August 13, 2012

Day Trip to Napa Valley

Last Friday we took a little trip over to Napa Valley for a bit of wine tasting and eating. This is hands down my favorite winery. I'm not a big wine drinker, or a drinker at that, but this wine is so good, and when paired with food, it is magic. The following photos were taken with the good old iPhone, so apologies for the quality of them. It was beastly hot that day, and the thought of my heavy camera was not appealing. I left the smaller camera in the car, so these are all I have.
This is just a small part of the vineyard. The lighting in this area is so beautiful in the summer, that even though it was so very hot, the light did not disappoint and makes it a bit more tolerable to be out. The smells in the air were quite something, heavy and earthy. As we sipped the wine indoors, you could almost taste what you smelled outside.
It is fun when your kid is now old enough to go wine tasting with you! I remember dragging both of them to this place when they were small, now we have a willing participant. Cyrous came along with us too.

After a couple of tastings, we drove over to downtown St. Helena with a specific shop we had to visit. That would be Woodhouse Chocolate shop. I can't say enough wonderful things about the chocolate here. The shop is gorgeous inside, but I always feel odd taking photos in there. They made it look very French is all I can say, and the quality very closely matches some of my favorites in France. We purchased many yummy items. The picture above, is of the window display, which is quite beautiful. The fish next to the box are all chocolate. They change this out all the time, and it is always so creative. If you ever go to St. Helena, you must go here!

Oops, jumped the gun with this photo...We went to Ad Hoc for dinner. This is Thomas Keller's other restaurant in Yountville. I can now say I have eaten at all three of his restaurants! Fun atmosphere and very casual in comparison to French Laundry. You can read about the concept of this restaurant when you click on the link. This was a very nice heirloom tomato salad with burrata cheese and other good summer components, like canallini beans and olives, and a bit of frisee lettuce.

Everything is served family style. This was a steaming hot pan of short ribs with fantastic veggies. It seems simple enough, but oh the flavors!
Forgot to mention that it is also prix fixe menu, meaning you get what they are serving that day, with no exceptions. If you are a picky eater or have dietary issues, this may not be the place for you. There was a cheese course as well, and I forgot to photograph it. Even though I'm not a cheese eater, it was beautifully presented. It was served with brioche toasted bread with a sprinkle of sea salt, and bits of fried thyme. Also, they had THE most amazing peach jam, made in house, that went with it. I was so hoping that they sold the jam, but alas they did not.
Desert came in these cute little glass jars. It was a trifle of sorts with cream, orange pound cake, and mangoes. Everything was wonderful, and I highly recommend Ad Hoc.

We aren't going on any vacations this year, but I think we are so fortunate to live in an area that is a vacation destination in the first place. One day in the city exploring is a vacation in it self sometimes. That being said, we will be taking a weekend trip up to our old college haunts later this month. Can't wait to drive up the coast and visit with old friends and visit old memories!

We are getting our heat big time right now, and I still have done very little in the way of sewing or anything very creative. It is kind of making me anxious for some reason. Like I said in my previous post, the room that I sew in, gets very warm and I just can't spend too much time in it before I start to sweat like a beast! Heat spell will be breaking this coming weekend, so they say!


  1. Sounds and looks like the perfect day. Seriously...I so live on the wrong coast.

  2. it looks like a beautiful and delicious day. we're not traveling this summer either and are working on sprucing up our place. we are also lucky to live in a tourist destination, but i do hope we will be inspired to take a couple of trips elsewhere next year. btw, you iphone snaps look good to me.

  3. My folks rented a place there, in St. Helena, for a few months. They said it was the closest thing to what we had in Chile - they loved it. Now my cousin is building a home there ( the one who lives in your neighborhood). I also understand that the CIA is there and you can visit the school store. I think I would have a hard time leaving if I ever went there. It is great that you can just pick up and go there for the day. With all that beauty right there in your "backyard", it is not as critical to get away on vacation... And besides, I think those mini breaks actually don't take as much out of you. I enjoyed going "coche de guagua" - this is a Chilean saying that translates to "I enjoyed traveling in the baby stroller", implying that I didn't do any of the work, but enjoyed the trip through your efforts. Thanks for sharing.

  4. @ Cindy, thanks for the compliment on the photos, I always feel bad when I don't use the nicer one, but as long as the day is captured, I guess it is better than no image :)

    @Carolina, Your cousin is a lucky duck getting to build a home in St. Helena. It is such a darling little town with so much charm and near to everything I love.
    The CIA is indeed near by, and I love to go there when we happen to be near by. The building itself is stunning!
    Perhaps you can visit your cousin when their house is done, and I'll tag along :)

  5. If you saw or heard any anglo chinese little uns in St Helena they belonged to me as we where in the main street area for most of friday.