My Favorite Things: Napa edition

September 2nd, 2015

I was trying to decide between posting an entry for the My Favorite Things link-up (hosted by Tara this month!) and an entry about my recent trip to San Francisco and Napa. Then I realized, why not both??

One of my closest friends is getting married this month, and for her bachelorette party, she wanted something small with her 3 closest friends. The 3 of us are married already, and all 4 of us are around 30 years old, so uh… we didn’t want anything crazy! A trip to Napa sounded perfect for us.

My friend lives in San Francisco, so that’s where the 3 of us flew into. I really needed a break from work though. If you’ve been following my entries, you probably saw how I’ve been very busy and stressed the past few months. The trip was supposed to be Fri-Sun, but I flew in a day early on Thursday to spend time with my friend and tour San Francisco.

It’s been many years since I last visited San Francisco. The day I arrived, I lucked out on the weather because it was so sunny and clear. I was actually able to take a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge, unobstructed by fog!

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We spent most of the day eating good food and having her show me around to places like Chinatown, Japantown, Sutro Baths, and Pier 39 where all the sea lions gather.

The next day, the other 2 girls arrived, and we took an Uber to Napa. (Getting an Uber to drive out of the city was surprisingly easy to do!) Napa is a gorgeous place – surrounded by mountains and filled with vineyards. You would think that it’s a fancy, arrogant place since it’s nice and focuses on good food and wine, but it’s actually very casual and laid back.


Bouchon

Of all the food we had during the trip, Bouchon was our favorite, which is one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants. I don’t have photos of the food, unfortunately! The restaurant was dark, so I didn’t bother. The place had a very friendly vibe and great service. We started by sharing truffle raviolis that were amazing, and I ordered a snapper dish. The fish was cooked and seasoned very well – so delicious.

We also stopped by two of Thomas Keller’s other places the next day. We picked up a few things at Bouchon Bakery and also went to Addendum for lunch because we kept hearing that it had the best fried chicken. Being from a southern state, I don’t know if I can say it’s the best I’ve had, but it was still very good. The chicken was juicy and so satisfying.

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Schramsberg Vineyards

We visited 3 vineyards, and of those, Schramsberg was our favorite. First of all, their wine is stored in a man-made cave, so that’s pretty unique. Second, the tour and tasting was great. We went through the cave and learned about Schramsberg’s history, their wine making process, and about sparkling wine itself. We even did the wine tasting inside the cave. I just found the whole thing very educational, and the tasting made me realize that I prefer young wines over older ones.

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After that we visited Castello di Amorosa, which is commonly known as “the castle”. It was beautiful but felt too touristy and crowded for us. We walked around and took several photos before just leaving without a tasting or tour.

Next on the list was Domaine Cameros, another beautiful place. Instead of taking the tour, we went straight to their wine tasting and relaxed on their patio. I had a sparkling wine set, though preferred the ones I had at Schramsberg.

AirBnB

When looking for a place to stay, we were shocked by all the high prices of the hotels! One of the girls suggested AirBnB instead, which was such a good idea. We found a convenient place near downtown Napa for a much lower price. Plus, the owner was nice and already had it stocked with snacks and drinks that we could have. It also gave us a living room that we could just hang out together in at night. If we were at a hotel, we would have been separated into different rooms. This really worked out for us!

Uber

I never used Uber until this trip, and now I’m kind of in love with it. In Austin, I have my own car and prefer to drive around myself. We didn’t want to drive in San Francisco or Napa though, so we used Uber everwhere. It’s super easy to use, cheaper than taxi or car service, and allows fare split. Traveling with friends is fun but figuring out how to split things can be annoying. Since we all had the Uber app, it didn’t matter who called for a car. We just used the built-in fare split, and it divided the fare evenly among us! So easy!


All-in-all, this was a great trip and a much needed one. At first, I was like, I don’t even like wine that much. What am I getting myself into? But, the weather was great, Napa is beautiful, and I ate sooooo much good food. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t come back several pounds heavier. It was also an enlightening experience because I realized that I don’t dislike wine. There’s just… well, many wines I don’t like, and I just hadn’t figured out my preference before.

And now to prepare for my next trip, which is this weekend! You’ll probably be hearing about my trip to Dallas for AnimeFest next!

15 Responses to “My Favorite Things: Napa edition”

  • Sarah says:

    Wow, it’s all so beautiful! I especially love your photo of the seagull and the seals… I can’t imagine what it must be like to just have seals hanging around doing their thing.

    The Uber cabsplit thing is an awesome idea! We are only getting Uber here for the first time soon so I’ve never had a chance to use one. Hopefully the experience is the same.

    I wonder if I have the same issue with wines. I have never really found anything I like, although pink Moscato is quite sweet and tasty :)

  • Shweta says:

    I just love the Golden Gate Bridge. I have always wanted to visit San Francisco just to see it. Sounds like you had so much fun.

