Thursday, July 21, 2016

Travel Bug Biting me

I have had to change parts of plans and make new ones. That doesn't change that I have to travel...somewhere.
As Hwy 1 calls there are nice reminder emails that I get.


Where to Eat:


Miminashi, Napa Valley’s first and only “Izakaya-style” Japanese pub opened in downtown Napa in May 2016. Chef and owner Curtis Di Fede’s menu features a variety of ramen bowls and a large selection of yakitori. Miminashi offers Japanese beer, local and international wines, a diverse sake selection, and classic cocktails.

Basalt opened April 7 2016 in the Riverfront in downtown Napa. Chef Esteban Escobar’s seasonal California cuisine draws influences from the earliest traditions of Mexican and Spanish cooking. The bar features an extensive cocktail menu with an array of wine and beer on tap.

Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar opened March 2016 in the Mount View Hotel & Spa in Calistoga. The new restaurant is loosely modeled after the 1919 restaurant that was originally there. The new Johnny’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Protea, the eclectic Latin-inspired fast-casual eatery opened in Yountville April 2016.

Mise, a high-end catering company opened by two French Laundry alumni, opened April 2016. They offer private dinners, hands-on cooking classes, and farm fresh picnic lunches in the Napa Valley and San Francisco Bay area.

The Charter Oak, a new elemental restaurant by Chef Christopher Kostow and Nathaniel Dorn of the Michelin-three starred The Restaurant at Meadowood will open in St. Helena in 2016. The Charter Oak will be centered on a celebratory and casual dining experience.

Kenzo Tsujimoto will open his new authentic Japanese sushi restaurant in downtown Napa fall 2016. The restaurant will feature fresh fish delivered from world renowned Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo paired with wines from Kenzo Estate along with an array of Japanese sakes.

Charlie Palmer Steak by Chef Charlie Palmer (owner of Harvest Inn and Harvest Table in St. Helena) will open at the new Archer Hotel in downtown Napa in spring 2017. Palmer and team will oversee the culinary direction of the rooftop bar, poolside and in-room dining, as well as private events and executive retreats for the Archer Hotel.

Where to Drink:

Jam Cellars
JaM Cellars

JaM Cellars opened in downtown Napa May 14 2016, offering wine flights, by-the-glass and by-the-bottle for Butter Chardonnay, JaM Cabernet and Toast Sparkling. They are also featuring a number of guest wines and special releases only available at the downtown tasting room.

Napa Valley Distillery and Grand Tasting Salon opened their expanded distillery in May 2016. Guests get a back stage pass into the art of craft spirits production and tasting with an educational distillery tour, then taste through a flight of award-winning locally made products.

Ca’ Momi, a family-owned and operated winery, announced the launch of its spirits portfolio with the release of Ca’ Momi Vodka. This small-batch spirit made from premium wine grapes is currently offered at Ca’Momi Osteria restaurant in downtown Napa.

Davis Estates Winery’s tasting room in Calistoga opened for reservations in May 2016. The view from the deck showcases prime views of Calistoga vineyards.

Durant & Booth, a tasting room located in the restored historic Victorian building adjacent to Oakville Grocery, will accept limited reservations during its soft opening period in June 2016. The wine program highlights blends that incorporate less common varietals, including Friuilian favorite Ribolla Gialla and Rhone varietals Roussanne and Grenache.

Freemark Abbey, which has been in its original location since 1886, is undergoing an extensive renovation to be completed in summer 2016. The renovation will preserve the century-old historic stone building while introducing modern updates. The refreshed estate will also feature the opening of Two Birds One Stone, a California-inspired yakitori restaurant by chefs Douglas Keane and Sang Yoon.

Trefethen will open its visitor center in June 2016. For the first time in their 48-year history, the Trefethen family will welcome winery guests into the private residence of founders Gene and Katie Trefethen. The space is surrounded by Katie’s treasured gardens and offers a variety of tasting experiences in the salon, sunroom and deck.

Stewart Cellars will open their tasting room in Yountville this summer 2016. The tasting room will offer three distinct tasting spaces, as well as the carefully curated NOMAD Reading Room, surrounding a central courtyard. Inspired by ancient Scottish ruins, the tasting halls and reading room combine Arcanum Architecture’s consciousness of place with Ken Fulk’s rustic-urban design.

