Saturday, August 22, 2015

Lists + Recipes

I think I can break my diet down into 10 very essential items:
  1. homemade salsa
  2. tortilla chips
  3. cheese
  4. milk
  5. tortillas
  6. cereal
  7. eggs
  8. strawberries
  9. bottle of wine
  10. candy

Sorry mom! I know it's not the healthiest list... BUT, that's why I have purchased not one, but TWO cookbooks. And why I am whipping up recipes I find online and recipes that come from sweet pen pals.


This fruit tart is not made by me... Have I blown all credibility I have? My dear roommate Melinda made this strawberry sugar delicious breakfast/dessert tart. I don't know what to call it because there were magical properties, but trust me — it was quite good.


Right. I am a terrible cook. Once upon a time, I had a dream last summer to start a food blog and we all know how well that turned out. My company also wholly believed in my cooking abilities...

Guys... I'm pretty good at baking and, and, and... I can make salsa!

But I have a revised dream. A dining table for family dinners and slow morning breakfasts and writing sessions accompanied by tea and straight up tea parties and the beginnings of the Finer Things Club and Sunday suppers and more.

Already, I've witnessed little glimpses of this dream. Like receiving a recipe for Apples + Asparagus from Jessica. I turned on the designated musical artist, and did indeed dance as I followed her recipe instructions. Then friends came over and we circled the cowhide rug and picnicked on the floor.

There's a table dream, a family dinner time dream, and it will be realized. I guess that means I should start taking this cooking thing a bit more seriously. Cheers!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Newton Vineyard, Napa

I start each blog post apologizing for my lack of correspondence. Life gets busy, work gets busy, we're all busy. I've had several conversations with friends around this "state of busyness." It's not really an acceptable answer.

Hey, how's it going? How are you doing? What have you been up to?

Oh... you know. Just busy. Or super busy with work. Gosh, so busy I wish I could sleep. I wish I could finally do some laundry. Man, I wish I could actually make dinner and stop eating insert food option here (ie. $15 salad from Blue Barn, chips and salsa for dinner, my sixth bowl of cereal this week).

Needless to say, the blog has become a low priority in my life yet again. Catch up time!

A few weekends ago, around July 25th, I went out to Napa for a Wine Pilgrimage with Kathryn and her parents. They adopted me for the weekend and we explored vineyards, French gardens and damp cellars. We enjoyed Chardonnay, Cabernet, Pinot and aced a blind wine tasting. We ate BBQ ribs, oysters, cheese and more cheese, lobster rolls and rich French cuisine.

I left Napa on Sunday afternoon with 6 bottles of wine. WHAT. Yep.

I want to make note of where we went on our pilgrimage:

Stag's Leap: This vineyard is kind of a big deal. They entered this wine competition against the French a few decades ago and the French scoffed, "There's just no way an American wine from California could compete against a French wine. Pfft!" That's exactly what they said. But lo and behold, a blind tasting in Paris that pit French and Californian wines against each other revealed a surprising winner. Get the more factual details here on the Wikipedia page (ha). As for my experience: this was our first stop. It's 10AM. I forgot to grab breakfast, but who cares?! Let's drink wine. Good wine. Of course, our favorite is the most expensive one. Of course. Bonus: I leave with a gifted bottle.
Wine bottle count: 1

Vineyard 29: We had a fabulous driver take us from winery to winery. He imparted a considerable amount of wine wisdom on us, and for our second destination, invited us to a party at his wine club, Vineyard 29. WOOT WOOT! Party time! We arrived, Kathryn + I received fake names Arabella and Genevieve, and began to try all the wines. All the wines, indeed. Sauvignon Blanc, some BBQ ribs and kale salad, Pinot Noir, then the blind wine tasting, ooh more ribs please, another glass of the Pinot and some Merlot... you get the idea. We stayed to hear the winner of the blind wine tasting... who receives a signed magnum bottle (that's 2 bottles of wine in one bottle. Really! It's a giant bottle of wine.) Well surprise surprise, Moore Family! It was a team effort, but I beat out 100+ other people and guessed all the grape varietals correctly. Hello giant wine bottle, you get to come home with me.
Wine bottle count: 4 (The giant bottle = 2, and I bought a bottle of the Pinot Noir. Oops!)

Newton Vineyard: Guys... we need to pace ourselves. But nah, on we went to the third winery. We turned down a back road, we entered through a private gate and our driver + car wound up the hill. Welcome to Newton Vineyard. Climbing out of the car, we were awarded glasses of unfiltered Chardonnay. Yum yum yum. Now owned by Louis Vuitton, we were among just 20-40 people who get to tour the winery each day. We explored the vineyards, descended into the dark cellars and enjoyed a long tasting of rich reds and creamy whites. Definitely a bit more upscale + refined. Photos below.
Wine bottle count: still 4

Alpha + Omega: And for our final winery, we trekked out to my lovely wine club where we sat fountain-side and simply enjoyed our wine without pretense. Picked up my two bottles and appreciated all wine club perks.
Wine bottle count: 6

IMG_9229 IMG_9252 IMG_9238 IMG_9289 IMG_9325 IMG_9361 IMG_9360
This was a rare trip to be sure, but definitely a fortunate way to view and experience Napa. We concluded our day with rich French food at Bistro Jeanty. We then toured the French Laundry gardens before returning to our hotel, where we felt into deep wine-induced slumbers. Kidding... we kept it together impressively well the entire day. Bravo, family!