Napa is one of my favorite places to visit. I never leave feeling like I need a “vacation-from-the-vacation”. There’s really nothing to do but drink wine that I can’t afford to buy on my own, eat world-class food, enjoy zero humidity and picturesque landscapes, and fall asleep at 9 P.M. I just got back from a girl’s weekend with 4 of my best friends, and there was more wine, cheese, and secrets shared that I care to tally. But I am going to spend the next few blog posts breaking down all my recommendations, tips, and tricks for planning yourself a #wine-ing vacation.
Note: But before you get too “trigger happy”, go ahead and head to Priceline to find the best days of the week/time of year to plan your vacation to guarantee you save the MOST money! As someone who is a frequent flyer, it’s definitely worth doing the research BEFORE you start the planning process as flights can sometimes be the most pricy expenditure.
Andaz Napa: I would stay at this hotel again in a heartbeat (and no, I’m not being paid to say that). We booked it originally because it was in downtown Napa and fit our price point. We traveled during high season, so hotels are pricier across the board. Even though it’s a Hyatt property (so holla for you Hyatt Rewards customers), the entire hotel has a boutique feel to it. We were greeted with champagne in the afternoon and Bloody Marys every morning (which we responsibly declined). All four of us stayed in the same room, and you can imagine our excitement when we walked in to TWO KING BEDS. Probably the best part about our hotel was the Terrace Bar. We didn’t know this beforehand, but apparently this is a big “local hangout”. There was live music and an even livelier crowd. The parking garage was less than 2 blocks away, and they don’t charge guests to park there. We were in walking distance to so many yummy restaurants and local coffee shops. Can you tell I’m having a moment with the Andaz?
Model Bakery: I can’t recommend this place enough. We switched off picking up breakfast and vanilla lattes every morning so we could spend an extra hour lounging in our fluffy robes. They are famous for their English muffins- you are only allowed to order 6 per order. I would recommend the English muffin breakfast sandwich (and add avocado, duh).
Boon Fly Cafe: Every review I have ever read about this place has just RAVED about their donuts. And I’m not exaggerating when I say, they are like drops of heaven in your mouth. They do not take reservations for breakfast, so plan on getting there early because it’s extremely small. Their pancakes were “mehh”; I should have just ordered more donuts.
Lunch was the one meal we didn’t make plans for because we didn’t want to be tied down. We basically went to the first place we could find that didn’t require a reservation, but we were not disappointed by either.
Dean and Deluca: We had no plans of stopping here, but let’s just say, desperate times call for desperate measures. We spent $60 on quesadillas and chicken fingers. You can probably imagine our state of thinking. It may have been the wine talking, but I will say, those chicken fingers were damn near delicious.
Goose and Gander: This would be any guy’s dream restaurant. Dark-stained wood walls, leather booths, and animal busts hanging on the walls. So we decided to make our husbands proud and order burgers and chicken wings. Let’s just say, this lunch did not look like any ladies who lunch you see on the Real Housewives of Orange County. Heather Dubrow would have had a stroke that not even Terry could save her from.
Bistro Jeanty: This is a French bistro in the charming town of Yountville. Yountville itself is one of my absolute favorite towns in Napa, so you should definitely plan on spending some time there. Anyways, this is THE restaurant in Napa, and it definitely lived up to the expectation. I would recommend sharing several entrees and sides so that you can get a taste of everything, including the tomato soup in puff pastry (to die for). As you know, I am all about full disclosure. So I can’t omit the fact that our waiter never brought one of our entrees out. Luckily we were 4 girls who shared everything, and the portions were a good size to where we didn’t need the additional entree anyways.
Oenetri: This was not on our original list, but it was recommended to us by several locals. And did I mention it was literally across the street from our hotel? Meant 2 be. They are a Southern Italian place that makes all of their noodles fresh the morning of, and you can tell. Between 4 girls, we split two salads, two pastas (ragu and pesto), and more bread than I care to share (You can’t blame us, we had been drinking wine all day…). Since everything is made fresh in-house daily, their menu does change fairly often.
Farmstead: BEST MEAL OF THE TRIP. Whenever we told anyone (local or tourist) that we were headed to Farmstead on Sunday night, we couldn’t control the oohhhs, ahhhhs, and ohhhmmyyygooddss. One of the best thing about traveling with girls is the fact that everyone doesn’t need their own entree. We shared meatballs, macaroni and cheese, cheese biscuits, salmon, and chicken (#paleo). We split a bottle of wine because we wanted to try their local wine. But by night 3, we were pretty “wined out”, so we finished the evening with espresso cocktails. I would go back to this farm-to-table restaurant in a heartbeat, but you need to make reservations several weeks in advance.
For vineyard recommendations, see my Where to “Vineyard” in Napa post. But before I sign off, I would love for you to comment with any restaurants, hotel, coffee shop, things-to-do recommendations for Napa/Sonoma. My husband and I try to go there once a year, so we are always looking for new places!
Cheers (so appropriate), Erin