I don’t know about you, but the holidays really got me this year. It seemed that everyday I had an obligation for something. It was very straining to balance work, friends and family. As much as I try not to get caught up in it, I still somehow find myself with not enough time. The past few months I was either on a plane for events, in line shopping for presents, holiday parties and in the midst of it all I finished my first cookbook. I sacrificed sleep and time with my loved ones these past few months to meet my publisher’s deadlines. Instead of breathing a sigh of relief that we went to print Dec. 22nd, I just was more stressed because I was the lucky one to host Christmas at my house this year. Needless to say, after everyone left on Christmas I felt burnt out.
When I need to re-charge and spend quality time with my family I do short mini trips or what I like to call stay-cations. It’s a short getaway that you don’t have to pack a lot of baggage, rush to the airport and deal with adjusting with different time zones. It’s about doing nothing and having no responsibilities except where to eat. That is exactly what we did the day after Christmas. We packed an overnight bag and did a stay-cation at the beautiful Sofitel San Francisco Bay hotel. It was a short one-hour drive from our house in Brentwood.
When we first pulled up I was vastly disappointed and not in the beautiful luxury hotel in front of us, but the fact that I saw someone walking out of the lobby with an adorable corgi dog. In that moment I felt instant guilt for not bringing our dog Charlie along during our stay. It was my fault for not checking if the hotel allowed dogs before coming. My guilt was tenfold when I saw how much dogs were welcomed in the hotel. To the cute dog water dish in front of the hotel, to the dog sleeping soundly in the Bay Bar couch while her owner sipped coffee and many dogs walking their owners around the serene lagoon right in back of the hotel.
After checking in and taking in the beautiful view from our room, we went down stairs to partake on the delicious pastries in the café down stairs. Shayna inhaled her buttery croissant in less than a minute and Kiera savored her large chocolate covered strawberry. My husband and I couldn’t decide on which sweet treat to partake in so we chose two to share, the lemon tartlets and the chocolate éclairs. After indulging in all that sugar we took a stroll around the lagoon to burn some calories. The girls were delighted to greet every duck in the water and every dog walking on the path. I even gave them our small hand held video camera so they could film. It’s always fascinating to see the world through a six-year-olds eyes.
After our long walk we relaxed in our room, me with a book, the girls watching a movie on their Ipad and my hubby surfing the net and eventually taking a short nap. After that much needed timeout, we got ready for dinner. We opted for the convenience of dining in our hotel at California-inspired French Cuisine restaurant Bay 223. The décor was elegant, modern and somehow managed to be casual because the open concept overlooking the lagoon, Bay Bar and hotel. We came also to take view the beautiful classic buche de Noel, a traditional dessert served near Christmas, especially in France. Executive Chef Alejandro Abad and Pastry Chef Remy Debost created the dessert with San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid as their inspiration.
Our dinner was felt like tasting party that we didn’t want to end. Chef Abad was kind of enough to take several dinner plates and made smaller tapas portions for us. It was perfect because we wanted to try a lot of dishes and had a hard time choosing which ones. In the end chef made it easy for us. We started with appetizer tray of prosciutto and lobster wrap, tuna tartar with sushi rice and crab and shrimp ceviche. I must say, I order ceviche every time I see it on a menu, but this was by far the most delicious I’ve tried. I might have to go back very soon for just the ceviche and bring Charlie this time! After the starters my husband raved about the French onion soup, I devoured my scallops with gnocchi, the hanger steak was impressively tender, and the pork belly crispy on the outside and buttery soft in the inside. We ended the night with a decadent molten chocolate cake and the most amazing bread pudding. I wish I remembered the description of each dish and next time I’ll have to steal a copy of the menu. Our waiter Kenny was amazing and had my twin girls entertained and giggling the whole night. We ended the night with cuddles in bed and rented a Hotel Transylvania 2 in our room. We woke up relaxed and stress free the next day. We can’t wait to come back in the Summer to enjoy the pool and this time remember our Charlie.