The 5:30 a.m. alarm wasn't so welcome this morning but we were excited to head to the Burgundy region of France. Our driver from BT Transfer was on time and helped the 7 of us into the van. We unfortunately had a long and rainy 3 hour drive to Puligny Montrachet.
We had reservations for a 10 a.m. tour at Olivier Leflaive's Vineyard. I booked the tour and lunch directly with Olivier Leflaive's staff/family and was also assured they could accommodate my dairy allergy. I hated to do it but I did have to send them an email explaining that we would be arriving a little late. The staff were wonderful and assured us we could either catch up with the group or pass on the vineyard tour and head onto the cellar tour. When we arrived we were shown where to drive to meet up with the rest of the group in the field. Our guide was explaining to us in English and French their process, the type of grapes, and the type of land. We were a little cold but it was very interesting, beautiful scenery, and an enjoyable time. After a quick walk back to the main building we were ready for the next tour which would be of the cellar. My mother, sister and I opted to stay at the hotel and try to warm up with some coffee. The rest of the group enjoyed the cellar tour and all of the information provided.
Our group met up again and it was time for lunch and a wine tasting. We opted for the Emotion menu. We started off lunch with Gougere's (cashews for me) with a glass of Bourgogne 2014. For our starter we enjoyed gently roasted Salmon and cucumbers along with both Auxey - Duresses 2013 and Saint Romain 2013. For our entree we enjoyed roasted Cod with chorizo and zucchini along with both Meursault 2013 and Meursault 1 2011. For dessert we were given either a cheese plate, a chocolate dessert, or fruit in my case along with a glass of Aloxe Corton 2013 (the only red wine). After lunch we purchased a couple bottles of wine and champagne to enjoy back in Paris. Our driver was on time as usual and we enjoyed a beautiful ride home.
Here's where things got tricky for me! I received an email from Paris City Vision informing me that our 10:00 a.m. group tour on Friday (which was booked months ago) was being cancelled due to a strike happening in Paris on Thursday. The only option I was given was to switch to a 6:00 p.m. tour that included time on a river cruise. This option didn't fit our group at all. I asked for a full refund and Paris City Vision was accommodating. So there I am on my phone researching, emailing and calling other tour companies to arrange a city tour of Paris for 25 adults in only 3 days. Luckily I found a couple of companies that could accommodate us. More on that in the next post.
Later that evening we met up with friends for dinner at Le Coq. We walked the couple of blocks to the restaurant and dined al fresco. This was our first experience with the difference between Bostonian's and Parisian's when it comes to cool weather. We opted to sit in the area that could accommodate a large group but without heaters. The temperature was between 55 and 65 degrees all week and we were in light jackets, or long sleeve shirts, etc. The Parisian's were in down jackets, wool coats, sweaters, and knit hats.
For starters we enjoyed the 4 tomato salad, quinoa and prawns, pizza, and artichokes with asparagus. For entrees we ordered the beef tartar, gilded chicken breast, filet of beef, salmon, and more. When it came time for dessert we ordered the Yuzu tart, a large creme caramel, and a giant profiterole.
After dinner we walked next door and took pictures with the Olympic rings and the Eiffel Tower. We watched the midnight light show and then took a leisurely walk back to our apartment.
Santa Fe NM
This review took place in October 2016.
On our 5th day of vacation we spent the day in and around Santa Fe NM. In the morning we drove out to Santuario de Chimayo. We enjoyed the short drive to the church and even found a small farmers market to stop at on the way back to Santa Fe. The church is picturesque, serene, and inspiring. Within the property you will find the church, a gift shop, multiple monuments and more. While there we took lots of photographs, bought some souvenirs, and brought home Holy Water, and Holy Dirt.
Heading back to Santa Fe we found lots of fun places to stop and enjoy on this beautiful day. Our first stop was just down the road. We enjoyed a wine tasting and gourmet shopping at Estrella del Norte Vineyard. The tasting room is pet friendly, offers a nice standing area as well as tables outside. The staff was knowledgeable and social. We all purchased several bottles of wine. Our favorite ended up being the Tempranillo. We highly recommend the stop. Our next stop was at the farmers market for some pinions.
For a unique and tasty stop we visited Kakawa Chocolate House. Kakawa Chocolate House offers delicious drinking chocolates in a variety of flavor combinations, handmade chocolates, and desserts. I especially love that they have a large offering of dairy free drinks and chocolates! We ordered drinks and chocolates and enjoyed the sunlight on their pet friendly patio. Since coming home I have also ordered from Kakawa and found the service just as wonderful.
After our snacks we went over to see San Miguel Chapel and the Oldest House in the U.S. After our sightseeing we just had to go back for some more tacos at El Chile Toreado!! On the way back to our hotel we crossed the street and visited the Santuario de Guadalupe. My parents met a very friendly guide inside the church who gave them a tour of the entire property.
For dinner we had reservations at La Plazuela. Unfortunately, I made a mistake regarding the reservation time. However what ensued was outrageous! I contacted the hotel to verify that they were pet friendly. Once I heard they were I made a reservation. The gentlemen I spoke with gave me a very hard time because I wasn't traveling with a service dog. We finally agreed to two tables in the hallway for 4 adults and a small dog.
We checked in and we were early. After explaining this to the same gentlemen he informed me that we would be seated at 7:30. I thought I made it for 7. This part was completely my fault. However there was no we can't seat you earlier, just a constant condescending remark that we would be seated at 7:30. Finally I had to say I am aware that this was my fault there is no reason to keep bringing it up in your condescending tone! I said please cancel our reservation since that would be too late for my parents.
I was so flustered by this interaction I asked to speak to a manager. Gabe Martinez, the very friendly and warm hotel night manager understood my concerns completely. Gabe asked if we would like to return unfortunately we are leaving in the morning. Gabe went a step further and offered us complimentary drinks in the hotel bar. Again, I had to decline as my party was already heading elsewhere. I completely appreciated the sentiment though. Thanks Gabe!