Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A big family Christmas - Part I

About a year ago, Jeremy informed me that he wanted to have a big family Christmas.  At the time I thought he was crazy and perhaps had one too many drinks that night.  I reminded him of the hilarious, and oh to real, movie National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  But he insisted, "It'll be great" he said.

A few weeks later and we were still talking about it.  A few months after that the Quiet Hill Ranch was booked for the entire family, just 30 minutes west of Fredericksburg, TX.  We were committed.

So the day after Christmas, we hopped a plane at 6am and headed down to Texas.

After some short delays and the very fortunate circumstances that allowed us to get a free SUV upgrade from Alamo (thank you), we were on our way to our first stop, Torchy's Tacos!

Living in California, I cannot begin to express how much we miss good tacos and BBQ.  Even my parents in PA miss it.  So much so that they stopped by Rudy's for BBQ before meeting us at Torchy's.

While we all arrived in Austin at different times, it seemed appropriate that our first family gathering would be at Torchy's.

After some quick eats, we loaded up the caravan (3 cars for 7 people) and headed west.  Second stop: Stonehouse Vineyard.

Now, we've been living in California for about a year and a half at this point and because we live so close to Napa and Sonoma we tend to head up there fairly often.  Despite the wonderful bold reds produced in California, I've always held a special place in my heart for Texas wines.  Texas is where I first started enjoying wines and visiting wineries.  A Texas winery, Flat Creek, is where Jeremy and I went on one of our early dates and it's where we got engaged.

However, somewhere in the middle of our first tasting at Stonehouse, I realized something.  I realized that I may have turned into a wine snob.  Even those reds from Australia, the sister winery to Stonehouse, just didn't taste that great to me.  They all tasted very smooth and fruity, not bold and dry like I was used to.  We even left without buying a bottle of their signature Tawney port!  Something has changed indeed.

With two bottles of wine in hand, it was time to head to Fredericksburg.  The boys headed to the grocery store and the rest of us headed to the ranch.

A quick note about the Quiet Hill Ranch.  This place is amazing.  Because we were four families we were able to rent out the entire place to ourselves.  4 cabins and 1 main house.  The cabins were small but cozy and the house was large and beautiful.  Very Texas, very open, huge kitchen.  Also, the cabin that my parents were occupying, #4, was a handicapped cabin.  I'm not sure how we stumbled upon a place so perfect, but it was awesome.  The grounds even had a swing set for Max and an enclosed bird blind for viewing wildlife.  I could have stayed for 2 or 3 more days easily.

By the time the boys got back from grocery shopping it was already 10pm.  For those of us coming from the west coast this wasn't so much of a problem, but for the east coast folks it was pretty late, and we hadn't eaten dinner yet.  So Dad and I threw together some chicken noodle soup, we all chowed down, and then headed to bed.

... To Be Continued with Part II

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