Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Edge of Glory: Napa Valley Style

Eileen here.

As you all probably by now know, our fearless leader Katie will soon be departing this fair country to defend our freedom in Afghanistan. In the spirit of true patriotism, Katie and I spent 4 days in Napa, California indulging ourselves in fine food, fine wine and of course the spa as a last hurrah before she leaves for a whole year!

Pictoral highlights:

Day 1 (Tuesday): Pedicures! Complete with a crisp chardonnay and cheese platter that included lavender infused honey (because everything is apparently more delicious infused with lavender). Katie selected a classic red color, while I got peer-pressured into the brightest neon pink we have ever seen!
I was henceforth referred to as Her Royal Highness Napa Valley Barbie

Day 1 (Evening): Morimoto's tasting menu. The food was incredible, the wine was even me, when you throw the money at the Omikase menu, the sommalier pays at smidge more attention to your particular pairings....

Morimoto's minced toro platter. Eat it with the metal spatula, eat it with chopsticks. Incredible either way.

Something fishy delicious carpaccio.

garlicky anchovy vegetable dip situation.

watermelon wasabi sorbet. You cannot eat this with chopsticks. We will not tell you how we know this.

foie gras infused custard with duck breast. Chef Morimoto suggests you enjoy each bit with a dab of wasabi to round out the taste. Indeed Chef, indeed.

Pork belly, blue wagyu medallions, lobster claw with meyer lemon infused creme fraiche. Done, done and done.

Something chocolate for dessert. Like we needed it.

Day 2: Early workout to offset the previous evening's indulgence, breakfast in the Concierge lounge followed by a trip to the spa for a relaxing round of body scrubs (there was a point where we were smothered in honey and grapeseeds and wrapped in was awesome) and facials. Once we were relaxed and rejuvenated, we spent the afternoon poolside with snacks, wine, and a couple of good books

(Katie's reading about politics, I read social sciencey books, are we surprised?). That evening we had appetizers and Pinot Noir in the lounge, went back to the room to watch a movie. I think that our goal to Go and Be and Stay was a success....we didn't leave the resort all day!

Day 3: (Thursday): After 2 days of spa relaxation, we finally emerged from our hideout to experience the other offerings of the Napa Valley. Matt came to meet us...he was NOT invited for the first portion of this trip. After a swing by our favorite haunts (Conn Creek and Mumm), we had the pleasure of experiencing the St. Helena bocce league night that our friend Paul is a part of.

Thursday evening we went to Ana's in St. Helena which is locally famous for its Thursday night Karaoke. We were all set to rock out to Lady Gaga's Edge of Glory, but of course the DJ doesn't have it yet, so we had to fall back on some old favorites (e.g. Total Eclipse of the Heart; Heartbreaker, Holding out for Hero), and my favorite homage to the Navy's most fabulous officer "Take My Breath Away" (I'm talking about Katie here, not Tom Cruise)

Day 4: To continue our theme of excess and indulgence, Katie, Paul Matt and I went to The Kitchen Door for brunch, and gorged ourselves on fancy flat bread, Kobe Burgers, Bread Pudding etc... no pictures to prove it but the meal was delicious! After a quick swing by Stag's Leap for a tour/tasting (thanks as usual to Paul's connections!), Matt and I had to leave paradise for a dinner with his parents before hopping on a red-eye back to Boston. We left Katie behind to do further damage around Saint Helena and San Francisco with Paul.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A lovely Small Town 4th of July!

Hello Friends! Happy Two days after independence day!

This was possibly the most picturesque 4th of July I could possibly imagine. My friend Whitney and I headed to the little Kansas town of Wamego, about 30 minutes east of Manhattan. Wamego claims itself as the Kansas Town that Miss Dorothy Gail, from the "Wizard of Oz" Hails from. There is even a winery with "Witch in a Ditch" red wine! Naturally, before hitting up the big carnival and parade, We stopped in for some free air conditioning at the "Oz Museum".

Museum Hopping. Wamego offers many museums full of things that are very very old, Scary mannequins that look like J.Crew Models, and extensive miniature farms (complete with raisin poop!). Also a giant stuffed buffalo. Welcome to Kansas!

How Funny! It was really hard to me to obey the "Do Not Touch" sign.

We got homemade ice cream and brownies....

Obviously, it was very, very gross.

Tilt-a-Whirl, new friends, old friends, small town patriotism. I conclude that this 4th of July was, for me, just like a Hayley Mills movie.

PS. 4 days until HILTON HEAD!!!!! This is how excited I am.

Love you all!