I feel slightly guilty about not writing anything for this website since November. To be honest, there wasn’t much to write about over the holidays, and pitches in my inbox have not been very interesting or have not been a good fit. So I decided to come back with something very personal which I would enjoy writing about and definitely love reading many times over the years. Please indulge me as I recall the most perfect weekend of my life (so far), March 17-20th, 2017, our trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, where Andy and I got married.
We flew out on St. Patrick’s Day (Friday) on Southwest Airlines directly to Las Vegas from Sacramento, which is probably one of the easiest and shortest flights in existence. I ran 10 miles that morning (it was weigh-in day) and I was doing everything I could do look good for the ceremony (planned for Sunday), so I didn’t have the free cocktail offered to us on the plane (it was only about 3:30 when we took off, and a little early for me anyway).
Thanks to a late(r) check-in, we didn’t get to sit together––Andy was sitting directly in front of me––and I was sandwiched in between two guys in their twenties, passing the time by doing a crossword puzzle (which is one of my go-to things to do to occupy myself on an airplane). People are so weird with their window/aisle seat obsessions. I was admittedly overly annoyed with having to sit between two “bros” and not be able to sit beside Andy. It’s just that I love our time together and know that it’s finite. I already don’t spend enough time with him because we both work so much. I love the person he is while we are on vacation. Andy really likes to have fun when it’s time to have fun. I love that about him. I love sitting beside him and looking over at his profile and his face and I love holding his hand. I love it that he kind of ribs me about stuff. But, I love that he makes me laugh sometimes when I least expect it.
Anyway, I just sat there in my seat and prayed that the flight would be done soon and that my wedding dress (which I had checked in the larger of the two suitcases we checked) would arrive with me along with my designer dress I rented and all of my cosmetics and skincare products. See, it takes a lot to make me look like a girl…I mean, Industrial Light and Magic would shudder at the job. I was on the verge of hiring a team for hair and makeup for this trip, but ultimately I decided I had enough faith in my own skills.
We landed soon, and I was reunited with Andy. We were able to find our luggage right away and get the rental car fairly quickly. Our trip to Las Vegas was a package deal with flight, hotel and rental car all rolled into one cost. I think it was around $1500. I tell you that only because I want to look back ten years from now and laugh/cry about how affordable this trip was.
Our hotel reservation was for the SLS Hotel and Casino, mainly because we wanted to see a show at the same hotel on the next evening. And not just any show, but Saturday Night Live alumni Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz. We figured it would be so great to have dinner at our hotel, then walk across the casino into the nightclub to see two of our favorite comedians, and then be able to walk back to the elevator to head up to our room. We stayed on the 19th floor, room #311933.
We checked in around 5:30 or 6:00, and huddled on where we might go to dinner. The only criteria I had was that I wanted to eat at a celebrity chef-owned restaurant (that night). We had already made plans for Saturday and Sunday night dinner destinations, so this was the only night we weren’t sure where we would end up. We decided to try Guy Fieri’s Las Vegas Kitchen and Bar at the LINQ. Aaaand cue the food and beverage pics!! 🙂
We arrived at the restaurant around 7:30-7:45, and there was probably a 30 minute wait. We really didn’t give a damn. We were both so happy to be in Las Vegas and all checked into our hotel, and to be at Guy Fieri’s restaurant.
To all the Guy Fieri haters, I don’t know what you’re mad about. Maybe you’re just extremely jealous. For me, I find Guy Fieri’s story extremely fascinating. Andy and his mother actually met him during the Tex Wasabi days in Sacramento. I saw him live at a food and wine festival and thought he was very entertaining. I am not sure what all the negativity is about. At the bar, we were actually excited to wait for a table amidst all the St. Patrick’s Day partying and shenanigans of others (which were actually entertaining to watch, as we could see a lot of people were having bachelor/bachelorette parties). While we waited for a table, I had a vodka and diet coke (came with one of those giant ice cubes I like), and Andy had a white wine blend.
We were seated fairly quickly and again, I just remember being so excited about the weekend to come (and all the food and beverages, OK, that, too)! We decided that we would order the Triple T Fries (because I am obsessed with Truffle flavored anything). The description on the menu is as follows: Julienned-cut fries tossed with black truffle & truffle infused gouda, served with a creamy white truffle dip.
