napa valley ca

When L and I went to Napa, we wanted to go to two vineyards.  We had limited time and also, let’s be honest — after 3 vineyards (unless you’re spitting it out), you can’t taste the difference.

Or at least my taste buds are fried after 3.  So in that spirit, we only went to two. 

The first was called Stag’s Leap (not to be confused with Stags’ Leap).  I hated it.  Their Merlot was good and their Cabernet was even better.  But it was their attitude that was severely lacking.  I felt like I was imposing on their “chat fest” by visiting.  I thought they were rude and pretentious.  Plus, they had no crackers or bread to help cleanse the palette.  What’s up with that?  It was too bad because while they make good wine, I’ll never order it again.  Oh, and on my flight back — I ended up talking to the couple next to me (and they were with the couple behind me) — we all concurred that this was the worst vineyard in Napa because of their attitude. 

The second was fantastic — Mumm Napa.  Yummy!  Besides the outstanding view of the mountains, we sat outside and were greeted by extremely warm  and friendly people.  They gave us this small plastic container of crackers.  When we ordered, they explained a little bit about each sparkling wine (they can’t call it champagne).   It was truly a fantastic experience and a place I’d highly recommend.

The next time I go to Napa (ha ha, hear that L…I’m looking forward to visiting again!), I want to hit Hess.   I’ve enjoyed Hess for seven years (at least).  I’ve noticed since I first started drinking it, it’s much more widely available. 

Finally, L said the best view of Napa was at Rutherford Vineyard.  It was pretty spectacular.

Rutherford  Rutherford2

And again, I’m no sommelier, but I do think it’s fun!


I went to Napa during my trip to the San Francisco area.  I’ll talk about the vineyards we visited later, but for now, the food. 

Holy cow folks, was Taylor’s Refresher amazing.  I can see why they won the James Beard Award last year. 

  • Food: I’ll start with the bad.  The Ahi Tuna burger I got was bad.  It was soggy.  Quite discouraging though as it was supposed to be fantastic.  My colleague/friend, when I reported back (it was her recommendation to go), said I should have returned it.  I probably should have.   Anyway, the rest of the meal was amazing.  L ordered fish tacos.  I should preface the rest of the food we ordered by telling you that yet again, we hadn’t had lunch so this was lupper (or linner).  We got an order of onion rings, sweet potato fries, and a chocolate shake — and I think they were the best I’ve ever had.  The onion rings were amazing — I don’t know how they were able to keep the onions inside when you bite them.  Most of the time, the onions come out of the ring.  The sweet potato fries were crispy and tasty.  The chocolate shake was thick and creamy.  

Taylors  Fish Tacos  Ahi  Chocolate shake  Sweet Pototoes  Onion rings

  • Service: I lost the bet with L.  For some reason, I thought you could eat inside.  You can’t.  You order at a window.
  • Atmosphere: It’s all picnic tables outside and it’s beautiful.  We went on a Friday evening (around 6/7 PM) and I think we met all the children of Napa-area.  It seemed like it was a hangout for parents and kids.  It’s super casual with fantastic food.
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I will absolutely make sure to come back (but will get a burger, not Ahi Tuna next time)!  I am already craving the sweet potato fries, onion rings, and chocolate shake.  Too bad it’s on the other coast!


  • Reservation not accepted (it’s picnic tables for crying out loud!).
  • Hours: 11 AM-8 PM daily
  • Address: 933 Main Street; St. Helena, CA 94574
  • Ph: 707-963-3486