on the baggage carousel!), but Ian wasn’t too keen on that. Being a child-size suitcase, it was probably too small for our intended purpose, so I guess we made the right call.

In Livermore, we stopped at Retzlaff Winery for a tasting, knowing that we couldn’t buy anymore wine during the trip unless we wanted to purchase still more luggage!

Not far outside of Napa, we passed a farm that had several signs proclaiming, “We’re using recycled water!” Perhaps I’m being pedantic when I ask this, but isn’t most water recycled?** Sure, it’s possible to make water, but doing so on a large scale is generally considered too costly and potentially dangerous. Boasting about recycled water struck me as a weird flex.

We arrived in Napa, checked in at the Napa Inn, where we’d stayed during our last trip to the area (same room and everything–but with an updated, non-growling bathtub!). We had a lovely dinner that evening at the Napa Valley Bistro. I hadn’t recalled eating there before, but once we walked in, Ian was certain we had (he was right if my past blog post is to be believed). After dinner, we returned to the inn, where we opened a bottle of wine (giving us one less to tote home) and sipped while Ian began to experiment with different ways of packing the wine to minimize the risk of breakage, or, as he referred to the process, The Anal Retentive Chef Packs a Suitcase.


The squirrels in Napa are HUGE!

* I have to assume that extra fifty cents is for the labor involved in stacking the pancakes. I did wonder what would happen if I ordered two single pancakes, though.

** I actually do understand (roughly anyhow) the intended meaning of the signs, but I rather enjoy poking fun at them.


Drink, Hike, Drink Day 6: Springtime Winter Wonderland June 7, 2019

On Sunday morning, we drove to Tunnel View  for some pictures. Although we lamented the rain, sleet, and fog at the time, some of the shots actually turned out to be pretty cool.

Bridalveil Fall in a mood

Bridal Veil Falls in a mood


Green and fog

We had wanted to visit Glacier Point, but Glacier Point Road was closed. Plan B was to go to Mariposa Grove. Upon leaving Tunnel View, we drove through the Wawona Tunnel, which is 1.3-mile-long channel through solid granite. As we approached the other end of the tunnel, we could see that snow was falling. I wish I’d thought to get a picture, but it probably wouldn’t have done the experience justice anyhow.

As we continued on Wawona Road, the snowfall increased, and the car windows started to fog up such that we had to pull over multiple times to wait for them to clear. All in all, we were fortunate that we’d left when we did and that we weren’t delayed too long because there came a point where park rangers had begun stopping cars that were going in the other direction (which was to higher elevation while we had started to descend), requiring them to put on tire chains or turn around. Not having tire chains, we would have been SOL, so our timing was good. We made it to the Mariposa Grove Welcome Center and took the shuttle the rest of the way to the grove.

Part of me wasn’t thrilled at being snowed upon so late in the spring (May 19), but I have to admit that the snow made Mariposa Grove seem magical. I’m sure it would have been lovely under just about any conditions, but the snow definitely added an extra something. It helped that I was wearing appropriate footwear (waterproof hiking boots), unlike this fellow I saw!


Seriously, dude?

We hiked the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail in this springtime winter wonderland, and although we did not build a snow-person, we did see one!


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The Grizzly Giant was a sight to behold. It reminded me of this picture, which I have a print of in my living room, but in real life.


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We got the shuttle back to the parking lot and, in our rental car, made a lunch of some provisions we’d picked up that morning. We discovered that we’d accidentally bought vegan cheese, but all in all, it wasn’t half bad.

Our next destination was Butterfly Creek Winery, which is not a place one is likely to stumble upon by accident but is well worth a visit. We were greeted at the car by the winery dog (whose name escapes me), and not far behind him was a somewhat scruffy looking cat, who we’d later learn was named Riley and was 21 years old (roughly 100 in human years), which more than explains the scruffiness. Upon entering the tasting room, the owner (Bob) eyed Ian’s ever-present Cubs hat and exclaimed, “More people from Illinois!” (he pronounced it Illinoiz)–apparently we were the ninth set of the week. Bob was a hoot. During our tasting, he not only regaled us with several humorous tales, but he also provided some Yosemite tips we ended up using the next day (more to come on that). I think that if we’d been able to stick around, he would have happily talked to us all day. If you ever happen to find yourself at Butterfly Creek Winery, ask Bob to tell you the story about merlot and ginger ale.


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Drink, Hike, Drink Day 4: No Wines Wet Chickens! June 3, 2019

Filed under: Clothing,Nation,photography,Travel,wine — lizardesque @ 1:25 pm
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Before leaving checking out of the inn and leaving Occidental, we recreated a photo from our previous trip with the Inn’s chimney with a heart on it.


