Posts Tagged ‘napa’

Flavor Napa Valley: Celebrating California Food and Wine

Wednesday November 27, 2013 at 6:06 AM | 2 Comments

chefs, Appellation Trail, Flavor Napa Valley

The Appellation Trail underway at the CIA Greystone, Flavor Napa Valley 2013

Wondering what wine to serve at your holiday dinner? Looking to travel to Napa Valley wine country in the off season or perhaps you simply enjoy fun food and wine events? I recommend the California wine country event Flavor! Napa Valley.

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone is the belle of the ball at this multi-day event, as proceeds from Flavor! Napa Valley support programs and scholarships at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in St. Helena, California.

Flavor Napa Valley

Currently in its third year, this November food and wine event is a favorite for locals, as well as wine connoisseurs from across the country.

“A signature event in Napa Valley was long overdue,” said CIA graduate and Bottega Chef and Owner Michael Chiarello.

Chef Bill Heubel

Chef Bill Heubel at Flavor Napa Valley

November in wine country

With the grape harvest over and the crowds dissipated, November is an ideal time to travel to the Napa Valley before the Thanksgiving holiday. From wine lovers bootcamp to cooking demonstrations, The Appellation Trail: Tasting Napa Valley, interactive lunches and Dinner with Napa Valley winemakers, there is an event for everyone.

I attended The Appellation Trail Friday evening at the CIA at Greystone and Saturday night Dinner with Napa Valley Winemakers. Both venues offered excellent opportunities to taste a wide array of wines, many new to me, as well as old favorites.

At the Dinner with Napa Valley Winemakers, the evening began with a wine reception at Meritage Resort and Spa, followed by a dinner with twenty five Napa Valley winemakers.

I had the pleasure of being seated with Dario De Conti, owner and winemaker of Ca’ Momi Napa Valley and his wife and business partner Valentina Guolo-Migotto. It was at The Appellation Trail event that I discovered their bignes from Ca’ Momi Enoteca and learned of their Italian restaurant inside Napa’s Oxbow Public Market.

Ca'Momi Reserve Pinot Noir

Ca’Momi Reserve Pinot Noir

As I mentioned, both events offer consumers an opportunity to taste the food and wine and interact one-on-one with the Napa Valley chefs and winemakers. Our table hosts introduced me to several Ca’Momi wines, including the 2011 Pinot Noir Reserve from Carneros (my Thanksgiving dinner wine) and the luscious 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

Bing also introduced their new Food & Drink app for Windows, designed for use in the kitchen. The app offers access to recipes from top chefs to food bloggers and a wine encyclopedia with information on over 1.5 million bottles of wine.

Insider Tip

Whether you plan to attend one event or multiple food and wine events, I recommend you bring a designated drive or stay overnight at a Napa Valley hotel.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow @FlavorNapa on Twitter.

If You Go:

Flavor! Napa Valley

I was a guest of Flavor Napa Valley and Bing. All photos courtesy of food and wine writer Nancy D. Brown.

Related Post:

Things to See and Do in Napa, California


River Views at Napa River Inn, California

Friday August 9, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 0 Comments

Napa River Inn

Napa River Inn hotel review at Historic Napa Mill

The Napa River Inn at the Historic Napa Mill has a connection to both land and sea. Built in 1884 by Captain Albert Hatt, the building was created using clay bricks which Hatt dredged from the Napa River and fired in the lot in front of the Hatt Building.

Originally built as a mill, the 66 room Napa River Inn opened in 2000. Like a California cab franc blended wine, Napa River Inn is a mix of history, art and hospitality. Guests enter the Victorian themed lobby and have the option of the 26 room, nautical-themed Embarcadero Building, the 32 room Plaza Building with a Victorian and wine theme or the historic Hatt Building. While the Hatt Building does not offer views of the Napa River, all eight rooms featured claw footed bath tubs.



Napa River Inn lobby

Napa River Inn is a downtown California wine country hotel

Captain Hatt Suite at Napa River Inn

While room #208 is the Captain Hatt Suite, my room #207 – a historic deluxe king room – also includes a fireplace and has a claw footed tub, as well as separate shower. Some rooms offer Napa River views with balconies. All rooms include complimentary internet, in room coffee maker, cotton bath robes, NV Organics bath amenities of grape seed shampoo, conditioner, body wash and Chardonnay lotions. There was also a desk with chair and sitting area in our room with a 37 inch flat screen television.


Historica Hatt Building hotel room

Historic deluxe room in the Napa River Inn Hatt Building.

Downtown Napa location

Ideally situated on Main Street in downtown Napa, Napa River Inn is within walking distance to 30 restaurants, 15 wine tasting rooms and the Napa River Art Walk.
Breakfast in bed at Napa River Inn

Complimentary breakfast delivery is included with the price of your room. Hat tip to Napa River Inn for partnering with next door neighbor, Sweetie Pies. The eggs and cheese breakfast sandwich and house made granola are tasty, but you’ll thank me when I say to order the AM Bun.

