Archive for the ‘Heartspoon Travels’ Category

Really — need I say more?? Tell me another restaurant that has a tub of cold, creamy foie gras with crusty bread on the menu and I am there. Stat. It’s like a better version (and guiltier pleasure) than bread and butter…

Available at Bouchon. For sure at the Napa location. Haven’t checked out the others in Las Vegas or the new space in Los Angeles.


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Mini Donuts

Could there be a better way to begin breakfast than a bowl full of house-made mini donuts? Really?

I think not.

Nibbling on warm, crispy-on-the-outside and soft-on-the-inside, sugar-crusted donuts at  the Boon Fly Cafe in Napa is absolutely the most rightfully gluttonous way to welcome the new day. Hey, you’re on vacation. No shame in splurging.

This quaint little joint is part of the Carneros Inn compound in the Carneros region of the valley. We had such a wonderful experience staying here for our honeymoon last year, that we visited again when we celebrated our anniversary this year. It is heavenly. I can’t think of any other words to describe it. The rooms are small cottages with fireplaces, al fresco showers, and private patios filled with local vegetation. The grounds are scattered with fig and apple trees. The pool overlooks wine country, and it’s not uncommon to have horses wander up to the fence next to it.




But back to the donuts. Even if you aren’t staying at the Carneros Inn, the Boon Fly Cafe is well worth the drive for breakfast.


Mike ordered the BELT; meaning bacon, egg, lettuce, and tomato all squished in between two slices of thick, buttery toast.



I’m a Benedict fanatic, so I had the Boon Fly Benedict. Two perfectly poached eggs sitting on thick-sliced ham and warm Pain au Levain (an artisanal french bread made using a sourdough starter). The ham is so juicy and has some light marbling, not like the thin, tough slices of Canadian Bacon you see elsewhere. Everything is topped with jalapeno hollandaise.

Jalepeno Benedict

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Best. Place. Ever.

The Ferry Market Building in San Francisco (http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/) is a gold mine for foodies, nestled comfortably on the ocean’s edge in a century-old transportation landmark. Today it’s overflowing with yummy little food and wine shops, plus host to a farmer’s market  three days a week. It’s the home to Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop,  the Slanted Door restaurant, and the San Francisco Fish Company.

Ferry Building

I could spend an entire day here. In fact, before my next life I’d like to make a pit-stop for a day of heavenly bliss. It would go as follows:

Latte from Peet’s Coffee and Tea. Pick up a good read at Book Passage. Curl up in a bench at the bay’s edge, sipping my steamy coffee while I delve into my new book and watch the boats go in and out. Have a warm baguette from Acme Bread Company and Cowgirl Creamery cheese for a snack. Wander around the shops and find a little something for my kitchen at Sur La Table. Sit down for a platter of chilled oysters and cold beer at Hog Island Oyster Company. Buy a few bottles of vino at the Wine Merchant. Nibble on gelato from Ciao Bella… ahhhhh. Love.

Taylor's Refresher

We treated ourselves to a burger at Taylor’s Refresher. The original is near St. Helena, in wine country, but since I had so meticulously planned our meals for that part of our journey we decided to indulge at the one in the ferry building.  

Mushroom Farm

Far West Fungi sells local and seasonal mushrooms. It’s insane. I’ve never been witness to such massive numbers of fungi in my life. Here one can find everything mushroom; tea, books, and Kombucha. They even offer mini mushroom farms so you can grow your own at home. They’ll deliver kits for Shitake and Oyster mushrooms. I’m very curious.

Ferry Market

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My husband and I are headed to San Francisco and Napa to celebrate our one year anniversary .  Back next week. Hopefully with many gastronomic tales! In the meantime, here are some pictures from last year.



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Our first wedding anniversary is sneaking up on us and I can not fathom how quickly the last year has gone. To celebrate, my wonderful husband, Mike,  booked a trip to San Francisco and the Napa Valley, where we went on our honeymoon last Fall. I looked at my calendar today and realized it’s only a few weeks away. I am kind of a control freak and uber planner when it comes to making restaurant reservations, so we are all set for the food side of things.

Viader Vineyard

I reminisced on our the first year of marriage by looking through wedding and honeymoon photos this morning. I’m so grateful we have so many pictures from those few weeks because in hindsight I realize they were a total out-of-body experience.

I do remember coming back from our honeymoon full of food and wine, as well as a surplus of five-ish pounds of “happy” weight. If I call it that it makes me feel better, like the fact that my jeans were a little tighter was something to show off. Weight gain during your honeymoon means you were in bliss.

Here’s a picture of me outside the French Laundry in Yountville. French LaundryWhere else can you legitimize a half day of lunch with nine courses and wines to pair with each? We arrived around 11:00 a.m. and stumbled out in a giggly stupor around 2:00 p.m.

I wish I had kept my copy of the menu that day, because I don’t remember the specifics. But I do have a souvenir laundry clip and fond memories of a satisfied tummy.

We’re trying all new restaurants this year, except for two. The first, Spruce ( http://www.sprucesf.com/) is in San Francisco. The son of a good friend of Mike’s parent’s (whew- mouthful) is the sommelier at this restaurant in addition to a few others. He recently had a mention in Food and Wine magazine.

SpruceTheir wine list is amazingly in-depth, and the staff was happy to share their knowledge and reccomendations. If I remember correctly, I had the honey-laquered duck for dinner. Just to be sure, I’ll order it again this year. (You don’t need to twist my arm to eat duck).

The second is Tra Vigne(http://www.travignerestaurant.com/) in St. Helena. Italian. Yum. We had the house-made mozzarella, sage infused pappardelle with rabbit, and braised short ribs. The patio was adorable, lines of white twinkly lights strung above you, and surrounded by candlelight. Very romantic.

We’ll be trying a few newbies this year and I’ll be sure to write down our menu orders. Is it ok to get this excited about the food you’ll be eating on vacation??

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