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SF / Napa 40th Birthday Trip Advice

Hi all. We are heading to San Francisco and Napa for my 40th birthday. Neither my spouse of myself has ever been to either. We'll be in SF for 2 days and Napa for 2 days.

Thought I'd throw out our basic itinerary and see if you have any suggestions or advice. Anything is much appreciated. Generally we eat pretty much any type of food. We like pretty much all atmosphere from hole in the wall to fine dining as long as it is tasty. We probably prefer hole in the wall if I had to pick one but not against fine dining either. We are renting a car on Sat when we move to Napa but will not have a car in SF. Italian doesn't top our of list of favorite cuisines. We enjoy sake. One of my favorite dishes is Pho. I like tea and champagne so you'll see that prevalent on my list of things to do. :)

We arrive on a Wed night (7/13) at 7:00 at SFO. Trying to get a hotel for that night has been quite a process. I still don't have one. I have the following two nights at Le Meridien so I'll try to get the Wed night there or just stay near the airport somewhere. Suggestions welcome. (I've read the message board for SFO dining suggestions but I'm not sure if our plane lands at 7 how long it'll take to get to an airport hotel and how much time it takes to get around with no car) If I can get the Le Meridien down to a reasonable price for Wed we might be in that area too.

Thurs: Taking a cab to Le Meridien (if we aren't already there) check in and drop off bags. Figured we'd do Japantown and Chinatown this day. No specific place in mind to eat. Would like to visit Vital Tea Leaf. Thought about the Japanese Tea Garden but it seems very far from where we'll be.

Fri: Thought we'd do Fisherman's Warf this day. On our list to eat is Ana Mandara and something crabby while we are down there.

Some things on my quick list that I'm not sure how to fit in are the Japanese Tea Garden, Samovar Tea House, True Sake and Corkage Sake and Wine Shop. Are any of these places worth hitting?

Sat we are picking up the rental car early and heading out to Petaluma to visit someone. Was thinking if we got there early enough we'd either eat breakfast at Water Street Bistro or Hallies. Then we are driving to Napa. I'm not at all sure what time. Could be 11 or 3 or somewhere in between. Thought about a slight detour and heading to LoKal in Sonoma for lunch. Just to get a feel of the town and to say we've passed through. :) Maybe Bistro Jeanty for dinner?

Sun is my birthday so we'll do lunch at ZUZU and dinner at Bouchon. Wineries for today are Paraduxx, Domaine Chandon, and Domaine Carneros but thought, depending on time, maybe we could do Domaine Carneros on the way from Sonoma to Napa. Suggestions? How many wineries does one usually visit in one day?

Mon: I have no lunch or dinner plans but thought we could eat lunch at one of the wineries along the way. Also doing Roundpond olive oil today. Wineries on the list today are: Duckhorn, Round Pond, Schramsberg and Mumm. I had Martini House on my list for our last dinner but just found out today that it is closed. So suggestions are welcome.

Head back to SFO for a 3:00 flight. Have In N Out on our list for a quick lunch on the way to airport. (we don't have these were I live!)

Thanks for any advice or suggestions.

-----
Water Street Bistro
100 Petaluma Blvd N Ste 106, Petaluma, CA 94952

True Sake
560 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Ana Mandara Restaurant
891 Beach St., San Francisco, CA 94109

Bistro Jeanty
6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Japanese Tea Garden
7 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

Vital Tea Leaf
1044 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA

Domaine Carneros
1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA

Bouchon
6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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  1. So many questions it's hard to know where to start.

    Wednesday night -- depending on whether you checked luggage or not, then it should take between 45 minutes and and hour and a half from when you arrive at the airport to downtown SF. You can take BART direct from the airport to downtown, or you can take a taxi (more expensive, but maybe worth it to save some time on such a short visit). I popped over to biddingfortravel.com to see what the hotel situation is and it looks like you (or your doppleganger) is already working with them on the hotel side, so good luck with that! It might be worth booking a much cheaper airport hotel and taking a cab into the city, especially if you're interested in checking out some of the dining options in SoMa or the Mission. At any rate, you should easily be able to have dinner somewhere in downtown SF and not bother with eating near the airport. More firm suggestions will be made when you've firmed up your plans and told us a little bit more about what kind of dining experience you're looking for. Don't say "everything" -- that's not helpful in making suggestions tailored to you!

