USA Day 13: Duvine Cycling Adventure Day 1

Today was the big day – we’re about to head out to our big exciting cycling adventure.  Duvine Adventure tours wasn’t picking us up until 12:30pm though – so you guessed it, we had time for breakfast.

Now, apparently if you’re visiting San Francisco, you have to have breakfast at Mama’s on Stockton Street.  Even Kathy and Max, another Australian couple we met in the hotel, said we had to go there.   It was already on my well researched list – so we headed out bright and early to get there at opening time.  We arrived – only to find there was already a 30 metre long line of people waiting to get in.  We got in line – I asked the guys in line behind us if it was any good – they said – it’s worth the wait.  Trouble is, we had a bit of timeline because we had to check out at 11am – one of the locals passed by and she said that there were some lovely places close by – so we gave up our spot and instead headed to DeLucchi’s.

Lesson learned – if you want to go to Mama’s – get there half an hour before they open!  It might have been particularly bad because it was a Sunday, and breakfast and brunch are a big thing in the States on the weekends.  However, the consensus on all the review websites I visited said that a line is the norm – so just get there early and make sure you have time to wait!

Caffe DeLucchi

500 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA. 94133
(415) 393-4515
Open: Mon-Fri  10am onwards; Sat-Sun 8am onwards
There’s no closing time listed.

But on to De Lucchi’s – they serve grits in the States for breakfast. I’m sure you all remember “kiss my grits” from the jaded TV sitcom “Alice”. Or maybe I’m just showing my age… Anyway – I think grits are yummy – it’s like polenta. So, that’s what I had (except at DeLucchi’s they actually called it polenta).

So, my dish was gorgonzola polenta with bacon and pulled pork – which was like a ragu. It was delicious, although I couldn’t help feeling I was eating dinner for breakfast.

Gorgonzola polenta with pulled pork ragu.

Andrew, of course, continued his search for the ideal poached eggs and bacon. Not sure if these won – but they did the job. Interesting thing in America – they always cut your toast!! We kept forgetting to ask for it to not be cut!!

DeLucchi poached eggs with sausage and home fries.

Overall, I thought it was delicious – I couldn’t finish my serving because it was so generous, but it was great. And a good alternative to a hour or so wait in line at Mama’s – which will now have to wait for my next visit to San Francisco. You’ve got to love reconnaissance!

Caffe Delucchi on Urbanspoon

Duvine Adventure Tour Begins

We headed back to the hotel, packed up our stuff, checked out and waited for our pickup. We met our guides – Ashley and Ryan, and the other members of the group. It was an intimate group with only one other couple from Key West (Janet and Ray) and a widower from Toronto (Jean-Guy). All 3 had been retired for over 10 years – so we were the young bucks!

We were on our way. After a short 90 minute ride in the “team bus” – we arrived at Bodega Bay. The bikes were unloaded, and we headed off. No rest for the wicked!

There I go, in bright blue – off we go!

We cycled around one side of the bay…

 Oooh… photo opportunity…

And then went round the other…

Then we reached the small hill that Ashley had pointed out from the other side of the bay. Determined to stay on my bike, I was in 1:1 and pedalling like fury. I injected a little rule into my life a while ago – which is: just get in the right gear and stay on the bike. The funny thing was, Ray had decided to walk it. He was about 20 metres ahead of me when he got off – it was hilarious because I slowly gained on him, but never overtook him. Ah well…

This is the view at the top of the climb – the Garmin was telling me
11% grade for about a mile – goodness!!  Hello granny gear!!

A footnote for this ride though – when I got home, I calculated the actual grade of the hill we climbed. My Garmin is great, but sometimes you have to synchronise it online to correct the elevations with geographical survey data.  The grade ended up being only 6.5%!!  Ashley – you were right!!

There we are at the top – that’s the Pacific Ocean behind us!

A definite highlight was that Ryan had stopped on the way in the van, and bought some seafood chowder – so we had some hot soup at the top – and some red wine! Does life get any better?

And here’s our cycling group – Jean Guy (Toronto); Andrew and me, Janet and Ray (Key West, Florida). It was early days – but they seemed to appreciate our Aussie humour.

The ride back to the hotel…

So, about 2 hours later, and with 24km (15 miles) done and dusted, with an average moving speed of 17.6 km/h (for me at least!) and an elevation gain of 136m – we had completed our first Duvine ride. What a great beginning to our adventure – ocean views, undulating terrain, a little challenging climb, warm chowder and red wine. Life is good.

After all our hard work – we retired to our rooms for a couple of hours of rest and relaxation.

Apparently the Lodge has a great spa (and a swimming pool, and beach access). There wasn’t much time to take advantage of the spa though… dinner was next…. and we had earned it.

Duck Club Restaurant at the Bodega Bay Lodge

103 Coast Highway One,
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Resort: (888) 875 2250
Restaurant: (707) 875 3525
Open: Breakfast  7:30am – 11am;  Dinner 5pm – 9pm

We dined at The Duck Club Restaurant – specialising in the “local bounty of the Sonoma region”. I was ready to be wowed!

This is the view from our room – pretty hard to take!!

Andrew lashed out and had the Dungeness Crab cakes.

I decided to try the Sonoma Coast Seafood Sampler.

From L to R: Dungeness Crab cake with tomato ginger chutney; Local black cod tempura; and smoked bay scallop with wasabi crème fraiche. Not bad – the black cod was the best, the scallop was served cold smoked – which was interesting. I think I prefer them hot!

Andrew followed with the Grilled Fillet Mignon…

 And I had a specialty of the region – Pan roasted Rocky Jr Chicken breast, served with savoury bread pudding (yummo), chantarelle mushrooms, artichokes, root vegies and jus. Not bad at all!!

And then the piéce de resistance!! Jeff’s Mom’s Chocolate Cake.

Or should I say piéce de “resistance is futile!!” (for the Star Trek fans).

For those who are wondering – that’s a beautiful soft fudge chocolate cake with lashings of cream cheese icing. Andrew and I got a serve each – probably a bit foolish considering the size. Thankfully,  we were assisted by our fellow guest, Janet, who asked if she could help to finish Andrew’s.  Just for the record – I couldn’t finish mine either – but she was sitting opposite Andrew so it was more convenient!!  I’m just saying…

I have to say – that cake was kick ass!! I still have fond memories of it 3 weeks later!!

Off we trundled to bed – we needed to recharge in order to get ready to meet the group tomorrow at 9am for our ride into Sonoma Valley.

The Duck Club Restaurant on Urbanspoon