U.S. TravelWining/Dining

Napa Valley is one of the best destinations around — often referred to as Disneyland for adults — and the site of a very recent journey.  Remember all you newbies to Travel with Teri B., click on any text in bright colors for informational links.

Ah, but back to Napa, one of my favorite spots on the planet.  To think that I, a resident of the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, need only board the one-hour  Southwest flight from Burbank to Oakland, rent a car, and be in Napa within two hours after landing makes me wonder why I don’t do this more often!   If only the hotel prices hadn’t skyrocketed (along with the number of wineries) …
This trip has special meaning … my mom (a fabulous 83-year-old) and I are visiting cousins at their place in Silverado.   But Gaga (as my mom is known to mostly everyone) hasn’t been on a plane in about 3 years so I had to adjust my normal take-no-prisoners attitude with flying and airports in general and ratchet it down several notches, meaning going at a slower pace.   And that was just fine! 
Gaga, Me, Ryan Cobb & Jen Bialosky

While it’s virtually impossible NOT to eat well in Napa, we regrettably skipped the requisite stop en route at the gastronomic haven long located in Berkeley– Chez Panisse.  I momentarily digress from the current trip to say it is worth a special journey there to sample Alice Waters’ incredible cuisine.  Enough said.  We did have a fun lunch while enjoying the incredible view at the Berkeley Marina eating fresh goodies at Skates on the Bay with my niece and her hubby.

With Cousin Mary Rabb

And on to Silverado where we enjoyed family on the first night.  Monday was the grand tour of Napa, starting with a new fave — Oxbow Public Market.

Separate from the fact that our cousins and hosts had a major involvement in the development of this food emporium, I just loved it.  It reminded me very much of the Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco with all the fun eateries.  Had THE MOST AMAZING pizza margherita at Ca’ Momi; could have closed my eyes and been right back in Italy!

Making our way up Highway 29, we made a brief stop at the newly reopened Oakville Grocery, which has great picnic tables outside.  We continued with a stop at Dean & Deluca and finally for cookies and coffee at the wonderful Model Bakery in St.Helena.  Love browsing in the shops.  
Fruit tarts – yum!


Barely a cookie crumb was left!
Dinner was at Mustards Grill, a Napa go-to for 27 years.  Many of these great restaurants have their own kitchen gardens so it’s literally straight-to-your-plate goodness.   
Pole beans at Mustards
Dave Rabb, our other host  ~~
French Laundry hothouse tomatoes


and strawberries

After dinner we made a stop by the world-class French Laundry to pick up tips at their amazing garden that feeds the various Yountville kitchens of Chef Thomas Keller.  Have eaten there a few times and it is incomparable. 


Holly and Bob in Petaluma
On to Petaluma the next day, a wonderful smallish town about an hour from Napa, to visit another cousin and catch up over lunch.   
From another table — amazing charcuterie, etc.


Our lamb sausage pizza

For dinner that night, it was downtown Napa for patio dining at Oenotri.

Chocolate panna cotta and olive oil cake with cherries and lemon gelato
Alas, home the next day to savor the great food and special company of this fun trip… now I must go to the gym!