    My questions for you are, where are you coming from and what are your real interests in visiting SF? You've tentatively planned a day at Fisherman's Wharf, but Fisherman's Wharf is basically a tourist ... I won't say "trap" ... attraction. I suspect your interests would be better served spending time somewhere else (and eating somewhere else). Note that in July, there will be crab at the Wharf but it won't be local (local season is long over), so there's no reason to eat it there rather than somewhere else.

    On Saturday, before you pick up your rental car you should check out the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market (it starts at 7 a.m., IIRC). Domain Carneros is very doable between Sonoma and Napa, and probably a good idea, since it's not practical to include it in with the wineries in Napa Valley proper. I personally think that three wineries a day is plenty. Some people manage four. I've seen people plan five, and when they report back they've inevitably dropped at least one, so make sure that if you plan more than three you prioritize so that if you end up having to drop one it won't be one you really wanted (that is, don't plan your top choice for the end of the day!).

    I personally wouldn't choose Bistro Jeanty for one of two dinners in Napa Valley. There are so many, many choices (you might do a little research on this board) and I personally would choose something that was better and/or more typical of Napa Valley than Bistro Jeanty.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I know it is a lot of questions. Sorry. I thought it would be better to put them all in one so as not to clog up the message board. Maybe I should have done a SF and a Napa one?

      Yes, that is me over at BFT.

      We live in New Orleans and we always vacation to the same places. Since it is my birthday and my choice then I thought I could talk my spouse into doing this trip. I like a more relaxed meandering vacation and he likes to get up early and go go go! I normally would be hard pressed to talk him into this type of vacay.

      As for my real interest in SF, I didn't think I'd want to spend a whole week in Napa so thought I'd divide it up to see what both cities have to offer.

      I've heard so much about Fisherman's Warf that I just automatically put it on my list. Really having no idea what's down there. We come from a seafood intense place and crab is my favorite so I thought FW would be a good place to get that.

      We both enjoy going to various "chinatown's" in any cities that have them. New Orleans has no such thing. We enjoy looking in the shops and visiting local grocery stores looking for new kinds of sake. We like to eat delicious food and fill the time in between doing whatever.

      I picked Bistro Jeanty because it was in a Napa/Oakville/Rutherfood guide book someone gave me. :) I like Bouchon (have eaten in LV many times) so I think that's ok for Sun (my birthday). I would like to have done FL but $270 pp is a bit steep for this trip.

      I guess my goal for food in SF and Napa is to get a good feel for the CA experience that I hear so much about. Authentic experiences.

      We like Tapas a lot, (hence ZUZU in Napa and Esperpento is also on my list), Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, South African etc. Would like a typical CA dining experience.

      Has that narrowed it down at all? I've looked here at Chowhound and searched for "top 10 lists" and it seems all different things pop up. :)

      Thank you for your reply.

      -----
      Bistro Jeanty
      6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

      Bouchon
      6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

      1. re: RedBeans04

        I keep hoping someone else will jump in on this, but here's two more of my cents:

        Unless you can get the Meridien, you're going to be transferring hotels anyway, so I'd go ahead and book a hotel by the airport for the night you arrive. You'll save a bit of money you can spend on dinner and/or taxis. Since you mentioned you want crab and you like Asian food, I'll suggest that if you stay near the airport (or even for that matter, if you want to go direct from the airport to dinner, regardless of where you're staying) you check out one of the HK/Cantonese seafood houses like Asian Pearl or The Kitchen in Millbrae (near the airport). Consensus is they're better than their counterparts in SF proper anyway. They'll all have live crab in their tanks you can have prepared in a variety of ways (salt and pepper, ginger scallion being the most common).

