Wicked

In continuing the tradition of one musical per year at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts (formerly known as the Orange County Performing Arts Center), I watched Wicked this past Friday.

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Not So Heavenly

I ain’t gonna lie.

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On a clear day, the views of Lake Tahoe from Heavenly are spectacular, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that Heavenly is horrible mountain.

I hate Heavenly.

I thought I didn’t give it a fair chance in 2007 so I visited again this past weekend. Big mistake. This trip just reinforced my hatred.

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On Friday, about 75% of the mountain was closed due to high winds. I know I can’t fault the mountain for high winds, but give me a fucking break. The highest lift (CA side) we were able to take was Powderbowl, thus we were basically confined to a small area the same size as the West side of Mt. High!! Good thing Henry and I both have Epic Passes because if we had paid full price, we would have been PISSED.

Saturday was A LOT better, but only because there was a foot of new pow. The weather conditions in the morning were basically the same as Friday and yet most of the lifts were actually open. I just don’t get it. Anyway, we had a really good time on the Nevada side. We went down some nice tree runs below the Stagecoach lift and I didn’t even mind the skier tracked pow because it was soft enough to carve through.

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After a quick lunch at East Peak Lodge, we wanted to go to the top of the mountain so we went up Dipper Express and made our way to Sky Express. As we were about to get in line for Sky, the staff announced that they were closing the lift. WTF, seriously? Sky being closed meant that we were stuck on the California side AGAIN. This is exactly why I hate Heavenly so much; it truly is a bitch to traverse the different areas. From NV to CA, you have to take a few lifts and you can bet your ass that there will be catwalks involved. From CA to NV, you better pray to the Heavenly Gods to keep Sky open, otherwise, just forget about it – YOU’RE STUCK!

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Can’t take this guy anywhere

AND why is it that Heavenly doesn’t rope off areas that don’t lead directly back to runs? We went down into the trees off of Cat Track (CA side), got stuck in more than knee deep powder and had to hike over a snow covered trench and up to Maggie’s run! Damnit!

I’m usually sad when snowboarding trips end, but I was eager to leave Tahoe on Sunday. Since it had been snowing, we spent the morning shoveling snow and putting on chains. I had been checking the road conditions since the night before and decided that taking the 50 would be the best way home (instead of the 395) because chains were required for a shorter distance.

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Our drive home started innocently enough. It was snowing, but we had chains on so we were fine. After driving a mile down the street, we came to a complete stop. I kept checking the road conditions for the 50 to see what the deal was, but there was no mention of any accidents or road closures. And because we were slowly inching along (no joke, 9 miles in 4 hours), we stayed put. After 5 hours or so, it was finally announced that there was a traffic hold for avalanche control. I seriously wanted to punch something!!! It was so fucking frustrating to realize that not only did we waste 5 hours FOR NOTHING, we still had a good 10 hour drive ahead of us.

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I just want to go home!!

So we back tracked on the 50, took off the chains and headed to the 395. This began the scariest drive of our lives.

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We just couldn’t catch a break. We were constantly battling Mother Nature whether it was snow and zero visibility or heavy rain and high winds. After 15 hours of HELL, we were finally home.

So yea, Henry and I won’t be coming back to Tahoe anytime soon, that’s for sure.

To end on a good note, check out what we made for dinner: juicy lucy with pepper jack and caramelized onions. So damn good!

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I eat: Bottega Ristorante [2]

My first time dining at Bottega was SO AMAZING, I couldn’t wait to go back! I had to try the Egg and Pork Belly Confit, which Tyler Florence showcased on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. We weren’t able to order this dish the first time around because it’s seasonal; it appears on the menu starting in July.

Good thing I didn’t have to wait too long.

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We started off with one of Henry’s favorite wines (Buehler ’05 Cab) and a few appetizers: Polenta Under Glass, Monterey Calamari and of couse, Egg and Pork Belly Confit.

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The polenta was just as delicious as last time, but the calamari, though tasty, was nothing extraordinary. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blown away with the Egg and Pork Belly Confit either. I LOVED the runny soft boiled egg, but unfortunately, the pork belly was overcooked. Oh well. I prefer braised pork belly over pork belly confit anyway.

