Wednesday, January 20, 2010

3 Days of Gluttony in San Francisco - Day 2

Well kids, it's been a long time since I last posted anything and I have only my lazy self to blame! I have about 10 blog posts and 1000 photos in the queue that are waiting for me to just add a little commentary and post. But I am going to continue where Kyle left off and talk about our amazing San Fran trip--DAY 2!

Day 2 started off slow as we rolled out of bed early and got our much needed coffee before setting off on the one hour drive to Napa Valley. For those of you who have not been to wine country before, it is a must-do trip for any wine or food lover (very original and novel tip, I know). In our many trips to SF to visit Calvin, we have made the trek to Napa on several occasions and have tasted and toured a variety of wineries.

One winery has remained untouched for us and it is the winery that makes my favorite Chardonnay: Cakebread. My first manager loved this wine and when budget allowed, we would treat ourselves to this delicious, crisp and buttery wine. Cakebread does their tours and tastings by appointment only, so we planned ahead this time, got an appointment and went on the "Current Release" tour that included tastings of 5 of their current wines including my favorite, the Chardonnay. Some angelic woman handed Calvin an online coupon for $10 off a tour that was good for up to 4 people, so the tour was on the house, which made the wine even sweeter and more satisfying:)! It also paid for Calvin's bottle he picked up at the end of the tour!

The barrels of fun waiting to be cracked open...

The four wines we tasted included their Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Merlot

The beautiful high ceilings...

Outside the lovely winery
After warming ourselves up with some delicious wine, we headed over to Taylor's for some burgers, shakes, and fries. This is a popular stop for Napa-goers and a great way to prep your stomach for a long day of wine tastings!

My mint chocolate shake and Kyle's rootbeer float. Yummy!

Kyle and I split the Wisconsin Sourdough burger that has grilled mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, mayo and BBQ sauce on grilled sourdough. The sourdough blended perfectly with the mushrooms, making it more of a sandwich then a typical burger. I would like to toot my own horn here and say that I took this magnificent photo...

One of my new favorite guilty pleasures--sweet potato fries. Side note: I love to make them at home with a healthier recipe where I bake them in a 375 degree oven and sprinkle with kosher salt.

While we were eating, the Napa Valley Wine Train went by. I think this is the same train that the TOP CHEF final three cooked in this season--I think we will try to get reservations for the next trip!
Our next stop was to V. Sattui winery. We have been here once before but had to go back so we could re-stock our wine rack with their wines which can only be purchased at the winery. This is a genius marketing strategy because it makes you feel like you are drinking rare and exotic wine...
The winery also has a well-stocked and yummy deli that sells gourmet deli sandwiches, local and imported cheeses, meats, and more. People will buy lunch and wine and sit out at the winery's picnic benches and enjoy a nice Napa afternoon.

The wine tastings are a great deal: $5 for the regular tasting which includes a choice of 5 of their most well known wines or $10 for a choice of 6 of their "premium" wines.

After V. Sattui, we headed to a fun Olive Oil store and then to the Napa Outlets for
some shopping. We had to work up an appetite for our dinner...

Our second stop in the Dine Around San Francisco tour we did...E Tutto Qua which according to the owner, means "It's All Here!"

As soon as we entered into the restaurant, we were greeted by an older, big, Italian man with tattoos on his neck and a gruff demeanor--I think he is the "boss". I felt as though we were entering into his home, so we were sure to be extra friendly so they would take us into the family and give us the best food and service! And boy did we get a lot of food and great service! We waited at the bar while they prepared our table and got a bottle of Sangiovese wine (the wine we discovered we love at Press Club). The bartender was from Rome, and told us about his hometown.
As part of the deal, we ordered three appetizers as our first course. The portions were so large, it could have been our whole meal!

My chef's special selection of hot and cold appetizers included caprese, prosciutto, toast with tuna and white beans, a mini calzone, bruschetta, deep fried risotto ball, and fried fresh made mozzarella cheese...again, a meal in itself!

Kyle's Carpaccio di Polpo: chilled slices of octopus with olives, capers, onions, and lemon dressing. Unlike some octopus dishes, it was very tender and tasty.

Calvin's fritto misto: shrimp, calamari, and zucchini lightly battered and friend

This is my second course and my favorite of the night, Paccheri Golosi: Large tube pasta with prosciutto, porcini mushrooms and white truffle oil in a cream sauce. The large tube pasta was perfectly tender and was such a great pasta for the rich sauce! The owner claims he was the first to bring this type of pasta noodles to San Francisco from his hometown and it is now one of the most popular types in both restaurants and stores around the town.

Kyle's Spaghetti Neri: Squid ink pasta with mixed seafood in a garlic, white wine sauce. I know it sounds like a weird dish, but it was fabulous. The noodles, while looking slightly scary, tasted very much like normal pasta but were more plump and tasted similar to Japanese potato noodles...

Calvin's Scaloppine di Vitello al Tartufo: Veal scaloppine in a black truffle sauce. We were on a truffle kick this weekend--you'll see this ingredient resurface in our day 3 post!
And finally....the desserts!

Panna Cotta with fresh strawberry and chocolate hazelnut sauce

I feel as though I just gained 10 pounds from writing this! After a long weekend of eating, we have been hitting our new crossfit gym non-stop to try to counteract our gluttony. Stay tuned for Day 3....
Happy Eating,

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