        Given your interests, I think you'll enjoy your Chinatown/Japantown plans (be aware that they're nowhere near each other, though). The Ferry Building is a must for foodies at some point. The big farmers market is, as I mentioned, on Saturday, but there's a much smaller one with lots of prepared food stalls from some of our top artisan purveyors Thursday at lunchtime. Plan to take a few minutes on your way to Petaluma to stop at the vista point for the Golden Gate Bridge and maybe walk part way out on it (north end of the bridge is better than the south end).

        For the best Thai or pho you need to go to the Tenderloin neighborhood and check out places like Turtle Tower (bare-bones northern-style Vietnamese), Bodega Bistro (slightly more upscale Vietnamese) and Lers Ros Thai.

        Instead of Fishermans Wharf I'd suggest visiting one (or both) of two characteristic San Francisco areas: the Mission district and/or Golden Gate Park and the Richmond District/Clement St.

        For Napa I'd suggest that you search "napa wineries" and "napa best restaurants" and/or do a search for threads started by other visitors like yourself (2 days in Napa, 2 days in wine country, 40th birthday in Napa, etc.). You'll notice this discussion has now spawned some related threads at the bottom of the page.

        -----
        Bodega Bistro
        607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Turtle Tower Restaurant
        631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Peninsula Asian Pearl
        1671 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

        The Kitchen
        279 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

        Lers Ros Thai
        730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I had a bright idea late last night and I'm almost sure it worked. I used some AMEX points transferred to Starwood to book a room at the Westin St. Francis for two nights and then paying for one night. I say "almost sure" it worked because I have a confirmation # but not the official email yet. The hotel itself has to do it because of the 13th being so busy. So, fingers crossed that it works!

          Turtle Tower is on my list to check out as is the Ferry Building on Thurs for lunch.

          After reading some messages here, I think we might put OTG on our list for Friday evening if we can get there early enough.

          If I have time, should I keep replying to this message with reviews and thoughts while I'm there? (I know some boards encourage it and some don't, so I thought I'd ask)

          Thanks again for the reply

          -----
          Turtle Tower Restaurant
          631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

          1. re: RedBeans04

            We like replies/reports/updates on this board. So yes, keep us apprised of your plans, any more questions, and please, please give us your reviews/thoughts.

            Anyway, if you end up at the St. Francis (a woman after my own heart working the system!) you're not far at all from the Tenderloin area places I listed and you can walk to Chinatown. From Union Square I would suggest walking through the Chinatown gate and up Grant to Sacramento, turn up hill and wander through a couple of the alleys going off to your right and at some point turn uphill again up to Stockton, which is the real "working" Chinatown.

        2. re: RedBeans04

          I would suggest going elsewhere than both Bouchon and Bistro Jeanty on your birthday, especially since you want an authentic California experience, and since you've already been to Bouchon in Las Vegas many times. It will be good, but it will be the same as you've gotten a lot in Vegas, and if you want something authentic and Californian, you should go somewhere else. Look into Redd in Yountville (not far from Bouchon), maybe brunch at Bix in Napa that day (expensive brunch, but gorgeous garden, and worth the splurge on your birthday), and Ad Hoc (if you want the Keller experience in a more casual environment) to start, but definitely check the other threads that Ruth mentioned.

          -----
          Ad Hoc
          6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

          Bix
          56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

          Bistro Jeanty
          6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

          Bouchon
          6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

          1. re: JasmineG

            I tried to get reservations for Redd but the times are either really early or really late. 9:30 is a little late for dinner for us. I just grabbed a 5:30 on your recommendation but I think that might be a bit too early.

            I'm on the dinner email list for Ad Hoc but nothing has really wowed me so far. Of course, I've only been on the list for about a week.

            Tell me, what should I expect from "authentic Californian"?

            Thanks for your email and suggestions.

            -----
            Ad Hoc
            6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

            1. re: RedBeans04

              RedBeans, "authentic Californian" utilizes locally-grown, fresh produce and livestock in innovative and delightful ways. What you will get at Bouchon and Jeanty are French.

              I agree with other recommendations here to steer clear of the Wharf and I will call it a trap with exceptionally mediocre food. I have eaten at most of the restaurants down there because visitors always want to go there and I have yet to have a meal worthy of any sort of merit.They are memorable in their mediocrity.