Sweetie Pies

Breakfast from Sweetie Pies is included at Napa River Inn

Pet-friendly Napa River Inn

Napa River Inn charges $25. per night, per pet. Dogs may not be left alone in the hotel room. If your dog likes to swim, tire her out by swimming in the Napa River.

Check-in time: 4:00 p.m.

Check-out time: 12:00 p.m.


Insider Tip

If you enjoy wine tasting (and who doesn’t?) don’t forget to ask for your complimentary wine tasting coupon, good at the nearby wine bar Bounty Hunter.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter. Napa River Inn is a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

Napa River Inn bathroom

Relax in the claw footed tub at the Napa River Inn

If You Go

Napa River Inn (707) 251-8500

500 Main Street, Napa, California 94559

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Napa River Inn.

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Inn on Randolph, Napa, California

Things to See and Do in Napa, California

Inn on Randolph Ideal Napa Valley Wine Country Location

Monday June 17, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 2 Comments

Inn on Randolph

Inn on Randolph, Napa Valley Bed & Breakfast review

Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway, an intimate wedding location in Napa Valley wine country or want to take cooking classes at a gluten-free bed and breakfast, Inn on Randolph is the “inn” spot. Ideally situated steps from downtown Napa, California, this historic inn, with five private cottages will not disappoint.

Don’t come to the Inn on Randolph looking for lace, doilies and plush velvet curtains. This downtown Napa inn offers clean lines and simple elegance. “We’ve taken an old Victorian and made it current,” says owner Karen Lynch.



Randolph Cottage door

All cottages have private entrance, sitting area or garden

Inn on Randolph blends old with new

Lynch and her husband purchased Inn on Randolph in 2011, closed it down for a year, completely re-modeled the inn and re-opened in May of 2012, with five rooms in the historic inn and five cottages on property.

While Lynch offers complimentary high speed internet in both the inn and guest cottages, she found that her guests requesting rooms at Inn on Randolph did not necessarily want televisions in their rooms. For those requesting a cottage stay, these properties do offer LCD TV’s, whirlpool spa tubs, gas fireplaces and heated bathroom flooring.


Inn on Randolph

The parlor room at Inn on Randolph, Napa, California.

Inn on Randolph Victorian

If the walls of this 1860′s Victorian could talk, you might hear the sounds of babies. This 19th century estate was originally known as the Hannah Moore house. Back in the day, when babies were delivered at midwife centers or homes, the Inn on Randolph was sometime called “Maternity Row.”  Hanna’s granddaughter opened a women’s health center in the house and delivered babies in what is now the dining room.




Randolph Cottage

Inn on Randolph Cottage with French doors opening to private garden

Inn on Randolph cottages

My husband and I stayed overnight in the Randolph cottage with a queen-sized bed. Open the French doors to the private garden, grab a bottle of Napa Valley wine (compliments of the owner) and enjoy the quiet. If the weather is cooler, enjoy a glass of wine by the fireplace. All rooms also offer coffee and tea service.





Inn on Randolph kitchen

Inn on Randolph gluten-free kitchen

Gluten-free dining at Inn on Randolph

For guests with food allergies, Inn on Randolph is one of the only gluten-free inns in the country. As I don’t suffer from Celiac Disease, I selfishly wondered if I would be disappointed with the morning breakfast service.

My first gluten-free encounter was with a plate of chocolate chip cookies on display in the historic inn. Not knowing what to expect, I grabbed a gluten-free cookie to try upon check-in and was pleasantly surprised.  I imagine it must come as a wonderful relief for guests with food allergies to know that Inn on Randolph features a gluten-free, safe kitchen.


Neiman room for special occasions

Having walked the almost one acre park-like grounds at Inn on Randolph, I visualized what it would be like to attend an intimate wedding reception in the garden. With Karen and her staff’s attention to detail, this would be one heck of a party.

Speaking of parties, a fraternity reunion was underway in the Neiman room with Napa winemaker Drew Neiman pouring his red wines for the gentlemen and their wives. Everyone was having a grand time sipping wine and tasting cheese from nearby Oxbow Market.  The next morning during breakfast, guests were fondly recalling their dinners in downtown Napa from the night prior.  What a fun place to re-connect with college friends.

Inn on Randolph is on the Napa Historic Registry, is a member of Select Registry and the California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns. Lodging rates range from $225 – $400 during high season. There is a two night minimum on Friday and Saturday stays during high season.


Check-in time: 3:00- 6:00 p.m.

Check-out time: 11:00 a.m.


Inn on Randolph cookies

Gluten-free cookies from Inn on Randolph, Napa, California.

Insider tip

Looking for restaurant and winery recommendations in downtown Napa? Karen and her staff are happy to plan itineraries and make advance reservations for guests. I liked the walk in cards she handed us with map and walking directions to our restaurant.  She also left a flashlight at our bedside and suggested we take it along with us for our evening outing.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter.

If You Go:

Inn on Randolph (707) 257-2886

411 Randolph Street

Napa, California 94559

Related Posts:

Things to See and Do in Napa, California

Things to See and Do in Calistoga, California

I was a guest of Inn on Randolph. All opinions are my own.