Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Great friends in wine country

This past weekend was one of the best I've had in a while. I met a bunch of friends in Napa on Saturday morning for wine tasting and all sorts of other fun that lasted through Sunday afternoon. It was Liz's birthday and Kevin was the PERFECT hubby planning this amazing trip for some of her closest friends to help her celebrate. I think we all live for each others' birthdays these days since we just don't go out like we used to 5-10 years ago. Birthdays seem to be the only times we really get together anymore. I know this will only get harder and harder as we get older so I'm really trying to cherish these times. This past weekend was certainly one worth cherishing...

We all [responsibly!] climbed aboard a shuttle which took us through 4 different wineries Liz had chosen for our group. Kev & Liz even handed out little notebooks and pens so that we could take notes about our wines! (Mysteriously most books had lots of notes at 10:30am and not very many by 3pm).

Family Vineyards - a private tasting arranged for us; Cuvaison Estate Wines - picnic time!

V. Sattui Winery - always crowded, but ever faithful; Grgich Hills Estate - our final tasting

Wine tasting was so much fun and our "hoity-toity picnic" was fantastic. We rounded out the afternoon with some splashing in the pool followed by appetizers and beverages back at our hotel. The weather was perfect by the evening ; holding steady somewhere in the low 70's. We topped off the night with Liz's birthday dinner at Uva's Trattoria in downtown Napa. It was as if fun, friends and well, fluids in one form or another was never-ending throughout the entire day!

Sunday was Liz's actual birthday, yet oddly enough saw one of my requests being granted: a trip to check out the macarons at Bouchon! "Je vous ai dit que je suis obsédée"; I told you that I'm obsessed.

My perhaps delirious, friends (it was 90° that day) told me they liked MY macarons better! While that was incredibly flattering - I actually have to agree that even though I was impressed with the cookie structure... I.... gasp... thought they were a tad bit dry and liked the flavor of mine better. *may Thomas Keller not hunt me down* Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, pistachio and hazelnut - all filled with a butter-cream or ganache of some type. They were not mini size and we couldn't even finish our 5. But that just meant that we could enjoy them back at home too. Oh yah, we also had them throw in a chocolat bouchon too since we WERE at Bouchon. I was so busy sampling $3 macarons that I forgot to try it but heard it was tasty!

I suppose a trip to Napa is not complete (at least for a couple of Foodies present *ahem*) without a drive or stroll by The French Laundry. Sneaking into the garden and catching glimpses of chefs whisking past the windows made me want to eat here again. But I suppose I'll have to start filling my piggy bank at a double-time rate since the price has about doubled since my last visit...

Napa was great. Friends were better. Stepping more than a day away from "life" to hold a glass of wine in my hand, eat great food and laugh with my favorite people - makes these times some of the absolute best.

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