              In Napa, consider driving up to Calistoga for a meal at JoLe which is fabulous. Terra (St. Helena), Redd (Yountville), and the following in downtown Napa: Angele, Rotisserie & Wine, and Grace's Table.

              I wouldn't plan on more than three wineries a day; give yourself the opportunity to relax and enjoy instead of rushing from one place to another. Where are you staying in Napa? Downtown is very walkable and enjoyable; there are a number of wine bars you could sample from which will allow you to taste lots of smaller, boutique wines without driving around to the vineyards. I like Back Room Wines and Vintner's Collective (practically two blocks from one another).

              We have a fabulous Chinatown and you should definitely walk those streets.

              -----
              Vintner's Collective
              1245 Main St, Napa, CA

              JoLe
              1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515

              Bouchon
              6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

              Rotisserie & Wine
              720 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

              Grace's Table
              1400 2nd St, Napa, CA 94559

              1. re: RedBeans04

                Just realize that the Tenderloin, I live around this neighborhood, so this is coming from someone who resides in these parts, is not the best 'hood. It's dingy and smelly. Don't take a lot of cash with you and don't wear nice jewelry. It's not dangerous and there are bums here. The restaurants are awesome, Turtle Tower rocks as do the other suggestions, I just didn't want you to be shocked once you got here. :)

                -----
                Turtle Tower Restaurant
                631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

            2. re: RedBeans04

              I'll just jump in to say that, if you really LIKE and WANT French food, both Jeanty and Bouchon are good choices (i love them both, but i can go anytime, so I guess the point is that if you're in CA, try some CA-focused cooking) and in gorgeous surroundings. Of course any place in Napa is. I think Brix's brunch is a bit overrated. I haven't been to Brix in years for dinner, but it used to be very good, then went downhill a bit. and again, another beautiful space, and more along the lines with what Ruth and others are saying about trying a California-style place.

              Happy 40th!

              -----
              Bix
              56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

              Bouchon
              6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

          2. We visit SF a couple of times a year from Vancouver, mainly for the food :-). We always take BART in from SFO now, having tried all the other options. It's cheaper and never gets stuck in a traffic jam, though I suppose it could get stuck, so often faster than other modes.

            Regarding some of your original questions, let me comment from a fellow visitor's POV. The Japanese Tea Garden is beautiful and so near many of the worthwhile sites in Golden Gate Park, not to mention a fair number of good eats. And of course you can have tea there. It's really not that far if you hop on an N street car.

            We've visited True Sake a few times and it is worth the candle to get there (quite close to the St Francis actually). You may find yourself wanting to take home a few bottles as the selection is great, and the displays are beautiful and inviting. There is a very good coffee place nearby, the Linden Lane kiosk of the Blue Bottle company, if other hot beverages besides tea are on your radar. Try a Gibraltar there if you go (not listed on the menu which kinda adds to the fun).

            If you like to visit Chinatowns, don't miss the SF one. We stay very near it and a trip to town is not complete without a stroll up Grant and down Stockton. There are a number of places to get inexpensive dim sum on or near Stockton. One that is often mentioned here and that I liked enough to hit twice is Dol Ho.

            The best things I've found near Fisherman's Wharf are the municipal pier (cool old boats you can board for $5) and the sea lions. We went to the wharf itself exactly once and that was enough. I'd certainly plan to do something else that day if you do go, as you'll see what it's like in less than an hour.

            Ruth's suggestion of the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market on Saturday is a good one. You're going for the snacks but the bounty of the fresh produce is so lovely, with many things we can't get at home (maybe not so exciting coming from NOLA but impressive nonetheless). Go early, 8/8:30, to avoid the crowds.

            Have a marvelous time, and happy 40th!

            -----
            Dol Ho
            808 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

            True Sake
            560 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

            22 Replies
            1. re: grayelf

              I really don't think that you can get to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park by taking the J street car.

              -----
              Japanese Tea Garden
              7 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

                1. re: wolfe

                  Oops got my Js mixed up -- changed in the post :-). I also note that the OP links to a place on Larkin, so maybe not the one in GG Park at all?

