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Fun & Food

Napa, California: Just a few miles from this campground is Kennedy Park. Tucked behind the city college, the park runs along the Napa River and has miles of hiking, jogging and/or biking trails, picnic grounds, a baseball field, soccer fields, great playgrounds, a boat launch and a golf course.

Exercising on the lovely trails was the perfect way to start our day of binge eatingtouring the California Wine Country. 

Our first tourist stop today was back to an old haunt, Domaine Chandon. At our last visit, we had paid for a tasting - so we knew what we liked and decided to just get some bubbly and order off their tasting menu for our "breakfast" (at 1p).

We are, by the way, professionals.

Entrance to Domaine Chandon in Yountville, California

The fancy-schmantzy tasting room

The vineyards are all-about trying to sell you memberships to their wine clubs. Usually membership is free, but they send you several shipments of wine per year and you just pay for the wine. Not bad, except you rarely can choose which wines the vineyard will send - it's up to the vineyard. I'm too picky to fall for this plan.

We sat outside on the lovely terrace and enjoyed our champagne breakfast.

Scottish Salmon (smoked & rillette) with caper-shallot tapenade,
fennel slaw and chive creme fraiche. Duh.

Artisan Cheese Board

As long as we were in Yountville, we popped over to Kollar Chocolates. Operated by a young couple, every piece of chocolate is lovingly handmade in their small shop. They also make gelato.

Luckily, unlike kale potato chips, I can eat only one piece of chocolate. We bought six pieces: dark chocolate with sea salt, milk chocolate with passion fruit, 72% dark, dark chocolate with ginger and two dark chocolate with chili.

Death by Chocolate?

Someone needed a chocolate fix right away - chocolate chip gelato

A pooch waits for her owner to shop while Chris Kollar
prepared hand-made Chocolate Kahlua candies in his kitchen

One last stop to the Oxbow Market for olive oil and fruit.

I am happy to report the Oxbow Public Market is flourishing! The last few times we had visited, things were not looking very robust. There were many empty vendor stalls and far too few shoppers. Today, every cubby held a shop and many people were shopping! Yeah!

Dinner tonight was at Michael Chiarello's Bottega - back in Yountville (pronounced YAWNT-ville). Chiarello is the mastermind behind Napa Style and several TV shows. We love his Bottega Restaurant and tonight pretty-much nailed it as one of our favorite spots in Napa (if not America). I had a mixed green salad with oven-dried grapes (oven-dried grapes!!!) and hazelnuts. DT loved his appetizer of wood grilled octopus, olive-oil braised potatoes, pickled red onion & salsa verde.

We shared the next course, which proved to be the BEST THING EVER (do I say this way too often?) - pan-fried gnocchi. What kind of evil genius thinks to pan-fry gnocchi? This dish was one of the best things either of us had tasted in a while. Simple, for sure, but the way the cheese melts into the fried gnocchi... divine. Vegetarian!

Our entrees were NOT vegetarian. Dave ordered the pan roasted veal loin with tuna emulsion and wild arugula:

Wowser - the tuna was like a pate under the veal. Different and delicious.

I was so excited about the whole grain mustard spaetzle that came with the smoked & braised natural short ribs that I just caved and ordered this spectacular meal.

I'm only human.

We now have the most gourmet of leftovers in our RV fridge. If Lynne Rosetto Kasper stops by tomorrow, we have it covered.

 Work has started on our casita in Indio at the Motorcoach Country Club! Though our contractor sent photos this evening, Captain Jim and Mary also sent photos of larger size which you may/may not enjoy seeing. If you are interested in watching the casita project unfold, I have placed all the photos on a separate page.

Until my next update, I remain, your Napa correspondent.

SLOGGER REPORT:  A faster-paced jog along the Napa River in Kennedy Park. No pain in my shins at all and no need for the iPod - red-winged blackbirds serenaded me the whole long while. I also saw herons, ducks, geese, gulls and a lizard. DT saw a big fat snake! 3 miles.

RV PARK:  Napa Valley Expo RV Park - Our favorite spot to stay in the area. Very small, so reservations are essential. (Call (707) 253-4900 #102 Monday-Friday, 9am - 12 noon & 1pm - 5pm to make a reservation.) Long paved full-service pull-throughs, bathhouse and laundry. We paid $40 with our Good Sam discount.