Sunday, October 01, 2006

Vacation Day 1 - Napa Valley

My girlfriend, Liis, and I recently took our annual late summer week-long trip to the Northern California wine country and the Monterey Jazz Festival. On Monday, September 11, we flew from Seattle to San Jose, then rented a car and drove to the Napa Valley.

Our first stop was Domaine Carneros to taste sparkling wines and share a well-appointed cheese platter.

In addition to singing jazz and blues, Liis is a sommelier, which allowed us (for the second straight year) to spend two nights in the Cuvaison winery guest house, free of charge. It's a beautiful home, at the edge of a vineyard.

That evening, we had an excellent dinner at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, in St. Helena, which we'd discovered in a New York Times article earlier in the summer. Owner and chef Cindy Pawlcyn - James Beard award winning cookbook author - is also responsible for Mustards Grill, in Napa, where we had another good meal in 2005.

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