Monday, July 4, 2011

Honeymoon Day 29 – June 29, 2011 – Napa, CA

It was a bright and sunny day on Wednesday, and we did manage to get up and get going pretty quickly. We spent our morning on a long bike ride – the hotel provides free bike rentals. When we originally started planning, we talked about biking all 22 miles to Saint Helena, but when we saw that the bikes were a little slow and our time was a bit limited, we revised that to 5.5 miles to a couple wineries outside the city.

We visited Hagafen, which was small, but really cute and friendly. They had nice wines, which have been served at the White House many times. Their wine has also been given as a gift to the Prime Minister in Isreal (their wine is Kosher). The person pouring gave Jeff and I each a free tasting glass of one of their sparkling wines since we were on our honeymoon.

We also stopped at Black Stallion, which is a winery that was built on the site of a historic equestrian center. We enjoyed our tasting there, too.

We got back into the city in time to grab a quick pizza lunch (at Filipi’s – very good!), and then go to our 3pm spa appointment. We had booked a couple’s massage – our first ever! It was going to be a 90 minute hot stone massage, but the stones were overbooked, so we did a hot towel massage, which is the same idea. We both really enjoyed the massage – the hot towels are nice, and they do make you feel relaxed and your muscles feel lose. I’m not sure I’d do it again, though, because you do sacrifice some massaging time. The couple’s massage aspect was nice – though we didn’t talk or anything, it’s just kind of fun to have the person there, and you kind of get the sense that you’re doing something together. It can also be a bit distracting – I think Jeff fell asleep, and I spent a good while trying to listen carefully to his breathing and deciding whether to say something to him. (I ended up not saying anything, and he woke up when his masseuse moved something.) We both felt very relaxed when it was over.

Michelin Guide San Francisco 2011: Restaurants & Hotels (Michelin Guide/Michelin)After the massage, we headed up to Yountville (in the car this time) for our fanciest meal of the trip. We went to Redd, which is another Michelin star restaurant. It has great reviews on chow hound and Gayot. We both ordered the five-course tasting menu with wine pairings. They don’t actually tell you what’s on the tasting menu – they just bring it out, which is kind of fun. Also, when two people at the table order it, they bring something different to each person, so you really get to try two things at each course (the wine pairings are different too – one wine to go with each plate). Everything they brought out was wonderful. The food looked beautiful on the plate, the combination of tastes and textures was always creative and very well done, and the wines were great with each dish. Also, all of the portions were very generous, which is great for sharing. Some of the dishes we really liked – sashimi of hamachi and carmalized diver scallops with cauliflower puree and golden raisins. We also really liked the duck breast and the prime New York steak and short ribs. The other impressive thing about the restaurant was the service. The greeters and the servers were all really friendly. Each course was described to you, as were each of the wines poured, all in a very friendly and accessible way. Our server made a point of asking us if we wanted a break between courses to chat and enjoy the wine. (The answer was definitely yes between the main course and dessert – it was really nice to be able to let our food settle and to relax for a while before the last course.) Overall, we had a great experience – a great place for the last big meal of our honeymoon!

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