Sunday, July 15, 2012

Foodie Adventures in Napa Valley

I've recently been thinking about a trip my husband and I made a little over 2 years ago now to Napa Valley.  Writing about that trip was what got me started writing this blog.  Napa Valley, and the drive to/from San Francisco is absolutely beautiful, and something I want to experience again one day.  After that trip I wrote about our fine dining experience throughout the trip, but thought I'd fill in some gaps while we were in Napa Valley - our foodie adventures.  So here we go....

May 5-6, 2010 - Destination Napa Valley, California.  We arrived in Napa Valley on the afternoon of the 5th, in time to check into our cottage (The Cottages of Napa, would highly recommend), rest, and head off to Bouchon in Yountville for dinner (see previous post on Bouchon).  Not much sightseeing that day, except for walking around Yountville.  The next day, we enjoyed our basket full of goodies from Bouchon Bakery, left on the doorstep of our cabin (a perk of staying at the Cottages), see photo below. Nothing beats complimentary room service!

We then made the drive to the northern end of the Valley from the city of Napa up to Calistoga. Here's a typical view from the highway, never got old!

Outside Calistoga we stopped at Dutch Henry Winery, where they make both wine and olive oil.  Dutch Henry was a fun place to stop, we both had the wine tasting and also tasted a few olive oils. The dogs liked us too!

After Dutch Henry we made our way south through the Valley to St. Helena, CA. St. Helena had a ton to do for the food lover. Our first stop was the Culinary Institue of America. Only a small part is open to the general public, but it was still worth the stop with great views of the wineries across the street, a great kitchen/food gift shop, and rooms full of old cooking gadgety.

CIA in St. Helena, CA

Next stop - lunch at Taylor's Automatic Refresher!  The back story - Taylor's Refresher was a walk-up diner built in 1949. Bought by Gott's Roadside recently, but the new owners kept the original sign. Recently featured in Food and Wine Magazine. I got the fish tacos (delicious!) and Zac got a loaded hot dog. We split the black and white milkshake.

Other stops in St. Helena included the St. Helena Olive Oil Company, which had more varieties of olive oil that I’ve ever seen!! My favorites included the various fruit infused olive oils, and the blue cheese olive oil.

Close by the St. Helene Olive Oil Company is Woodhouse Chocolate. Couldn’t pass by stopping here and trying a few chocolates!

Inside Woodhouse Chocolate

Woodhouse Chocolate 

On our way back to our cottage in Napa, we passed by the Francis Ford Coppola winery, producing Coppola wines.  The main visitors center was not free of charge (also a quasi-museum for the film maker), so we stayed outside but were able to enjoy the views of the winery. 

Zac at the Coppola vineyard

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