Mini-moon for Foodies: SF the Wine Country!

August 31, 2008

One of the biggest challenges for us while planning the wedding was a honeymoon destination. Since we got married on Mackinac Island, Michigan, we wanted the event to be in the peak of the summer, this was why we chose August 2. But then we were left wondering as to where to go for honeymoon in August.

Europe is pretty much dead in August and hot! The Carribean? Mexico? Nah – we didn’t think that they would be appropriate in the summer. Therefore, Red and I decided on Napa for our mini-moon and boy, were we glad!

Our itinerary was as followed: 1 night in San Francisco, 2 nights in Yountville, and 2 nights in Healdsburg. It was a perfect mini-moon destination for us. We were walking distances from splendid restaurants and excellent wineries. We could not have been happier!!

SAN FRANCISCO

We actually used a gift card and our Marriott Rewards point to get one night in downtown SF.  There wasn’t anything unique about this location, it was just a standard hotel room to crash.

We only got to try one restaurant in SF before heading to Yountville, and we were glad that we picked Yank Sing for dimsum.  It was the most elegant dimsum place that we have ever been at, and the soup dumpling was SUBLIME! Neither one of us have ever tried it, and it was just an insanely cool experience to take a piece of soup dumpling, put it my mouth and have the skin break inside my mouth.  The warm delicious broth just filled my mouth with a savory flavor that was so light and satisfying.

WINE COUNTRY

Yountville

Petit Logis Inn was the hotel that we chose as our base in Yountville. The best part of this hotel was the location. It was a walking distance to all of the great restaurants in Yountville, and it literally shares a wall with the Bouchon Bakery, and right next door to the Bouchon Bistro.

Because we were there during the week, we were able to get an outdoor table at Bouchon Bistro and enjoyed a delicious dinner of grouper on top of steamed vegetables (their dish of the day). The fish was cooked to perfection while the vegetables were seasoned and steamed to compliment the fish. Oh, and the presentation took my breath away that I had to take a picture of it!

Red ordered Steak Frites and savored every bite of the steak. He licked the plate clean and we toasted our first dinner together with 2005 Whitehall Lane Merlot.

The second restaurant that we ate at was Bistro Jeanty. I ordered their mussels steamed in red wine with grilled bread, and I was actually dissapointed with the flavor. The saltiness was a bit overpowering, and the service was average.  Red orderd Coq au Vin and he also thought that his dish was okay. Maybe we both expected a little bit more after our experience at Bouchon Bistro and reading the good reviews.

Next time, we’d probably go back to Bouchon Bistro, or try Mustard Grill and Ad Hoc. Red also thought that we should have gone and tried Michael Chiarello’s Bottega. There were more good restaurants than there were meals in the day, it was unbelieveable.

We stopped at the following wineries: Whitehall Lane, took a tour through the Robert Mondavi winery, Francis Copolla, Frank’s Winery (it was too crowded for us while we were there) and Rutherford Grove.

Our fave was the Whitehall Lane. Since we really enjoyed their merlot at Bouchon, we went and sampled some of their wines. Their Sauvignon Blanc was probably the first white that I truly enjoyed. We liked their tastings so much that we signed up for their wine club.

Healdsburg

We decided to splurge a little bit and chose Madrona Manor for our second stop before heading home.  We picked their 2-nights package deal that included a couples massage, 2-nights stay in one of their exclusive suites, breakfasts, and 7-course tasting menu with wine pairing at the hotel’s restaurant.

This place was by far, the BEST hotel that we have ever stayed at. The service  was OUTSTANDING, and I am a very discerning customer, so I was even shocked that I actually can say that I’d be glad to return in a heartbeat. Every single hotel staff that we encounter was courteous, friendly without being too pushy, and very helpful. They gave us a nice welcome note congratulating us of our wedding, with cookies and champagne.

Their restaurant waitstaff were all highly trained, even the busboys clearing out the used wine glasses. Everyone was aware of what table needed what food, and when it was supposed to be served and eaten. We spent FOUR hours enjoying plate after plate, after plate- of what ended up to be a 12-course dinner, including the desserts and chef’s treats to the customers.

We had our first home-made ice-cream churned table-side with liquid nitrogen that was simply exceptional. The wines were overflowing and it was just an exquisite dining experience. We were glad that we stayed here for our mini-moon and will always have a memory of our flawless time at this Inn.

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We’re back and married; Ham & Spinach Quiche

August 31, 2008

We’ve been back now for about three weeks – and we’re married! I absolutely love not having to deal with the stress of planning a destination wedding and look forward to just spending some quiet time at home with my new hubby and puppy Charlotte. One of the things that I had been wanting to do was to update my new FOOD BLOG!!! So here you go: a recipe to a fave staple at our house!!
Ham & Spinach Quiche
Yield: 6-8
Ingredients

9-inch one crust pie
1 c. sliced/cubed ham
1 c. shredded natural swiss cheese
1/3 c. finely shredded onion
4 large eggs
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 pckg frozen spinach, thawed, drained.
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp ground pepper

Directions

Roll the pie crust onto a pie dish carefully.
Layer the dish with onion, ham, and then spinach.
Top with shredded cheese.
Whisk eggs, cream, salt, pepper, and ground pepper together.
Pour the egg mixture onto the dish.
Bake in the oven at 425 deg for 35 mins.
Reduce temp to 350, and bake for another 10 mins.
Let stand for 10 mins before slicing.