Ah, another beautiful day in Napa and at the Westin. And I feel much better after resting last night and not staying out until 2am. Breakfast today at the Alexis Baking Company(ABC as the locals call it). This is truly a local scene here. Friday 9am and totally packed with a waiting line. Lucky for us we had a large table reserved for our group.
They were very accommodating at ABC. There were so many mouth-watering things to choose from, I didn’t know where to begin or what to order. Luckily they let you order half orders of dishes, and that’s exactly what I did. So a half order of huevos rancheros and a half order of the specialty omelet with roasted veggies, parmesan cheese with their homemade cinnamon bread. Delicious! I could eat that toast all day long. And those huevos? To die for. Others at the table also enjoyed the breakfast sandwich on fresh potato buns. Rumor has it that they are well-known for those buns. Many of the restaurants around town order from them.
Packed in with food again, we set off for destination #2 on the schedule, Napa ArtWalk to our tour of the Uptown Theatre. The art walk was a little bit of a waste of our time, just since we’d already walked past at least 70% of the art already. But it was nice to walk around after all that food. The Uptown Theatrewas next on our list.
The Uptown was originally built during the Great Depression for the purposed of moving picture films. Maybe not the wisest of moves, so as you would expect, the theatre failed. The theatre has been fully restored to all its original glory, with a few art deco modifications courtesy of the new owner’s granddaughter. The theatre is used primarily for music/concerts, with the occasional comedian and every now and then, locals like Coppola will be able to show one of his movies here.
After spending about a half hour with the owner and the Uptown, we went in the direction of Anette’s Chocolates for a tour and chocolate tasting. That’s right, I said chocolate tasting. Enough of all this wine tasting, chocolate is up next!
We got to see brittle being made, chocolate bars and chocolate sauce. The place smelled great! We had a table set up outside to have a proper chocolate side-by-side tasting and a bit of an education. I didn’t know that much about cacao growing before this, so I was excited to learn.
Cacao is primarily grown around the equator in places like Ecuador, Ghana, Venezuela and even Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Not only did I learn, but I could also taste the difference. We tasted all dark chocolate from different regions. The Madagascan 65% almost tasted fruity, but it was plain chocolate. The Ecuadorian 65% was not nearly as sweet with a richer chocolate taste. No matter which you tasted, it was all magnificent though. I highly recommend picking up some Anette’s Chocolates. What a great experience!
Sadly, we were scheduled for lunch right after the chocolate tasting. I think that was a bit of an error in judgement, we all had bellies full of delicious chocolate. Oh well. We headed to our last scheduled location of the day, the newly renovated Meritage Resort and Spa. We didn’t waste any time, we sat right down to lunch in their restaurant. I really cannot comment on any of the food there, I barely touched it since I wasn’t hungry.
After lunch we went to the Trinitas Cellars tasting room that is at the back of the property inside the caves and right next door to the spa. I really enjoyed many of the wines at Trinitas. I think I tried about 10 wines here. Their #1 biggest seller is their ’10 Chardonnay. It’s a traditional Napa Chard rich with oak and butter. If you like Chardonnays, give it a whirl.
For me, I particularly liked: ’07 Old Vine Zinfandel El Dorado, ’07 and ’08 Old Vine Zinfandel Mendocino, ’08 Meritage, ’07 Cabernet Sauvignon and the ’09 Old Vine Petite Sirah Port. Their second best seller is their Mysterium, it has good flavor, but I found it a bit too dry for my liking. But clearly a lot of people are fans since its their #2 wine. The best words I use to describe the wine are smooth, round and balanced. Well done.
After a bit of wine, I was up next for a hand massage courtesy of the spa. I’ll never turn down a free massage, even if it is just my hands/arms. After a very relaxing 10 minutes, off I went to tour the spa facility. The Terra Spa is located in the caves too. What a relaxing atmosphere. Very serene and peaceful. This is a place that you’d like to spend the day, then when you’re done, head across the way to the tasting room for some wine. Sign me up! I can’t wait to go back and get a proper massage.
We toured around the rest of the hotel and the changes that were made. Very impressive. I can see myself staying here and enjoying every minute. They did a great job with the renovations. We were able to sit and catch our breath for a few minutes before I returned to the spa to get changed for Friday night’s reopening party. I prettied up a bit, put a dress on, fixed my hair, put some make up on and off I went.
There were food and wine tables everywhere you looked. Champagne, red and white wine, caviar, oysters, cheese, pate, tacos, and an entire room of dessert. After eating all the chocolate earlier, I stayed clear of that room!
I grabbed a seat outside near the band/stage with several of the other writers. We sat, sipped, ate and enjoyed the evening. There were these incredible women dressed up head to toe in grape vines on stilts. They moved like giraffes…really mesmorizing. I even met Joe Morgan. Apparently he is one of the investors. I never realized how short he was until I stood next to him. I think most athletes today are just a bit taller, of course I think baseball is the exception.
The sun was setting and time for us to leave.
Joseph and I definitely wanted to get back to 1313 Main before the night was over. Everyone else bailed. No worries though, it was great that it was just the two of us. Al, the owner, really took care of us and spent a lot of time showcasing his wines and hospitality. We popped a squat outside in the lovely outdoor back patio.
We tasted a lot of different wines that night. I started off with some bubbles, either Mumm or Schramsberg, can’t recall. I’m leaning towards Mumm. 1313’s wine list is impressive. Sure, lots of Napa, but wines from all over California and the world. Even more impressive are the retail bottles for sale. There is definitely something here for everyone. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I told Al what I like in a wine, and he lined them up.
Then tasted the NV Pierre Morlet Grand Reserve sparking; ’10 Milou Chardonnay Vin de Pays D’oc, France; ’09 Caroline Parent Pinot Noir, Bourgogne, France; ’07 Lunar Ridge Syrah, Napa; ’08 Portalupi Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma; ’09 Martin Estate Bacchanal, Proprietary Red, Rutherford, Napa; ’06 Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa. My clear favorite was the Lunar Ridge Syrah. It was soft, ripe, round and ever so slightly smokey. I took a bottle home with me. Thanks to Al for showing us such a great time. It was his knowledge of wines that guided our evening. I will be back.
By now, things were closing down in downtown Napa, so Joseph and I headed back to our hotel. And exactly as it was night before last, the bar was hopping, so sure we’ll have a nightcap. Why not? We met some spirited local boys that entertained us for the next hour or so. Then finally, tired and slightly drunk, went to bed.
Joseph and I had plans for breakfast and lounging by the pool planned the next day… very rough!