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Not sure where that link came from, but I did mean the one in the park. :) My husband likes to take photos so I thought this would give him something to do on a trip that I'm planning mainly for me. HAHA

                    You have some great info and I appreciate it.

                    One question, how the heck do you learn about all the modes of transport and how to get from place to place? Sheesh! Coming from a place where you should never take public transportation it is a bit overwhelming. I've downloaded some apps for my ipad and google did some sort of update today that lets you download the maps to your phone and includes transportation. On my list to check out.

                      1. re: wolfe

                        Thanks. I feel woefully stupid when I try to understand these. LOL Maybe it is a mental block since I'm normally not a dumb individual.

                        I guess if I knew where I wanted to go and where I was it wouldn't be so difficult. They talk about Market to Powell but without a point of reference, it is completely lost on me. Definitely looking into the apps that are available. If My phone tells the app where I am based on GPS and I tell it where I want to go, maybe the app will tell me how to get there. LOL

                        I have a bunch of these transportation links bookmarked but without a general point of reference I'm sort of lost. (yes I could go back and forth switching windows looking up addresses but I'd rather be looking into food <grin>)

                        Thanks and hopefully I'll be able to come back into this forum and give advice about taking the various forms of SF transportation.

                        1. re: RedBeans04

                          Google Maps app (at least on Android) had a "Public Transportation" option just added to the previous Driving, Biking, Walking options.

                          It will tell you what lines to take and where to transfer (if needed). It will even vibrate and send a notification to let you know your stop is coming up.

                          1. re: drewskiSF

                            Yes, Google Maps on a computer or Hop Stop app on a SmartPhone.

                            The main thing with SF MUNI transit is to avoid transferring (walk a longer distance if necessary).

                            Use nextmuni.com to find out how long the wait is for the next bus or streetcar. BART is s separate but very well run service.

                            And except for downtown, locals don't hail cabs: we phone dispatchers.

                          2. re: RedBeans04

                            The Westin St. Francis is on Powell St. in Union Square. From there it's just a couple of blocks to the intersection of Powell and Market, which is a major transit hub. There are basically two transit systems to be aware of: BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) which is a regional "subway" system and Muni (the San Francisco Municipal Railway) which operates all the other forms of transit in the city, including buses (designated by numbers, i.e. 38 Geary), street cars (designated by letters, i.e. N Judah) and cable cars. You should take BART in from the airport, but otherwise use Muni, which covers the whole city. Don't forget to get and hold on to your transfers on Muni -- they're timed, not directional, and although in theory they're only supposed to be issued for an hour, in practice they are often issued for periods lasting two hours or more, which means that for short trips you can use a transfer for a roundtrip. Note that cable cars have exorbitant fares (soak the tourists, since most locals use passes) and do not accept or issue transfers. Anyway, you should get a good, old fashioned map. The Streetwise line has a good SF map that includes a small transit map: http://www.amazon.com/Streetwise-San-...

                            The old ships greyelf mentioned are the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. But I get the feeling that you really just want to wander around, explore the city, and let your hubby take pictures.

                            Finally, coming from New Orleans it might not occur to you to bring warm clothes for a summer vacation. We're having a rather nice spell right now, but it's not expected to hold until next week, so be sure to pack layers. The wine country will be warm (think 80s, not humid), but SF can be cold and windy, especially in the late afternoon/early evening. Pack clothes you can layer, bring a medium-weight jacket and don't count on being able to wear shorts.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              How long would it take using BART to get from the airport to the Westin St. Francis? Our flight arrives (if on time) at 7:00 pm. Would this late in the evening be ok walking the couple blocks from the BART station to the hotel?

                              1. re: RedBeans04

                                BART schedules are on www.BART.gov or Google maps. You'd need to walk over to the station, near the International Terminal, and then the ride is about half an hour to Powell Street. There's no problem walking up Powell Street.

                                1. re: Windy

                                  Walk to the airport BART station? I've always used the tram/people-mover thingy that runs between the terminals (apparently it's officially called the "Air Train").

