Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel


Napa Trip Day Two: Hurley’s Restaurant in Yountville

The next chapter in our Napa trip was a stop at Hurley’s Restaurant. To give you an idea of what Hurley’s looks like during the day I have posted the picture above. It’s the ivy covered building you can see from Highway 29 on the right just before the Yountville exit. If you love food that was made to pair with wine and a wine list that was selected around the food, I recommend taking the Yountville exit and getting a table. (Note: Reservations are highly recommended.)
Here’s a picture of the front of the restaurant at night, right before we went inside. Yountville of course has a great reputation for fine dining, and Hurley’s Restaurant is no exception. The restaurant was opened in November 2002, by head chef Bob Hurley. Before opening Hurley’s, Chef Hurley had previously served as a chef Domaine Chandon and then later as head chef at Napa Valley Grille. If there is any particular focus on a cuisine, I would say it is Mediterranean inspired with a focus of seasonal and local use of ingredients. 
Pop quiz: What do you do when you are at dinner and one of you wants white wine and the other wants red? Well, you either get 2 bottles of wine, or you pick a fantastic compromise: ZD Pinot Noir. If you prefer white wine and want to branch out, this is a great wine to try. I am partial to Chardonnays, especially in Napa, but the BF wanted to drink red for our meal because of what he planned to order. We get into this pickle often, but this time I let him choose because I chose the wine the night before. 😉 It turned out to be a great payoff.
Now I am going to tell you about the best appetizer I have ever eaten. It was from the special Wild Game menu that Chef Hurley devises a few times a year. I will never forget this dish because it was so clever and because of how much flavor was packed into it. It was a pancetta wrapped quail brochette, and here’s a photo of it that does not do it justice at all. 
I will be replicating this dish at home for sure!

Next, I ordered this shrimp salad, and it didn’t even need dressing. The shrimp were plump and fresh delicately tucked into the crisp lettuce. It might have been 100 calories at most and so I splurged a little on my appetizer and main entrée (which you will see below).

One thing I really like about Hurley’s is that they have a regular menu and a menu that is completely gluten-free. These menus are a step that all restaurants should take, because so many people are gluten sensitive, or are like me and choose not to eat gluten or grains at all for vanity reasons. 😉

The BF ordered the wild boar ribs with sweet potato fries and coleslaw. The meat was cooked perfectly and it was very tender. More importantly, it was not overly sauced and the flavor of the meat really stood out!

And instead of an entrée, I opted for a cheese plate. I especially loved the hard cheeses in this ensemble, which included a smoked gouda (I liked best) and some almonds with truffled honey. 

The staff, hard at work. 
Dining area shot from my table in the corner. By the way, there’s a stone fireplace in the room that makes for a very romantic setting!

What are you doing NewYears Eve? Hurley’s is celebrating with a special four course prix fixe celebration dinner.

The menu is located here and it looks pretty amazing… 🙂

The dinner is $85 per person and each guest will receive a complimentary glass of Domaine Chandon, Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine.

For a link to other events on Hurley’s calendar (including a Robert Burns dinner on January 25th–how cool is that?!), click here.

You can find Hurley’s on Facebook here.

Napa Trip Day Two: Napa Valley Marriott: Wowed by the Transformation!

After wine tasting in the Silverado area at Duckhorn and Frank Family, my BF and I headed back towards true Napa Valley to check into the Napa Valley Marriott.
It had been a few years since my last stay there. Since then, the hotel has undergone a $7 million facelift that was completed in April of this year. I was completely happy with my stay last time, so when I walked into the hotel, I was shocked at the transformation from quaint and comfortable to modern and fabulous!

The remodel project was completed in two phases over 15 months. At the end of it all, 275 rooms, the spa, meeting space, fitness center and the hotel lobby were redone.

