Well, not actually - they're out in the countryside, but WOW! what a lot of them!
Heather did an impressive job of getting us through
the insanity of San Francisco’s traffic where almost every street is one way
and the traffic is basically in grid-lock mode always.
We arrived at our hotel in Napa just in time for a
free wine-tasting and discovered that since she is a rewards member with the
hotel group, we were also invited to a free happy hour with wine and hors d’oeuvres
– how great was that?! So with that and
unpacking and getting settled in, we pretty well took care of the remainder of
Saturday. The wine tasting was provided by Raymond Vineyards –
one of the oldest in Napa – and the woman conducting was one of their
sommeliers who told us she was conducting a blending event at the winery the
next day. That sounded like pretty much
fun so we said “sign us up! We had to
be there by 10:30 so after our (also) free breakfast off we went. The winery is owned now by a French vintner
who also has a winery in France. He is
apparently quite a character and his winery reflects that. Many different tasting rooms and most of them
quite over the top. (Note: There's a real hoot of a video on the vineyards website).
Frenchie is a mascot I guess and there were five kennels in this domicile. I never did see any dogs but there must be some. But this is a little taste of what awaits in the winery itself.
By the time we left there, it was well past lunch time and we'd had nothing to eat since a fairly light breakfast. We drove into the town of St. Helena and searched for parking - finally found a little lot behind some of the storefronts and the spaces were reserved for certain businesses, one of which was Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. So that pretty much helped us decide where we would eat and oh my goodness, was that a good decision. It was and so far is the best meal I've had on this trip. Absolutely, positively scrumptious! It was a piece of grilled pork tenderloin served over a wonderful puree of I think pear and parsnips, sprinkled with toasted (almost to burnt stage) hazelnuts, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and pretty much swimming in a brown butter pool. Oh my gosh!!!! And, of course, a delicious glass of wine with that. After all, it had been going on an hour since we had had any. :)
Did some window and browsing shopping after that - the main street of St. Helena is one neat shop after another and walked some of that wonderful lunch off. This is one building that especially caught my eye. It looks like it would have been a hotel back in the day, but the plaque at the top is a Mason's insignia so I'm not sure what it started out as.
I am now going to stop this even though I think we did another winery on Sunday. I'm sitting in my internet friend's condo from which I see a snick of the Pacific Ocean (which I listened to last night as I fell asleep), I haven't had breakfast, and I'm going out and about.
I am really behind with this blog!
- Mary Lynne
- West Virginia
- When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!
P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).
I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.