Napa Days 4 & 5: Hiking

As I have fallen a bit behind in my blogging, I’m going to create a combo write-up this morning about the weekend.

On Saturday, Su and I started the day with a terrible breakfast at Pacific Blues. The lady at the visitor center said they had a “good breakfast” but it really sucked. We should have stuck with our first inclination to go have something interesting at the Bouchon Bakery.

Following that mistake, we made the long drive to a park just NE of Calistoga. I’m not sure about the name but the trail was named for Robert Louis Stevenson as he lived in a cabin about a mile into the hike. The guide book described the hike as “first mile is amazing, next 4 miles are monotonous”. Wow, was that ever true. Basically, the first mile was a proper trail whereas the rest was basically a maintenance road for the radio towers on all of the peaks. That being said, the weather was great and the views were lucid and awesome. The biggest problem was that the signage was incredibly poor. Near the top, we weren’t sure exactly where to go and after a few peaks that we think were not the real peak, we had to turn back due to a lack of water. On the way down, we ran into a guy who set us straight on the way to go so we’ll be ready for next year.

We headed back to the hotel and chilled out the couple hours before dinner. That night we had reservations at Ad Hoc at 6pm so dinner wasn’t too far away. I finished my book so at least I accomplished *something* on the trip.

Anyway, dinner was amazing. The restaurant has a basic 4 course meal served family style. Without a doubt, I think this was the best meal that we have had in Napa. First course was a lobster salad which we paired (by ourselves) with some Schramsberg rosé. Then came the lamb course. The waiter suggested a half bottle of this Cab called Modicum that wasn’t on their list and said it was awesome. He couldn’t be more right. It was great by itself and complemented the lamb perfectly. We then had this amazing cheese course with almonds and berries. I unfortunately ran out of wine here, but dessert was soon delivered. Our tiramisu arrived and was paired with some tasty Madeira port. To reiterate, best dinner (yet).

That wrapped up Saturday. Sunday morning we decided to skip breakfast entirely and make our up north to the Bothe park. We have visited this park each year for some basic and consistent hiking. We did a short hike and aside from a minor navigation mistake by yours truly it was a great way to start the day.

We were back in our hotel by 11am or so. After showering we decided to grab some lunch somewhere. After hearing again from the locals how good Taylor’s Refresher was, we went to their new location in downtown Napa to give it a try. We did try it a couple of years ago and were not impressed. Unfortunately, history was to repeat itself. My burger was overcooked and dry and Su’s salad looked like some crazy blend of cole slaw and chicken (without the mayo). Ah well, that’s what we get for listening to people rather than following our experience.

We did hit a late afternoon wine tasting in town at the Hill Family tasting room. The host/hostess were a very nice husband/wife team that told us about the wine and poured us lots of wine. We ended up leaving with a 2002 Merlot and a 2005 Cab.

We had dinner reservations for Redd at 8pm so we had a few hours to kill. I finally tried out the pool which was very nice and even convinced Su to join me poolside. It was a nice break before eating.

To diminish the amount of wine to send and to keep our dinner costs down, we decided to bring wine to dinner (and even do a little pre-dinner drinking). Our aperitif was the 90 year old vine zinfandel from Sausal that we picked up on Monday. Unfortunately, something just wasn’t quite right about it. It didn’t have the nose or the flavor that we tasted and we had to pronounce it dead after sampling. I don’t feel too bad about it as it only costs $20 but I was sad that it didn’t deliver.

For dinner we chose two bottles (because Ken had arrived and would be joining us). The first was the Schafer Relentless. It was everything I remember. Unfortunately the second bottle (Simi Petite Syrah) was not. Not sure if the trip from Sonoma killed it (and the Sausal), but it was off. Thankfully, we were able to have the sommelier help us order another petite syrah from Switchback and we were back in the swing of things. Dinner was delicious (I won’t go through all the details) but I think Ad Hoc was still better.

And so ended the weekend.

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