Saturday, August 16, 2008

Napa Valley, Continued...

I have had this post lingering for some time as a draft, but overall, The remainder of our Napa trip was fabulous even considering how quickly time escaped us.

We hit up all of the vino heavies like Opus One (more pretentious than impressive), Joseph Phelps (highlight of the trip for me... the terrace tasting at sunset was undeniably sublime), Peju (very fun, reserves were very good), Beaulieu (thanks to David for the reserve tastings and monster discounts!) and Domaine Chandon and even hit some of the oldies like Mondavi and Berringer (even the reserve tasting @ Berringer was flat for me personally). There were a few disappointing misses for us as time ran out: Raymond, Franciscan and Grgich Hills. We were on the waiting list for Far Niente months in advance and didn't quite make the cut but did manage to get a hook up from Kai @ Peju to visit Far Niente's sister vineyard Nickel and Nickel despite scheduling conflicts.

Thankfully, our hotel concierge was exceedingly helpful in suggesting fun things for us to do with our evenings. He created lists of local events and venues we might like along with driving directions. One evening after full day of tastings we ventured out to the Napa county fair only to find a parking spot right before closing. No worries though, we used our handy list and made our way to a local karaoke bar slash steakhouse.

Once finally seated at the bar, we went on trying to order dinner but the waitress informed us that the kitchen had just closed. Luckily, the man sitting next to me got the last meal of the night and offered to share. We bashfully declined at first, but ended up eating all of his fries. Then, in the interest of alcoholic variety, we ordered cocktails upon cocktails from the bar. The rest of the night was a blast. We took silly photos, sang karaoke while we danced on the dance floor, got a tasty bottle of zinfandel from an exec at a local winery but later decided he too much resembled a psycho killer.

Moving along, we made friends out on the front patio and a super nice security guard made sure we arrived at our hotel safe and sound. Amy was particularly grateful and expressed her appreciation more than I can describe. Soon after, we carried her back to the room and helped her through what I can only articulate as a religious "Come to Jesus" session at the toilet.

Our friends out on the patio were interesting to say the least: a blonde knockout spa owner from across the street, another local business owner, a professional celebrity dog walker and an artistic alternative guy with striking black hair. Lisa and Amy made friends first, I joined in a little later with a fresh round of drinks.

I sat down at the table and shook hands as I introduced myself. Then, I was immediately analyzed. The beautiful spa owner began to dissect my face. I suddenly felt like a frog specimen in a science class. She pointed out to the alternative guy, "Oh do you see that? A little Penelope Cruz in the features." He responds, "Yeah, look at the skin, it's good... nice round eyes." She continues, "I see some Marie Osmond around the eyes, you know, from her early days." He replies, "You think so? Yeah, I see that... and if her hair was parted here (points to my head) she'd really have some Jessica Alba going on." They went on like that for a few minutes as if I couldn't even hear them.

I must have looked at them like they were insane. The spa owner instinctively introduced herself and suddenly asked, "I'm 40. How old are you?" I was so taken back by the entire exchange. As you can tell, I am not accustomed to what such a Hell-A type introduction and luckily managed to just laugh through it. For the rest of the night we laughed even more, told a million jokes and drank our way into comfortable sloppiness. We promised to join them after the bar closed for some hot tubing but instead decided to get some fast food and pass out in our room.

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