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Aurora

Napa Area Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

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My husband and I love the Napa Valley. We have had the extremely good fortune to spend three weeks there over the last two years. September, 02 we spent two weeks there on our honeymoon. September, 03 we spent a week there celebrating my 30th birthday. We are in the middle of planning a last vacation before I begin culinary school in February, because we don't know when our next one will be after that. We will likely be vacationing 2/1-2/8. Here are the critical questions:

1) Is the weather so crappy we can't play golf?

2) Are wineries still open? Or have they shut up tight for the winter?

3) How much does it really rain?

I am dying to go back, as is hubby, but as he put it, he doesn't want to get there and discover that we can't do the fun stuff we like to do.

Thanks.

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Well, you can hardly judge Napa by last year's weather. We started having 80° temperatures on Valentine's Day and it hardly let up afterwards. It got hot and stayed hot through harvest.

The wineries are hardly shut down. Some (us included) shut down between Christmas Eve and New Year's but the rest with retail tasting rooms are almost always open. Also, Valentine's Day is a bigggg tourist time here in Napa, even though it can be chilly.

Regarding outdoor activities like golf -- it is a total crap shoot. In previous years there has been plenty of rain but that is when I used to love to visit. The tasting rooms tend to be more people-accessible as many don't like to be on the roads when it rains (I personally don't care). Also, if you get a good Inn or B&B with a nice fireplace, the fact that it is chilly won't matter.

It is terribly cold right now. We are having 25° nights, waking up to frost on the ground. My vineyard manager assured me it is going to snow up here on the mountain this year (we are at elevation 1500).

Bottom line -- obviously can't guarantee anything so I say, "why wait?" Come on into Napa in February and drop me a PM if you do. I'll be here on the mountain and you are more than welcome to visit.

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My husband and I love the Napa Valley.  We have had the extremely good fortune to spend three weeks there over the last two years.  September, 02 we spent two weeks there on our honeymoon.  September, 03 we spent a week there celebrating my 30th birthday.  We are in the middle of planning a last vacation before I begin culinary school in February, because we don't know when our next one will be after that.  We will likely be vacationing 2/1-2/8.  Here are the critical questions:

1) Is the weather so crappy we can't play golf?

2) Are wineries still open?  Or have they shut up tight for the winter?

3) How much does it really rain?

I am dying to go back, as is hubby, but as he put it, he doesn't want to get there and discover that we can't do the fun stuff we like to do.

Thanks.

Golf is pretty much year round, The wineries will be open and there will be less of a crowd. Weather could be anything from rain all the time, foggy, cold to bright sunshine in the 60's. Hard to say, but that is the middle of the rainy season. That's what Calistoga mud baths are for. :biggrin::biggrin:


Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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It's beautifully green then, and as a local to the area, one of my favorite times to visit.

As Carolyn mentioned, it might not rain at all or it could rain quite a bit. So the golf is something that may or may not work out.

It's very fun to have the tasting rooms more quiet; can often taste more or different wines and have better discussions with the winery staff.

If you have the time, you may also want to check out some wineries in Sonoma. Much of the settings are even more picturesque than Napa--small winding roads, etc. And of course, very good wines!


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Climatology info on Napa from Weather.com.

Winter's a nice time to visit Napa - the area is much less crowded, so you'll have an easier time getting appointments for tastings and tours, reserving tables for dinner, finding a reasonably-priced hotel or B&B (since it's the off season) - plus there won't be as much traffic. Greens fees are probably reduced as well.


allison

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...That's what Calistoga mud baths are for. :biggrin:  :biggrin:

This is an incredibly romantic place to stay (it was one of our choices for our recent 25th wedding anniversery trip.) You can get some nice off-season deals here. http://www.cottagegrove.com/page-01.htm

The Cottage Grove Inn also has winter packages with this spa (call the inn for details.) http://napavalley.com/cgi-bin/new_mont_fra...nderhillspa.com Not your traditional thick mud bath, but a wonderful romantic experience nonetheless. In addition to the mud bath, we both had great massages and I had a nice facial. As an added bonus, the day I was there the spa was giving away 15% off coupons for the Coach outlet store down the road. In case it's raining, that will kill another hour. :rolleyes:

So, between eating, drinking, and enjoying your romantic cottage, who needs to golf?

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Another thought. Since you two love the Napa Valley, you two really should come and see it at least once it the winter. It looks totally different, but as others have said, it is just as beautiful as the other seasons. For those of you who live there-will the mustard grass be blooming by early February? I love the hills and vineyards when that's in bloom.

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Yes, it's usually cold and rainy in February. I grew up there and lived there most of my life. It's also why I moved away from there. But it IS still beautiful...it's different when you have to live in it. If it's raining a lot, the crossroads could be closed and will determine which wineries you'd be able to get to. But there's plenty of wineries that are on the beaten path. I think it's a very romantic place to be when it's raining and the restaurants seem so warm and cozy. Golf may or may not happen. I miss those rainy days in the Valley now, but too many of them made me very unhappy! You'll have a great time!

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Next week my wife and I will be in Yountville on our dream dining vacation adventure. Dinner at Bouchon followed by lunch at Pillar then "Gasp" dinner at the French Laundry and topping it off with dinner at Manresa.

