Happily Ever Napa

I realize that it has been a few weeks since my last posting and I promise a good reason for this. I recently had a birthday so my boyfriend planned a trip to Napa. We had both never been, and have talked about it for many years. The flights were booked months ago, just as important, the restaurant reservations were made well in advance…

Lunch was scheduled for our first day at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen. After spending one fabulous day walking around San Fransisco, staying at the recommended Clift Hotel and enjoying our first dinner at Conduit, we got right on the road early the next morning to head to Napa. We checked in at White House Inn, a quaint newly-renovated house in downtown Napa. We were greeted by friendly people, dropped our bags and got right back in the car to drive up 29 towards Cindy’s (with planned tastings on our way, of course). We stopped into few vineyards, including Laird Family Estate. I notebly loved one partincular wine called Jillian’s Blend, a blend of their Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Perfectly light red wine with some body and spice elements to it (just finished off a bottle two nights ago with dinner). Once we made our way to Cindy’s we were hungry. We ordered their flatbread to share. I got Cindy’s Curried Chicken Salad and he got the Backstreet Burger. Just what we needed. Ready for more. On our way back to the inn we took a different route on Silverado Trail; new view, different vineyards. One I remember liking in particular was Pine Ridge. This was the best day to me. Driving around with no where to be. Good company, good music. Great wine. Fresh air. Relaxation. How else would you like to spend your Friday afternoon? I’ll let you ponder on that for a second…

That evening we had dinner at one of the greatest Wine Country establishments, the Restaurant at Auberge Du Soleil. Legacy for it’s award-winning menu and wine list, we sat at a table on their famous terrace overlooking olive greens and vineyards. It is supposed to be the best seat in town for sunset but was disappointingly foggy out that night. We were still happily satisfied with the view and about to enjoy a full four-course meal. Dinner was decadent. Seared foie gras with pistachio and bittersweet chocolate sauce, halibut with pea puree, liberty farm duck with artichokes…wine pairings…trust me, there was more. Incredible. We enjoyed every last bit and eventually rolled ourselves home to get set for our final day in the valley.

We woke up early the next morning for a wine tour that James had planned (have I told you the name of the man that I have been dating for the past few years is James?). A woman (quirky, smiley, can already tell she has a great sense of humor) rings the doorbell. I knew then that this was going to be an eventful day. We got in her car and immediately started talking ‘wine’: how we were complete amateurs only wishing we knew more, knew what we liked when we tasted it, loved when people paired wines for us, enjoyed drinking wine at almost every meal, and so on. She was great. She talked the whole way to our first stop. We learned so much in the first 15-minutes! We preferred the smaller intimate vineyards, so we completely avoided the “commercial” ones (Cakebread, Opus One…we even skipped over Robert Mondavi). We started at Adastra Vineyards. This was special. Family-owned by Dr. Chris Thorpe and his son-in-law, this certified organic vineyard is located on a beautiful 33-acre ranch. He gave us a tour of the entire property, including tasting his organically-grown tomatoes straight from his garden and sniffing-and-guessing herbs as we walked around. His wine was not so bad either. (We bought a case).

From there we visited Shifflett Estate, Tres Sabores, had a picnic lunch at Allora and a tasting in between at Elizabeth Spencer. All-in-all the day was more than fulfilling. At one point we had to take a coffee break at Bouchon Bakery. This was heaven. You already know that sweets are my weakness (I am sure most can relate). Their homemade TKO (oreo cookie) and a Peanut Butter and Jelly cookie!!! Go now. Run before they are all gone.

The day started coming to its end. We made the drive back to our inn already talking of canceling our perfectly-scheduled dinner reservations at Martini House due to the past three gluttonously glorious days. Once back at the inn, James had one more surprise. He somehow managed to drag me outside to a gazebo that we had discovered our first night there. We walked in. He got on one knee. And yes, he proposed! And yes, I said yes! Birthday trip, turned engagement celebration. This is officially one trip we will remember forever. Now soon-to-be Mrs. Stewart (have I mentioned his last name is Stewart?), I have a wedding to plan…with many tastings to come. Do stay tuned…

5 thoughts on “Happily Ever Napa

  1. Can you please create a low-fat version of the oreo cookie you had at Bouchon Bakery!!! and then post the recipe!!! 🙂 sounds like an amazing foodie adventure in Napa….!!!

  2. Erin, congrats on the FoodBuzz affiliation. My friend Heather Baker is a blogger on that network too. Her site is http://www.heatherbakes.com. She’s in cooking school here in Dallas. Maybe you can link to each other or something. I’m not sure how that whole thing works.

    P.S. – Heather knows Sean so you also have that in common. Heather was the maid of honor in my wedding. Sean was an usher. Sean relentlessly hit on her friends. Go figure.

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