Friday, June 17, 2016

Girls! Girls! Girls! In St. Helena

Trip date: April 2016

Few things can be more relaxing than a girl's weekend. They are high on my list of favorite things to do. In April my girlfriend Rachel invited Gail and me for a quick weekend at her beautiful house in St. Helena. Having been multiple times before, I knew the weekend would be just the kind of relaxing time I needed.

The three of us met at the airport, boarded our Alaska prop plane headed to Santa Rosa airport, and waited for take off. And waited, and waited. Finally the pilot announced that we had a broken plane and we'd have to deplane and wait for a new one. Ugh. Luckily they found us a working model fairly quickly and we were in the air, free wine in our cups, and making the short flight to the Napa area.

We landed to cool gray skies and a bit later than planned. Rachel called an order in at Pizzeria Tra Vigne as we drove, and we picked up some delicious pizzas and salad to take home for dinner. Seems the rest of the town had the same idea as the place was hopping!

We capped off dinner with some wine and hot tubbing and turned in early. Ahhh, off to a good start!

The next morning we awoke to more cool and drizzly weather. After a nice walk down to The Model Bakery for breakfast (house-made English muffins!!!) and coffee,  we took advantage of a break in the rain and went on a scenic walk through the nearby hills, past vineyards, and checked out some incredible new homes being built (and going for a paltry $9Mil).

With no pool time in sight we called a few wineries and made reservations for some afternoon tastings. First up was Duckhorn. The property here is really fantastic and if the weather would have been warmer their huge wrap around porch would have been the perfect place to taste wine. The service here was really nice too, when we explained that one of the ladies can't drink red wine, they generously waived the $35 tasting fee and even poured us all two additional whites not included in that day's line up.

Next we drove to the famed Chateau Montelena. In 1973 this winery scored the top scores at the Judgement of Paris and seemingly helped put Napa on the international wine map. The property has lush gardens and a beautiful pond that would have been perfect for strolling around, except for that rain situation. This time when we explained our friend's red wine situation, they continued to refill her glass with one of the two whites they were pouring each time they served us a new red wine. And on top of that they waived all our $25 tasting fees due to Rachel being a part-time local!

We decided to try the new Archetype restaurant back in town for lunch but when we arrived the manager told us they had just finished lunch service. The chef was checking the reservations for the night and when he heard Rachel explain that we were just hoping for a simple salad he graciously offered to make us something! We grabbed seats at the pass, ordered a carafe of rosé that they have on tap, and watched Chef Reed prepare us delicious chicken paillard salads. Talk about service!!! We were so impressed we had Guy the manager make us reservations for brunch the next day.

We warmed up back at the house sipping champagne in the hot tub (as you do) before getting cleaned up and walking the short distance to Cook restaurant on Main Street for dinner. Cook has a great, lively ambiance and has seriously delicious pasta dishes. They also have a casual spot next door, Cook Tavern.

Back at the house we hit the hot tub again. Skinny dip style this time. I won't even tease you by telling you about the pillow fights after...

In the morning Gail and I strolled down to The Model Bakery for coffee again, past the sweet houses and their yards, all bursting with rose blooms. Then the three of us did a little shopping on Main Street before returning to Archetype for brunch.

The place was packed, Chef Reed was in the kitchen again, and the food was amazing! I was extremely happy with my leg of duck confit, waffle, and duck egg! Almost every table had a plate containing an adorable short stack of pancakes on it and when we found out these were dessert lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry sauce, we followed suit. Fantastic and super fun brunch!

We made the easy 40 minute drive to the airport and caught our flight back to Seattle without incident. It was a super chill weekend with great friends, great wine, lots of laughs, delicious food, and of course hot tubbing. Love you ladies! Xoxo

Photos here.

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