To make it complete I need just a bit more information. Where in the area can I find one of those "In and Out" burgers that us east coaster's have heard so much about ? :biggrin:


Edited by robert40 (log)

Robert R

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Robert,

Ask, and you shall receive.

In-N-Out Burger

820 Imola Ave.; Napa, CA 94559

There is a list of In-N-Out phrases that one can use when ordering. I'll have to get back with you on that. Perhaps someone else has that list.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Robert,

Ask, and you shall receive.

In-N-Out Burger

820 Imola Ave.; Napa, CA 94559

There is a list of In-N-Out phrases that one can use when ordering. I'll have to get back with you on that. Perhaps someone else has that list.

Now why didn't I think of googling a website. :wacko: I and my arteries thank you.


Robert R

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As much as I like In-N-Out burger, Taylors in St Helena is much better.

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You have to order the burgers "Animal Style" . Its been awhile since I've had one but from what I remember it has fried onions and maybe mushrooms but I can't recall right now.

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oh Taylor's. I totally forgot about that place, but rather then argue over which is better you could do both on seperate days. If it were me going back to Napa I would run to the Taqueria 3 Hermanos Mexican restaurant right in the town square of Napa for a super burrito.

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oh Taylor's.  I totally forgot about that place,  but rather then argue over which is better you could do both on seperate days.  If it were me going back to Napa I would run to the Taqueria 3 Hermanos Mexican restaurant right in the town square of Napa for a super burrito.

For tacos I'd recommend a taco truck. If you want a restaurant setting, I prefer Las Palmas on Yajome in Napa.

Just remember not to eat too much before your dinner at TFL!


allison

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oh Taylor's.  I totally forgot about that place,  but rather then argue over which is better you could do both on seperate days.  If it were me going back to Napa I would run to the Taqueria 3 Hermanos Mexican restaurant right in the town square of Napa for a super burrito.

For tacos I'd recommend a taco truck. If you want a restaurant setting, I prefer Las Palmas on Yajome in Napa.

Just remember not to eat too much before your dinner at TFL!

I feel like the little train that could. Or at least I hope so.

I just checked out Taylor's site and I'll have to make a pit stop there for sure.Plus In and Out and I'll never forgive myself if I don't try one of those taco trucks after reading the thread because in upstate New York there is not a overabundance of taco trucks. :laugh: and I must try one. Maybe two.


Robert R

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I'm not an "In and Out Buger" expert, but I do like ordering their cheeseburgers with grilled onions. Make sure you get a shake at Taylor's refresher!


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Is anyone else confused by the appeal of In-n-Out? What's the big deal? Carnival sized dry hamburgers and chalky white fries. The lettuce is crunchy but so is the underripe tomato slice. And they are the opposite of fast food. It takes forever to fill your order.

I never eat at fast food chains so maybe I'm no judge but I've tried this place three times and the last will be the last. I can't imagine wasting a meal in Napa (or anywhere except out of deperation) at this place.

If you twist my arm I'll tell you what I really think!!!!


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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The only appeal of In-n-Out is that it isn't as bad as the alternatives.

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Is anyone else confused by the appeal of In-n-Out? What's the big deal? Carnival sized dry hamburgers and chalky white fries. The lettuce is crunchy but so is the underripe tomato slice. And they are the opposite of fast food. It takes forever to fill your order.

I never eat at fast food chains so maybe I'm no judge but I've tried this place three times and the last will be the last. I can't imagine wasting a meal in Napa (or anywhere except out of deperation) at this place.

If you twist my arm I'll tell you what I really think!!!!

If it is comparable to other fast food chains I will also pass. But I would have had no way of knowing due to they have none on the east coast. And what sparked my interest was I read a report awhile back from a well know poster who wrote he once flew across the country to get one of those In and Out burgers.


Robert R

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If it is comparable to other fast food chains I will also pass. But I would have had no way of knowing due to they have none on the east coast. And what sparked my interest was I read a report awhile back from a well know poster who wrote he once flew across the country to get one of those In and Out burgers.

He must have done it for the inflight meals!


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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If it is comparable to other fast food chains I will also pass. But I would have had no way of knowing due to they have none on the east coast. And what sparked my interest was I read a report awhile back from a well know poster who wrote he once flew across the country to get one of those In and Out burgers.

He must have done it for the inflight meals!

You'll also be happy to know that Thomas Keller once cited in an interview that HE enjoyed chowing down on In n' Out Burgers from time to time.

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If it is comparable to other fast food chains I will also pass. But I would have had no way of knowing due to they have none on the east coast. And what sparked my interest was I read a report awhile back from a well know poster who wrote he once flew across the country to get one of those In and Out burgers.

He must have done it for the inflight meals!

You'll also be happy to know that Thomas Keller once cited in an interview that HE enjoyed chowing down on In n' Out Burgers from time to time.

In and Out fresh grinds the meat on site and cuts your fries fresh. Fries tend to be undercooked. It's better than the rest, but go to Taylor's for a Pistachio shake.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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If you twist my arm I'll tell you what I really think!!!!

Steve, you really need to quit sugar coating these things....just let it out. You'll feel better.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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