Its been a while since my last post....the madness of end of school year activities, and the kids back from university and boarding school. It feels good to have a full house! I just got back from a 10 day Asia trip (Bangladesh and Japan), so I am currently on vampire time. Up all night and sleep the day away. It actually works well for the long summer days, so maybe I will just keep these hours for now! My return to Napa was the same day as the much celebrated "longest day of summer". My husband made lovely use of the grill, and we dined al fresco and enjoyed the rosé moment-with a glass of chardonnay, with zero yellowjackets and just a few mosquitos. In my vampire time zone, I was wide awake and pulled an all nighter...got a lot done booking tours and restaurants for the Europe trip with my daughter and then crashed at 6am into a deep sleep for about five hours.
Date Night at Basalt
Somewhere around 3am I played with Open Table and booked dinner for 8pm at Basalt. It's been on my list to re-visit. I am so glad we did! The location is the very best - ground zero in downtown Napa, on the intersection of Main and 3rd. We chose to sit outside on the river terrace, where we could hear the muffled sounds of the live concert in the Veterans Park, and we could people watch - a mix of tourists and locals alike were strolling along the river.
Basalt's menu is lovely. First, the highest praise to the cocktails menu and wines by the glass selection. We experimented - Chris had "The Buzz" which required him to first eat some strange type of flower that coated his tongue and mouth, wait a few moments and then drink the gin-based cocktail. Looked interesting-he's gonna kill me for this video. I went with a bourbon cocktail since I am training for the Bourbon and Beyond festival in Louisville, KY in September. My training is going pretty well so far, and I really liked my cocktail!
The seasonal additions to the menu tempted us, so we went with those. The starters won me over...a creamy cucumber gazpacho and a stone fruit salad were excellent. For the mains, we had a steak with black garlic and summer squash and lobster risotto -both very satisfying. We also ordered truffle fries and the caramelized bacon brussels sprouts.
Yes, we over ordered for two people! We both had a glass of Vicarious, one of our favorite Cabs, by winemaker Jason Moore....we were pleased to find it on the menu. Since I almost always order dessert, I chose the Strawberry-Rhubarb crisp, which I had a few bits of and decided it wasn't worth the calories-it looked nice, but it was all crisp and no fruit. By the time we finished dinner, Napa was still buzzing. We wandered by the Napa Nights concert, checked out Blue Note (it was comedy night and the show was almost over) and ended with a drink on the Archer rooftop. All in all a very successful date night!
Upcoming Napa Summer Fun
There is pretty much something awesome happening every single weekend from now until November (but even November is pretty amazing with the Napa Valley Film Festival!) Here is a sampling of festivals and events that you don't want to miss!
Mondavi Summer Concert Series- All summer long. We make an effort to catch at least one of these each year. We usually make an elaborate picnic and bring the whole family and join up with a few other families. This year we opted for the seated dinner (X Ambassadors), just to see how that is.
Festival Napa Valley- July 20-29: If you are into classical music, this will be your jam. There are events for all budgets, but much of it is pretty pricey. This festival brings famous worldwide talent, to gorgeous vineyard venues. It's quite magical to listen to a symphony with vineyard views!
Napa Porch Fest- July 29th 1:30pm. This gets bigger and better every year and is probably the locals' favorite event. All of downtown Napa becomes a massive, free music festival. The schedule is published in the Register, and bands set up on the porches of historic homes over a 3 mile radius (I'm guessing it's 3 miles - could be more!)...stroll around with your wagon, piled with the kids, blankets, wine, and snacks, and you're good to go!
Blues, Beers and Bbq- August 26th The name says it all! This used to take place on First Street but now its moved to Oxbow Commons, the big grassy area by the river. There is a ribs eating contest by Bounty Hunter, our favorite bbq restaurant in Napa-their beer can chicken is incredible! I might just have to be a contestant this year!
Further up North (aka St Helena and Calistoga)
Goose and Gander Sunday Live Music Brunches- Every Sunday, Goose And Gander, features lives music on their patio from 1pm. There is no cover for this, but of course you'll want to order their awesome valley famous burger served on the Model Bakery bun (and maybe go nuts and add the bone marrow)! Check their Facebook page to see who is playing. Ah....summer!
Speakeasy at Tank Winery: Check out this groovy winery in a restored garage, that is making a name for itself as the hipster, cool winery for the millennial crowd (who have reached drinking age, lol). Get on their mailing list to be alerted of their Friday night speakeasy parties...could be a good idea to book a room at Indian Springs Resort and make a staycation of it!