Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Napa Napa Napa, vol. 1

So!  Napa!

We've been back to life, back to reality for a week now, and I figured, if I can't go back to daily 10 a.m. wine tastings {and noon-time, and 2 p.m., and 4 p.m., etcetera, etcetera}, I should at least revisit our trip for posterity's sake.

About 11 months ago, one of our very first evenings out sans bambino was with these crazy cats...


C and I have been friends for 16 years, and our other halves just so happen to get along as well.  We'd all been to Napa before, and we started to reminisce about our respective trips over dinner. Several cocktails later, it had been determined... A shared vacation to celebrate C's and my 30th birthdays was in the works for February 2013!


And the rest is {a very happy, tipsy} history... I've split our latest wine-o excursion into two posts - the first for lodging and eateries; the second for vineyards.  I'm aware post numero dos is likely the more interesting of the two, but it will undoubtedly take longer to write and my adorable monster woke up screaming bloody murder twice last night and I really just want to watch Justin Timberlake's SNL "Mirrors" performance over and over again about twenty-seven more times before naptime is over because I am a very very tired eleven year old girl with crows feet

Speaking of JT and wine...

Yay champagne!

Sorry.  Had to.

Anyhoodle, onward! 

Lodging: The Cottages of Napa Valley

C&B first stayed at the Cottages on their honeymoon in 2006, and, at their recommendation, we booked Number 8 when we traveled to Napa in 2009.  The Cottages were just as adorable and casually luxurious as we all remembered.

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There are eight cottages on the property encircling a common courtyard. Each cottages boasts its own chiminea and Adirondack chairs out front and a picnic area in the back.  Cottage #8 has a covered side porch with a lovely swing.  The outdoor spaces alone are reason enough to book a stay here.  We spent hours "wine"-ding down around our chiminea each day {apologies. I couldn't help myself.}. 

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February 2013 117 (1)
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Inside, you'll find a King sized bed, gas fireplace, seating area, TV with Netflix, Bose sound system, soaking tub, heated bathroom tiles, and kitchenette {which includes a gas range, French press, tea kettle, microwave, mini fridge, china, and cutlery}.  The Cottages also provides local coffee grounds, Tazo teas, a complimentary bottle of wine, a backpack with picnic supplies, and L'Occitane bath products.  Blah blah blah, IT'S AWESOME.  Trust.  Would you like a cherry on top of your sundae?  Check it... A massive basket of Bouchon Bakery goodies is delivered to your doorstep each morning. 

Nothing like a whole fuckload of bread delivered to your doorstep each morning! {who's ready for VEEP to return?!}
My kind of B&B

I should also mention the staff is so nice and very accommodating.  They are happy to help you make reservations, and they offer a free shuttle service to and from restaurants in Napa and Yountville in the evenings. 

The Cottages are very centrally located, right off the Highway 29 frontage road.  There are several residential roads surrounding the property that offer the opportunity to walk off your debauchery - something E and I did each morning.  

scenes from our morning walks
Foggy morning walk

If y'all can't tell, we're big fans of the Cottages.  I don't think I could come to Napa and stay anywhere else.  Highly recommend. 


Pacific Blues Cafe - a delightful little spot for lunch.  E and I ate here upon our arrival on our first trip to Napa, and the four of us did the same on this sojourn.  Fun patio.  C and I highly recommend the black bean nachos for splitting. 

Oakville Grocery - There's tons of little specialty markets scattered throughout the valley.  E & I stumbled into Oakville Grocery {right smack off 29} on our first trip and were smitten.  A great place to grab a sandwich, hunk of cheese, baguette, and other gourmet goodies to enjoy on a picnic lunch.  Also a great place to grab an edible souvenir for your babysitters back home {specialty oils, spreads, chocolates, MUSTARD}.  

