I haven't updated in a week because I haven't cooked anything exciting and because my fridge is still kinda bare. But it's mainly because I'm still getting back into the groove of things from our little getaway to San Francisco and Napa this past weekend to help celebrate my birthday. I'm officially another year older! We both had planned a fun and eventful weekend, I'm such a planner that I had created an itinerary for the entire weekend for food, hotels and locations and I took plenty of pictures. I need to Yelp about all the wonderful places on where we ate, too. Here's the best of our San Francisco & Napa for my birthday weekend.
We took the Alcatraz Cruise and took a tour of the facility. We learned about the infamous inmates, the possible escapes from the prisoners, and walked around "The Rock." The 12 minute ferry ride gave us a nice view of the Golden Gate bridge, too.
Took lots of pics of a possible rainy day.
We had dinner at 1550 Hyde Cafe and Wine bar, where I had the best organic fried chicken. It was so juicy and tender, I forgot to take a picture of it. But it was heavenly! After dinner, we watched Wicked at the Orpheum. I got great seats in the orchestra for Eric and me, and I absolutely loved it...despite the rude neighbor that sang and hummed along the entire time!
We spent Saturday morning madly driving to Napa, we had an early 10am appointment for Olive Oil Tasting at Round Pond. It took us an hour from the city, but we were only 5 minutes late. We got a great tour of the facility, learned about olive oil cultivation, and sampled some good olive oils paired with some good cheeses.
We visited a couple wineries in the Stag Leap's District, our first stop was at Baldacci Vineyards. We had a great time here, sampled wonderful wines, and bought the 4 Sons Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2005 Black Label - Jessica was wonderful in every way, we'll be adding this to our local stops on every Napa trip!
We also visited Regusci Winery, but didn't have much luck with those wines. We preferred the Baldacci wines more. After all this wine, we were a little hungry and decided to head to Oxbow Public Market, such a wonderful selection of artisan and good foods. We tried Kara's Cupcakes and empanadas at Pica Pica Kitchen and decided to have a little more wine at GustavoTrace. If you've ever seen the movie, Bottleshock, Gustavo was portrayed in the movie as a great winemaker. I knew that I had to try one of his wines.
After all this wine tasting, we checked in the hotel for a little nap. We were having dinner at Bottega and I wanted to enjoy every bite. The meal was fantastic, and I especially loved the appetizer of polenta in a glass with caramelized wild mushrooms and topped with balsamic game sauce.
I ordered the House-made egg pappardelle with veal, pork & porcini mushroom Bolognese, rosemary & parmigiano-reggiano and Eric ordered the Wood-Grilled Spiced Quail with Pork & Olive Sausage, five onion braised Tuscan black cabbage & honey sage roasted Black Jonathan apples, red wine-quail reduction. Both of our dishes were spectacular and we are on the hunt for this wonderful Zinfandel recommended by our wonderful waiter, Turley Moore Earthquake Zinfandel 2005. This dinner was probably the highlight of our trip...such a wonderful dinner! After dinner, we worked off some of our calories by salsa dancing at Ceja Vineyards, not the LA street style salseros, but it's nice to see people enjoying the dance, too.
On Sunday morning, we drove back up to Yountville to enjoy some wonderful treats from Bouchon bakery. I love the almond croissiants and macarons...it's absolutely heavenly.
Another highlight of our trip for me, was visiting CIA...that's the Culinary Institute of America. It was like paying homage to all the great past, present, and upcoming chefs. It's such a beautiful campus overlooking Charles Krug & Beringer vineyards, which both used CIA to process their wines before they had any facilities.
We took a tour of the beautiful facility, I saw all the publications of Joy of Cooking, cooking demonstration area, the students training kitchen and they had a showcase of all the award-winning wines from Napa. One of the award-winning Chardonnay's of the 1973 Paris wine-tasting from Chateau Montelena was displayed, too.
We had lunch at the Greystone restaurant and we had wonderful samplings of food. We split everything and enjoyed Pork Adobo, a tasty Filipino dish that I usually make with chicken.
Since it was Superbowl Sunday, we met up with some of my knot friends, Becky & Alicia, and watched the game together. So glad that the underdogs won, Go Saints!
We also met up with our wedding photographers from His Creations for lunch at Taylors Automatic Refreshers because they had recently moved back to Napa. Awesome burger joint, everything is good on the menu especially the Black and white milkshakes. It was such a treat to visit with our friends, enjoy beautiful vineyards of Napa, explore the Rock, and eat so much good food. Till next time Napa!
Since Monday was my actual birthday, we had made it back home just in time to hang out with my friends and spin family at JT Schmids. I'm very blessed to be surrounded by all these wonderful people for my birthday, it was the best birthday weekend I could ask for. Thanks again to my husband for planning it out, too.