Vineyard 29’s Cru @ the Annex will open in late summer 2016 at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa.  The tasting space will resemble a living room, complete with cozy couches coupled with an outdoor patio.

Fieldwork Brewing Company will open a taproom in Oxbow Public Market's main market hall by October 2016. Visitors to its Oxbow Taproom can expect an ever-changing tap list, sampler flights, beer by the glass, and fresh beer filled "to go" in growlers and Crowler cans.

Stone Brewing is set to open a downtown Napa Tap Room and Pilot Brewery in the historic Borreo Building by spring 2017. The new tasting room will include a pilot brewing system, a dining experience, growler fills and Stone merchandise.

New Ways to Wine:

Starmont Winery and Vineyards in Napa launched their Hike & Harvest experience in April 2016. This experience is for any health-minded visitors looking to indulge in the summer and autumn months of harvest 2016. Post hike, guest’s quench their thirst at Starmont’s fresh take on a juice bar, with custom grape juice from the press of the day’s harvest, sampling Stanly Ranch Estate in its many stages from just-pressed to finished wines.

Peju Province Winery in Rutherford launched its newest wine tasting experience in late April 2016, Alan’s Cabernet Cabaret. Featuring beloved Peju wine ambassador Alan Arnopole, this experience is a classic Peju wine tasting with an added musical touch. Taste through Peju’s current release wines while enjoying live entertainment, a unique combination of original songs, raps, poetry, humor, history and Napa lore all rolled into one.

The Napa Valley Wine Train introduced the Quattro Vino Tour in June 2016. This “car free” culinary and wine adventure features stops at Robert Mondavi, Charles Krug, Merryvale and V. Sattui as well as a three-course and small bites menu.

Domaine Carneros and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar introduced the “Ultimate Chips & Dip” flight tasting experience in June 2016. The tasting includes three 1/2-ounce tastes of Tsar Nicoulai Caviar’s finest caviars: Estate, Reserve and the most rare, Crown Jewel to sip with sparkling wines from Domaine Carneros.

Round Pond Estate started their new “Hands on Harvest Gravel Series Edition” experience in June 2016. Guests work alongside the winemaking team in the vineyard, crush pad and barrel cellar on various activities such as testing the brix of the grapes. The experience ends with a barrel tasting straight from a wine thief and of the limited-production Gravel Series wines in the private wine library. 


New Things to See and Do:

Cliff Lede Vineyards launched their new art display, “The Art of Grace Slick,” which will run through July 4, 2016.  Slick is widely known as one of the first seminal female rockers in rock ‘n’ roll history for her work with Jefferson Airplane.

Napa Valley Paddle launched their Carneros Wildlife Preserve tour in May 2016. This four to six mile paddle tour through the Carneros Wildlife Refuge includes views of vineyards, shipwrecks, Mount Tamalpais and Mt. Diablo accompanied by many animal sightings.

Luxury Electric Wine Tours (LEWT) now offers a #Greenitforward complimentary wine tour in Napa Valley. This complimentary wine tour is designed for guests who are interested in purchasing wines and joining wine clubs.  The itinerary will be pre-selected by LEWT and include three to four wineries per day and 90 minutes for lunch. Lunch, wine tasting fees and gratuities are not included.

Feast it Forward Network will open its flagship experiential headquarters in downtown Napa across from the Oxbow Public Market in December 2016. Feast it Forward will offer live studio ticketed experiences with national chefs and musicians. Guests will enjoy a cultivated garden, in partnership with Sunset Magazine, outdoor entertainment with Gibson Guitar, an epicurean retail lounge, demonstration kitchen, and tastings and educational events provided by 16 premier wineries.

Blue Note Napa will open in fall 2016, offering live music seven days a week in downtown Napa. Occupying the first floor of the historic Napa Valley Opera House, the renowned jazz club will present national and international artists, along with Bay Area and regional favorites, paired with the region’s finest wines, craft brews, cuisine, and classic cocktails. Blue Note Napa will also present musical headliners of all genres in the Opera House’s second-floor Margrit Mondavi Theater. 
Slated to open in spring 2017, First Street Napa will create a walkable, high-energy gathering place for residents and visitors alike to shop and dine. Led by Zapolski Real Estate and Trademark 

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