02 September 2013

Napa Recap

I didn't have any solid plans outside of getting my work done while in Napa.  I wanted to be able to spend some time with my friend Gail, and I looked up a few yummy spots, but other than that, I was going with the flow.

I landed in Sacramento Monday afternoon and drove an hour to Napa. I was too excited to be hungry before I got to my hotel, but after I unloaded, my stomach started growling so I went in search of food. I was tired and in need of a black top and some decongestant and a bath soak too, so I hit Target and then Whole Foods. This was my first time in WF because the closest one to me is not really conveniently located. I was overwhelmed because I only really needed water, snacks and lunch and my mind wanted to buy 1 of everything.

I showed restraint and looked over every fresh offering at the store. I ended up getting a BBQ tofu salad and some garlic hummus along with a watermelon aqua fresca. Very yummy and satisfying combination.

Whole Foods Spoils
Yummy Late Lunch

The next day for lunch we went to a place I scoped out online as a must for breakfast. It was a toss up between Grace's Table and Tarla Grill. We checked the menu at both places and Grace's Table was more enticing for us.

We had Fried Squash Blossoms (my first time to have!) and Argentine Empanada for appetizers. So good! I had the special - quiche and soup (tomato bisque) for lunch - and I didn't get any pictures!

That evening my friend Gail cooked us some salmon that her man caught in Alaska. It was as yummy as was the wine she served (yummers!). I don't recall what the first glass was but the 2nd glass was a nice petit-syrah that was just my taste.

It was fun to talk and hang out and meet her man.

Gail, Nils and Nols

The next day for lunch we ventured out to V. Sattui Winery and that was a little slice of heaven. A nice departure from the brown bag lunches that I usually tote to work. They have a deli and shop where you can grab all you need for a picnic to take outside to enjoy. There were so many options so I grabbed a few items: Summer Arancini, Pesto Pasta, Crab Cake and water.

  V. Sattui Winery Crab Cake

I wolfed down the crab cake but the arancini (rice balls) was a bit too much for me - I ate what I could of that and took the pesto pasta for snacking on later...

For my kitchen pantry I picked up some balsamic vinegar and smoky mustard - 2 things I knew would not go to waste. After lunch I walked around and snapped some pics and wished for a hammock.

V. Sattui Winery
Oh to be the kitty that lives here!

V. Sattui Spoils
Keeping that carbon footprint small!

That night we hit another spot I'd read about online - ZuZu Tapas and Paella. Oh, that was a real treat with the little plates of food. We started off the evening with some sangria and worked our way through the tapas menu. Well, not ALL of the menu, just 5 plates.

I wish I'd taken more pictures but it was a smallish venue completely packed and I was too busy drinking, eating and TALKING to take many pics.

Tapas at ZuZu
Not a great capture but you get the picture.... (heh)

Chilaquiles Tapas at ZuZu
This is one of the tapas we got - Pork Shoulder Chilaquiles served with a Poached Egg on top

We also got Bacalao (Salt Cod drizzled with White Truffle Oil served with Garlic Crostini), a pepper dish with roasted garlic, Basque fish stew (phenomenal!) and a potato veggie dish. Dessert was a peach cobbler-ish type of dish with caramel. It was gone pretty quick.

The next afternoon my friend and I hit an outlet mall in Napa and scored some really good deals (Banana Republic and Coach were having 50% off the sale price!!!).

After a quick lunch at the outlet mall we drove up to Calistoga to visit her man's winery located close to Old Faithful. We tasted a few really great wines (and I left with some petit-syrah) and watched some of the grape crushing too....

When You See a Fork...


Envy Winery Posers

After we left Envy, we drove around looking at all of the beautiful vineyards surrounded by olive trees and then we visited PlumpJack Winery in Oakville for a tasting. I was thankful that this sommelier was more conservative with her pouring because I am a light weight!

Cool Yard Art @ PlumpJack Winery

I was really digging the wine pitcher yard art. I need something like that in my yard for sure. 

From PlumpJack we went to Saddleback Cellars for some barrel riding....or maybe that was just me.

Barrel Riding

We sampled a few wines there and listened to country music before we headed back to Gail's house for dinner. I had to nap on the couch before dinner. I enjoyed my pot roast (yummy!) with lots of ice water before I headed back to my hotel. I was sent away with a nicely packed box of wine to check in at the airport the next morning.

Back at the hotel I packed and repacked and because I was so worried I would arrive too late to the airport for my early morning flight, I didn't sleep much at all. I was all packed up and ready to go by 4am so I let my GPS guide me on my 1 hour trek to the Sacramento airport and showed up 3 hours before my flight. I was lugging that precious cargo when I dropped off my rental car and I was so nervous that they'd tell me I can't bring wine and have to leave it at the airport. But I checked and apparently on Southwest Airlines, you can check that well packed 6 bottles of wine package in for free as your 2nd checked bag. I love you, SWA!!!

Getting it to the check in was a harrowing experience because the box was still open on top and I had it carefully stacked on top of my big roller bag. Then with my other hand I was guiding my spinner roller carryon with my new coach bag perched on top of that. It could have been a real disaster but it wasn't and I was sighing with relief once I got the bag and wine checked and was safely through security.

I (and my wine) made it home safely after a brief deplaning incident which had us getting back to OKC 2 hours later than planned. I spent a fairly relaxing weekend with my family. Gracie's forgiven me for abandoning her. We tailgated at the first OU game and I got to see all of my family that lives close. I would say it's been a good Labor Day weekend.

Did you have a good long Labor Day weekend? (I hope so!)


  1. Nolita, I'm just now getting 'round to comment... You pack a lot into your schedule and suitcases! :) Loved the grape photo, as well as the Pork Chilaquiles (and crab cake, and, and, and...) -- truly a gastronomical adventure! The vineyard looks as serene as you described; will check out the link after this. Glad you got to spend time with your friends, too, and I bet you got plenty of welcome home hugs!

    1. Ah yes, Kim. It was a gastronomical adventure and a wonderful break away. Love to experience the surroundings and food and see where the wonderful wines originate. I wish I was there now though because I bet it smells intoxicatingly grape right about now! Hope you are doing well and enjoying these lower temps.


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