Centralparkgirl's First Trip to California

Oct 27th, 2008, 05:30 AM
  #21  
 
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cpg, I am glad that you and your husband had such a great trip. You barely scratched the surface, so there is plenty left for a second trip, a third trip...
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Oct 27th, 2008, 05:32 AM
  #22  
 
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>>End of day 2 - I can still see the Pacific!<<

From Yountville???

>>Oh and yesterday, somewhere along the way from Jenner to Healdsburg, we spot a palm tree! It looks so strange to us. What is it doing here?>>

We have three 40 foot Canary Island palms in our front yard. It was quite popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s to plant palm trees in front of houses.

Stu Dudley

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Oct 27th, 2008, 10:59 AM
  #23  
 
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Since the WSJ article, Geyser Peak has been bought & sold. Could be the reason.

MY
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Oct 27th, 2008, 05:59 PM
  #24  
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He's back! DH got released late this afternoon and he's home, tired with no appetite and uncomfortable, but here!!!! I just gave him the smallest bowl of chicken soup - hey, can't hurt, right?

andrew8 - you did recommend Cyrus too! And I trust your taste - totally!

MichelleY - I never tasted their reds before, so I don't know if the sale made a difference.

About the palm trees - when we were in Napa someone told us that the palm trees there were a bit of a controversy; that when people started planting them 20 years ago, there were a lot of purists who didn't want them brought in.

Does anyone know if there's any truth to this?
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Oct 27th, 2008, 06:11 PM
  #25  
 
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Our palm trees are 100 years old. Like I stated - they were very popular with the turn of the century 108 years ago.

My wife leads lots of Victorian house tours - and she can spot a Victorian blocks away by the presence of palm trees.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 27th, 2008, 06:12 PM
  #26  
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Stu - but what about further north in Napa?
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Oct 27th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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I believe I've seen the same palm trees on wineries just off the Silverado Trail in Calistoga.

I'm so happy your husband is home CP...wonderful news !!
He can watch both football and the World Series tonight.
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Oct 27th, 2008, 06:18 PM
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Hi andrew - he loves both sports, but he's taking his meds and going to sleep soon - hopefully tomorrow will be better. He is itching to get to his emails from work - a good sign!
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Oct 27th, 2008, 08:02 PM
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There are lots & lots of country Victorians in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties. We've seen dozens of palm trees on old houses up there in the last 33 years.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 27th, 2008, 11:06 PM
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Day 3 - Monday Oct 13th

Our first breakfast at La Renaissance is in a lovely muted room with large windows, country french tables and chairs. There are various newspapers spread out, french roast coffees and teas and some juices and baked goods, but the real breakfast is made to order. Each day there is a little menu with three choices. Maria takes our order - I have light and crisp waffles; dh has some kind of egg and cheese sandwich and there is always fresh melon and berries served first. It is prepared and served with care.

We then head north for our first early morning tour at Castello di Amorosso. Our tour guide is not only very personable, but she is well informed about it's construction and authenticity as a reproduction, using old materials from Europe, etc. When she points out the change in style of stonework (supposedly done by villagers vs craftsmen), I think about the building of the cathedral in "Pillars of the Earth." There are only five of us on the tour and we really enjoy it - the murals, towers, floors, and endless details. When it's time for tasting, the other three people have to leave. Our tour guide says since it's only the two of you, 'just tell me what you like and you can taste anything.' And so we do. We like Italian wines and like several of these. We order a mixed case and have them ship it home. The surrounding views are beautiful.

We then drive over to Calistoga, park and walk around. There are shops that have gone out of business and there's a slightly depressed feel about the town imo. I call 'Old Faithful' to find out the schedule. They say it should pop in 20 minutes, so we drive over only to find it gated with a lot of guys milling about, even in the middle of the road. We can't enter because they are filming a movie. We wonder if they thought we were calling from Iowa just to check on the geyser's regularity? Couldn't they have told us on the phone that they were closed?

We then head off to Schramsburg and thoroughly enjoy hearing tales about Jacob Schram and how he got into the sparkling wine business, it's eventual demise and about the people who ressurected it so lovingly. The return of the three original oak barrels is a great tale. We taste in a private room and enjoy the selections.

It's time for lunch and we go to Auberge where we have a lovely table outside overlooking the valley. Service is quite good, but our choices are not so. DH has a risotto with duck that is delicious, but too rich and heavy for lunch on a hot day. I have a lobster salad perfectly poached, but the curry used is too strong.

Now we head to St Helena in search of Kal's mighty EVOO. I recall that
it's near Tra Vigne, but we can't find it. Not one to give up, we ask in a consignment shop and learn that we didn't travel far enough up the street. We head back and find it. It's a great old space and we talk to the owner's daughter and see her father. She pours a little for me on wax paper and I slurp. I can recall that DH gave me 'the look' (he hates to shlep, especially things we can get at home). I ignore 'the look' and buy a quart. It's dangerous packing it in checked luggage and it would be a shame if DH's clothes got wet - lol!