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    You can take the Air Train, but it's possible to walk. I think the People Mover is the tram that goes over to rental cars; are they the same thing?

                                    1. re: Windy

                                      AirTrain is a pretty good people mover. Depending on need, I use it to get to the rental car complex and also to get to BART (all part of the same terminal-linking loop). SFO is a decent airport.

                                      1. re: Windy

                                        Same thing. There are two different Air Train lines.
                                        - Red that only circles the terminals, parking garage / BART
                                        - Blue that also goes to the Rental Car Center

                                        http://www.flysfo.com/web/page/atsfo/...

                              2. re: RedBeans04

                                Routesy Pro is the transportation app I use when in San Francisco/Bay Area. Been using it for several years now. It covers BART, Muni, others. I highly recommend it.

                                Edited to add: I'm a legacy app guy. Got the free version before they got fancy.

                                http://www.pcworld.com/appguide/app.h...

                                1. re: steve h.

                                  For people with cars, we should probably also mention SF MTA's new free parking app, which (in theory) locates metered spaces and tells you how much garages are in each area.

                                  I'm not sure how helpful it is, but I live here, so I know where the garages and what they charge.

                            2. re: RedBeans04

                              Because we come to eat like you, we plan our trips around transit accessible food, so we learned fast :-). SF proper is very small and easy to cover with walking and Muni. You're getting lots of good advice about how to stay wired but our best ally has been the Muni map, available for $3 at the kiosk at Powell and Market, or from the tourist centre on the lower level. That and either a one or three day pass will get you on all the buses, streetcars and CABLE CARS you could want. Also available at the kiosk. These two old-school items will keep you in striking distance of all the good food you could want!

                              And maybe just a couple of other things for you to look into nearish your hotel: Golden West and the Sentinel. I am a big fan of Denis Leary's places, and these both offer some interesting fare for breakfast and lunch respectively, IMO.

                              -----
                              Golden West
                              8 Trinity Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104

                            3. re: grayelf

                              The link on my reply is something the site did which I can no longer delete.

                                1. re: wolfe

                                  How did you or someone change the address? Who knew that was the name of that road?

                                  1. re: wally

                                    Googled Japanese Tea Garden
                                    http://japaneseteagardensf.com/contac...
                                    Copied data and inserted in place link by editing.
                                    You're welcome.

                                    -----
                                    Japanese Tea Garden
                                    7 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

                        2. We were in SF and Napa (we live near London, but I'm a Yank) this April. We enjoyed meals at Cafe de la Presse (very close to the St. Francis where we stayed) and a BART trip to Berkeley for a delicious lunch at Gather. Mustards Grill in St. Helena also provided me with a good fix of American food I crave at times.

                          This review of Yountville offerings is a very good start for people headed to Napa.

                          http://www.doshermanos.co.uk/search?q...

                          -----
                          Mustards Grill
                          7399 St Helena Hwy, Napa, CA 94558

                          1. UPDATE on Napa Portion:

                            I think I've finished my napa portion. Everything is all mixed up since I found a couple coupons (Mumm and Chandon) and some things weren't available etc. Best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

                            Here are a list of wineries that are on my "if we have time list" Artesa winery or Hope & Grace or Robert Sinskey or Ma(i)sonry

                            Sat: (this day is sort of up in the air because I'm not sure what time we'll be leaving Petaluma) Picking up rental car and heading to Petaluma. Breakfast still at either Water Street Bistro or Hallies. Not sure what time we'll get finished here. Lunch at LoKal in Sonoma if we have time. Head to Napa. 7:45 ressie at Jole. Depending on what time we leave Petaluma we'll either try to hit Domaine Carneros and spend some time or if we are late out of Petaluma we'll just head straight to Jole. A lot of driving this day but I wanted to try this place and couldn't get my Monday night ressie on a Sat night before 10.

                            Sun: Birthday breakfast in bed. :) Round Pond (the olive oil tour) at 10 and maybe a winery before lunch at Redd. Paraduxx after lunch and dinner at Bouchon.

