Babymoon

16 May

Some expectant parents to be take a vacation called a “babymoon” right before their little ones arrive.  I think the concept is a little backwards.  While one last hurrah does sound enticing, I think a vacation after surviving the first year sounds a little more deserving.  Since a honeymoon comes after getting married, I think a “babymoon” should come after having a baby not before.

Matt and I have always enjoyed traveling and most of our travel centers around restaurants we want to try and bands we want to see.  A few months back he mentioned a festival he had read about that was a four day music, wine, and food festival in Napa and asked if I would like to go….Ummm, yeah!  I had booked the flight and bought the tickets before the day was over.

I was a little nervous about leaving Liam for a week but I knew he would be in good hands with grandparents.  It was a little sad being away from him on my First Mother’s Day but Facetime and this sweet photo made it a little better…

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I think it’s very important for mom and dad to make time for themselves and to continue to do things they enjoyed before the baby.  For Matt and I, this is taking time to enjoy good music and food.   We try to regularly schedule a sitter so we can slip out for date night and also try to take little mini vacations here and there.  This was a long one but with Liam’s first birthday looming, it was a celebratory one of making it through our first year with Liam still liking us (we think) and no emergency room visits (I probably shouldn’t have said that five days before his birthday).

While the cornerstone of our vacation was the music festival, we did enjoy a few great meals while we were there.  We kicked off the vacation at Morimoto (you know the Iron Chef that always wins the battle) in downtown Napa.  We ordered a variety of things ranging from Tuna Pizza to Wagyu Beef Carpaccio.  We were so hungry after a long flight and battling San Francisco rush hour for two hours, so we just kept ordering things!  The highlight of the meal was dessert…Morimoto S’Mores made with Smoked Soy Chocolate Mousse and toasted marshmallow.  I should have taken pictures but I was soooo hungry.  Sorry, you will just have to let your imagination run wild on this one!

DSC_0271_edited-2The next day we visited Domaine Chandon winery in Yountville and had lunch at Etoile.  I had read about the Chef Perry Hoffman in Food & Wine Magazine.  He was awarded the “People’s Best New Chef” in a recent issue.  We decided to be adventurous and order the Chef’s tasting menu which consisted of five courses.  The presentation of each course was beautiful and full of edible flowers and garnish that really set off the plates.  Each dish was paired with a sauce or other accompaniment that combined many different fresh vegetables and herbs.  The flavors brought out in each dish was stunning.  When I asked Matt halfway through the meal what he though, his words were “if we had access to food like this where we live… we would be very broke.”  He’s probably right because I could certainly eat like this everyday for lunch!  It was a beautiful day and we were seated on the patio.  The dishes we enjoyed and the best description I can muster…

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We started the course with an “amuse bouche” of an oven roasted oyster with bernaise sauce.

Next up was yellowtail himachi with assorted radishes.

Then a fish (I wish I could remember what kind) served in a Meyer Lemon Sauce with various herbs and edible flowers.  It was delicious!

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Third was rabbit served with beets, rhubarb, and a pink peppercorn sauce.  It was to die for!  Matt actually compared rabbit to squirrel during our lunch.  I don’t think so….

 

 

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Fourth was a pork tenderloin accompanied by a cherry sauce and bread salad.

 

 

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Last but not least was a banana, chocolate and peanut butter dessert.  The crust was made with olives!  We ate every single bite of this meal and were miserable the rest of the day!

 

Many of you may have followed my previous blog about cooking my way through Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc Cookbook.  Matt had promised me that if I finished the book, he would take me to Napa for dinner at the French Laundry (hailed as the best restaurant in the country).  I made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before becoming pregnant with Liam and the project has been on hold since.  We did book Mother’s Day Brunch at Ad Hoc (his family style casual restaurant) and this was actually the restaurant I attempted to “cook the book” from.  It was kind of neat to see the actual place that spawned the book that I spent countless hours on.  We enjoyed a wonderful seasonal green salad, crab eggs benedict, blueberry almond pancakes, and strawberry parfait with lavender shortbread cookies for brunch.  Matt didn’t give me a time expiration on the French Laundry so maybe I can finish the book before the next trip to Napa.  He better start saving up now!

DSC_0297_edited-1Much of the remaining time in Napa was spent at the music festival where we snacked on dishes served up by local restaurants and sipped wine from wineries in the area.  It was pretty neat to be at a music festival that served sushi from Morimoto and wine from Silver Oak.  We ended up seeing several bands including Joan Jett, the Black Crowes, the Avett Brothers (the cello player to the left was a trip!), the Alabama Shakes, Jackson Brown, the Wallflowers, Train, Zac Brown Band, and a new favorite band of mine the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

The Chocolate Drops were incredible!  I love bluegrass and they put on a show like none other.  Check them out…this song reminded me of growing up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVIaiADsyYo

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One of the highlights for me of the music festival was getting backstage to see the Alabama
Shakes.  We saw a long line next to the stage about 30 minutes before the show started and we decided if there was a line that long, it had to be for something good.  Three songs into the set, we were backstage.  Look at all of these people!

 

 

IMG_0397_edited-1Last but certainly not least on our list of Napa Experiences was one of the biggest reasons we went, seeing the Zac Brown Band.  They were amazing!  I pushed my way to the front and ended up in the front row.  Matt bailed on me in favor of the bathroom, but I stayed up there the entire time and it was great.  They put on a rocking show!  Check out how close I was (excuse the bad I Phone Picture)…

The next day we were at the airport for breakfast and I noticed the bass player from the band (who played right in front of me the night before) walking into the restaurant.  We started looking around and recognized other band members.  Putting two and two together, we realized the band was on our flight back to Atlanta!  It took me a few minutes to pick Zac (you see we’re on a first name basis now) out as he was flying incognito with sunglasses and his signature beanie.  The security detail clued me in.  I really wanted to approach him but never really had a good opportunity after I figured out it was for sure him.  The most interesting thing about this story is that the entire Zac Brown Band (including Zac himself) flies coach.  Who would have thought?   Meanwhile, I had cashed in sky miles for first class tickets (babymoom remember?).  I tried my hardest to convince Matt to “offer” his seat to Zac next to me but he was not being a team player.  This could have been a much better story!  Zac, if you are reading this…I tried.

I apologize for the long post but I thought you may enjoy reading about something besides baby food.  We enjoyed our trip so much and may even try to do it again next year.  Since we will be approaching the terrible two’s at that time, I think a week per year is in order so we may have to do a two week stint!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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