We return to St Helena to walk around and browse in the nice shops and sample some Woodhouse chocolates - devine, but it's way too hot to try to take some home (I don't get 'the look.')

We head to one more tasting (free) at V. Santuii (same owner as the Castello) but it's a hard sell and we don't like what we're tasting. The house is very nice.

We return to the inn and later dine at Redd.

End of Day 3
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Oct 27th, 2008, 11:14 PM
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Hello Centralparkgirl, Solano County cities have many old (over 100 years old) Palm Trees in front of Victorian houses also. My daughter almost crashed into one when I was teaching her to drive. Thankfully she didn't..they are so lovely and historic.

I have thought of you and your husband today. I am glad he is home. Obviously he is not feeling well but I am holding the good thought that in the future he will be on the road to recovery. Hugs to both of you!
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Oct 28th, 2008, 12:03 AM
  #32  
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LoveItaly - collective good thoughts can never hurt - thank you!
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Oct 28th, 2008, 08:26 AM
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Sounds very nice, how did you like REDD? We had a lovely lunch there. ***kim***
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Oct 28th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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The rural Central Valley of California is also the home of very, large, old palm trees. It usually a sign that a Victorian once stood on the property. Besides the Canary Island palm, California Fan Palms are common. Palms can grow most places in CA if there is no snow or deep, frequent freezes.

I am enjoying your report very much and am glad your DH is on his way to recovery.

MY
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Oct 28th, 2008, 01:36 PM
  #35  
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Thank you all for clarifying the palm mystery. That's what I love about Fodor's - talking to the people who know!

Kim - Redd was very good, but if I were returning to Napa, it wouldn't be on my list for the next visit.
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Oct 28th, 2008, 02:48 PM
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Day 4 - Tuesday Oct. 14th

Another gorgeous morning in California - I could really get used to this weather. We are served another good breakfast by Maria. It seems some guests have snatched the first section of the NYTimes this morning and taken it to their room!

We drive to the Chateau Montelena Estate and take their self-guided tour (not much of a tour really) and we walk around Jade Lake watching the birds. At this tasting, we like a very light Riesling that will be great in the summer. I get 'the look' from dh, but order six bottles to be shipped. It's a very pleasant place to visit.

We go back to Old Faithful (it's open today) and watch it's eruption while sitting in an Adirondack type chair. We enjoy seeing things that are uncommon in nature. We have never seen a geyser before and it is quite interesting.

We drive to Go Fish for lunch and are pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a little fish shack and not the large, beautiful restaurant that it is. Cindy is there, but goes into a meeting. We sit outside under those great trees (huckleberry?) We have a fantastic lunch of manila clams, ahi poke, and that incredible, exorbitant lobster sushi roll. This is a restaurant I would like to try for dinner one day.

We decide to visit Hess solely to see the art collection. We take Mt. Veeder Road which is quite the drive. It's a beautiful mountain road with very few signs and at times we wonder where we are. After about 30 minutes, we arrive at Hess. We start at the top level and work our way down - we are not huge modern art enthusiasts and after viewing the collection, we are not converted. It is interesting how the new building is incorporated into the old. We take a different road down and are 'on land' in 10 minutes.

Tonight's dinner is at Brix, an attractive restaurant with a gift shop. I've never seen an extensive shop in an upscale restaurant before. The food and service are good, but the menu accents their own wines that are much more expensive than the others. Is the tone here more enterprise than restaurant?

End of Day 4
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Oct 28th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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Brix got a horrible review from the SF Chronicle restaurant critic. Perhaps the most negative review I've ever read about a restaurant in the greater Bay Area.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl....DTL&type=food

Stu Dudley
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Oct 28th, 2008, 04:47 PM
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What a scathing review!

Fortunately our meal wasn't like that. It was far from great, but nothing like the reviewer's multiple experiences. The waiter was competent and polite, but quite serious. DH started with beet salad and then scallops. I had a green salad followed by lamb (overpriced). We didn't have dessert or coffee. I drank a $10 riesling instead of the Brix $18 cab - a bit outrageous in my book.

Of the three nights in Napa, there wasn't one dinner restaurant that I would want to return to. I would try Go Fish, as I mentioned earlier, and maybe Bouchon or Bistro Jeanty. btw, Bouchon was celebrating their 10th anniversary while we were there.
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Oct 28th, 2008, 05:01 PM
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Terra is nice.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 28th, 2008, 05:56 PM
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CP,
You've done such a great job with your trip report. We've always enjoyed Calistoga and sad to hear about the business's not doing well.
I totally agree with Stu about Terra as we had a great dinner a few years back when we were in wine country. In fact the same owners of Terra opened Ame in the St. Regis Hotel in San. Francisco.
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