                            Mon: Breakfast at Boon Fly 11:00 Mumm Tour, 12:00 Duckhorn (I know I'm cutting it close), ZUZU for lunch, Chandon tasting after lunch and dinner at Morimoto to finish out our trip.

                            What do you think? I might move around the dinners since Jole seems awfully out of my way on Sat and I'd prefer to check into our hotel before heading to dinner.

                            -----
                            Water Street Bistro
                            100 Petaluma Blvd N Ste 106, Petaluma, CA 94952

                            Boon Fly Cafe
                            4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

                            Domaine Carneros
                            1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA

                            Bouchon
                            6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                            Morimoto
                            610 Main Street, Napa, CA

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: RedBeans04

                              I love Artesa, if you can swing it. Beautiful space, unlike any other in Napa, good pinots. Personally I'd skip lunch if you're having a nice breakfast, so you can really enjoy your dinner. Maybe pick up some snacks in Petaluma (edit - sorry, the place i linked to is not what i thought it was.)

                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                Did you intend to link to Andersen's pumpkin patch on the north end of Petaluma as a snack recommendation?

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  oops, no. Andersen's produce market. but i can't find a good link. sorry!

                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    What are you recommending at Andersen's farm stand? It would be mostly produce, perhaps some fruit but the season is very late this year especially in very cool growing areas like Petaluma. Also it's out of the way, so what makes it worth the extra drive?

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      i'm sorry, i did a search and found it, and a review somewhere that it was good place to pick up things for picnic. i shouldn't have posted without having been there, just trying to help. guess it wasn't helpful.

                              2. re: RedBeans04

                                When is your trip?

                                I was at Lokal last night and they are shutting down on the 23rd - selling to a pizza joint... I am heartbroken at the prospect as their Chicken Paprikas was delightful and I'm definitely going to head back as often as I can in the next few weeks.

                                There is no way you will be able to leave an 11:00 Mumm tour and make it to a Duckhorn at noon. Personally, I would just taste at Mumm and spend time savoring Duckhorn. The drive back down to downtown Napa for lunch at Zuzu is tiresome considering you are then driving back UP-valley to Chandon and back DOWN-valley (literally a block away from your lunch spot) to go to Morimoto. From Duckhorn, I would consider lunching somewhere in Yountvile or grab a picnic en route to cut down your driving.

                                I would keep JoLe but find some wineries en route to hit, if you leave Petaluma early enough.

                                Your Sunday looks good, it is the Monday that concerns me. Too much driving.

                                -----
                                JoLe
                                1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515

                                Lokal
                                522 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476

                                Morimoto
                                610 Main Street, Napa, CA

                                1. re: CarrieWas218

                                  The problem is that I had it planned out by where the places were geographically BEFORE I looked into open hours. We really like Tapas so I want to do ZUZU but they are not open on Sunday for lunch according to their website. So I had to move it to Monday. What if I switch Duckhorn and Paraduxx?

                                  Trip is next week so we should be ok for LoKal.

                                  1. re: RedBeans04

                                    Duckhorn and Paraduxx are very close to one another (and owned and operated by the same people).

                                    I just want you to know what you are in for by driving mid-valley to downtown for lunch, back up mid-valley only to come back downtown for dinner. You will be spending a lot of time driving back-and-forth...

                                    I'm not sure where you are staying, but you might want to consider a closer winery to downtown after your lunch; Chandon makes some lovely bubbly and has beautiful grounds, St. Supery has a fabulous Sauvignon Blanc and great artwork, or there are a number of tasting co-ops in downtown where you could just wander and taste smaller, boutique wineries that aren't large enough to have estates (Vintner's Collective, Taste at Oxbow, Bounty Hunter, Back Room Wines, Carpe Diem...)

                              3. Just wanted to say that we are almost finished our vacation and had some great advice from everyone here. I plan to do quick reviews when I have more time at home on things we did, places we ate and wineries we toured. I'm sure I won't have anything new to say that hasn't already been said, but maybe a few quick notes will help others when they are searching for the same information.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: RedBeans04

                                  Looking forward to it -- I hope when you get back to NOLA it won't take you too long to thaw. :-)