Napa Valley: Always a Pleasure

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On assignment for a magazine, I was lucky enough to spend some time in Napa Valley recently, and wanted to share a few photos. Above: the view of the valley from Pritchard Hill, close to Ovid winery. [UPDATE: click here to read the article in Endless Vacation magazine.]

We spent our first night at the Westin Verasa Napa, a 3-year-old property that not only delivered great service but is home to Michelin-starred restaurant, La Toque (get the wine pairings).

For lunch the next day, we thoroughly enjoyed the rustic Italian offerings at Oenotri in downtown Napa. The house-cured salumi are a must—served with pickled onion, braised fennel, roasted almonds, and fig.

The crisped edges of house-made pancetta—paired with roasted broccoli and hot pepper—made this pizza pretty addictive.

After lunch, we made our way up the steep winding entrance of Kuleto Estate, which had an impressive view of Lake Hennessey and a variety of wines on offer (check out the pizza and wine pairing on their vine-covered veranda).

Returning southward to Yountville, we had dinner at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc.

Perhaps Keller’s most casual restaurant, Ad Hoc offers a $52 4-course prix-fixe menu, served family-style. Other courses included a farm fresh salad with lemon confit, Camembert with roasted mushrooms, and a pluot financier (sponge cake) with ice cream. This was my favorite meal of the trip, both for its food and easygoing staff.

Friends met us at CADE (organic and LEED-certified) winery in Angwin, with a gorgeous view from 1,800 feet above the valley floor. The infinity pool on the patio was a nice touch.

I can’t go to Napa Valley without grabbing a burger from Gott’s Roadside. I love the breezy backyard at the St. Helena location—it reminds you that, despite its high-end trappings, Napa has a small-town agricultural core. (I caught a fun nighttime shot as we headed back to our room at Southbridge Napa Valley, just steps from the boutiques and restaurants of downtown St. Helena.)

Gott’s goodness (they have plenty more on the menu for those who are not burger-inclined)

Another winery worth visiting is Ehlers Estate, where we had a great conversation with organic winemaker Kevin Morrisey about his even-handed style (and walked away with a case of rosé and a few Cabernets that we’re still coveting).

On our way out of town, we brunched at Asian-influenced Redd in Yountville and sampled potstickers, pork buns (above), salads, and scrambles.

The region of Carneros, on the southwest side of Napa Valley, is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Here, a shot from Bouchaine Vineyards as we headed south to the Bay Area. (Full details—and many more tips—will be available this fall when the article is published; keep you posted.)

Other “Weekend” posts:
Cabo San Lucas
Day trip: Tijuana

Portland, Oregon

San Diego
Los Angeles
Palm Springs and Joshua Tree
Milwaukee (Yes, Milwaukee!)
Madison, Wisconsin

Jul. 11 2012 |
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