Tag: Napa Valley Travel

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Cameron Diaz Shows She Knows How To Throw The Perfect Girls Getaway

March 24, 2014 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Cameron Diaz is making the most of her downtime and taking her girlfriends along for the ride.

She was recently spotted on a relaxing beach vacation with friends in Antigua, just days after celebrating a girls weekend in Napa Valley.

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Which 5 U.S. Cities are Best for Getting Busy?

February 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM | by | Comments (0)

Next week is Valentine's Day and, if you haven't even begun to think about what gift to get your honey to show your affection, take it from us that plane tickets trump flowers or chocolates any day. With that, just any old city won't do to make the holiday a memorable getaway, so picking the perfect romantic destination is key.

From lovey-dovey beach weekends to a high-style cities, the United States offers up some perfect locations to be shot by Cupid's arrow. Put your passport away for once, as we've compiled the most romantic locations around the country to spend this V-Day with your loved one.

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Take a Break from Napa Valley's Grapes with an Olive Oil Tasting

November 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

The blue glasses hide the color of the oils, so you can just focus on the taste...

If you’re sick and tired of sipping and sampling award winning wine after award winning wine there’s another tasting opportunity for you to check out in Napa Valley. The region also produces some pretty nice olive oils, so why not take a break from the vineyard and head over to the olive mill at Round Pond Estate.

Go ahead and take them up on their Olive Mill Experience, the visit starts with a quick walk over to the field where the olive trees mix and mingle with the grapes, and you get to learn a little bit about the trees, their temperament, and everything else involved with the harvest. Just be sure to take the guide’s advice—olives fresh off the tree are terribly bitter—we needed to confirm this for ourselves, and will never forget that experience.

Anyway, the next stop takes you into the mill that is pretty darn impressive, especially considering some of the equipment that they ordered all the way from Italy. We just hope they had a discount on shipping, because that big granite rock responsible for squishing and squashing the olives has to weigh a couple of tons.

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Where To Go With Your Tax Refund: Napa Valley, California

March 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

Tax day is coming, and you're probably excited...but not because you look forward to sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" trip—a Tax Refund Vacation.

So you scored a decent tax refund this year, so congratulations from us to you on that accomplishment. Let’s celebrate with a drink—or a whole bottle—and we suggest doing so in Napa Valley. It sounds like an expensive proposition, but heading off to California’s wine country can be decently affordable if you’re looking to stretch that return cash from Uncle Sam. On the other side of things there’s plenty of places where you can blow it all on one meal.

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Iron Chef Morimoto's Four Rules for Eating Sushi (Like You Know What You're Doing)

December 21, 2012 at 12:56 PM | by | Comment (1)


Morimoto demonstrates how much wasabi is perfect for a single piece of sashimi

Napa Valley is a weird place. It's kind of demure, with rolling hills blanketed in low rows of lush vineyards, but also kind of action central, as the chances are high that the person cooking your food or pouring your wine is at the top of the industry. Recently we ventured into kitchens, cellars and wineries (all accessible to you, too) in search of the extraordinarly yummy, which really is the norm in Napa.

Contrary to popular opinion, Napa's not only about the wine. Sure, that's a lot of the attraction, but you've got to eat something at some point to keep the drinking and drink appreciation going. That's where restaurants like Morimoto Napa come into play.

As the Flavor! Napa Valley festival only allows chefs with Napa restaurants to participate, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto took the opportunity to share the basics of precision sushi preparation.

Even if you're better at ordering in than turning out beautiful rolls, Morimoto has some tips. In addition to the fun fact that sushi is actually finger food (though chopsticks are of course plenty fine), he's shared with us his four laws of eating sushi. Take notes if you're Japan-bound!

