Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Smug Marrieds Jet-Set: Napa, Day 1

The first in a three-part travel series - yes, I'm dragging it out over three days, and not only because uploading the photos is even more predictably tedious and drawn-out than the Republican primary.

Back to our usual variety here this Friday. Until then, you get travel photos of a total stranger - and who doesn't enjoy that?!? In the words of dear old Jane Austen*, "You're S.O.L."

*I might be paraphrasing here. 

Oh, and as usual, none of the hotels / restaurants / wineries / etc. mentioned are paid or solicited placements; sadly, we paid for them all ourselves. 


Of the many things which I'm a snob about, wine isn't one of them. Though I can appreciate the difference between the boxed and the beaucoup bucks, $100+ varieties, I otherwise classify my wines based on two categories - "I like this" and "I don't like this". When people get all adjective-y about it - you know, how this syrah is very "berry forward, with just a soupcon of Justin Bie*ber" blah blah blah - my need to roll my eyes overcomes my desire to drink.

So when the opportunity arose to piggyback onto the Anonymous Husband's Napa work trip, I had a split-second of hesitation before eagerly accepting. I'm here to tell you that no fear of wine snobbery should hold you back from this feast for the eyes and palate. Our trip was fairly free of pretentiousness - if you ignore the fact that I was involved - and simply full of good food and wine.


I arrived on an afternoon when the AH was still at work, leaving me to check into our hotel, the Westin Verasa Napa, and entertain myself for a few hours. I'll get into the hotel review later, but what you need to see first is an image that any parents reading will identify as nearly pornographic in nature.

Not to worry, darlings, this image is entirely safe for work:

I had an afternoon to myself, no toddlers to supervise, and a fluffy, insanely comfortable, crisp-white-sheeted bed before me . . . as any sane person would, I chucked my luggage aside and dove into that bed with abandon to take one of the better naps of my life. I napped ("Napa'd"? I'm sorry, I had to . . .) the hell out of that thing. I nearly left a $20 on the nightstand in sheer gratitude.

I reluctantly arose around the same time the AH's conference concluded; he met me at the hotel so we could commence checking out the place (code for "go to happy hour"). What the Westin lacks in unique charm it makes up for in creature comforts - the service was consistently excellent, and the rooms minimally chic (if corporate), clean, and well-appointed. It isn't the place to stay if you want that local charm and more one-on-one feel of a bed and breakfast - I'll have one of those to recommend tomorrow, by the way - but hearty golf claps to it otherwise.


We left the hotel to dine at a local legend, Thomas Keller's Bouchon:

This was one of those rare dining experiences that lives up to the hype - as promised, Bouchon is the best of the French bistro experience. We'd been to the Las Vegas location, and the Napa (Yountville, technically) experience is much the same - the dining room is boisterously loud, and the tables stacked atop one another, but the food was note-perfect and the service attentive. If I had to pick a last meal, Bouchon's baguettes and mussels with truffled french fries would make the list. Unsurprisingly, the wine list was terrific, but more on the grape goods tomorrow.

Speaking of, here's a teaser for tomorrow:

Notice anything amiss here? This is what happens when you go wine tasting in the a.m. after a light breakfast. 
More on Russian River Valley wine tasting - and the perils of doing the same on an empty stomach - tomorrow . . .


AEOT said...

Can't wait to hear about THAT! And, I agree, that bed looks delightful to this sleep deprived, just getting her toddler over croup but still waking up at least once a night, mommy!!

Rachel said...

Empty beds with no toddler running wild are my fave! Back in the fall I had to travel for work and it was my first time leaving Connor overnight. I kept telling my mom how COMFORTABLE the bed was. She was SO confused because it was a Hampton Inn! I finally realized that it was just because I actually got to be in the bed with no distractions or responsibilities! Can't wait to read about Day 2!

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

I love a drawn out vacay recap! Glad you had a relaxing trip with yummy dinners & vino! (I'm with you on the like vs. don't like re: wine!)

[darci @ the good life] said...

Be still my heart --- this all sounds heavenly! Gotta love the site of empty glasses!!! Can't wait to see more photos of the trip! :)

Rhiannon said...

We went to Napa in October for my husband and his twin brother's 40th. I was HUGELY pregnant so I didn't partake in any wine tasting (though I needed it, because OMG, my BIL's girlfriend is not delightful), but I did partake in TONS of eating. I'm excited to hear where else you guys ate!

(We also stayed at the Westin. It was fine, but I think if we go back we'll look for something a bit...fancier)

Mel said...

I second Bouchon! Both Vegas and "Napa" were fantastic experiences for us. That bed pic makes me want new sheets....

The Little Crane said...

Looking forward to the rest of the Napa advice. Planning a trip in May. So glad I found you...love this blog!


Emily said...

I have Napa on my list of places to visit in 2012 so I am looking forward to your series of recaps! A bed with crisp sheets is a divine sight, so glad you got to take a nap!

Adrienne said...

Ahh so jealous, can't wait to read more.

a H.I.T. said...

Beyond jealous! As a wine lover, it shocks me that I've never been...perhaps I can convince Husby that a trip might be required for our upcoming 5 year?

Howdy Ho by the way. So happy to be back here!

Lindsey said...

Oh now I need a napa vacation terribly!!!

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