Heading to Napa Valley... What's "Can't Miss?"

  1. We are heading to San Francisco for a long weekend next week, and we intend to drive into Napa Valley on Friday and Saturday. :nuts: Which wineries and restaurants are fabulous? We favor reds, but will drink anything!

  2. There's a really good outlet mall in that area. :graucho:
  3. I think Christian Brothers winery is the oldest and during the tour they give you the history of the place which is cool.
    Napa is great, mainly because you can drink all day and it is perfectly acceptable, even encouraged!
  4. Foot Candy on Main St in St Helena for shoes
    Bouchon in Yountville for amazing food
    Grgich Hills for wonderful reds, esp the zinfandel!

  5. I was going to say French Laundry but it's impossible to get a reservation. So, I would recommend Bouchon instead. :smile:
  6. You can head up on the main drag- St Helena Hwy and stop at Cakebread (small, great wines) get a tour at Robert Mondavi winery and grab some bread and cheese across the street at the Oakville Grocers. Work your way toward Rutherford- you can stop at a bigger winery like Freemark Abbey and I love Grgich Hills Cellars. You can get a great lunch at the Rutherford Grill. Don't forget to stop in Yountville- two great restaurants there are Bistro Jeanty and Bouchon (little french bistros)You should keep going north to St. Helena- it's a cute town with great shopping. At the edge of St Helena, before the shopping area is a fabulous restaurant called La Trevigne. Also across the street is the famous Taylor's Refresher- great place for a ice cream, soda etc.
    Other favorite restaurants right on the St Helena strip are:
    French Laundry (different owners now, I liked the old French L. better-hard to get into-make plans early)

    Have fun!
  7. I was in Napa last month but for one day only. The most beautiful winery that I've seen during that time (my bf and I visited 6-7 of different ones) was Peju. GORGEOUS!!!! Great wine, sauces, and salsa, too!!!!!

    I LOVED Napa!!!! One of the most beautiful and peaceful places I've ever been to!

    Oh, if you're in the mood for something sweet, take a free tour at the Jelly Belly Factory! I believe it's not too far from Napa. You get to take a tour, get free samples of their candy, and, of course, shop at their store & bakery!!!! I personally love Jelly Beans, so I had a ton of fun!!!!
  8. I heard French Laundry was VERY hard to get into (there are people that are waiting for a year already??? Not sure if that's true though). Supposedly, it's one of the BEST restaurants in the country???? A couple that we met while in Napa said that they tried to get a reservation but no luck! So, if you plan to go there, call them ahead of time!!!! Good luck!
  9. You might want to spend a few hours at Copia in Napa Valley. It is a wonderful museum about food & wine. I really love it there.

  10. Napa Valley is lovely!!

    For a more casual vibe, you can visit the V. Sattui Winery. You can get free tastings and have a nice picnic on the grounds with a bottle of one of their award-winning wines and gourmet food from the in-house deli. They also have a bbq in the summer with salmon, tri-tip etc during the weekends. It's very popular so it can get crowded.

    From their website:
    "The prestigious Critics Challenge International Wine Competition has bestowed V. Sattui its “Winery of the Year” award as top winery in the Western United States for 2005."

    Sterling Winery is also a nice place to visit. It's a lovely winery with an aerial tram that takes you to the hilltop winery with gorgeous views. The wines are alright. You can also take a tour of the winemaking process.

    Have a great time!!
  11. If you can't get into French Laundry, Bouchon is another one not to miss. And for a spa treatment, Sonoma Mission Inn is the best!
  12. Oooh, I wish I could recommedn soem places! My friend, Madaiah Revana has a BEAUTIFUL winery there, http://www.revanawine.com/index.html
    I know they give tours and tasting . . . he keeps inviting us and we've still never gone . . . we are CLEARLY idiots! LOL!

    Have fun!
  13. This is actually the last day of my vacation to San Francisco and Sonoma/Napa Valley. Last night, we had dinner at Girl and the Fig in Sonoma and it was delicious. We just got back from dinner in Napa at Bistro Jeanty which was also very good (especially the tomato soup in puff pastry). We also bought picnic goodies at Bouchon Bakery for lunch - the pastries were great. As for wineries, Artesia has a beautiful view and some good Pinots. We also enjoyed Rutherford Hills and Hess Collection. Have fun!

    Also, as others have mentioned, the outlets in Napa are worth a trip if you have time. J. Crew and Coach are having some really good deals at the moment.
  14. French Laundry used to take walk-ins if there were cancellations, but they don't anymore. Basically, you have to call right at 10am west coast time and keep hitting redial to get through, and the reservations are made months in advance. Unless you're dead set on eating there, the other restaurants in the area are enjoyable and more accessible. Bouchon is by Thomas Keller of French Laundry and has a little bakery that sells the best eclairs, cookies, etc. But its menu isn't particularly "Napa" or "California" because it's a classic French place.

    I highly recommend the CIA at Greystone restaurant (http://www.ciachef.edu/restaurants/wsgr/). The food is cooked by student chefs, but the times I've been there, everything was top notch. For the quality of food and service, the prices are fair. They also have a great wine selection and at a given time, they offer a few different wine flights. You can take a tour of the school, too. I recommend going there during lunch or an early dinner so you can see their beautiful garden.