Luxury, Northern California Style: Best of the Best for TradeTech West

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I know it’s hard to trump two days of tech talk focused on fixed income, futures, options and FX markets. But even Microsoft’s Manuel Lima and Liquidnet's Seth Merrin need a break from the buy-side to savor some of Northern California’s ultimate offerings.

We’ve talked to the key players outside of financial services to comprise an insider’s guide. If you haven’t already, you may want to fly in early or extend your stay after TradeTech West 2013.

Best Bites

Whether you’re looking for a late-night snack or a lingering feast, here’s a cheat sheet for finding the favorite flavors.

Topping 7x7's Big Eat 2013—100 Things to Try Before You Die:

Sardine chips @

Rich Table (Hayes Valley)

Mac and cheese @

Citizen’s Band (SoMa)

Chicken wings @

San Tung (Inner Sunset)

Liquid Assets

Take a little road trip, or better yet hire a driver, to whisk you away to J Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma County and experience a correlation between wine and food pairings. The Bubble Room at J is the premier tasting experience in the Russian River Valley. Trade take of asset classes for vintages and varietals in this luxurious  full-service tasting salon overlooking wine country. Treat friends, clients of business partners to a decadent three-course meal including rare library and small-production wines, served with organic and locally-sourced fare. A true Sonoma County farm-to-table affair. $75 per person, with seating at 11 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Personalize the experience at Robert Mondavi Winery with an Exclusive Cellar Tasting as a Wine Educator guides your group through a variety of limited production, reserve and older vintage wines in a private setting. Artisanal cheese and charcuteries selection included for $55 per person, limited to 10 guests. Or indulge in the Four Decades Tasting and Dinner, featuring a treasured library of older vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s, as well as a selection of the finest current releases. This tasting event is capped by dinner in the Vineyard Room, prepared by the winery chef. $350 per person, available for 6-10 guests.

Aesthetic Appreciation (And Libation)

Let’s face it, the bottom line is you’re here to make contacts and win clients. You’ll be sure to make an impression even on the most cultivated connoisseur of wines and art with this unique experience. Drawing on the tradition of the salon, invite an intimate group into an inspired conversation with nationally recognized artist, Ann Rea, and an œnophile who will lead you from work to work, sip by sip. A day of Art + Wine Pairings is sure to elevate your palate and passion for painting.

There’s plenty to do besides imbibe in wine country. Here are Best Bets for:

Book Worms

Browse vintage shops like Aubergine Vintage Emporium & Cafe then booze at Hopmonk Tavern before taking your chances at a wild party at Claypool Cellars (Sebastopol.)

Spa Seekers

Swim in the heated mineral pool after a relaxing mud bath and massage at Indian Springs (Calistoga.)

Boat Buffs

Rent a boat for the day on Lake Sonoma (bring at least three people and you can waterski) (Geyserville.)

Short On Time?

Why not experience some ups and downs that won’t hit your portfolio. Whether you’re on foot or in a Ferari, your heart is sure to race on San Francisco’s steepest streets. Find a complete list here.

1. Filbert between Leavenworth and Hyde (31.5% grade)

2. 22nd between Church and Vicksburg (31.5% grade)

3. Jones between Union and Filbert (29% grade)

Follow the author on Twitter @natashagural

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