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Napa Valley Normal: Sipping Chardonnay with Delta's Sommelier

December 20, 2012 at 6:04 PM | by | Comments (0)


These "The One" glasses were designed by Andrea

Napa Valley is a weird place. It's kind of demure, with rolling hills blanketed in low rows of lush vineyards, but also kind of action central, as the chances are high that the person cooking your food or pouring your wine is at the top of the industry. Recently we ventured into kitchens, cellars and wineries (all accessible to you, too) in search of the extraordinarly yummy, which really is the norm in Napa.

In-flight wines get such a bad rap. Unlike airplane coffee, which is still all too frequently little better than "brown water," the reds and whites of the trolley have improved enough to warrant an airline bringing in someone like Andrea Robinson to expertly curate wine lists every season.

Andrea, a certified Master Sommelier/best-selling author/wine glass designer, has been the official Delta sommelier since February 2008 and it's her you have to thank for that smooth, in-flight buzz after your second glass because, to her, it's not just about getting blitzed onboard. In fact, Delta's transcontinental BusinessElite wine program turned completely to California wines from this September. The majority are from the Napa Valley, but there's always a focus on the richer, fuller bodied vintages to combat the effects of altitude on our tastebuds.

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Yes, Virginia, There is a Sutter Home Winery

December 12, 2012 at 4:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

Napa Valley is a weird place. It's kind of demure, with rolling hills blanketed in low rows of lush vineyards, but also kind of action central, as the chances are high that the person cooking your food or pouring your wine is at the top of the industry. Recently we ventured into kitchens, cellars and wineries (all accessible to you, too) in search of the extraordinarly yummy, which really is the norm in Napa. Here, we share some of our winery picks.

A visit to: Sutter Home Winery in Saint Helena, California

The label Sutter Home doesn't exactly call to mind a stately mansion presiding over pristine rows of vineyards on prime California grape-growing property, does it? Heck, we only think of grocery store shelves and deciding which cheap, girly wine to buy for inevitable Lifetime movie marathons. Still, we now should say that's what we thought of it before setting foot at the Sutter Home winery itself in Napa, where there is indeed a Sutter Home and a property so lovely on land so expensive we wonder how $6 bottles of wine keep it all together.

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What Napa's Cakebread Cellars Has to Do with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

December 12, 2012 at 11:07 AM | by | Comments (2)

Napa Valley is a weird place. It's kind of demure, with rolling hills blanketed in low rows of lush vineyards, but also kind of action central, as the chances are high that the person cooking your food or pouring your wine is at the top of the industry. Recently we ventured into kitchens, cellars and wineries (all accessible to you, too) in search of the extraordinarly yummy, which really is the norm in Napa. Here, we share some of our winery picks.

A visit to: Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford, California

Please allow us regale you with a brief story about how we first came to know the name Cakebread and how the small memory brought us here, right to the source at their Cellars in Napa. It was a few months ago and we were dining in a hangar at Boeing to celebrate the debut of LAN's First 787 Dreamliner. We weren't drinking since balancing our iPhone, DSLR and hors d'oeuvres proves a challenge on its own, but then someone said, "you just have to try the Cakebread Chardonnay."

We did try it. And we did like it, so much so that the funny name (which is actually the last name of the producing family) stuck in our head.

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Inside Opus One, Napa Valley's Fanciest Schmanciest Winery

December 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

Napa Valley is a weird place. It's kind of demure, with rolling hills blanketed in low rows of lush vineyards, but also kind of action central, as the chances are high that the person cooking your food or pouring your wine is at the top of the industry. Recently we ventured into kitchens, cellars and wineries (all accessible to you, too) in search of the extraordinarly yummy, which really is the norm in Napa. Here, we share some of our winery picks.

A visit to: Opus One WInery in Oakville, California

Oh, Opus One. Where to start? As we've already mentioned, Robert Mondavi is the OG winemaker here in Napa Valley, but it wasn't until he partnered up with big-deal French winemaker Baron Philippe de Rothschild to form Opus One that Napa Valley wines started to gain traction on the international scene. The friendship began in 1970, but it wasn't until 1979 that Opus One produced a first vintage and still later yet, in 1991, that the winery got the iconic architecture it calls home.

