Friendship in Wine Country

Really?!  It’s Friday already?!  Where does the time go? 

This morning I write you from Memphis…where I have been since Wednesday.  And tonight, I’ll send you a “Sweet Dreams!” from Vegas…where I am headed today for an Osteobiologic Summit.  Can you keep up?!  Sometimes I wonder if I can keep up with myself.  LOL  For as exhausted as I occasionally feel, much of my work travel is enjoyable.  In fact, do you remember the post I did on “Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar“?  Flight is one of my all time favorite restaurants and luckily enough, our Advisory Council dinner was held at FLIGHT on Wednesday night.  Woo hoo!  I always eat well in Memphis….

As I mentioned in a previous post, I extended my last work trip (San Fransisco) and headed North to Wine Country with one of my best friends, Mandy.  Enjoyable…the company, the food, and the wine!  Since I am travelling again and I’m not home cooking in my own kitchen and sharing recipes with you…today I will share some of the highlights from our Girls Weekend in Napa and Sonoma.

As we planned our weekend in Wine Country, there were a few “must-dos”.  First things first, we weren’t going anywhere without renting a convertible…a Mustang convertible.  Secondly, we weren’t going anywhere until we stopped into Tyler Florence’s shop in Mill Valley….rain, shine, or otherwise…we were stopping.  (And secretly hoping for a Tyler sighting.  Heck…secretly hoping he would remember us from his Mpls Cooking Demonstration and Mall of America Hot Dog contest!)  Thirdly, we were going to experience a Napa cooking class…together.  Fourth, we needed a chauffeur…at least for one day…to cart us around like the VIPs we are.  Lastly…we were going to indulge in some of the best food CA has to offer.  With determination and planning…we conquered all of the above! 

Thursday morning, Oct 14th, we made our way to Fox Renta Car at SFO and picked up our ride.  I handed Mandy a hat (you’ve got to be prepared for wind-blown hair), threw the top down, and cranked up the tunes.  Regardless of how we looked…we felt cool.  And quite frankly, that’s all that matters.  🙂  hahahahha.


First stop…Golden Gate Bridge.  OK Tyler, yes, you are lucky to cross this bridge every day on your way to work.  Incredible!


Next stop… Tyler’s store!   Unfortunately, Tyler was still in NYC for the Food Network Food and Wine Expo.  I’m sure he would have loved to see us again.  🙂

By the time we made it to our cottage and on up to the Dry Creek Valley for lunch, we were starved!   Luckily, Traci, from the 1st Avenue Wine House in Cedar Rapids IA, recommended an AWESOME pizzeria for lunch.  Pizzeria Diavola….look at the pictures…. DELICIOUS.


After we indulged in some of the best fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and pizza I have ever had…we spent the rest of the afternoon sampling wine…naturally.  For dinner, we visited El Dorado Kitchen.  Ryan and I visited EDK several years back…in fact, we first tasted the Peach Jalapeno Martini there.  I ordered one again this time…and it was just as delicious as the one we make at home.  The next time you entertain, try it!

On Friday, we ordered up car service. 

You got it…as much as I enjoy being behind the wheel of a Mustang….I was equally excited to sample as much wine as my little heart desired!   Our first stop with the chauffeur in Napa was Castello di Amorosa (remember….from the Bachelor?).  The wine was good….


but the castle was breathtaking! 


Mandy’s friend Melissa joined us for the day….2 Blondes and a Brunette taking on Napa!  🙂 


One of our favorite stops was Frog’s Leap Winery  Highly highly recommend!


With tasty snacks to accompany the wine tasting…


a big garden full of fresh veggies, herbs, and flowers…a soda tasting for non-drinkers…a wrap-around porch and incredible atmosphere….we LOVED it!

We loved Frog’s Leap almost as much as we loved our lunch from the Oakville Grocer!  Having raved about the Oakville Grocer and their awesome sandwiches and snacks, I couldn’t wait to take Mandy there to pick up lunch and head out for a picnic in the Olive Groves at the Clos Du Val Winery. 

I tell you what….the Italian Sandwich was just as good as I remembered it.  Try making the Oakville Sandwich at home….we do!  🙂  And for the first time…I tried and LIKED olives!  (Sure, they were marinated with garlic…but you gotta start somewhere!)


With a final stop for the day at RAZI Winery, we were headed back to our cottage in Sonoma. 

For old times sake, we decided to set the timer on my camera…prop it on top of the entertainment center…and take a picture just like we did every weekend in college.  You see, almost 8 years may have passed since our time together as roommates at the University of Minnesota…but we are the same ‘ol girls.  🙂    CHEERS to that!

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”  ~Cahill

Enjoy your weekend.  In my next post, I will share with you our Saturday cooking class in Napa.  Get ready for some great recipes!

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

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