I had heard wonderful things about the Napa Valley, but nothing prepared me for its beauty. I found it every bit as breathtaking as Italy.
My grandparents filled photo albums with pictures of themselves with location-type signs. “You are now entering…” Seeing this brought back fond memories of my vicarious enjoyment of their travels.
We stayed at The Village Inn in Yountville. One of the things we loved was that there was so much to see and do within walking distance. Next door was a meticulously groomed garden and lawn and that was all that stood between us and the Napa Style store and Bottega restaurant. Ken Beilman snapped this pic as Michele and I were making a beeline to the stores.
Ken also took this shot of Michele and I thrilling to the site and smell of the wisteria in full bloom.
This was the view outside our room at The Village Inn in Yountville one morning as a light fog softened the landscape. The lighting was surreal and beautiful.
I got a huge charge out of getting to visit the flagship store for Napa Style. I’m a fan of Michael Chiarello and I love the catalog.
I try to pack some lovely paper napkins with me when I travel. If you’ve ever snacked with a washcloth as a napkin substitute in a hotel room, you understand why.
When we were in the NapaStyle store, one of the employees commented to a customer that his question was the second most commonly asked question they hear. I had to know what the first was. “Where is the dip they serve at Bottega?” Wow! We hadn’t eaten at the restaurant yet, but if folks came streaming in to find the dip, I needed some! The Marinated Parmesan Dip made me glad I had packed plates and spreaders! In both the original and spicy versions, it was fabulous!
When we ate at Bottega (Chef Chiarello’s restaurant) the next night, I got to taste the dip fresh. For my salad, I ordered artichokes two ways — grilled and fried. Lovely combination.
Fresh, exotic food combinations were present everywhere we ate. This was a fennel, artichoke and goat cheese salad. I’m going to try making it and putting my own spin on it. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
I’m a sucker for platters of fresh vegetables. The white jicama strips were particularly appealing to me.
Doesn’t this look appetizing? It’s an Asian beef salad. I’m pretty sure I could deconstruct — and reconstruct — it.
Guess which restaurant served me this meal? The SPA! After an incredible set of treatments, Michael and I were seated on a comfy couch by a fireplace. Spa attendants carried in a three-tired tray for each of us with the healthiest imaginable offerings. Glazed salmon on a bed of field greens. White papaya and edamame salad with Asian vinaigrette. Fresh fruit. I’ll bet I could have skipped my vitamins that day!
Rosemary plants as big as hedges in full bloom. I couldn’t resist rubbing my hand on the branches and getting the aromatic oil on my fingers. It was sensory experiences like that that made the trip so memorable.