For my entrée, I ordered the Italian Deli Salad (crown of prosciutto-wrapped smoked provolone, imported Italian meats and cheeses, romaine lettuce, olives and pickled Italian veggies with chicken breast added). The prosciutto was the largest piece I have ever seen and very thick. I thought I was taking the light way out by getting a salad, but I can imagine Guy himself laughing in my face at my attempt.
Andy ordered the Flat Iron Steak and Smashed Potatoes (8 oz. prime flat iron steak, seared and sliced with garlic smashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, onion straws and chimichurri sauce).
And to pair with our meal, we ordered a Red Wine Blend by Hunt and Ryde Winery, produced by Guy Fieri and named after his sons, Hunter and Ryder.
We had to call it a night fairly early because we had business to take care of the next day (workout, wedding license, tuxedo rental) before dinner and the show we had come to Las Vegas to see: Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz: Reunited, so we headed back to the SLS Hotel immediately after dinner.
The next day, we were off to the Clark County Courthouse to get our marriage license. And that’s where I will pick up with Part Two of We’re Married!
Believe it or not, the winter season is the perfect time to enjoy a small getaway in a lesser-known/celebrated part of Wine Country. Andy and I just returned from a trip to the Russian River area and were hosted by a lovely place called the Applewood Inn
The Applewood Inn is a lavishly restored the historic Mission-Revival home built in 1922 by Ralph “Rooster” Belden for his wife Gretchen “Pet” and their son John “Bunny” Belden. It was purchased in 1985 by Jim Caron and Darryl Notter and converted into an Inn. The Applewood began its first for guests only, dinner on Thanksgiving Day 1985. Christmas and New Year’s Day dinners followed in quick succession and the inn’s reputation as a place to dine as well as stay rapidly began to take form.
In 1995, the first phase of expansion of the Applewood saw the addition of seven new luxurious guest suites housed in a “Piccola Casa” designed to mirror the Mission-Revival architecture of the original Belden mansion.
This Boutique Wine Country Inn, with its now 19 rooms and suites, a fine food restaurant, and spa, is located one hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the heart of the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir growing region. We stayed in room sixteen: Siena and Il Terrazzo di Amore. It’s located atop the Piccola Casa, and was designed with honeymoons and lovers in mind. 🙂 It features a king size bed with a Tempur-Pedic mattress, lofted ceilings, a dual head shower for two, a gas fireplace, and a private terrace.
The terrace showcases a couple’s “love triangle” hot tub, a fire pit table, and a fountain. This suite and terrace is the perfect hideaway for a romantic wine country interlude.
Breakfast is included with every stay and is served exclusively inn guests. It is served from 7:30-10:00 am at the restaurant.
The Applewood has chosen the finest organic coffees and teas from local artisans, and upon entry for breakfast guests are welcome to serve themselves at the bar and then take a seat at any of the tables that have been set. A two course breakfast is then served your table by the breakfast team.
As an alternative to the main course you may order eggs (any style) with toast and bacon. Included in your breakfast at no additional charge you may order: apple, cranberry or orange juice, espresso, cappuccino or latte, hot chocolate or mocha, or sparkling wine (Mimosas!!)
The second night of our stay (Sunday evening), we ate in the hotel’s restaurant, which has been awarded One Star by the Michelin Guide for 2011 and 2012. Sunday is local’s night and there is free corkage on All Russian River AVA Wines, as well as a $35.00 Per Person three course dinner available.
We had been wine tasting and shopping earlier in the day, and chose a bottle of Iron Horse Estate Pinot Noir (2012) to bring with us to enjoy the free corkage promotion with our dinner.
For our appetizers, we chose the Dungeness Crab: fresh crab, tomatoes, fennel, mushroom dashi stock.
And a beet salad with radish and chorizo:
For our entrées, Andy selected the Grimauld Farms Duck Breast with celeriac and chestnut puree, swiss chard cipollini onions, and a pinot-cherry jus:
And I ordered the Coffee Crusted Creekstone Ranch Ribeye: baby rocket, pommes anna, point reyes blue cheese marchand de vin:
The dinner was marvelous and very romantic. It was so convenient that our room was just a quick few steps back from the restaurant and we didn’t have to drive back.
