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Travel | A Day in Napa Valley

Oh vacation, I miss you. I miss your reckless nights and alarm-free mornings. I miss your no schedules and sunny weather and self-cleaning bedrooms.  It doesn’t help that I came home from vacation to a week that could drive anyone to insanity.  Think: someone stole my wallet, a pipe burst inside the wall and floors are all wet, then minutes before company was coming over all our water stopped functioning all together.

Oh life, you crazy.
Sorry, did I take a little side track there?  Why are we here again?
Oh, that’s right…Napa.
Napa was towards the middle of our vacation to Cali.  If you’ve never been, it’s pretty much just as splendid as all the people say it is.  You drive into it slightly confused as you drive down a road with fast food and cheap chain restaurants and you’re all like, “wait…this isn’t what I pictured.” Then, all the sudden, Napa is like “BAM! Here I am!”
There’s a cute downtown- where we stayed- that is at the base of Napa Valley, then the vineyards extend north about 26 miles.   We started our morning with, well, coffee – duh.
napa-valley-coffee-roasting-company
We started at Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company which was a tiny little spot with freshly roasted, ground, and brewed coffee.
Ok, we’re caffeinated! On to the wine!
After wine tasting and pretending like we knew what the heck we were doing, we started to work up an appetite.
Per the suggestion of a handful of locals we stopped by The Rutherford Grill, a local favorite spot that served up new American cuisine. We ordered some California beers while we waited for a table. A wait on a Wednesday afternoon is usually a good sign.
The-rutherford-grill
The-rutherford-grill

Of course, I checked out the Rutherford Grill on Yelp before we arrived and everyone was talking about their cornbread.  Not one to say no to bread in any shape or form, I had to try it.  It was just the right amount of sweet and savory, crispy and moist. Gosh darn perfection.

The-rutherford-grill

 

I ordered their house-made veggie burger for my meal which came with coleslaw.  I spent 12+ years as a vegetarian and am what you might call a connoisseur of veggie burgers (let’s just say I’ve had a lot.)  This one was some type of rice base, making it not too soggy or soft – like veggies burgers can often be.  It is also made with roasted beets giving it a sweet flavor as well.  But, overall, it had more of a flavor of grain than of vegetables, which was a little disappointing.  I prefer a veggie burger that you can really taste the vegetables in. But still, a great veggie burger and I’d happily order it again.
The next day (I know the title is misleading, saying this is a “day” in Napa – but in truth, it’s two days, compiled into one) we went to most northern town of Napa Valley, Calistoga.
Calistoga

Calistoga

We stumbled upon this adorable little “I want less…” tree.  People had filled out tags all listing things they wanted less of.  It had all sorts of things like “war,” “cancer,” “hair on my legs,” “fear,” “worry.”
Calistoga
I decided to join in on the tradition and fill out a tag for myself.  Can you read what I want less of?

Yes, I want less bad coffee.

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Then Michael decided to put me to shame and write a really profound card.

Whatever. I still want less “bad coffee.”
Enough of that, let’s get some more wine. I mean, this is Napa Vallery, am I right?
Dutch-Henry-Winery
We headed to Dutch Henry Winery where we were greeted by this lil’ lady who escorted us to the barn where the tasting took place.

Dutch-Henry-Winery

Dutch-Henry-Winery

We were also visited by this handsome guy while we tasted. Apparently tongues out is the signature pose of the animals of Dutch Henry.

The-bounty-hunter-Napa
To finish the night we headed into downtown Napa for dinner.  We stumbled into The Bounty Hunter, a Wine Bar and Smokin’ BBQ that offered an endless wine list and smoked meats.  I dig it.
The-bounty-hunter-Napa
The-bounty-hunter-Napa
The-bounty-hunter-Napa
The-bounty-hunter-Napa
The-bounty-hunter-Napa

We drank too much wine, tested the meats (which were ah-mazing), indulged in the seasonal pumpkin bread pudding, and scoped out our next day’s travels.

The-bounty-hunter-Napa

Oh, vacation. I loved you and miss you.Signature

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