Last August, I took a trip to Napa Valley with four of my best friends – Natalie, Tim and Matt. The thing about these friends of mine is that they love food. (If you know Tim, ask him to make you his goat cheese and honey appetizer. And insist he use his Mexican honey. And insist you get to eat it with his American honey – she’s delightful.)
Anyway, years ago, we were all out to dinner and began talking about our shared love for all things calorie-laden. We talked about all the places we’d like to visit and the food we’d eat once we got there. The conversation evolved and we began planning.
Four years later, we embarked on our First Annual (yeah right) Food Tour. This year’s destination? Napa Valley. The purpose? To eat our way through the area one restaurant at a time, no matter the cost to our waistlines.
Here’s our trip:
We met at Natalie’s parents house on Thursday night. We wore our official Food Tour shirs. Then Natalie fell on the floor and we all laughed. In Natalie’s defense, the fall wasn’t her fault. Her mom did the pull-the-tablecloth-out-from-under-the-food trick, except the table cloth was Natalie’s chair and the food was Natalie.
On the menu that night: Scopa. Not to be confused with the barber shop. It’s just exclusive like that. We ordered five appetizers (spicy meatballs, grilled calamari, grilled peaches, saffron risotto balls annnd … help me out, guys) and three main courses to share (tomato-braised chicken and two orders of pasta). Guilty. And after that, since we really hadn’t had enough to eat, we went or a walk and ended up at another restaurant or dessert: bread pudding and a lemon pot de creme.
Then we went home, changed and headed out or dinner at Cyrus. It was amazing. We ordered trout, short rib and two orders of truffled risotto and finished off with a raspberry tart with cream cheese ice cream and a Thai iced coffee dessert. I didn’t get photos due to the vibey lighting, but I did see this awesome spoon chandelier after we’d crashed a wedding reception and were on the way back to the car.
The next morning, I stayed in while Tim, Natalie and Matt grabbed breakfast and stopped by an antique show. Then they picked me up and we headed out for Napa. This is a self-serve flower shop we passed near our house. Good, old-fashioned honesty. I like it.
And then, in need of MORE food, we drove over to Gotts (loved it) or a snack and a few rounds of Aggravation. It was, needless to say, aggravating. Tim is SUCH a sore winner. Just kidding, Tim. Well played.
After Aggravation, it was time for dinner at ad hoc, the family-style alternative to the French Laundry. We had summer vegetable salad, grilled beef short ribs, fish & chips, goat cheese, nuts and honey, and banana’s foster.
On Monday morning, our last day in Napa, we had breakfast at our go-to place and headed back to our favorite wineries to pick up a few bottles to bring home. First stop was Wilson to visit one of our favorite wine pourers who let us sip our favorites on their beautiful deck. The rest of the day was spent driving through Sonoma and enjoying the views.
We left wine country in the early afternoon and drove back down to San Jose so Matt and I could catch out flights home. On the way, we made our last stop on the tour: Le Garage in San Francisco. Natalie and I both ordered salads (mine came with delicious lobster and nectarines). I “forgot to share” mine.