I mentioned earlier that we had been wine tasting on Sunday, and I would like to mention some of the stops we made. Mainly because I truly enjoy the wines of the area and hope you’ll take my recommendations on where you should visit if you go!
Stop #1: Iron Horse Vineyards: Not only do they make some of the best sparkling wines I have ever tasted, they also make still wines from their all estate grown grapes: chardonnay and pinot noir. (You can find them on Facebook here and on Twitter here.)
Stop #2: Martin Ray Winery: This winery covers pinot noir, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot with skill. (You can find them on Facebook here and on Twitter here.)
Stop #3: Moshin Vineyards: I discovered Moshin wines at Sacramento restaurant (and my loyal advertiser) Piatti. So, when I found out Moshin had a tasting room nearby, they became the last stop in our afternoon of tasting. My favorite in their current release of red wines is the 2010 Lost Ranch Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. (You can find them on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.)
On Monday morning before heading home, Andy and I ran the trails at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, just a quick drive (about 3 miles) from the Applewood Inn. It was so scenic. The trees were unbelievable! 🙂
Thank you to the management at Applewood Inn. We had a wonderful time and I am blessed to let my readers in on a new place to visit in wine country! You can find the Applewood Inn on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.
Dining out can be a little tricky on the Paleo diet. Standard restaurant menus are a gauntlet of gluten, sugar, and dairy laden dishes, not to mention the cheap seed oils that are used to prepare them.
The above slide show is from a restaurant at which my Paleo partner and I dined called Coyote Bar & Grill.
In the title I say, “Speak up!” because in order to stick to the principles of a gluten-free, sugar-free diet, you are often times going to find yourself in need of certain menu substitutions to make restaurant meals work best for you. And THAT IS OK! You are the customer, and you are paying for your meal. You should enjoy it and not fret about what the server or the chef will think of you if you ask for something special.
Of course, substitutions and modifications might not work so much in a chain restaurant (especially fast food) because food is not made to order), but typically most restaurants are glad to accommodate a customer with special dietary needs. Especially if they ever want to see that customer ever again.
When we dined at Coyote, we were very hungry from running in the Carlsbad 5000 5K race. Directly after the race, my boyfriend had conquered a half chicken at Pollos Maria, but it was 4 hours later, and his appetite had come back with a vengeance. And I was ready to eat, too, after running harder than I ever have in my entire life.
For our appetizer, we ordered the “Guacamole Especial”, which on the menu is listed as “homemade guac, cheese, salsa fresca, tortilla chips”. All I had to do was ask if they could substitute some sort of raw vegetable for the tortilla chips, and please leave off the cheese. They were very agreeable and the BF and I were able to enjoy a perfectly Paleo prelude to our entrees. 🙂
For my main course, I ordered the Grilled Seafood Salad: Grilled scallops, prawns, fresh fish, mixed greens, Feta cheese, tomato, baby corn & Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette. To make it Paleo, all I had to do was ask the server to leave off the dressing, and I picked around the cheese and the baby corn. Everything else was perfect!
BF ordered the Grilled Salmon and asked for double grilled vegetables instead of the wild rice. The dinner also came with a mixed greens salad. We also ordered 4 shrimp skewers ala carte. After my salad, I could only eat one of them. I also wanted to note that instead of dressing, I often mix in guacamole into my greens. That way I avoid sugars and soy oil blends (often GMOs) that are notorious ingredients in salad dressings (even house made ones).
So, remember when you go out to eat, you’re in the driver’s seat. You can choose where to go and several details about your meal (in many cases down to how it is prepared). Don’t worry about being a pain if you ask for something that’s not exactly spelled out on the menu. Ask how things are prepared and stay away from adjectives like “breaded, fried”. Words such as “grilled, raw, steamed” are your new best friends!
Happy dining to all my Paleo friends out there!