Picnic at Chase @colleenpate
picnic at Chase Vineyards

Mustards Grill - Speaking of mustard, the restaurant by the same name was the chosen spot for our first evening in Napa.  Super laid back and casual {really everywhere in Napa is pretty casual... even the fancy-pants-food places}.  Famous for their pork chop {which B ordered and it looked amaaaaaaah-zing}, they have tons of daily specials {I ordered the pasta special which included shaved truffles and mussels}, as well as sandwiches and smaller plates to share {we got two orders of the tamales for the table... shocker, they were delish}.  Mustards would be a great place for lunch as well.

Ad Hoc - I'm pretty pissed I didn't take any food photos in general {aside from "Bloodwork Orange" martini below} {well, and the menu screenshot, but that doesn't really count}, but I'm specifically bummed I didn't snap pictures of each of our courses at Ad Hoc.  The food was, in a word, gorgeous.  And so, so, so, so, so good. Maybe a Top Ten Lifetime Meal.  Everything on the set menu {changes daily, posted in the morning if you want to check it out prior to your reservation} is served family style, and the portions are perfect.  I really can't say enough about this meal... the poached egg, the butter beans, the onion rings, the CHEESE, the bread pudding {I don't even like bread pudding! I wanted to like the crock!} - it was simply fantastic. 

"A Bloodwork Orange" - wish you were here @magmaea

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen - We had a driver for one day of tastings, and he took us to Cindy's.  The food was excellent {pretty comparable to Mustards}, but I think we were all regretting such a big meal in the middle of an all-day wine fest.  Although, it's hard to regret daily Mac-n-Cheese and "Adult" Grilled Cheese specials. Wowza. 

Bistro Jeanty - Super, super quality French comfort food.  We're talking boeuf bourguignon, lemon sol, tomato bisque with a puff pastry {um, INSANE} - the works.  Adorably charming.  One bite and you'll see why this is a Napa staple.  Note: the portions are massive -- we brown bagged the leftovers for lunch the next day. 

Bistro Don Giovanni - My least favorite of the bunch, which is laughable since the food and atmosphere were great!  But compared to our other selections, this meal wasn't a standout.  To be fair, I made an ordering misstep {I got a bit kerflummoxed with choices and made a snap decision on the ravioli, which turned out to be nothing special}, but still, I probably wouldn't return here whereas I'd happily repeat any of our other meals! 


Next up... THE WINE.  


  1. Ohhhhhh no! Reading this at my desk was dangerous...now I'm counting down the hours til wine o'clock. Looks so relaxing :)


    Mama H wants to serve Monica & Chandler champagne at my wedding.

    He was AMAZING that episode!

    I also cannot wait for the rest of the Napa updates :)

  3. Those cottages! Oh my word!

    I favorited this post of yours in hope that me "putting it out there" in the Google Reader world will bring a Napa trip my way someday.

    I can't wait to read more updates.

  4. delurking to say we went to Napa on the first half of our honeymoon and based on your first review of the cottages we stayed there as well. We can not wait to return... great recommendation!

  5. Oh my those cottages are adorable. I want to go now, looks fabulous. Cant wait to hear about the wine.

  6. I've been eagerly awaiting your Napa recap because we'll be there in less than 2 weeks! We already have reservations at Mustards Grill and Ad Hoc, so I'm happy to hear you had great experiences at both!

    Can't wait to hear about the wineries next!

  7. What a lovely trip! I loved seeing the pictures- glad you got to have a little break from L too. It's so important to have that adult time!

  8. Oh, I remember your 2009 post about the cottages. And I am just as intrigued now as I was then. If we ever get out to Napa, you have sold me on our accommodations!

  9. I stopped reading midway to email this to Zach. We MUST stay at the cottages next time. #8. It's happening. Hopefully SOON.

    I wasn't a huge fan of Bistro Don Giovanni either -- though we were with a huge group of people/family on a wedding weekend so I hardly noticed as I was just enjoying the company. It just...wasn't my favorite.

  10. Looks like a fun tour. The picture with the vats is really striking. Thanks for linking up with Photog Show and Tell. I've linked up my Wordless Wednesday post, Woodsy Fungi. :)
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happy little comments!