Died and gone to Napa- Part 1

Possibly one of the best days of my life in recent history was the day that we spent in Napa Valley. We left our hotel bright and early and picked up our Zip Car nearby, free coffee in hand. Our convertible Mini Cooper was the best car ever. I can not even describe how much I loved riding in it. We had some time, so hubs put the top down, and we drove down San Francisco’s famous Lombard Street.

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We had 11:30 reservations in Yountville at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega. Not knowing how much traffic there would be on the way up, we allowed a lot of extra time and arrived quite early to the V Marketplace where Bottega is located, along with Chef Chiarello’s store, Napa Style.

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We browsed through the store and got to sample some amazing olive oils, goat cheese, and strawberry rosemary jam. After awhile we went for a walk through Yountville and happened upon its gorgeous rose garden.   P9060966

Then we wandered into the Yountville Tasting Station, an absolutely beautiful, spacious gallery-like tasting room on the main road through Yountville, just down from Bottega.  We decided to share a tasting while we waited for our lunch reservation, and we got talking to the lovely gentleman who was pouring. It turns out the store just opened in July, and they will be expanding this year to include an event space and cheesemonger in addition to their tasting area and wine sales. The wines were from Page Wine Cellars, a small winery in Napa, and they were all extremely high quality and delicious. The tasting pours were generous, and when fresh bread arrived from the baker, we were treated to two local olive oils with bread. My favorite wine of the tasting was definitely the 2005 Proprietary Red.  While tasting and chatting we learned that Napa is beautiful in fall, and that even early November would be a good time to visit. Definitely got us thinking. . . and if we do return we will race back to Yountville Tasting Station to see the transformation that is taking place there. What a great idea! We could have talked and tasted for much longer, but lunch called.

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In addition to our glasses of Domaine Carneros bubbly, we received free sparkling water throughout the meal! To start we were served bread with an incredible dipping oil that contained fresh chunks of parmesan cheese.

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The view from my seat I ordered the ricotta gnocchi with pomodoro sauce.

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I liked it a lot ;) Sorry about the lighting; we were outside under a big awning, and the red of the awning gave everything a pinkish glow. The gnocchi were little pillows of potato and ricotta cheese with a completely fresh, chunky tomato ragu. I ate every single one and also tried some of the hub’s risotto, but not the quail that came with it. Somehow we found room for dessert.

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The caramel chocolate tart tasted like a Twix bar that was 100 times higher in quality and completely addictive, sweet with chewy caramel and rich chocolate. We sat and enjoyed the sunny afternoon after this lovely and long meal, and talked about the afternoon ahead. I leave off here for now but will be back tomorrow with wine tastings and dinner in Napa.

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Tags: California, Dining out, Food, Napa, Napa Valley. Bottega, San Francisco, Travel, wine, wine country, wine tasting, Yountville

  1. TheKitchenWitch’s avatar

    Oh, I love, love, love, Napa. Someday, remind me to tell you about my hubby, our “romantic Napa getaway”, and the fire alarm incident at the B&B. Ouch. Have a great time!

    Reply

  2. Gina’s avatar

    Oooh I love gnocchi! Good pick! :) …and I’ve only made stuffed peppers twice now and I found my latest recipe to be SO easy as compared to many others! Thanks for the comment!

    Reply

  3. VeggieGirl’s avatar

    Hey, that’s my car, haha :-D “The caramel chocolate tart tasted like a Twix bar that was 100 times higher in quality and completely addictive, sweet with chewy caramel and rich chocolate.” Holy goodness, I want that!

    Reply

  4. Lynn (The Actors Diet)’s avatar

    even though i’ve never actually made one of his recipes, Michael Chiarello’s show is one of my faves on the food network.

    Reply

  5. Andrea@WellnessNotes’s avatar

    Thanks for taking us on your day in Napa… Sounds wonderful! I so want to go to Bottega… :)

    Reply

  6. burpexcuzme’s avatar

    I’ve never been to Napa. I am stewing in LA and Jealous of you! Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you, though! :D

    Reply

  7. eatlivetravelwrite’s avatar

    Thanks for the great post. We are very seriously considering a trip down there next summer and your posts have been very helpful in swaying the decision!!!

    Reply

  8. traveleatlove’s avatar

    Such a great car! I want one. . . and my husband said that we can get a mini AND a dog if we move to SFO. Hmmmm. . .

    Reply

  9. traveleatlove’s avatar

    Your recipes/food pics are seriously the best! They inspire me to want to make more time to spend in the kitchen!

    Reply

  10. traveleatlove’s avatar

    Uh oh . . . that sounds like quite the story!

    Reply

  11. traveleatlove’s avatar

    Don’t worry. . . come January I will post plenty of photos of obscene snow drifts, and we can all live vicariously through you in LA! ;)

    Reply

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