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Napa Valley: Always a Pleasure

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 [2]. [UPDATE: click here [3] to read the article in Endless Vacation magazine.]

We spent our first night at the Westin Verasa Napa [4], a 3-year-old property that not only delivered great service but is home to Michelin-starred restaurant, La Toque [5] (get the wine pairings).

For lunch the next day, we thoroughly enjoyed the rustic Italian offerings at Oenotri [7] 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 [10], 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 [12].

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 [15] (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 [17]. 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 [18], 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 [20], 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 [22] 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 [24] 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 [25]
Day trip: Tijuana

Portland, Oregon

San Diego [26]
Los Angeles [27]
Palm Springs and Joshua Tree [28]
Milwaukee (Yes, Milwaukee!) [29]
Madison, Wisconsin [30]