PS: If you have any Paleo/Primal dining tips/tricks please feel free to share them below! 🙂
Sorry about the lack of posting. I have been a very busy girl lately. I am currently working three part-time jobs, and between those and keeping a steady fitness routine, that gives me little time to devote to writing.
But, while I have a moment to spare, I wanted to let you know about some events happening in Mendocino and Ukiah during the month of March, and a great place to stay while you are there.
What is so special about Super 8 Ukiah and why did I title this post the way that I did? These awards on the wall begin to paint the picture. Super 8 Ukiah uses modern techniques of being nature friendly by using recyclable papers to for cleaning, electrically economical lights, healthy practices of waste and resource management. They also offer complimentary electrical vehicle charging for hotel guests.
You can read more about their environmental efforts and practices and what they do to maintain the awards bestowed on them here on their blog
Watching Ocean’s Eleven
(a treat because I don’t have a tv at home) from the comfy bed and snacking on dates, almonds, and strawberries. 🙂
This is the breakfast nook area in the check-in lobby where complimentary breakfast is served every morning from 6:00am-9:30am.
Room 224 where we stayed. 🙂
You can find Super 8 Ukiah on Facebook here and on twitter here.
March 3-4, 2012: Mendocino Village Whale Festival
The 30th Annual Mendocino Whale Festival will see the area’s top chefs serve up their takes on New England clam chowder, as well as Mendocino County wineries pouring their unique vintages for tasting at historic Mendocino Village shops, galleries and inns.
March 10-11, 2012: Little River Whale Festival
During the 3rd Annual Little River Whale Festival, visitors will savor bites from the kitchens of the town’s noted chefs, sip wines from Mendocino County vintners, get their art and adventure passport stamped for the chance to win a fabulous prize, take a history or a whale watching walk, go on an artist studio tour, sit down to a fireside talk with local historians, or take advantage of a “Whale of a Sale” at various Little River inns (stay two nights, get the third free).The Festival benefits the Mendocino Area Parks Association (MAPA) and the jewel of Little River, Van Damme State Park.
March 17-18, 2012: Fort Bragg Whale Festival
The festivities are endless at the 30th Annual Fort Bragg Whale Festival, which features flavorful microbrew beer, chowder and wine tastings for adults and arts and crafts fair and “sea-life” kiddie parade for children. The Whale Run and Walk, Whale Cruises out of Noyo Harbor, Whale-Watching Excursions on Horseback and more round out the weekend of whale-tastic fun for all.
Other March Mendocino Events
Point Cabrillo Lighthouse Whale Watching – 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, free, Point Cabrillo Lighthouse in Mendocino, 800.262.7801 www.pointcabrillo.org
Mendocino Whale Festival Concert: An Evening of Wood and Steel – 8:00 pm, $20 in advance & $25 at the door, Crown Hall in Mendocino, 800.585.0095
Pt. Arena Crafts Show and Bazaar – 9:00 am, free, Point Arena City Hall in Point Arena. For more information call 707.785.3538
Second Saturday Wine and Food Tasting – 9:00 am, free, Milano Winery, 707.744.1396.
Mendocino Stories and Music Series “Braet and Brown Jazz Duo”: 7:30 pm, $10 to $15 per person, Hill House in Mendocino, 866.937.1732.
The Unauthorized Rolling Stones – 8:00 pm, $18 adults/$10 youth, Arena Theater in Point Arena, 707.882.3272.
Dahlia Tuber Sale– 9:00 am, free, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg,707.964.4352 www.gardenbythesea.org
March 17th-18th Saint Patrick’s Day Sale and Wine Tasting: 10:00 am, free, Milano Winery in Hopland,707.744.1396.
March 24th Mendocino Stories and Music Series “Mendo Bobfest” – 7:30 pm, $15 in advance/$20 at the door, Hill House Inn in Mendocino, 707.937.1732.
March 25th Orixa-Inspired Dance Workshop – 1:00 pm, $20, Mendocino Ballet Company in Ukiah, 707.468.5338
March 30th Mendocino Stories and Music Series “Hit and Run Theater Improv Comedy” – 7:30 pm, $10 to $15, Hill House Inn in Mendocino, 707.937.1732www.mendocinostories.com
March 31st – April 1st Learn to Kayak Weekend – 9:00 am, $160 to $200 per person, Liquid Fusion Kayaking in Fort Bragg, 707.962.1623 www.liquidfusionkayak.com
Ongoing Events throughout March
Mendocino Art Center’s Marine Wildlife Show– Free, Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, 707.937.5818.
