Tuesday, December 20, 2011

all I want for Christmas...

Dear Santa,

I've been very good this year. Swear. So if you could just drop off this white leather Chesterfield sectional, I'd be forever grateful. It's only $11,400. That's not too much, right? It IS leather.

However, if you don't agree that I've been $11,400-good, you'll definitely agree that I've been $4,500-good so this pink velvet sectional would be equally welcome. I'll even repaint my walls without complaint so it doesn't look too Miami in there.

Much love,


Monday, December 5, 2011

Saturday and Sunday in California

Saturday was GORGEOUS. Perfect temperature, sunny sunny skies.

We got a late start and started off at Mumm. They had a few options for tastings and we went with the patio, snagging a table all the way in the back, which meant we had an uninterrupted view of the mountains. You're going to get sick of me saying how gorgeous Napa is, but it really cannot be said too much.

Karin & Lori are master negotiators and managed to talk our server into one free tasting if we bought the two most expensive ones. So we got two of the most expensive and one of the next cheapest. And man, were these good sparkling wines. Prices weren't too crazy either - my favorite was $55 and that was from the most expensive tasting option.

Next up was Flora Springs, where Karin had a hook-up. She had made a reservation for a tasting & tour (free!) that ended up being with a foursome who also had a hook-up. Pair all of that with a kickass employee, Travis, heading all of this and we ended up spending almost 2 hours at the winery. Travis let us taste every wine available and gave seconds whenever someone asked. He also let us have the leftovers from some business lunch so we also got some free sandwiches and cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. It was so much fun.

But we spent so long at Flora that the rest of our day was a little cramped. We managed to squeeze in tastings at two other wineries - V. Sattui and Frank Family but it was the end of their days so we didn't get the personalized treatment the way we did at Mumm and Flora, even though Karin had hook-ups at both places. Oh well. The wine at Frank Family was really good - I'd like to go back when I wouldn't be so rushed. Plus they have these picnic tables set up outside their tasting room which would be great for lunch, though the trees were awesomely moody at dusk.

By this time, all of the tasting rooms were closed and we were all exhausted from running around all day. Time for dinner. Lori wanted Italian so we went to Don Giovanni where we sat outside. It had gotten chilly with the dark, but they had lots of heat lamps. And it was nice to be able to still be outside. We had some awesome homemade pasta, went home and watched a movie. This was why it was so great to have a cottage instead of a hotel room - Karin crashed first and Lori & I were able to stay up without disturbing her.

Sunday was another gorgeous day and our last in California. So sad. We took our time getting ready and closing up the house so I had a few minutes to read out on the front porch. Loved that they had grape vines lining the front path!

We went to Boon Fly Cafe for brunch. There was a bit of a wait, but they had free coffee out on the porch and we were able to walk over to the hotel's store that had all sorts of gourmet food and cute little gift items. As well as a large wine selection, natch.

To start, we got a half dozen of their signature donuts. Little two-bite cuties covered in cinnamon sugar and served piping hot. They were so good I almost forgot to take a picture. But I caught myself before they completely disappeared.

After brunch, we had a little bit of time before we had to get to the airport. We debated which cute little town to visit. We had already wandered around Napa on Saturday and drove through St. Helena so we decided on Yountville.

Unfortunately, Yountville didn't have a whole lot going on. A few shops, but nothing to write home about, at least not that we were able to find during the short time we had available. So then we walked up the street to look at the outside of the French Laundry

and saw their gardens across the street. A perfect way to waste some time. We wandered through the rows looking at all of the cool fruits and vegetables they had growing. Things we had never heard of or had only seen once or twice.

And then we went to see the chickens. Towards the back, they had a coop with maybe 10 chickens, all different types. They were so freaking cute with fluffy feet. Do all chickens have fluffy feet or just these? In this picture, there are three different colors going on, all with fluffy feet.

They were super friendly and came running over to us when we approached. We fed them pieces of grass and talked to them. Could've stayed for hours. I can so see why backyard chickens have become so popular.

But finally we noticed the time and headed out to the airport. Our quick little weekend was over and we were sad to see it go, but so happy that we went!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday in California

We woke up Friday to clouds and rain. Not a heavy rain, but an off-and-on spitting type of rain. My least favorite type. But we didn't let that dissuade us from our plans for the day!

Since we had skipped the good dinner option the day before, today we were determined to do better. For lunch, we headed over to somewhere for a food truck rally. We were a little concerned about the rain, but they had it under an overpass and even had a few tables set out. Score!

I went with a sandwich from the Bacon Bacon truck.

LGBT - lettuce, goat cheese, bacon and tomato. Mmmmmm.

 this picture is from Bacon Bacon, but mine looked exactly the same

Washed that down with a Mexican Coke made with real sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup. And I could really taste the difference. Even having it in a glass bottle made it that much better. It was delicious.

All that eating made us hungry so we headed over to the Mission for Tartine. We grabbed some coffee and assorted pastries for our trip up to Napa.

I went with a lemon tart, though I did wait until we were at our cottage to eat it since I was the driver. I wanted to savor the lemony goodness. It was well worth the wait. The coffee was fantastic as well (that I did drink on the way).

We hit some traffic, but still, the drive was super easy. Living outside of DC, I always feel lucky that I'm just 2-3 hours from the beach, but man, if I were only an hour outside of Napa? I'd definitely be the luckiest girl in the world.

Hotels in Napa Valley aren't well suited for three women. There are lots of bed and breakfasts, all with just one bed per room, and a few regular hotels that have double or queen beds. But we picked a weekend that was not only a holiday weekend, but also the Napa Film Festival. So we were out of luck when it came to hotels.

On to rentals. I checked out VRBO and VRConnection and the latter had an adorable little cottage on Cross Street that was available our weekend. Two bedrooms, a stocked kitchen, grill out back and a short walk to downtown Napa. All for less than what a hotel would be. Score!

As soon as we go to the house, Karin & Lori went off to find a winery before their tasting rooms closed while I took a nap. Then we went to Mustards for dinner and had a really delicious steak and root vegetable gratin and drank a bottle of this ridiculously awesome wine Karin & Lori had bought from Miner where they also got a coupon for free corkage at Mustards. Score again!