Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Napa in Winter

I was surprised to find that driving through the streets of Napa in January evoked the same feeling as when used to drive through it in the summer. There are less leaves, but the recent rains have made the scenery just as green.

Taking a rare PTO (Paid Time Off) day, I decided to accept Sherry's invitation to one of her Rockapella concerts. This one counted as my third attendance. I burned some points and we stayed at the Marriott Napa Resort & Spa. We were greeted with wine and cheese in the room. These are one of those times elite membership pays off. Sherry couldn't get over the French doors in the junior suite upgrade we got. They were a nice touch. Tired from the drive from San Jose, we decided to dine with room service. Prior to the concert, we watched Shalimar's "The Village" and got totally blown away... kinda.

The concert was in a small and beautiful theater, the Napa Opera House. It's hard to believe that at one time it remained unused for 90 years. It seems such a waste. Today, it's wonderfully restored and now hosts a wide variety of theatrical and small musical venues.

Rockapella. What can I say, they sang "Jenny Come Away" and that was all I needed to hear. For those who don't know, I can't describe in words what a wonderful group this is. I have drunk the punch and am now a believer. If they are in Southern California again, let me know and I'll take you with us.

The next day was spent touring a bit of Napa. Because Sherry and I were both born with the Outlet Shopping Gene, we had to hit the one in Napa and the teeny one in St. Helena. We made of like... Discount bandits!

For her birthday, I took her to the CIA, no, not that one... The one with the yummy food: Culinary Institute of America - Greystone in St. Helena, CA - Napa's little sister. We dined and dined and dined... oh! so much good food.. can't let it go to waste. Let me see if I can remember our delectable eats:

We started out with their daily Temptations - an array of delicious small bites to be shared by all at the table. It was arranged on this iron contraption that held six little plates:
- Mixed Italian olives (It was all Jenny - Sher didn't care for these bites..)
- Leg of Pheasant over currant couscous
- Small sips of potato leek soup
- Teriyaki beef sticks
- Duck mouse
- some vegetarian dish - can't remember, damn my carnivorous brain!

For my First Course (Sherry declined), and for which I forgot to tell myself NOT to order: Fois Gras. Although it wasn't seared the way I like it, it was still oh-so good!

For our Second Course (main entree), Sherry ordered the Nantucket Bay Scallops with the risotto. I opted for the Braised Beef Short Ribs with Horseradish potato puree, brussle sprouts (I counted only two) and fried parsnips. Heaven!!

With barely one button left undone, for Dessert, a special birthday Profitreroles (mini cream puffs filled with coffee ice cream, caramelized bananas and hot chocolate sauce) arrived at our table. Sher blew out her candle and we dove in!

We rolled out of the restaurant and straight into the CIA Campus Store and proceeded to shop for souvenirs and, in my case, cute little kitchen things that I "may" one use day. We only had time to visit two wineries: Beringer and Coppola Vineyards. I bought a couple of their "Director's Reserve" and the newest blush wine named after his daughter, Sophia. (Ok, ok, it was a pretty bottle and the girl in me couldn't resist.) I decided to cap off our weekend by introducing Sherry to a Stabuck's Chantico... she hasn't been the same since. (Try it.. if you dare. :)

And so, ended Jenn & Sher's Excellent Napa Adventure. For those who don't know, Sherry and I have a looooooonngg history. We met at the age of 6... oh.. about 20 years ago. ;) Oh sure, we've had our ups and downs, but through sick and sin, we made it through - stronger, better, sweeter and much more appreciative of each other and our friendship.

That's the stuff dear old kindred souls are made off... The same kind we cultivate in our newer friendships. OK, 'nuff said... other than: Sher, I love you hon! (((hugs!))) Happy Birthday Sweetie!!

For more information on Rockapella visit:
http://www.rockapella.com/

For more information on Rockapella's Number 1 Fan Site (Sherry's Site) visit:
http://www.pellapusher.com/

For more information on the CIA, visit:
http://www.ciachef.edu/greystone/spectator/

For more information on Coppola Winery visit:
http://www.niebaum-coppola.com/site.php

For more information on Beringer Vineyards visit:
http://www.beringer.com/beringer/index.jsp

2 Comments:

Anonymous Sherry said...

Hi, Jenn!

Glad that you enjoyed the concert.

One correction: www.pellapusher.com
(singular, not plural)

You forgot to say that you got me all hopped up on Chantico, but I guess we weren't in Napa at the time.

Thanks for a wonderful time, and I love you back!

Sher :)

1:26 PM  
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