Here’s a little rundown of the many new and updated features of the Napa Valley Marriott:

• a heated outdoor pool and whirlpool

• a fitness center

• 275 guest rooms, featuring Marriott’s Revive bedding

• VINeleven Restaurant and Bar

• 20,000 square feet of event space

• a complimentary daily wine and cheese tasting

What I can’t get over is that it was such a nice place to stay before the remodel (not to mention now), and so what I can honestly say is this: For the ambiance of the hotel and the quality of the room versus the price (rates begin at about $159 per night), it’s the best hotel deal Napa Valley has to offer. Also, here’s a list of their current package deals, combining a stay at the Napa Valley Marriott with such activities as the Napa Valley Wine Train, a golf outing, or a hot air balloon adventure.

For more photos of the property please check out their photo gallery here.

Here’s a picture of the new dining area (VINeleven Restaurant and Bar). We were on our way to dinner at Hurley’s (post to come) when I took this shot of one of the handsome bar tables (there are three or four large ones in the room.)

I was not aware the Napa Valley Marriott had the updated restaurant with such a desirable menu (hello Artisanal Cheese Plate!!), or I would have considered eating dinner right in the hotel that night! Extra tip: My buddy Rick Bakas recommends the chickpea fries. I guess they really are “Crazy Good” as the menu states.

In the morning if you wish, you can enjoy breakfast (served buffet style) on the patio. The set up is completely gorgeous and the food looked fantastic.

Who goes to Napa to workout? I DO, OK?! 😉 Here’s a photo of the gym (located right next door to the hotel), equipped with treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and free weights. There’s also a little towel refrigerator which was a nice added touch.

Below is a picture of the room we stayed in. The patio door opens up to a little seating area outside. We had coffee outside the next day and listened to all the activity on the patio during breakfast. 🙂

In front of the full length closet mirror (an amenity I appreciate),
before heading to dinner at Hurley’s in Yountville.

There’s a great laid back and positive vibe going on in the lobby both in the morning and at night. I witnessed the staff and how they are happy to be there in their behavior towards other guests (not just me). In turn, the guests all seemed to be enjoying themselves and their surroundings.

During the evening, there is a complimentary daily wine and cheese tasting, featuring various area wineries.

Here’s a picture of their outdoor patio and firepit. It was a little chilly that evening, but I can only imagine the fun outside once things heat up!

Speaking of fun, what are you doing New Years Eve? I want to let you know about the party Napa Valley Marriott is throwing on December 31st:

Ring in the New Year in the Napa Valley! This year the Napa Valley Marriott is taking you back in time to an era of afros and bellbottoms. Event includes: Live Disco Music from San Francisco Band


Hosted Hors d’oeurves stations from Executive Chef Brian Whitmer: Action stations to include prepared-to-order VINeleven’s specialties:
Chicken-Cashew Lettuce Cups, Porcini Ravioli, Crispy Fried Asparagus with Meyer Lemon Aioli and much more. Local oysters opened to order. 
Starbucks ‘Viennese-style Coffee Bar with Biscotti and Freshly Baked Pastries
Balloon Drop at Midnight
Party favors
Midnight Toast sponsored by Domaine Chandon
Disco attire suggested and awards for Best Dressed Male and Female
Photo booth on-hand with free, unlimited photo prints of you and your friends
2012 Fortune Teller
Raffle and Silent Auction to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Napa Valley featuring hotel stays, spa treatments, trips, wine and more!
Tickets to the party are $75.00 per person + taxes/fees. You can click here to order!

Or if you are interested in staying overnight, the NVM has a package that includes all of the above plus:
Overnight accommodations for 2
2 tickets to the Napa Boogie Bash
A New Year’s Day Recovery Breakfast for 2: featuring our “KC Barbecue Bloody Mary’s”, Breakfast Chorizo Burger “Sliders” and big screen football games
Late check out of 1pm on Sunday, January 1st

$299.00 + tax per couple.

You can click here to purchase the package.

You can find the Napa Valley Marriott on Facebook here, and follow them on twitter here.

Morning view from our patio. Thank you, Napa Valley Marriott. 🙂