Yes, that's right, Napa, Ca. And it was wonderful. It was our first trip with out Jack.
There might of been some tears. Mine, not his...
But once we got there, it was wonderful!
We flew in to San Francisco and go to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge on our way out of the city. I took a million pictures so I just made a collage with the best ones...I mean, do you see the birds in the foreground of that top one? Beautiful!
We got to our hotel around 5 the first evening and we out to eat for the BEST pizza I've ever eaten at Azzurro Pizzeria E Enoteca. And no, I'm not exaggerating. It was thin crust and David, our long distance tour guide, suggested to get our own, and it's a good thing we did! I believe we would have had a smack down for the last piece! I got a margherita pizza and it was by far the freshest pizza I've ever eaten. Jeff got the Funghi pizza and those mushrooms were divine! Yes, I'm raving about a pizza, but it was just the perfect way to wind down our day of travel.
Now, let me tell you a little bit about where we stayed. We used some credit card points to stay at the Embassy Suites in Napa. The pictures above are of the courtyard in the middle of the hotel. It might look pretty, but it was STINKY! Some ducks and geese lived there and they were not fresh. I'm just sayin'. Our room was nice, we got upgraded to the king suite (oooooooh! fancy!) and the room was nice enough....then I realized that every time I turned down the air, the room got hotter....and hotter....it was eventually 75 degrees in the place and I was DYING! The next night we got a fan and turned off the "AC" and things were better. Our stay included a manager's happy hour each night from 5:30-7, and yes, we did take advantage! It was free drinks....wine, beer, mixed drinks, margarita....for real! It also included a made to order breakfast, which was continental-ish, but featured a made to order omelet station, which was pretty tasty! The first morning, we pigged OUT! The next 2 mornings we were so stuffed from the day before, we opted for an English muffin...I swear I gained 5 pounds last week.
Anyways, moving on! The first morning we had an appointment at Chappellet, which is a family owned and operated winery. It's up at the top of one of the "hills" and the drive up was just beautiful! We drove around this lake on the way up, and just had to get a few pics. WHY didn't anyone tell me to wear lipstick? I swear...
I'd love to show you pictures of Chappellet, but I didn't take any. Why? I don't know! I totally forgot! I even had my camera. Our tour guide was Ed and he was super nice. We started off the tour with me saying, "This is our first trip to Napa, never been to a vineyard before, only thing we know about wine is that we like them," and from there, Ed jumped in! We toured the winery, eagerly listening to Ed impart his great knowledge to our clean slates, with wine glass in hand. It's the off season, so the grapes have been harvested, crushed, fermented, and barrelled...so we kind missed the boat...but what we did see is them working with the leftovers. After all the fermented wine is drained, all of the left over skins are left in the fermenting tanks. At this point they're kinda cleaning those out. But they don't toss the skine, they gently press them, getting out any left over juice, to use in different ways. Very cool...and stinky.
We headed down the hill and into Napa for lunch at Gott's Roadside, which is given the name "tray gourmet" because they serve burgers, fries, tacos....but not just regular ole burgers. Fancy burgers! I got the Wisconsin Sourdough burger, which was delish, and Jeff got the fish tacos, which he said were great! I tasted his aioli and it was beyond yummy.
Gott's is right next to the Oxbow Market, which is like a gourmet market with everything you can ever think of. Everything from an espresso bar to a meat market, to a cupcake shop, it was so fun to walk through. And yes, after my huge sourdough burger, I found room for a delightful cupcake...see why we didn't eat breakfast the next day?
And we're not even done eating for the day! That night, we went to Rutherford Grill, which was also so good.
I'm full again, thinking about the trip.
And I'm running out of food words...yummy, delish, so good...
The next morning, we found our way, up the crazy steep winding road (no kidding like Colorado grade roads) to Pride Mountain Vineyards. Check out those pics....we were definitely on the top of a mountain! Ok, hill. But it was a big one. And isn't it gorgeous? This winery was a little bigger than the one from the day before, but not huge, like some of the other ones in the valley. Our tour guide, Rus, was a renegade type of guide and had us hiking up to different spots on the property (me in my zebra print flats and Jeff in his dress shoes) and peeking into the horse barns,
I think they're talking about us...probably about my zebra flats.
all the while telling us about the land, the vineyards, what you could see from where, what drained from what, what grapes grew best where and why,
who's land you could catch a glimpse of from where...all kinds of stuff. And he liked to take pictures. Jeff and I have more pictures together on Pride Mountain than we do for probably the past 4 years combined!
I'll spare you and just give you one...but know there are a million where this one came from!
Ok, two. Only because you can see the caves in this one. I don't know why I'm standing like I'm pregnant (I'm not) or why I'm making Jeff lean so far over to hug me. We look awkward, so just focus on the barrels, will ya?
One neat thing, we got to taste some of the wine straight from the barrels! Very cool. It tasted good, but it just wasn't done aging...and let's be honest. I'm no wine connoisseur. Before this trip, I bought the cheap wine at WalMart (now I feel like I'm doomed to consistently pay a minimum of $20 a bottle instead of the usual $3...bye bye Oak Leaf) so no, I couldn't taste a difference in the 2009 barrel taste and the 2007 bottle. Sorry, Rus, I promise, I'm trying!
We thought we should do at least one big winery while we were out there, so we stopped off at the Robert Mondavi Winery and Vineyard on our way back into town. Robert Mondavi was the first guy to start a modern day winery after prohibition, so he's pretty important in the valley. And his winery was fancy.
We grabbed some lunch at Mustard's and headed back to the hotel for a while that afternoon and I took a 2 hour nap. Yep, 2 hours! I told Jeff, I think the tiredness from the past 15 months just caught up to me on this trip! I mean, as a mom, I'm always tired, keeping up with little bit, but there's no time for tired! So you just press on. Well, there was time for tired on the trip and I was tired. So the 2 hour nap helped. :)
That night we had reservations at Tra Vigne, which is Michaelle Carillo's restaurant in Napa Valley, but we were so full....full from wines, full from food....I couldn't stand to spend that much on a dinner, only to stuff it down and not enjoy it because I was so full!!! So we canceled there and went down to the river and had appetizers at Iron Chef Morimoto's restaurant, Morimoto Napa, which hit the spot. And we should have skipped dinner at Fish Story....because neither of us were over the moon with our dinner...probably because we were just SO FULL!
Did I mention we were full?
The trip was great, I missed Jack a lot and was beyond glad to see him when we got home, but it was nice to just be married for a few days. Enjoy each other's company, not worry about what needs to be cleaned up, dishes that need to be done, laundry waiting to be folded, dinner needing to be planned....no wondering when someone would wake up, no planning around 2 hour nap times....it was just nice.
But, seeing this bridge, heading back to the airport made me super excited because I couldn't wait to be home.
Home to Christmas, home to family, home to be a mom, to a boy who likes to ride around in laundry baskets.
It's always good to get away, but it's so good to be home.I