“Introductions”: Devore, O’Feral, Sandberg and Lawrence – Free, Open Thursday thru Monday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Partners Gallery in Fort Bragg, 707.962.0233
Whale Graphite Objects by Agelio Batle – Free, Open Friday – Monday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Studio 391 in Point Arena, 707.884.9065
Taco Thursday – Prices vary, Mendocino Hotel in Mendocino, 707.937.0511
Farmers Markets – Free to the public. Visit www.mcfarm.org for city locations, dates and times.
Wine Pairing Host-Table Dinner– 6:00 pm, Sunday, Monday and Saturday, $90 pp w/wine pairing or $65 for non-drinkers, Glendeven Inn in Little River, 707.937.0083.
Sunday Brunch – Every Sunday starting at 8:00 am, prices vary, Mendocino Hotel in Mendocino, 707.937.0511.
So, if you haven’t been to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento recently, you must swing by and take a peek!
A little party was held there last night to celebrate the newly renovated lobby, lounge, Vines Restaurant, second floor meeting space, 12th floor suite and the amazing 360 degree view of the 15th floor Capitol View Room. I felt like one of the luckiest girls in the world–sipping wine at the top of the Hyatt with my sweetie, and taking in the absolute best view in town of Sacramento and the State Capitol.
Me and my date! 🙂
The Hyatt Sacramento applied for and received a Hyatt Community Grant
which nominates and honors local non-profit organizations for funding
built around the Hyatt’s philanthropic pillars–Environmental
sustainability, education and personal advancement, economic development
and investment or health and wellness. Hyatt Sacramento is one of only
27 Hyatt properties worldwide to be recognized to receive a grant. Their
nominated non-profit organization, the Stanford Settlement Neighborhood
Center received this honor and a $15,000 check at the event. KCRA’s footage of the new space is here.
Another reason to check out the Hyatt? It’s Dine Downtown week through January 18th, and Dawson’s Restaurant is one of the participating restaurants. You can check out their menu here, and make a reservation on Open Table here.
Built in 1988, the Hyatt Regency Sacramento was considered a key pillar in the redevelopment of the central downtown business community and a vital part of the future of Sacramento’s tourism industry.
You can like the Hyatt Regency on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.
Pictures of guests were taken by Tia Gemmell. You can see her full set of photos here.
Snaps of the view from the top were taken with my iPhone.
Ah Seattle. Good times. We’ll definitely be back. And most likely, we’ll again stay at The Mayflower Park Hotel
, a 75 year-old gem in uptown Seattle.
The hotel began as the Bergonian Hotel on July 16th, 1927 and has been in constant operation ever since. It was designed by B. Dudley Stuart and cost $750,000 to build. The name “Bergonian” came from the hotel’s then proprietor, Stephen Berg, who was a prominent builder at the time.
Opening prices for rooms at the hotel ranged from $2.00 to $3.50 for one person and $3.00 to $4.50 for 2 persons. Rooms with twin beds were $4.00 to $5.50 and suites were $5.00 to $10.00 per night.
Here’s a picture of the lobby and reception desk inside the hotel, which has been restored with crystal chandeliers, brass and period
In 1974, Birney Dempcy formed a limited partnership to purchase the hotel. At the time, it had been foreclosed upon and was very run down. Birney renamed the hotel The Mayflower Park awaiting the development of the city’s Westlake Park
Following major renovations in 1976 and 1988, the Mayflower Park is always being upgraded and refurbished to keep it as beautiful as it was when it opened in 1927. Recently, the hotel was recognized as one of the Historic Hotels of America
because of it’s history and architecture. The Mayflower Park prides itself on being “quite simply, one of a kind” which has become their marketing slogan.
Their logo and marketing pieces are quite beautiful, and here is the
little welcome present that was waiting for me in the room.
Tea, fruit and nut mix, and chocolate truffles were in the bag.