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Our next task of the day was to complete my quest of finding a rain jacket. Thankfully, this was accomplished at Sonoma Outfitters in Santa Rosa. I had a feeling I was not the first person to enter the store having not packed appropriately for the seemingly ever-changing weather of the region. The staff was very helpful, and I found what I needed.

We drove on to Sonoma, passing another big metal chicken on the way (still no photo! hmmph!). The Ravenswood tasting room was our first stop there. We’d been fans of their wines for some time and had visited during both our previous trips to Sonoma. As it turned out, we had pretty good timing for our third visit because upon arrival we learned that it was the final day the tasting room would be open! Very recently, the Ravenswood had been bought by Gallo, and the powers that be had decided to close the tasting room. The employees seemed to be making the most of the situation, though. They poured several off-menu wines, including some from GIANT bottles (the ones that hold the volume of around 6-8 regular bottles). According to the guy who conducted our tasting (who I suspect was happily tipsy, although that could have simply been his personality), just about everyone who worked there had found other jobs, which was good to hear.

In addition to being generous with the pours, they were also giving away just about everything that was not nailed down, so when we purchased our wine, it came with some glasses, some pencils, and some buttons with the Ravenswood slogan “No Wimpy Wines” in various languages. Translations of idioms are fun.


It took me a moment to understand “No Wines Without Eggs”

The French one amused me the most, its direct translation being “No Wines Wet Chickens.” What about wines big metal chickens? I have to imagine that would be acceptable because big metal chickens are not wimpy.


No Wines Wet Chickens!

We took some more photo re-creation opportunities while we were in Sonoma.


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We then peruse some of the shops in Sonoma and had lunch at the Sunflower Caffe before hitting the road again. Traffic crawled for much of the drive, but we eventually arrived at our destination, the 5th Street Inn in Mariposa. We ate dinner across the street from the inn at Castillos, where, lurking amid the Mexican decor was this little clip koala bear. I had to wonder who put it there and why. There must be a story here. If necessary, I will make one up!


A spy?

After dinner, we walked around Mariposa and browsed some of the shops, including the Ridgeline Gallery, where an employee gave us very helpful tips for visiting and parking at Yosemite. We also bought some art there, but lest we be to high faultin’, we then bought beer at a gas station–keepin’ it real.


The streets in Mariposa are paved with butterflies!

We returned to the inn to retire for the evening. The bed in our room was a murphy bed, and, never having slept on one before, I was oddly excited to use it. The experience itself wasn’t terribly exciting, but then again, ideally, sleep shouldn’t be exciting. Anyhow, using a murphy bed is now one more thing I’ve done in my life.


Drink, Hike, Drink Day 3: Cave Tasting and the Quest for a Rain Jacket June 1, 2019

Filed under: Clothing,Life tales,Nation,photography,Travel,wine — lizardesque @ 3:57 pm
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The day after we’d met our anniversary twins, at breakfast we met a couple who’d also met each other at the University of Illinois while they were in graduate school. California was crawling with our relationship twins!

We’d scheduled a cave tasting (that is, a wine tasting and tour of the caves) at Alexander Valley Vineyards, so we headed there first. The caves are human-made, their construction having begun in the 1990s to provide a space for barrel aging that naturally stays within a very narrow, wine-friendly temperature range. Additional caves are under being dug, but at present space is tight, especially considering that forklifts must be employed regularly to move barrels in and out as they require topping off. As our guide explained some of the challenges of keeping track of which wines were where, when the barrels would need to be accessed, etc, the wheels in Ian’s head began to turn as he began to envision a database for this information. “Sounds like some wine IT is needed!” he said. A new career path? Time will tell.

During the tour, we did a barrel tasting of two wines that were identical except for the type of oak (French or American) barrel they were aging in. The difference was subtle, but it was there.  We also met a charming dog named Cali (short for California), who had knack for finding bungs that occasionally popped out of their wine barrels (oh boy, new toy!) and learned some interesting facts about cork!

  • Wine corks cost 30 to 80 cents a piece (I would have guessed no more than 5 cents!).
  • A cork oak must be at least 25 years old before its bark can be harvested, and after that, the bark can be stripped again every 9 to 12 years (which I guess might explain the cost of cork)

Are you fascinated?! No? Well, how about a pretty picture then?


Cool tree on the grounds of Alexander Vally Vineyards, under which several members of the family who started the vineyard are buried

For lunch, we went to Bear Republic in Healdsburg. Since we were leaving for the Yosemite area the following day, I took a look at the updated forecast for the area and began to get very concerned that I had not packed properly for our time there. Whereas mild weather and scattered showers had previously been predicted, the more recent forecast was for chilly temperatures, rain, and *gasp* snow. I was ill-equipped, so after lunch, we began a quest to find me an appropriate rain jacket and another layer to wear under it. I won’t bore you with the details–Ian was less than enthralled at the process, so you probably don’t want to read an essay about it. Suffice it to say I was unsuccessful in my quest on that day. Back to the wine.