    Uber doesn’t have a good reputation here in my country. I am glad it isn’t so everywhere and that you found in convenient. Wish we could say the same for here.

    Good luck for your weekend trip. Wish you have loads of fun there too.

  • Holly says:

    San Francisco is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. I’m planning another trip to America next year but it’s so difficult to decide where to go! So many choices.

    I’ve seen the Napa valley in movies and it looks so beautiful. It sounds like you had a good time and I think it was a brilliant idea for a bachelorette party.

    I would like to give AirBnB ago sometimes. Uber has just arrived in our city but I like to use the local taxi company just because they’re cheap and reliable.

  • ariane says:

    Wow! I hope you enjoyed your trip! And as always, your photos look so professional haha. I wish i had photography skills like that

    I wish summer comes soon, i also want to plan my vacation haha
    congrats to your friend btw. :)

  • Tara says:

    What a great way to combine your trip and MFT! Thanks for participating :D

    I’m glad you were able to get away from work for a while to enjoy your time with your friends. I would love to go to San Francisco one day, and your photos are really making me want to check the place out more.

    I think it’s also great you tried out AirBnB! It’s always nice to find good deals and it’s great you did through them!

  • Uglyfish says:

    Wow! San Francisco looks beautiful – what an amazing shot of the bridge! I love the picture of the seagull too, he looks very calm. The food sounds lovely – and the chicken on your picture looks yum! The wine cave looks so surreal – and the castle looks amazing. It’s a shame it was so crowded. I haven’t used Uber, but next time I go on holiday I’m going to use AirBnB – hotel prices are so high! I’m glad you had a lovely time – I think you needed a well deserved break from work!

  • Mara says:

    What a wonderful trip! :D Napa looks gorgeous and I’ll have to put Schramsberg on the list for when I get the chance to visit. I’ve been to San Francisco a few times and there are so many great food spots there. It feels like I hardly ever make a dent to what you can visit each time I’ve been there XD

    Using AirBnB looks so convenient too! Hotels can be so expensive sometimes and this seems perfect when it comes to finding a place to stay that also has a bit more of a personal touch.

  • Kaela says:

    Wow! Love the photos! :D Looks like you and your friends had a blast!

    I haven’t been to San Francisco since I was little but I remember being amazed at seeing the Golden Gate Bridge.

  • Chynna says:

    I would love to visit San Francisco! That photo of the Golden Gate Bridge looks stunning. I love the picture of the seagull – he’s like, “Welcome to muh crib, MTV.

    Uber is so handy! I love how you can track your driver and see exactly where he is. Payment is way easier too!

    That fried chicken looks so tasty. I love soul food!

    I’ve never been to a vineyard before, but I would love to. I do love wine, so I definitely think I would have a lot of fun.

    AirBnB and Uber are revolutionary right?! I’m glad you had such a good time an enjoyed all the wine! :)

  • Michelle says:

    Napa Valley looks amazing and I’m glad you were able to go. I wish I could visit San Francisco or even California in general. Looks like a swell place, honestly. Beautiful photos!

    I can’t have alcohol of any type and I don’t like wine, but I’m glad you enjoyed it! ^^

  • Vermillion says:

    Napa looks amazing! It’s so picturesque.

    I’ve heard about AirBnB before, good to hear you had a good experience using that site!

  • Raisa says:

    Congratulations to your friends! <3 Wishing her all the best and many happy years with her future spouse!

    I've never been to San Francisco, but I've always wanted to go! I have a friend there so I really just need to save for it. I already have another trip lined up this fall though, and I gotta space out my trips lest I drain my savings. XD

  • Jhanz says:

    Schamberg looks majestic! :) I have never been outside of my country, but if I would, I’d definitely include Napa to my “places to check out”. Everything is just so beautiful!

  • Georgie says:

    I have never been to SF but I have heard all about the fog and how difficult it is to get a photo of the bridge without the fog. I was so impressed and I pretty much jumped with glee when I saw your photo!

    All your photos are beautiful and I am glad the weather seemed to be on your side. :)

    Airbnb is amazing. I have only used it once but I love that they unite people who love travel and help people make friends, find affordable accommodation, and help hosts rent their places out. Nick and I are going to try Airbnb everything for our trip to Europe next year (it’s also his dream to work for the company haha).

    I feel a bit iffy about using Uber just because I don’t really like taxi services, but I’m just paranoid. It seems to be all the rage in the US. :3

  • Liv says:

    Oh my look at those adorable sea lions cuddling! Haha you know you are a real adult when you want a wine-related bachelorette party over something crazy. One of my friends is 22 and already planning a wine tasting for her future bachelorette party. Regardless, your trip was low key and that’s a great example for a bachelorette party – spending time with your girlfriends.

    I’ve used Uber a few times when I was out late with my friends in Manhattan back when I lived far. Fairly convenient to locate the Uber nearby without trying to find a taxi! There might be a lot of taxis here, maybe way too much, but empty ones are hard to find.

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