We had a lovely, lovely day today as we explored the “other valley”. I know it’s crazy, but this is the first real time I’ve been to Napa! The past month and a half that I have lived in California have just been craaaazy and I honestly haven’t had that much free time to explore. But that’s why I am just loving having this time with my mom to really get out there and see and do all the things that I’ve been wanting to!
Before we headed out on our journey today, I had a quick lunch at home. This is a veggie burger on walnut sourdough bread with laughing cow cheese & hot sauce and…an Asian pear!
+ beet, celery, apple and carrot juice!
No need for lip gloss…my lips were stained pink for hours after this little cocktail. 😉
So, first up on the list of things to do in Napa was a wonderful tasting at Hill Family Estates. When you walk into a tasting room and see a wine stained surfboard leaning on the wall, you know you’re in good hands. Plus, they had animal crackers. Thank God.
We chatted awhile with Ryan Hill, and he told us all about the history of the winery and the wines. I loved the fact that everything was so family orientated. We tasted a few and I have to say, surprisingly enough, my favorite was the Syrah! I’m usually not a big Syrah person, but I went crazy over this and now I’m kicking myself for not buying a few bottles of it. I might need to make a pit stop there tomorrow to pick some up…it was that good!
Next stop: Bouchon Bakery…..obviously.
It was one those things where, I went in, got totally overwhelmed by the beauty of all the baked goods and had to leave to gain my composure. Most of you have never eaten with me before. I’ll tell you this–you think you love food? I REALLY love food. As in, food excites me more than any other thing in the whole world. When I see or eat something good I just get this really big smile on my face and start freaking out. Sometimes, I embarrass people. I can’t help it. This is why I have the rule that I only will go on a date with someone that loves food (almost) as much as I do. Because then, we have something to talk about. You see, I talk about dinner while I’m eating lunch. You get it.
Anyways, Bouchon was so wonderful I had to leave. But then, I came back. I got a financier and a nonfat caramel latte and it was wonderful. Thank you, Thomas Keller.
Next, I just had to SEE The French Laundry. It’s sort of like a historical landmark and I (almost) want to eat there as much as Chez Panisse. I probably looked incredibly suspicious roaming around outside with my camera and cookie but oh well.
Thomas, I’ll be back!! 😉
And then………it was just about time for BOTTEGA!!!!!!!
Okay guys, I KNOW I tell you “I just had the best meal of my life” about a million times but….this time it really might have been true. Tonight’s dining experience was without a doubt, the very best I’ve ever experienced. Ever. Everything about it was 100% perfect in every way. The food, the service, the wine…I almost tear it. It was just that amazing. Photos don’t do it justice! Thank you so very, very much, Bottega, for a wonderful evening!
Right when I arrived, I was poured a glass of Proscecco, which I adore, to wet my palate (my mom is the model here!)—
And then the fun began! If you can believe it, I never even really saw a menu.
First course: raw tuna and mushrooms on a Himalayan salt rock:
Second course: cauliflower soup with a perfect piece of fried pasta and proscuitto—
I actually think this was my FAVORITE course. I told our server that I almost cried it was so good and I was totally serious…that little piece of pasta……melted my heart. And it was paired with a dry Italian white wine for absolute perfection.
Third course: wood fired octopus salad with olive oil braised potatoes, pickled red onion and salsa verde—
Fourth course: potato gnocchi with duck ragu and ricotta gnocchi with tomato sauce—
At this point, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. But there was more……
Fifth course: smoked and braised short ribs and lamb chops—
One more thing…..
chocolate souffle with hazelnut creme anglais and candied hazelnuts. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Okay. WHEW!!! Keep in mind that my mom and I shared mostly everything shown…but there was also a different wine at every course…so totally awesome–what a treat!
A HUGE thank you to Chef Ryan, Michael’s sous chef!
Michael, unfortunately, wasn’t there tonight….sad! I really wanted to meet him!
I think this is the absolute definition of food coma. I need to put my elastic waist pj pants on right now and just float away to gnocchi heaven.