Monday, October 31, 2011

Rule one gets up until the sun gets up...

Sunday’s are for sleeping in…especially after a full day of traveling, exploring and big eating.  Apparently, this is not the case for Vee...even while on vacation.  It was still dark out and she was tapping me on the shoulder asking me if I was going to get up anytime soon.  I was ignoring her so she moved onto waking Katie up.  Neither of us responded and finally after much pestering, Katie told her we will get up when the sun gets up.   We tried to enforce this rule the rest of the trip. 
I swear the sun peeped through the window about 5 minutes later…we packed our bags, grabbed coffee and checked out of the hotel so we could embark on the big day ahead. 
I had massages scheduled for Katie and I and a facial for Vee.  Perfect way, in my opinion, to start the day!  Afterwards, we cruised around the Sonoma square and decided to head to St. Helena.    
I chose St. Helena as a stopping point for a couple of reasons.  Megan held her wedding there this past March and it was amazing.   It’s a quaint town that boasts great vineyards, boutiques and a ¼ of the tourists.  Also, Vee’s favorite interior designer, Erin Martin, has a store front there and it was important for her to check it out. 
On our way up, we stopped in Yountville for lunch.  Another quaint wine town typically off the radar for most tourists, although I highly recommend a visit. We pulled over at Turnbull to sample some wines.  This was my least favorite wine tasting experience and the wines seemed more full bodied to my taste than I usually go for.  Beaulieu (BV) winery was a lot of fun where the sommelier Julie was a riot. 
We checked into the Vineyard Country Inn (such a great place to stay) and then we made our way to main street in St. Helena. 
Most places were closed for shopping so we grabbed a drink at La Condesa.  I fell in love with the art on the walls and the colorful atmosphere. 
I suggested we go to Tra Vigne for dinner.  Megan held her rehearsal dinner here and it is literally like you have been transported to Italy…Christmas lights strung on every tree creating a cozy courtyard.  It really was a quintessential wine country experience. 
We started with this amazing mozzarella cheese “Al Minuto.”  They literally make it the moment it is ordered.  The cheese pulls apart and you lay it on top of grilled bruschetta brushed with olive oil. YUM!
My favorite was the wood oven baked fig pizza.  Mission figs, gorgonzola (yuck – so my portion covered in more mozzarella), arugula and aged balsamic.  I am going to try to recreate my version of this awesomeness in the next few weeks.
We continued to stuff ourselves with smoked and braised beef short ribs served with a three cheese polenta, natural jus and a horseradish gremolata.  I LOVE short ribs and if I see them on a menu…that is what I most likely will order.  They fell off the bone and thinking about them right now is making my mouth water. 
The crispy duck leg risotto was worth a mention as well.  Green apple slices, carnaroli rice, fresh thyme, mascarpone and saba got rave reviews from us also!
I just remembered that we abandoned the left-over’s in the fridge to get tossed by the maid.  Tragic.
You may be relieved to know with all of this indulgence we skipped dessert.  As much as I wanted to try something, I simply did not have room.
Another early night to bed all fat and happy.    
Lunch at the Pacific Blues Cafe and a quick tour of Yountville, CA.
Wine tasting at beaulieu (BV) winery.  Another tragic story, Katie left the bottle of wine she bought in the fridge! 

The Zinfandel was my favorite.

Country like cottages with slate tiled roofs at The Vineyard Country Inn...I loved it.

St. Helena...where's Waldo?

Tra Vigne.  Beautiful!

This is a real pumpkin placed in the courtyard... it screamed sit on me for a picture!

The mozzarella "Al Minuto" -- seriously wow, right?  And then I forgot to photograph the rest of the meal because I was so caught up in the will just have to imagine the rest of the feast.


  1. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. from the minute my phone buzzed (thanks Vee;) ) to the massage! (thanks Mel) to the unbelievable dinner!!!!! I wanna go baaaaaack!!!!!