Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Napa Valley, Day 1

Where were we? Oh yes. Day 3 of our trip. Our first full day in Napa Valley. Also known as "the place where all of Audra's people are."

Seriously, if I don't retire either in Napa Valley and/or on a beach, consider me a failure at life. I will do absolutely everything in my power to return to Napa Valley as often as I can. This area is a little slice of heaven, and I can't wait to go back.

Our first stop of the day was Silver Oak. 

We knew we had to come here because of their well-known Cabernet Sauvignon, which is our favorite wine. In fact, during our trip we chose to visit wineries that were well known for their Cabernets, so that was one way to narrow down our list from the over 400 wineries in the valley.

Silver Oak was one of my top two favorite wineries that we visited. The wine was life changing and the grounds were beautiful. Their tasting room was small, but the view more than made up for it.

There were three people working behind the tasting counter (by the way, what do you call those people? I was too embarrassed to ask. Sommeliers work in restaurants. Would it be a viticulturist? Wine steward? I digress)

Two of the three people working were energetic, engaging, and passionate. The guy who poured our tastings was a total dud. This is my one and only complaint about this vineyard, otherwise it was close to perfection.

When the tasting was over, I was sad because it was SO good and I wanted to stay there all day. I thought we should buy a bottle, but at $110 a pop, I thought maybe we should experience a few more wineries before we decided which wines were our favorite to purchase.

So we just walked around and looked at the view on this perfect day.

The air smelled like what I imagine the air smells like in heaven. So peaceful and serene. So beautiful.

Because we spent so much time at Silver Oak, by the time we left I was starving, so we headed to the much-raved about V Sattui.

Their deli was UNREAL. I wanted to eat all of the things.

I ordered an Italian Sandwich with a side of truffle macaroni and cheese. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Even though it came highly recommended, we did not do a wine tasting here because we saw that their wines were not distributed. I didn't want to fall in love with a wine there and then not be able to buy it at home. In hindsight, that may have been a mistake because I'm sure the wines were great, so we'll definitely have to go next time we're there.

From there, we headed over the Frog's Leap.

We didn't have a reservation but they took us in anyway. They sat us on the back porch, and I had the first of many moments on this trip when I felt full and complete bliss. The temperature was perfect. The scenery was perfect. I was sitting across from the love of my life, and we had zero obligations for the rest of the day. I will never forget the feeling (which was only 10% wine buzz at that point) of just utter joy, so it's safe to say I will always have an emotional connection to Frog's Leap.

The wine was awesome, especially their Cabernet. Ironically, my favorite was probably their Chardonnay because it was so refreshing with the super-delicious cheese pairing they served. Like I said: BLISS.

Our last winery visit of the day was Caymus Vineyards.

We scheduled a reserve tasting here, and they welcomed us with a glass of their chardonnay, so we enjoyed it on their patio while we waited for our tasting to begin.

We tasted 5 of their reserve wines, and obviously their 2009 Cabernet was my favorite, but I'd gladly pay the reserve tasting fee to get to eat this cheese again. This is the best cheese I've ever had in my life, hands down.

Caymus Vineyards will also go down in history as "That one time Audra lost her shit because she saw a celebrity."

After generous tastings at three wineries, by 4pm I was feeling pretty great (code word for tipsy). So when we walked out of the winery, imagine my surprise when sitting 10 feet away from me was Elisha Cuthbert.

She's been in lots of movies, but Jon and I were HUGE fans of a show she was on, Happy Endings. It was our favorite show to watch together, and we rarely have the same taste in television programming, so it was quite a treat.

I'm standing there, dumbfounded, like... what do I do? I don't want to approach her because I'm sure she just wants to sit there peacefully and enjoy her wine. So, wine buzzed, I just stood there like an idiot.

I did want to snap one picture with Jon before with left, so I had my camera in hand. I tried to grab our wine stewards' (?) attention to take the picture, but he was busy. Darling Elisha (who is as beautiful in real life as she is on TV) sees this and gets up and offers to take our picture for us. She did a great job at capturing how starstruck I was.

Then, instead of playing it cool, Jon decides to tell her how much we loved Happy Endings and how criminal it was that it was cancelled. I wholeheartedly agreed with him, but I feel like we made her super uncomfortable by bringing that subject up.

So, at this point, we were planning on sticking around for another glass of wine and taking more pictures of the grounds, but come on. It's Audra. You all KNOW I can't handle awkward situations. She's still sitting right by us, and I am feeling SO awkward that Jon made that comment to her that I simply cannot stay there. I told Jon we had to leave because apparently I can't handle being around celebrities when I have a wine buzz. So we left. 

Shortly thereafter, we were laughing so hard we were crying. "We couldn't stay in a winery that we loved because you saw a celebrity and couldn't maintain your composure." says Jon

Yep, that about sums me up.

Our last stop of the day was Mustard's Grill. Everyone who has heard of Napa Valley has probably heard of this staple, so we wanted to check it out to see if it lived up to the hype. 

We arrived about 45 minutes early for our reservation (see above) so we sat at the bar and I had a Bloody Mary to sober up. The bartender had work there for over 20 years, and he was such a delight.

Once seated, we ordered Ahi Tuna Crackers and a Mixed Greens Salad to start. For our entree, I ordered the Mongolian Pork Chop and Jon had the Chipotle Rubbed Quail.
Simple, yet delicious. 

Definitely get thy self to Mustard's Grill if you're in the area. You won't regret it!

Stay tuned for my next recap post, where we go to an Italian Castle and I eat one of the best burgers ever. I promise there are no more embarrassing stories to share either.


  1. This post should be called Things That Make Pregnant Emily Jealous: Wineries, Soft cheeses, Deli meats, Also Just Being on Vacation. It looks amazing, so glad you had fun!

  2. Wine country is the best! I've been to Sonoma County, but not Napa. It looks so amazing!