through the grapevine

July 11th, 2004 § 0 comments § permalink

This weekend, we took a long drive up to Napa and Sonoma County to partake in countryside crusing, a bit of touristy wandering, and of course, a nice dinner accompanied by some good wine.

The last time I was in Napa, I was attending the annual Mustard Festival with G. It was a lovely time, and I never really followed through with my vow to visit the area more often. It’s a long drive, almost 2 hours at best, so that unfortunately has always been a bit of a hurdle for me.

But this not this past Saturday, when we took a nice leisurely drive up to Napa, with a short stop in our old stomping grounds of Mill Valley for a quick bite for lunch. The ride was calm and relaxed on this nice summer day. It’s always a welcome change to see the long-stretching hills and watch the acres and acres of grape vines roll by my window.

We did not stop by any wineries this time, but did stop by COPIA, the center for wine, food and arts, in Downtown Napa. The last time I was there was on its opening day in 2001. K had never been there, let alone Napa itself! We enjoyed viewing art in the galleries, learning more about food history, food production and even a little bit of food science, and walking the bountiful “Edible Gardens” that lay right outside of the center. Unfortunately, we did not get to taste any wines or cheese, for they were having a special tasting event that required a separate fee.

That afternoon, we took some more drives through the wine country, traversing through Yountville, Oakville and St. Helena. Lots of natural beauty, and a TON of wineries that we vow to visit sometime in the near future. We satisfied a bit of curiosity for local history by visiting the Pioneer Cemetery in Yountville, which was founded in the mid-1800′s. It was certainly very interesting to piece together some fragments of the town’s history through its graves. This cemetery even housed ancient Indian burial grounds, and overlooked a beautiful hillside scattered with vineyards. I took a ton of photos, which are still awaiting to be downloaded from my trusty camera.

In the evening, the events came full circle. We had dinner at Mustard’s Grill in Yountville, a restaurant that I learned about on my Mustard Festival visit last year. We were not disappointed. I enjoyed their famous Mongolian Pork Chop with mustard sauce, mashed potatoes and red cabbage (with a glass of Edna Valley Paragon Pinot Noir), whilst Kev had the Ahi Tuna Sandwich with fries and a side order of goat cheese polenta (with I believe the Simpson Vineyard Miner Viognier). I can’t believe I ate the whole thing! Dessert looked wonderful (I must say that the chocolate tart with brown sugar ice cream was really tempting), but I couldn’t have possibly fit another bit in my stomach. Phew!

I do have a few “food for thought” posts mingling in my mind, inspired by this little trip, but I will save that for later this week, when I have a bit more time to ponder and collect my thoughts.

Hope your weekend went well, too!