Since August is quickly coming to a close, I thought I would use my recent pedicure to remind you that the How I Wear My theme for September is Yellow!
I’m wearing OPI “I Just Can’t Cope-acabana” and that is my darling Daisy 🙂
I wanted a fresh pedicure because I am off to Las Vegas today, where I grew up, to see The Go-Go’s perform at Mandalay Bay Friday night. Like most teens in the 1980s, I was nuts about The Go-Go’s. So what makes this trip even more special and exciting is I am going with a group of girlfriends from high school including Chrissy, who came up to Wine Country for a visit last month.
I’ll be instagramming throughout the weekend @therichlifeinwinecountryif you’d like to follow along. Saturday afternoon, Chrissy and I have plans to meet one of my favorite bloggers, someone super stylish whom I am guessing you follow too!
Have a great weekend! And if you happen to wear yellow, like I did last weekend to Cochon 555’s Heritage Fire (more on that in a future post), get a photo of your complete outfit and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 12th to be featured in How I Wear My: Yellow. Be sure to include a quotable blurb about your look.
Wearing my Adora by Adrienne bag in Napa Valley
Details about this long-running monthly fashion series can be found on the How I Wear My page.
I recently joined a group of fellow wine country writers for an elegant dinner in Dry Creek Valley to experience the delicious food and drink creations by Healdsburg-based Chef Peter Brown. The focus was on a new cocktail mixer called Stolen Fruit created by Brown and longtime Dry Creek grape growers Doug and Susan Provisor. The trio partnered to develop this unique, versatile and tasty grape-based mixer.
Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social
Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers are made using verjus, the fresh pressed juice of green grapes that have been cut from the vine during the thinning out process. It also uses the dried wine grape skins leftover after pressing and concentrated varietal grape juice from Northern California wine country. The juice provides both the flavor of the specific varietal grapes and sweetness to the mixers. In fact, there are no additional sugars added to Stolen Fruit.
Stolen Fruit takes juices and skins that are usually cast off during the winemaking process and turns them into flavorful concoctions that can be used to create new and exciting food friendly cocktails or mocktails.
What I love about these mixers, aside from their delectable flavors, is that they are made with ingredients sourced locally. The verjus and dried grape skins come from some of the top wineries in Northern California.
I arrived at the Provisor’s scenic property, not far from the town of Healdsburg.
Their beautiful home is set just above their 4-acre vineyard.
What a truly lovely wine country setting for dinner al fresco.
The evening started off with a cocktail and appetizer reception on the deck. These grilled peaches with prosciutto were summery perfection.
Just inside the Provisor’s home, a bar was set up where guests could order their choice of cocktail or mocktail. Stolen Fruit Mixers can be mixed with sparkling water for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. Or paired with your favorite liquor for a new taste experience.
Then soon it was time to find a seat at the table, elegantly set in colorful shades of summer.
Chef Peter Brown had been quite busy preparing our six-course meal but he made time to come out and talk to us about the menu he constructed for the evening, which brought out the best in each food and cocktail course.
Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social
The first course was a Crab and Fennel Salad with Mandarin Tarragon Vinaigrette.
The salad was paired with a Juniper Jasmine Collins that was light and refreshing with subtle floral notes.
Next we were treated to a Chicken Coconut Curry. Such a vibrant and aromatic dish! It was served with a Lemongrass Shandy made with PBR beer and Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc Stolen Fruit Mixer – a great summer refresher on a hot day.
Our third course was a Teriyaki Sesame Crusted Salmon paired with Blood Orange Punch using Stolen Fruit’s Blood Orange Muscat. It was an absolutely delicious pairing. I love the way Chef Peter makes his dishes so visually appealing as well as delectable.
A break between courses gave us a moment to cheer our wonderful hosts!
Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social
Moving on to our fourth course, we were treated to a sumptuous dish of Seared Duck Breast with Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Poblano and Corn Salsa. This time our dish was complemented with a Hibiscus Margarita – one of my favorite drinks from the evening – using Stolen Fruit’s Hibiscus Grenache flavor.
As night fell, we finished off the dinner with a Grilled Ribeye with Gorgonzola Butter, served with Fig with Grains of Paradise Manhattan. And for dessert, Mexican Hot Chocolate with Fig and Grains of Paradise.
Sipping hot chocolate while watching the moon rise and the sky turn dark blue over the Provisor’s vineyard was a splendid experience.
It was such a festive and flavorful dinner. I’m inspired to create some cocktail and mocktails of my own for a dinner party!
You can find Stolen Fruit in Sonoma County at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa and the Jimtown Store in Alexander Valley. Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers can also be purchased directly online and at Amazon.
Thank you to Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social for allowing me to use some of her photos from the dinner. And to Susan and Doug Provisor for their warm hospitality. And finally to Chef Peter Brown for an unforgettably delicious culinary experience.
Make it a rich day!
Disclosure: I was invited to the Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner as a media guest. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.
Last month I had the pleasure of staying at SENZA Hotel in Napa Valley while covering events at Festival Napa Valley 2016. Festival Napa Valley, formerly known as Festival del Sole, is a 10-day annual celebration of music, art, food, wine and dance that raises funds to enrich art and community programs.
