Apr 17, 2013

A Weekend Away in Napa - Part 1

Cameron and I recently had a lovely weekend away in Napa to celebrate the marriage of one of his Fraternity brothers, Troy, to his new wife, Katie. Since we were going to be childless for two whole nights for the first time since Sydney was born, we decided to indulge ourselves a bit, too. It wasn't until we were on our way to Napa Friday evening that I realized this would be my first night away from Sydney, ever. I left Cameron with London for a night when London was only 5 weeks old!

We started our weekend with dinner reservations at Etoile, Domaine Chandon's restaurant. We used to be wine club members and the restaurant had always looked like a nice, romantic place with good food. We had no idea what we were in for! First off, business casual as a dress code is an understatement. Cameron felt he should have at least been in slacks and a tie.

When we were seated we were handed an appetizer menu and an iPad to make our drink selections. We decided to get a bottle of their Classic Brut. We were then handed the menu, where we were to select from the Chef's 6-course fixed menu or from the 4-course menu that had 4 options to choose from for each course. We decided to go for the 4-course menu. 

But before the first course was sent out, we were presented with an amuse bouche from the chef. Cameron got a dollop of lobster salad on a tiny cracker while I received pea soup in a spoon with a onion relish and chive flower on top. 

For our first course, I had chosen a fresh veggie salad. I wish I had taken a picture of it as it was presented to look like a little forest of carrots and broccoli, along with a quail egg, some pureed potato and a delicious dijon mustard-based vinaigrette topped it off. Cameron chose a oyster-based soup for his first course that included little sweet and crunchy celery root that we both found delicious. 

Another amuse bouche was presented to us after this course, which was duck pate served on a little cracker and topped with a chive flower. Cameron and I have only had pate once before and we weren't fans. This little taste of duck pate, on the other hand, did grow on us while the flavor settled in our mouths. 

When our fish course arrived, we finally remembered to take a picture. We had both ordered the halibut which included roasted brussel sprouts and a roasted oyster sauce to top it off. Because of my shellfish allergy I received a parsley-based sauce instead. It was delicious and amazing with so many different flavors playing on our taste buds.

Next up was our meat course, and Cameron and I both selected the lamb with beef belly, which was sort of like pulled pork and included some green olives and olive-based sauces as well as caramelized mini-onions. 

The last course was our dessert. Cameron selected a red velvet cake with amazing vanilla bean ice cream while I selected chocolate croquettes - a kind of chocolate-nut mixed truffle with oozing chocolate inside and topped with marshmallow ice cream. So yummy!

And with our check, we were presented one last surprise - a small dessert platter of tiny sugar cookies, candied citrus and little chocolate truffles. Again, the entire meal was amazing both in taste and in presentation. Cameron and I were seated at a table where we sat next to each other which made it that much more romantic. It is one meal we will not forget in a long time and should funds allow, we would love to partake in again. It definitely was pricey - about the cost of our hotel room for the two nights we were there. 

We capped off the evening sneaking into the spa after hours and enjoyed another glass of Domaine Chandon Classic Brut, which we picked up on our way back to the hotel. 

Saturday was the wedding....

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