It’s always such a sad day when birthday week is over. Last year, I celebrated birthday month, and left the good ol’ Napa Valley for some Tahoe time. But I just don’t think that’s going to happen this year.
So, rather than be super bummed that I can no longer pull my trump card to decide where to eat or drink, I’ll reminisce about my awesome birthday weekend with you. Sound good? I suppose this also serves as a “what to do in Napa” guide from a local’s point of view.. Win-win?
On Friday, my dear friends from college, Jed and Kortni, flew down from Portland and brought a new friend, Ericka with them. Emily took a break from West Hollywood to join us in celebrating my birth by wine tasting Saturday away up-valley. We started out at Mumm Napa, where the delightful Rebeca had a table reserved for our group. Many funny and inappropriate stories later, Rebeca surprised us with an actual brute to pour us an extra taste from their 1.5L Brut Rosé. This tasted much different than the Brut Rosé in its 375ml bottle format. And we got to live out our “inside” joke about a brute pouring us Brut Rosé. Happy birthday to me.
We then mosied on to Domaine Chandon for even more bubbles. Can one ever have enough bubbles? We were able to snag two awesome, shaded tables on the patio. This was perfect, because it was a rare weekend where temperatures approached the high 90s– aka super gross by Napa’s standards. It also provided the perfect lighting for a mini photo sesh for the six of us. Very touristy, very Napa. We enjoyed our bubbles, the scenery, and each other’s company for the better part of two hours. Too much fun!
After two rounds of bubbles, we obviously were extremely thirsty for some still wines. And food, obvi. So we headed to V. Sattui, bought two bottles (the Gamay Rouge and Vittorio’s Vineyard Cabernet, if you’re interested) and stood in line for their absolutely fabulous outdoor food station. Don’t get me wrong, the deli and small market inside V. Sattui is awesome. But until you’ve tried their wood-fired pizza margherita or their mozzarella bar, you haven’t lived.
The weather was so miserably hot (maybe all the wine had something to do with it..?) that we commandeered my family friends’ pool for a cool down sesh and switched our libations over to beers. Kortni and I have had a serious love affair/relaysh with the Paella del Dia at a Zuzu. As the name implies, the ingredients change daily, but I’ve never been unsatisfied with this. Gotta trust their chefs know what they’re doing! Per their site, “The restaurant offers a modern, California version of tapas along with some traditional offerings based on the cuisines of Spain, Portugal and the Mediterranean.” Yeah, yeah. All I have to say is that this restaurant is amazing. I love taking friends there for dinner– it also provides me an excellent excuse to keep going back! After our paella fix, we walked down to Napa Valley Bistro, which had just opened a month before. I’m not quite ready to give my final opinion on NVB– but plan to visit it at least once more before giving it a hit or miss rating.
Obviously after dinner, drinks were in order. I had to take my friends by Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurant Morimoto Napa because, hi, he’s an Iron Chef! Their French 75 was absolute perfection! We walked to Henry’s, a local –and awesome– dive bar, that is cash only. And the latest last-call in downtown.
I was super bummed to have my friends leave Sunday after a very late lunch at the Oxbow Public Market, but was getting excited for my birthday barbecue with my family and neighbors on my actual birthday. My dad made Asian turkey burgers– a recipe of Emily’s grandmother, my mom made her almost world famous potato salad, Auntie Donna made home-made chocolate cake with the most insane chocolate frosting (swear to beg her for her recipe!), and even more food was brought over by my loved ones. I even got flowers at work from my supervisor 🙂
Thursday evening, some girlfriends and I went to Eiko’s, a fabulous and trendy sushi restaurant, where our friend DJ Relly Rel of ONe Love Music Productions spins after 10 pm. The ridiculousness that ensued that night made for a really tough Friday morning. Luckily, the private wine tasting at Vintner’s Collective for Emily, me, and our parents helped to take the edge off. The charcuterie plate and bread basket might have helped a little, too.
Phew! It was a whirlwind week last week! I had an amazing time with my friends and family– I’m very lucky to have such lovely, caring people in my life. I hope to celebrate every birthday like this one! How do you celebrate your special day?