The vision of both Mondavi and de Rothschild was "spare no expense," and be totally "dedicated to the art form of making wine" to produce a Bordeaux-style red from the famous Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, using centuries of French know-how (and the clout helped too).

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Sippin' and Chillin' at Robert Mondavi's Massive Vineyard

December 12, 2012 at 9:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

Napa Valley is a weird place. It's kind of demure, with rolling hills blanketed in low rows of lush vineyards, but also kind of action central, as the chances are high that the person cooking your food or pouring your wine is at the top of the industry. Recently we ventured into kitchens, cellars and wineries (all accessible to you, too) in search of the extraordinarly yummy, which really is the norm in Napa. Here, we share some of our winery picks.

A visit to: Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, California

Robert Mondavi. It's a name you likely associate with entire shelves in the wine section of your grocery store, but what is now an empire began with some grapes in 1966 (though the first Cabernet Sauvignon vintage wouldn't be released until 1968). Mondavi is the OG (original gangster, in slang) of Napa Valley, so duh, we had to stop in.

The winery itself is sprawling, not to even consider the vineyards yet (there's 550 acres to his To Kalon vineyard alone). Likewise there's too much to be said for Robert Mondavi himself, so we'll just stick to the property you can experience. There's two tasting rooms, a slew of event rooms, another tasting room just for members of their wine club, and then the production facility and barrel rooms. We skipped the tour because of a time crunch with reservations across the way at his Opus Wine operation, but we'll be back.

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Napa Valley Normal: Drinking with Dean & DeLuca's Wine Director

December 5, 2012 at 1:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

Napa Valley is a weird place. It's kind of demure, with rolling hills blanketed in low rows of lush vineyards, but also kind of action central, as the chances are high that the person cooking your food or pouring your wine is at the top of the industry. All this week and some of next, we'll be venturing into kitchens, cellars and wineries (all accessible to you, too) in search of the extraordinarly yummy, which really is the norm in Napa.

We're kind of shocked. It was just the other week we were in wine country for what would be crash courses on wine identification during the Flavor! Napa Valley Festival. This week, we've been casually blind tasting wines before our own restaurant dinners and nailing it half the time. The other half? We're at least acing our guesses on the varietal. That shiz is cray—our confidence is soaring and a sommelier's visit to our table is no longer met with anxiety. Yay, wine!

This is all thanks to the masters, who showed up to the Flavor! Festival to discuss and, yes, decant some prize wines for the curious public. One such instructor was Kerrin Laz, Director of Wine for Dean & DeLuca.

Kerrin's class, which focused on the Napa wines to know right now, concluded with the lesson to take a proper amount of time to think about what you're seeing, smelling and tasting with each glass. No sommelier should rush you to speak of any aromas or flavor notes; you're the one about to pay for and enjoy that bottle, after all.

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Wish You Were Here: Flavor! Napa Valley Festival

November 16, 2012 at 3:53 PM | by | Comments (2)


Took this photo from out the window of our rental car, just driving along

Confession: I've never made gnocchi before. This likely doesn't shock you, dear reader, but for those who know I once called Rome home and extensively traveled, ate and drank my way around, it's a little "whoa." Dumping vacuum-packed bags of frozen store-bought gnocchi into a pot of boiling water is typically dinner, or was, as today I made gnocchi from scratch in the kitchen with chefs and co-owners Tyler Rodde & Curtis Di Fede of Downtown Napa restaurant Oenotri.

This is actually something Oenotri offers on the regular, hosting both gnocchi and pasta-making classes every other week for $75 per person. This week it's a little magical, however; November 14-18 is the Flavor! Napa Valley Festival, which bills itself as a "celebration of food, wine and fun." So, while Di Fede is telling a story about how they taught 'Iron Chef' Morimoto to make a proper Neapolitan pizza, Morimoto himself may be walking by outside, heading to personally shave truffles over the entrees at the Napa outpost of his eponymous restaurant empire.

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