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Napa 2012


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Nothing puts a better spring in your step than a May visit to the beautiful Napa Valley!

I am certain that every adjective in the book has been used in recent years to describe the areas amazing landscape, ever evolving food scene, magnificent wines and of course the delectable farm fresh goodness that graces home and restaurant tables across this region.  To simply say that I highly recommend a visit would be an understatement, particularly if your a proclaimed “foodie” or “locavore”.

So pick a weekend, then visit www.united.com or www.virginamerica.com both of which offer daily non stop service to San Francisco from Orlando and prepare your taste buds for a food and wine journey that will create memories that will last a lifetime!

Chef Jamie’s favorite spots:

Schramsberg Winery, Calistoga
www.schramsberg.com
A Deliciously balanced sparkling wine producer with a history dating back to 1862.  Book early for the cave tour, and raise your glass of bubbles!

Brown Estate, East St. Helena
www.brownestate.com
An exceptional Zin producer on a family run estate.  Call ahead to arrange for a private tasting and tour.  There cheese pairing is worth the visit alone!

Somerston Vineyards, East St. Helena
www.somerstonwineco.com

A picturesque setting in the mountains east of St Helena.
There estate grown Cab and Sav Blanc present amazing richness and are well rounded.  Call ahead for an educational tour of the vineyard and the chance to experience natural soda water from a spring located on the vineyard.

Gott’s Roadside, St. Helena
www.gotts.com

You think you have experienced the ultimate burger………….Not yet!  Pull up to Gott’s and order yourself one of there Niman Ranch burger presentations and prepare to say “YUM”.   A fun atmosphere, filled with picnic tables on the lawn and a totally new meaning of “Fast-food”.  My mouth is watering as I type!
Ad Hoc, Yountville
www.Adhocrestaurant.com

You’ve read the reviews and the many articles, and I am here to tell you they are spot on!  The simplistic style of the restaurant, all family style with no food choices, is as delicious and satisfying as everyone has told us.  We dined on a Sunday evening which features Braised Short Ribs and  Ice Cream Sundaes.
Reserve early, the seats fill quickly.

The French Laundry, Yountville
www.frenchlaundry.com

I admit,  I am spoiled!  This was my second visit to the French Laundry, and it was as amazing as my first.  The attention to detail and there passion to exceed guests expectations is unmatched!  This dining experience creates memories that will last a lifetime,  and an understanding of what true fine dining encompasses.

Don’t overlook Sonoma County!

Sometimes over shadowed by Napa, Sonoma offers an incredible array of wineries, restaurants, farmers markets, town squares, and a host of other must see activities.  So cross the mountain range and indulge!

Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Sonoma
www.gunbun.com

Family owned and operated since 1858 it is California’s second oldest winery.
There grounds are beautiful, the staff extremely outgoing and the wines…..complex, rich and full of unique characteristics.   You must check out this web site and make arrangements for an afternoon at
Gun.  Lock.  Bun.   Shoe.

Ram’s Gate Winery, Sonoma County
www.ramsgatewinery.com

A newcomer in Sonoma County, this gem should be your first stop after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge!  Not only one of the most comfortable winery settings that i have experienced, but they also have a culinary team that turns out regionally inspired cuisine paired with Ram’s Gates wines.  A perfect first stop on your wine country weekend that will definitely exceed your expectations.

And before you jump back on your flight home……

State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Statebirdsf.com

Americanized Dim Sum!   That should be enough of a teaser for you to visit there web site and make reservations.  Truly a highlight of our weekend, and  I am sooo looking forward to my next visit.