Labor Day Weekend is pretty special in the Munson household. First, it always marks a three day weekend, and who doesn’t love those? Second, and much more importantly, it marks our anniversary. Mike and I have been married a whole year already. I can hardly believe the time has gone by so quickly. It’s been a roller coaster of a year; with new jobs, finishing my degree, and losing a beloved family member. In that way, I am so thankful to have had Mike by my side through all the bumps in the road.
Moving on from the mushiness…back in April we decided to plan a long weekend away to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. After a long discussion (and many cocktails as I recall… =P) we decided since we got hitched in So Cal’s wine country, it was only fitting to visit Nor Cal’s wine country for the big OH-one. Napa Valley is world famous for producing fantastic wines, it’s listed as one of the most romantic vacation spots, and the food scene is AMAZING. We booked it, and anxiously awaited August 29.
Just about a week before we were set to leave, the Napa Valley experienced the strongest earthquake in the area since 1989. Buildings red tagged, homes uninhabitable, and barrels of wine destroyed. All in a matter of about 30 seconds.
My first thought was to check in with-sister in-law who is from the area and see if her family was alright. Thankfully, none of the extended fam was harmed, but they had a day or so of clean up on their hands. Not to mention the local utilities had to restore power and water to many of the residents in the area. It was a pretty substantial event. However, the show must go on. And for Napa and its surrounding vineyards and wineries, it was important for tourism to remain steady. It is a huge part of their local economy. So away we went.
Saturday we checked out V. Sattui winery. This is a happening spot on the weekends. A 25 minute wait nets you delicious BBQ in a gorgeous setting. We made the most of it, got a bottle of wine, and had a little picnic under the shade. It was fantastic. And that fresh mozzarella sandwich… I’ll be dreaming about it for some time.
Next we stopped at Elizabeth Spencer and did a quick wine tasting. Their staff is super welcoming and friendly, and the wine is great. It’s a small little tasting room with a gorg patio you can sit out on and enjoy your vino.
Our big plan for Saturday night was to hit up Morimoto Napa. O.M.G you guys. Meal of a freaking lifetime. We did the Omakase menu with Sake and red wine. 9 courses of “HOLY SHIT WE ARE EATING AT MORIMOTO!!!!!!!!”
But really, the food was superb. If When we go back, I must have about 20 orders of the seared hamachi, and 25 orders of the caramelized pork belly on top of house made silken tofu with pork belly glaze. Even writing the words I’m salivating. So good. However, for my frugal followers, beware. This is not a cheap place to eat. However, the quality of the food was world class, no doubt. I do apologize for not having any pictures from Morimoto… but I just wanted to enjoy the experience without taking my camera out every thirty seconds. Plus, that can be kind of rude.
The next morning we journeyed into Yountville to seek out sugary goodness at Bouchon Bakery. Again, a 25 minute wait… and again it was worth it. We tried a couple different pastries, because why the hell not?? Mike and I shared a pain au chocolate, an almond chocolate croissant, a salted caramel macaron, and a blueberry muffin. Everything was excellent, fresh and delicious. And very well priced considering the name on the door.
Downtown Yountville is rife with fantastic restaurants and shops. It’s a really nice area. We walked around for about an hour before I heard vino calling my name.
We drove a little further north and stopped at Peju Province. This is probably my favorite winery. The grounds are gorgeous and the wine is outstanding. This is a must see place next time you are in the area!
Next we drove further north into Calistoga and stopped at Castello Amorosa. Gorgeous setting high up on a hill, with great spots to stop and take pictures overlooking the valley. We did a quick wine tasting here as well, and although we definitely enjoyed the wine, we left with a bottle of balsamic vinegar.
By this time, we were both pretty hungry, so we headed back south and had a late lunch at Gott’s Roadside. The burgers? Juicy and flavor packed. The garlic fries? Mike was lucky I let him have any. And we topped it with a super yummy cookies and cream shake, because calories do not count on vacation. Or at least, that’s the universe I live in.
From lunch we kept heading south back into downtown Napa. We decided to survey the damage from the earthquake and then do a little bit of shopping at the outlets. A big handful of the older buildings in downtown are pretty torn up. Looks like they have a long rebuild ahead of them.
On the happier side, I scored an outrageously good deal on a Coach bag at the outlets. So we did what we could to support the post-earthquake economy… Ha.
That’s our little trip in a nutshell. We had such a fantastic time. I know Mike and I will definitely be back. It’s a wonderful, fun, wine-soaked escape.