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Napa + Yountville

Napa, California:  Today is our last day to play. Tomorrow we start three or four hard driving days to reach Portland. The weather changed overnight and so did the scenery.

A motorhome was parked at this spot (above) yesterday, but early this morning portable trailers were delivered and set-up. Did I mention early? 7 o'clock early. Noisy! Every camper in this park is required to leave by noon on Thursday because over Memorial Day weekend, the Napa Valley Fairground will host the 3rd AnnualBottleRock, a huge three-day music festival. (Think Coachella, except with wine instead of margaritas.) This RV park will house the festival offices (little trailers above), the rock star tour buses and a huge hospitality tent will be erected, with lounging areas and catering for the bands and their entourages. Too bad we have to leave, I would really like to see how this all happens. The man in charge of the logistics is camped next to us in his motorhome. He just finished-up with Coachella and Stagecoach. No rest!

No Never Mind
, we had places to go and things to eat. How many times have I dragged you all to the Oxbow Public Market? I'm just saying if you have not been to the Oxbow Public Market, you have not been to Napa. Such an outstanding assortment of local food purveyors, a tour through the market lets a visitor get their feet wet in the Napa Valley food scene. We had tried every restaurant save one, and I think we may have saved the best for last and I am happy we did not try Ca'Momi first as we would have been spoiled for all the other eateries in the Oxbow Public Market. Ca'Momi is so authentic they refuse to substitute anything or change anything on their menu. What you see if what you get. Pizza as you would find in Naples. They have a 900° wood-feed oven that will bake a pizza in 90 seconds.

90 seconds.

That's hot.

Dave and I have been to Italy several times (for extended stays) and we rarely see such an "authentic" Italian menu in America as we did today at Ca'Momi. With only two people at the table, it was so difficult to decide which items to try.

The white stuff is CHEESE!

We shared a starter - Burrata & Verdue - house-made burrata with oven roasted vegetables and schiacciata all'olio (schiacciata is best describe as a pizza crust topped with a little olive oil). We ended up passing this bread off to a couple next to us with a toddler boy who needed food right away - experienced Bubbe to the rescue! The roasted vegetable assortment included: beets, shishito peppers, red onion, garlic, Brussels sprouts, carrots, fennel, green pepper... and maybe some other stuff I can't recall. Ridiculously wonderful.

We also shared (burp) Insalata di Asparagi: organic poached asparagus and garden frisee with organic egg and lemon vinaigrette. This salad was very lemony and very eggy. DT completely cleaned his plate.

The only/best pizza to order anywhere is, of course, the classic Pizza Margherita. Red sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella. This pizza did not disappoint. 90 seconds in the oven. Amazing, especially since they make the cheese in-house. What a great meal and what a great lunch... er... breakfast!

After lunch we went to this place called a "supermarket". I have not cooked in over a week and am pretty sure I can't even remember how to make toast, but for the next few nights we will be dining in-house (or, in-bus), so we made the trek to a huge local market. Mostly organic fruits, veggies and local wine (the cheapest place to buy wines from the local vineyards is in the local supermarkets).

There was one other item on my shopping list. Something I hope all you Bubbe's know about - Bean Boozled Jelly Belly jelly beans. I explored the large Jelly Belly (the factory is just down the road in Fairfield, CA) display in the supermarket for Bean Boozled packages. Gone. I asked the store manager if he had any packages left. He said no. I was so sad, but the candies are so popular they are difficult to keep in stock. As Dave and I were at the check stand, the manager came running up to us with a few boxes in his hand. Our Hero! I can't wait to "taste test" with Leo!

Great customer service, Raley's in Napa.

The trick to this clever jelly bean taste sensation is to include identical LOOKING jelly beans in one box... except one is licorice and the matching bean is "skunk spray". The pink jelly beans may be peach flavored, or they may be "barf" flavored. Stinky socks or Tutti-Frutti? Booger or Juicy Pear?

Right up Leo's alley, don't you think?

Not going to lie. The worst-sounding "flavor" is CANNED DOG FOOD. Super gross. I hope Leo gets that one in our taste challenge.

After a good rest we drove to Yountville (our favorite city in the valley) for yet another dinner at Bottega. Yes, this restaurant is owned by a TV chef. Yes, this chef has a mail-order kitchen shop empire. No, we have never had a bad meal at Bottega.

It was a beautiful evening (a little chilly) in Yountville.

Bottega is housed in the V Marketplace - another Napa Valley conglomerate of shops and food purveyors - set in a beautiful old brick complex, built in 1870 as a winery by German-born vintner Gottlieb Groezinge.

Say that three times fast.

After our lunch, Dave and I just had a few things at Bottega tonight. Spare Rib meatballs for one.

Ricotta gnocchi with red sauce was another. If you ever find yourself in Yountville, stop by Bottega. Oh, I almost forgot!!!  Bottega owner, Michael Chiarello, walked through the restaurant - like he owned the place - tonight. No one paid him no nevermind. He walked right past our table - on a mission - to the back of the kitchen. We did not see him the rest of the evening, nor did we see him exit. He is taller than I imagined. Happy Anniversary to Jaime and Matt - the adorable couple from Pittsburg - seated next to us at Bottega tonight! May you celebrate many more lovely years together. Until my next update, I remain, your over-carbed correspondent.

RV PARK: Napa Valley Expo RV Park - The perfect spot for a visit to Napa wine country. Long pull-throughs and a few back-in sites. Full hookups. Bathhouse, wifi, laundry room, dumpsite. Reservations are basically required as this park is nearly always full. With our Good Sam discount we are paying $45 per night. They also accept AAA membership discount.