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Next up was pasta: Pappardelle Bolognese. The fresh pasta was cooked perfectly, but the meat sauce fell a bit flat. I expected it to be more flavorful.

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We shared two entrees between 3 people because we didn’t want to over-stuff ourselves (which we ended up doing anyway). Since Henry and I had duck last time, we went for the Wood Grilled Lamb (with local figs and polenta). The polenta was delicious and the figs added a subtle layer of sweet that balanced out the gaminess of the lamb.

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We also ordered the Smoked and Braised Short Ribs (with preserved Meyer-lemon spinach). The meat was very tender and the lemon lightened up the dish.

So even though our buttons were popping off at this point, we couldn’t leave without having dessert. I don’t remember the name of the 1st one, but who cares. Focus on the 2nd dessert: Zeppole al Lemoni – Italian donuts served with Meyer-lemon curd and Earl Grey infused jam. Hot damn, these were delicious!!!! I preferred the jam because the lemon curd was a little too tart.

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I had put Bottega on a pedestal after my first time dining there. My second time brought Bottega back down to earth. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the restaurant and would recommend it to anyone. I just know that, other than the Confit of Half Duck and the Polenta Under Glass, most dishes aren’t the best I’ve ever had.

Verdict 2.0: 4/5
Bottega Ristorante Napa Valley
6525 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599-1300

Duh. Winning.

No, not really.

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I didn’t train at all for the LA Kings 5K, which is exactly why I am hurting all over right now. Most of you are smart enough not to follow my example, but just to be clear… I WAS STUPID. I SHOULD HAVE TRAINED.

Anyway, for not being prepared and for this being my first 5k, I think I did OK. I finished in about 28 minutes, which averages to 9 min pace. Obviously, I wasn’t even close to winning the race, but I know that with the right training, I can definitely improve my time for my next 5k.

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That’s Henry crossing the finish line. He really didn’t want to run, but I made him 🙂

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Why hello, Luongo. So nice of you to show up at an LA Kings event.

This little kid was just a taste of what I would see later that afternoon at the Kings vs Canucks game: A sea of fucking blue jerseys. Where the hell did all these Canucks fans come from???? I’d say that Staples was filled with 70/30 Canucks! Bullshit.

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View from 209, 7, 7-8

You know what else was bullshit? The officiating. Bad calls on both sides. But the non-call that led to D. Sedin goal pissed me off the most, obviously, since it was the game winning goal. The Kings really couldn’t recover from that, especially Doughty, who just completely went bat shit crazy and got a stupid diving penalty. Good thing the Canucks PP was just as horrible as the Kings PP or else the final score would have been a lot different.

It was a physical game right from the start. Both teams were playing like they had tiger blood and Adonis DNA. Well… except for H. Sedin, who pouted like a little baby after a high stick from Doughty. Look Henrik, suck it up until you’ve had a few pucks to the face like your brother and your old friend Willie Mitchell. They kept replaying this bit on the jumbotron, in slow motion! I totally wish I took a picture. Damnit.

Bigger Is Better?

I was really excited to board at Vail. And why wouldn’t I be since Vail is so often described as “Epic”, “Amazing” and a “Big Mountain”?

My first impression of Vail was that it is a skier’s mountain. There were LOTs of catwalks and moguls, which as a snowboarder, I found very annoying. Vail is indeed a very big mountain and because of this, it seemed like 75% of their runs were ungroomed or skier tracked; Practically every run that we went on, regardless of the “groomed” signage, was very bumpy. Vail says that they have “the most groomed terrain on this planet”, but based on my experience, I would have to disagree with that claim.

To me, Vail’s saving grace was the abundance of awesome tree runs and Blue Sky Basin. For great tree runs on the front side of Vail, check out Game Creek Bowl. We spent an entire afternoon in this area!

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If it weren’t for Game Creek Bowl, I would tell everybody to skip the front side entirely and go directly to Blue Sky Basin, where it truly is “like nothing on earth”. Riding through fresh untouched pow definitely made me love Vail.

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See you next year, Colorado ♥