Weekend Getaway to San Francisco and Napa Valley

1st Oct, 2016

Erica Lippy

Blog, Rural, Travel, Travel Inspiration

Oh, Napa, how I love thee. A trip to Napa Valley should be on everyone’s must-do list. It’s helpful to at least like wine, but you don’t have to be a connoisseur. If you’ve yet to experience the divine beauty and richness of Napa Valley, I will share my visit with you and hopefully entice you to book your next weekend away there. California residents have it easy. We can take a one-hour flight to San Francisco and then rent a car to travel about an hour to Napa, where we can have a perfect, fulfilling weekend away.

I love food and I love wine. In San Francisco and Napa Valley, you can experience the best of both. I consider San Francisco to be a miniature New York City. Like the east coast metropolis, San Francisco is a highly walkable city that offers diverse cuisine—some of the most superb in the country; excellent shopping; and a rich cultural experience.

This was a quick weekend getaway; one night in San Francisco and one night in Napa Valley. I chose to travel at the best time of the year for each destination because I love drinking a fine glass of wine, in the most impeccable setting, on a beautiful day in fall. In mid-September, the weather in Napa is fantastic. The skies are crystal clear and daily temperatures hover in the mid-80s, cooling to the mid-50s at night.

Flying into San Francisco on a Friday evening, with only one night’s stay, dinner arrangements were set at my favorite restaurant, La Mar Cebicheria. La Mar elevated Peruvian cuisine by becoming the first US restaurant established by famed Lima chef Gaston Acurio. La Mar is situated on San Francisco’s waterfront, only a couple blocks from the Ferry building.

The atmosphere is vibrant, refreshing, and energetic.

You can always count on the fare at La Mar to be fresh and exquisite. Local fish and produce plays in dishes like fresh ceviche, grilled meat, seafood skewers, and their classic Lomo saltado (beef tenderloin stir fry with fried egg, papa fritas, and rice). One thing not to be missed is the national Peruvian drink, Pisco Sour. It is delicious and will knock you off your feet before you know it, so be prepared. Cheers!

Left to right: Pisco Sour perfection (Barsol pisco quebranta, lime, egg white, Aangostura bitters); Cebiche tasting (Clasico, Mixto, and Nikei); Chaufa Aeropuerto (pork fried rice, vegetables, mushrooms, shrimp, egg tortilla, and spicy garlic sauce); Weekly special Grilled Halibut glazed with ahi chimichurri, quinoa rice chaufa, and chifa salad; Lome Saltado (beef tenderloin, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce, potatoes, and rice).

We were so lucky for the generous accommodations when we stayed at The Clift Hotel in Union Square, one of San Francisco’s hottest hotels. We were situated in studio suite. A Morgans Group Hotel, Clift is well-appointed with whimsical, surrealistic furnishings. This hyper-modern hotel has a cool, seductive architecture, which helps make it renowned. Featuring an enormous chair from Ray and Charles Eames and a coffee table by Salvador Dali, the lobby is attention grabbing.

We got an early start to the day to make full use of it. Thank you to 5 star Limousine Connection for arranging our car service while we indulged in delicious wine.

Our first stop was Artesa Winery, a destination on its own simply for its spectacular design, art, and nature. It sits atop a tall hill and overlooks the notable Carneros in southern Napa Valley. While that wasn’t our sole reason to visit the winery, wine quality and appeal must always come first.

We were fortunate to have such a welcoming gem in Anne Salazar, who served as our private tour and tasting guide. Our grand tour of the whole facility ended in a divine tasting of Artesa’s current finest.

Second stop was another favorite, Stags Leap Wine Cellars

Considered one of Napa Valley’s first growths, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars produces renowned Cabernet Sauvignons from its historic Stag Leap District estate vineyards. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ three estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons—CASK 23, S.L.V., and FAY—are among the most highly regarded and sought after Cabernet Sauvignons in the world. The wines are fashioned to express richness balanced by elegant restraint, an approach we refer to as “an iron fist in a velvet glove.”

Food never sounded so good at this point. For dinner we dined at The Farm at Carneros. FARM is an upscale American farm-to-table eatery highlighting simple, elegant cuisine utilizing seasonal ingredients from the restaurant’s culinary garden. One of Napa Valley’s best fine dining establishments, FARM’s stylish dining room features fireplaces, dramatic lighting and cathedral ceilings. An innovative cocktail menu and an extensive wine list. The restaurant is seasonally inspired, where freshness is there upmost importance.

I suggest to arrive early to seat in their outdoor lounge to start the beautiful evening surrounded by the peaceful breeze and calming, illuminating fire pits. Before moving into the dining room an unforgettable evening of indulgence.

The next morning we woke up in Napa Valley.

A must for every visit to Napa Valley is brunch at Auberge du Soleil. If there is one thing you should commit to, let it be this. I recommend booking reservations in advance.

Set high above the valley floor, showcasing breathtaking views, this hotel is impeccably beautiful. To spend a morning gazing out over the valley is perfection, especially while enjoying a fresh breakfast and a morning cup of Joe.

To conclude the trip, we traveled back through San Francisco, where we visited the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden in Golden State Park.

Pure serenity and elegance

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Blog, Rural, Travel, Travel Inspiration

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