Sunday, June 15, 2008

4th Annual Napa Trip

Man what a weekend! Justyn and I picked up Donoho and we were on our way to the 4th annual Napa trip. I don't even know how this thing got started. I guess the one thing that our friends have in common with us is a definite love for wine. The group met at Peju at 10am this past Saturday where we were entertained by our wine guru. He sang for us and made us sing with him. It was a good start to the day and everyone picked up at least one bottle from the winery. I'm was excited that people liked their wine since I'm the one that suggested we stop there first.

Our next stop was Alpha Omega which Justyn and I have been to before. The first time we visited, the winery had just opened and neither of us liked their wine. This time, however, we were thorougly impressed. Their Chardonnay was delicate, mild with just enough fruit flavor. We also got to taste from one of their barrels which impressed me. The wine wasn't that good though heh.

Our third stop before lunch was at Hall Winery. They had a lovely outdoor patio where we sat and tasted two of their wines. I think at this point I was a little buzzed because I can't remember whether I liked their wines or not. It was a great spot to hang out with a group of 15 though!

For lunch we stopped off at Taylor's Refresher. We also came here last year and was so impressed by their burgers and sweet potato fries that we decided to visit them again. I don't know what was up with my appetite but for some reason I didn't enjoy my cheeseburger as much as last time. Their sweet potato fries were stellar though.

After lunch we went to Silverado Vineyards which a beautiful property. Their wines were so-so but otherwise it was a pleasant experience.

Our last winery stop of the day was at Hagafen Cellars. I was pretty full of wine at this point and didn't want to taste anymore. I'm glad I didn't because based on the reactions of those who did taste their wine, they were not impressed. Justyn and I walked around the property while people did tastings.

After all the wineries we all stopped at Chateau Hotel (don't let the name fool you) to check in and relax a bit before dinner. The hotel itself was old but cheaper than other hotels. Besides, we were only going there to sleep and shower so no big deal. For dinner we went to Siena Restaurant located in more upscale hotel. I had zero expectations for this place but even that didn't help what I'm about to say. The bread was satisfactory, though there was nothing really spectacular about it. When we ordered, the food took exceptionally long but I gave them a chance because it is hard to cook for a group of 13 people. However when the food arrived, the gorgonzola and fig pizza was disgusting. I tasted a bit from Justyn's pizza and almost threw up. The gorgonzola was way too overpowering for a pizza like this and the pesto and fig contrasted horribly. My seafood risotto was decent albeit a little overdone. The rice was almost the consistency of porridge. The waitress swapped the two kobe steaks so the doneness of the steaks were wrong. I had to talk to the waitress and got her to waive the charges on the pizza. We still made the best out of the evening though. Some of the group went to an after party and we went back to the hotel to crash. Donoho and I ended up staying up until 12:30am watching youtube videos haha.

The next morning I woke up around 9:00am to get ready for brunch, pack and hang out for a while. Everyone met downstairs and soon we were on our way to what I would call the BEST brunch place EVER. Bleaux Magnolia is a small restaurant with a cute patio area where a live band plays jazz. I immediately felt drawn to the place after seeing the patio. Unfortunately, due to the size of our group, we were seated indoors. The restaurant had a large patio door that connected outdoors so we were still able to enjoy the music. Oh wow, and talk about the eye candy. All the waiters, general manager and chef were all so cute! My sister took pictures with almost all of them haha... I'll post those later when she sends them to me. And most importantly the food? Amazing. Hugo, our waiter, even brought us a couple complimentary wine tastings to go with our meals. I had the Gator Tator Tots which were a little on the smokey side. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not.... they tasted a little burnt to me but everything else that I tasted was so good! I tried some of Donoho's eggs benedict which was creamy and rich with tons of flavor in the hollandaise sauce, not just your usual. My sister's breakfast burrito was a nice savory bite with more than fluffy eggs. I wonder how they did that? Justyn's ribs were mouthwateringly delicious too. I was most impressed with their monte cristo sammich. The figgy/fruity jam that was served alongside complimented the savory, crispy sammich extremely well. *sigh* Just talking about it makes me want to go back! After a couple hours of soaking in the cute restaurant, food & people we were all ready to go our separate ways. Thanks to Cheri & JTT for helping me organize this thing. We'll definitely do it again next year :D

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