During my stay at SENZA Hotel, I got to know this luxury property well and am excited to tell you all about it!
SENZA Hotel is owned by Kathryn and Craig Hall, who some may recognize from HALL Wines and WALT Wines. Kathryn and her family have been growing grapes in Northern California since 1972. In 1995, she and her husband, Craig, bought their first vineyard in Napa Valley and have produced premium cabernet sauvignon under their HALL label ever since. Four years ago, the Halls began producing pinot noirs from vineyards along the west coast under their WALT label.
The Halls purchased the SENZA property (known then as La Residence) in 2006, turning this once country bed and breakfast into a sophisticated, modern hotel. SENZA offers guests understated luxury that truly captures the essence of the Napa Valley lifestyle.
SENZA Hotel has forty-one guest rooms spread among five buildings and is set on two acres of vineyards, Redwood trees, and gardens. Located between the city of Napa and Yountville, the hotel is surrounded by beautiful wineries, great shopping, and endless choices for dining out.
Upon arrival I was greeted by the friendly staff at registration, just inside the main building called The SENZA House.
One of the first things I noticed about SENZA Hotel, aside from the vineyards, mature trees and gardens, is the presence of beautiful and unique contemporary art thought the property. Kathryn and Craig Hall are well-known for their expansive art collection, both collected and commissioned. Two sculptures by Steinunn Thorarinsdotte of Iceland flank the front entrance to the SENZA House. More than once, I mistook them for people from the corner of my eye!
This butterfly display is inside the SENZA House. It’s one my favorite pieces on the property.
Once I checked in, I was given an escort to my guest room, located in the HALL Building. I would be staying in a luxurious Vineyard Suite for the next eight days.
Spacious and airy with a modern and sophisticated style and lots of natural light, this guest room was comfortable and had all the amenities I would want in a luxury guest room and then some. A wide-screen television is mounted above a gas-lit fireplace. I had a wine refrigerator and desk and chair that came in handy for getting some work done during down time. Wireless Internet is complimentary for all guests.
Two sliding doors led to a private outdoor patio area that included seating for two and a cozy couch.
Our room had the ultimate vineyard view, complete with a water tower. Each morning I would begin my day relaxing on the couch with a cup of coffee, wearing the cozy robe provided by the hotel.
Some mornings, I would watch the birds and bees fly around.
And take in the beautiful bunches of grapes going through their versaison, a ripening stage when the grapes change color from bright green to deep purple.
Other mornings, I would watch the fog settle into the hills.
When the day began free of fog, I was treated to a spectacular show of hot air balloons drifting in the sky. Dozens of them. What a fun and colorful surprise!
Once I realized this was part of every sunny morning at daybreak, I got up extra early so I could catch as much of the hot air balloon parade as I could!
Admittedly, it was not easy getting up so early. Sleeping in this King bed with luxurious linens and down-filled duvet was a decadent treat. It was such a quiet room. With the drapes pulled, I could easily sleep the morning away!
Let’s discuss the bathroom in my Vineyard Suite at SENZA. Not only is it big but it has fabulous tub that I took advantage of any chance I could. It also has a gigantic shower with two shower heads. And if that weren’t enough, the tiled floors in the bathroom are heated!
Two sinks and plenty of counter space, which I always appreciate when I travel, made it easy for Bill and I to get ready for Festival Napa Valley events.
Once we were dressed and set for the day, it was off to the SENZA House across the way for a delicious continental breakfast, offered to guests each morning.
There is also a wine and cheese reception every afternoon at 6:00 pm with plenty tasty things to nosh on and seating for guests indoors and out.
When we had time between events, we lounged by SENZA’s beautiful pool.
Along with several lounge chairs and seats there are three canopied day beds for guests to use. I loved relaxing in one of these with a book.
Behind the pool is another one of the hotel’s buildings. Three-story Parker Mansion was built in 1870 and has several charming guest rooms and antique treasures throughout.
Aside from the pool and private day beds, other luxury amenities include the SENZA Spa, located on the property. The spa offers a selection of services including massages, facials and body treatments, provided with the highest-standards set by the Hall family. SENZA Spa uses pure products that are effective and locally sourced. Enjoy massages at the spa or in your guest room.
There is also a fitness center with a hot tub right outside the entrance to soothe your aching muscles. During my stay, Festival Napa Valley offered an outdoor morning yoga class to ticket-holders.
SENZA is a pet-friendly hotel. My old girl Daisy was able to stay with me for part of my visit to SENZA, which I loved and so did she. She enjoyed rolling around in the green grass and going for walks around the property.
Most of my days were packed with events during Festival Napa Valley, sometimes having four in one day. Thankfully I also had enough downtime to enjoy what this fantastic property has to offer. It was wonderful treat to stay in such a luxurious, peaceful and conveniently located hotel. I highly recommend SENZA Hotel to those traveling to Napa Valley from out of the area and to locals who just want to get away for a night or two.
For more information about SENZA Hotel, visit their website or call 707.253.0337 to book your stay.