Napa Valley | Birthday Postcards from Yountville

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Me, the Birthday Girl in Yountville

I always say that I feel so fortunate that I am just less than an hour's drive from the world-renowned Napa Valley. Every chance I get, I love to take a drive along its scenic roads that lead to vineyards and idyllic towns. What is there not to love about Napa Valley? First of all, WINE! We, Californians, also consider ourselves lucky to have access to delicious Napa Valley wines at reasonable prices. To me, Napa also means abundant feasts of farm to table food from this sun-kissed region that is also blessed with fertile soils.  In many corners are world-famous Michelin-starred restaurants by celebrity chefs, local artisans selling  cheeses and pastries and really delicious comfort food that will blow your mind away. Add wine and plenty of sunshine, this valley is paradise. As you can tell I am in love with Napa Valley. Can you picture a picnic under the sun with the views of the vineyards while imbibing fruity wines, eating ripe brie and blue cheese smeared on big chunks of freshly baked sourdough bread while also nibbling on pretty little pastries?

Many towns make up Napa Valley. Each town has its own unique charm. For my birthday, I asked Mr Sweetie to take me to Yountville, one of the towns in Napa and the home of  Thomas Keller's world-famous 3 Michelin-starred French Laundry and 1 Michelin-starred Bouchon. Celebrity chef Michael Chiarello's Bottega is also just steps away from Keller's restaurants.

While I have already dined at Bouchon and Bottega, (Bottega's was definitely memorable both the food and the sighting of Chef Chiarello when we ate there), I have no desire to eat at French Laundry.  As I sometimes mention in my posts, I love comfort food. I like big, hearty meals even though I do not often eat big portions. For me having big platters of food on the table as opposed to pretty, dainty works of one-bite food art mean feasts, abundance, food that feeds the family, community and the soul. I understand the art of fine dining. I do not mind it once in a while but it is really not my style, hence, which is the reason why I consider myself not a foodie but someone who loves food. 

Anyway, for my birthday after feasting on a big plate of the moistest and tastiest fried chicken I have ever had with a side of super-light spiced donuts and warm brown butter sauce at Boon Fly Cafe (Napa-style eating, y'all!), I asked Mr Sweetie to take me to the town of Yountville as part of my birthday present.  

All I wanted for my birthday were the following:
  • For me to plan my own birthday to celebrate it my style instead of him going all out like inviting my family for a surprise birthday party, or booking a weekend getaway as he has done in my past birthdays.
  •  For my birthday lunch, I asked him to take me to Boon Fly in Napa so I can indulge my cravings for fried chicken.  
  • Go for a quiet stroll in Yountville so I can take pictures.
  •  As for my birthday present, I told him that I did not want any. He gives me so much stuff -- clothes, make up, perfume that I have not even used yet. I just wanted  pastries from Bouchon Bakery and I got my choice of desserts.
And I got everything that I wanted for my birthday including being able to take a stroll in the picturesque downtown Yountville with Mr Sweetie. We  enjoyed a lovely walk while holding hands. We felt that we were transformed into an Italian countryside with Yountville's rolling, vineyard covered hillside.  We went browsing at boutiques, art galleries and chocolaterie. The weather was gray but I like the moody ambiance that it brought to the afternoon.

The celebration was short and sweet, just like how I wanted to my special day to be. It was a perfect birthday.

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