We visited two more wineries that day, Ridge, which was new to us, and Dry Creek, where we’d been twice before (and belong to their wine club). With purchases there, we were steadily amassing a good collection of bottles to send home.


Selfie at Ridge Vineyards

Back at the inn, during wine hour in the common room, Ian and I chatted with an interesting woman who not only had a full time day job but also had a side hustle editing articles for archeology journals (because yeah…that’s a pretty popular side hustle) and was working on a historical graphic novel about World Word War I. As she described the project, she kept saying, “Now, don’t steal this idea!”—as if I could even…I don’t draw, and I’ve forgotten just about everything I learned in history class about WWI except the bit about Arch Duke, who I believe was the drummer for Franz Ferdinand, being assassinated…or something like that. Also, there were a lot of trenches, and it was quite unpleasant.

After our new friend had to skedaddle, I eyed the fancy (we’re talking a wooden board that turns and letter holders that I think were made of iron) deluxe Scrabble set on the coffee table in front of us and suggested to Ian that we play a game. Normally, Ian avoids playing Scrabble with me, in part because he has beaten me only once in all the times we’ve played and he gets a little sick of losing, but he agreed this time. We weren’t actually able to finish the game before we had to stop get ready for our dinner reservations, but I was more than 100 points ahead, so… Well, heck, I’m happy he played with me.

We had a nice dinner at Hazel that night then returned to the inn to get organized in order to head toward Yosemite the following day.


Shenanigans in the Safari Room


Drink, Hike, Drink Day 2: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Power (also, anniversary twins!) May 31, 2019

Filed under: Food,Life tales,photography,Travel,wine — lizardesque @ 1:33 pm
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The second day of our trip was our actual anniversary and a gloomy day, at least weather-wise. Just about everywhere we went, people apologized to us for the rain, as if it was somehow their fault. We spent the first part of the morning browsing around some of the shops in Occidental–actually, probably all of the shops in Occidental (it’s a very tiny town) and then headed out for some wine tasting. Our first stop was Hartford Family Winery, the maker of my favorite chardonnay ever. Normally, I can take or leave chardonnay, but this stuff is freaking delicious.

Since it was our anniversary, some bubbly was in order, so our next destination was Korbel, where we did a tasting, ate lunch, and took a photo re-creation opportunity. Watch the ivy grow (or disappear, depending on which order you view the photos)!


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While wine tasting, it’s important to cleanse the palate, so we visited Russian River Brewing Company and split a flight of every beer they had on tap. It looks like a great deal of beer, but it actually works out to a little over a pint for each of us. Even so, I collected countless badges as I logged the beers on Untappd, including the “Take It Easy” badge, which includes the tagline, “Either you must be sampling or really like beer!” I began to wonder if an intervention badge would pop up next.


My favorites were Apical Dominance and Happy Hops

With our palates cleansed, we were ready to taste more wine–more bubbly actually–and we proceeded to Iron Horse Vineyards. During our tasting there, we got to chatting with the couple next to us and discovered that it was also their fifteenth anniversary. OMG–anniversary twins!


Despite the weather, the view at Iron Horse was still very pretty

For dinner that evening, we had reservations at Drake’s Sonoma Coast. When we arrived, the host informed us that the restaurant had lost power (owing to downed lines from strong winds) but if we still cared to dine there, they were offering a limited menu. We were game (and hadn’t prepared a backup plan), so she showed us to our table. The dining room has several large windows that look out onto Bodega Bay, and since the sun had not yet set (not that it could be seen), the room was still fairly well lit when we arrived.

At a nearby table, an indignant woman who seemed to think the restaurant employees had cut the power to spite her proclaimed, “I just want to eat what I want to eat!” On some level, I do understand that sentiment, but sometimes the power goes out and you have to make the best of it. She was having none of it, though. She left the restaurant (and the rest of her party) in a ridiculous huff.

Ian and I, on the other hand, had a lovely meal and speculated that this would be one of our more memorable anniversaries. Members of the waitstaff donned LED necklaces (which I guess they just happened to have sitting around?) to increase their visibility. As the evening wore on and we were among the few patrons remaining, we collected more and more candles on our table (accidental romantic lighting!). As we strained our eyes to read the dessert menu, I wondered how the lighting situation in the kitchen was being dealt with. However the staff did it, they managed the whole situation very well. We left full and happy and with an amusing story to boot!