Our room was so comfortable, had 2 televisions, and had the option of converting into two rooms by a sliding door. The couch in our suite’s main room could be pulled out for extra guests.
We stayed on the ninth floor, and it provided a fantastic
view of holiday lights and activities going on below us.
One amenity I always look for in a hotel is the fitness room. And Mayflower Park’s is located on the third floor. It is equipped with 2 treadmills, a stairclimber, and 2 stationary bikes, as well as a set of free weights I found very useful. The BF would run outside and I would retreat to the workout room so that later in the day we were free to enjoy our meals at Andaluca, Place Pigalle, and Fall Line Winery.
Here’s another shot of the lobby. There was a Christmas party
in the room upstairs on one of the evenings of our stay.
This is inside Oliver’s, the bar in The Mayflower Park. The spot used to be one of the first Bartell Drug Stores
, since the hotel was built during Prohibition and no areas were designated to serve alcohol. The dining area of the hotel was a coffee shop located where Andaluca
is now, and in part of that area, Andaluca
once lived as a barber shop. Prices in the 54-seat coffee shop ranged from 10 cents for coffee, to 20 cents for chicken broth, and $2.00 for a sirloin steak. Oliver’s
(shown below), opened in 1976 and became Washington’s first “daylight” bar. Prior to that, Washington had “blue laws” that prohibited anyone from looking into a lounge where hard liquor was sold.
The huge windows and lights outside made it such a romantic place to be.
Here’s another shot from where I was sitting.
Oliver’s features a special cocktail called The Golden 27, honoring the year the hotel originally opened as the Bergonian. Here’s the recipe:
Half fill a mixing glass with ice, then add 1/4 oz. Lemoncello Lemon Liqueur, 1 1/4 oz. Ketel One Vodka, 1 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin, and a pinch of Gold Luster Dust. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Following dinner on one of the nights of our stay, we had dessert in our room. I found just what I needed on the room service menu… my favorite: fruit and cheese!!
So many happy memories and so much fun in Seattle
. Thank you to all my advertising partners!
If you are planning a visit to Seattle, please consider the Mayflower Park hotel. They’ve got a few ongoing specials
including one for New Years and in 2012, they are teaming up with the Seattle Art Museum
during their showcase of Paul Gauguin.
You can find The Mayflower Park Hotel on twitter here and their Facebook page is here.
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),
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
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.
Probably the most romantic dinner I have ever had was on November 2nd of this year. My boyfriend made dinner and for dessert surprised me at the end of the meal with my favorite treat: bacon wrapped dates. To be honest, every time he has ever made dinner for me has been very special, and every time I come over to his house it is quite like he is throwing a little party for me. The kicker is that he can really cook, so everything is delicious and I don’t have to pretend to like it. Also, I am no longer in charge of making all the food which is also an added bonus. 😉
But dear readers, while it is fresh in my mind I want to tell you about a restaurant we visited in Seattle just last Friday night called Place Pigalle. My meal at Place Pigalle was THE most romantic dinner I have ever had (so far, that is)! Place Pigalleis located through a little corridor behind Seattle’s Pike Place Market Fish Throwers and overlooks Seattle’s Puget Sound.Place Pigalle began as a watering hole called the Lotus Inn. The Lotus Inn used to be a hub at which sailors could imbibe before meeting up with a lady friend at the bordello upstairs.
A woman by the name of Nellie Curtis ran the bordello (which she masked as a hotel). Then eventually the owners of the hotel, Rosuke and T.K. Kodama, were sent to an internment camp in 1942, and Curtis purchased the hotel lease. She ran her business for years, evading crackdowns and even an earthquake in 1949.
Sometime in the 50’s, The Lotus (equipped with a sawdust floor and an alleged blind accordion player) became Place Pigalle. The name comes from the red-light district in Paris. Patrons of Place Pigalle used to toss beer and wine bottles out the west windows and watch them sail 50 feet down to the sidewalk and ravine.
By the 60’s the biker crowd that frequented the tavern called it “Pig Alley”, and it became a popular venue for bikers and commoners.
In the 70’s, Place Pigalle became a mecca of sorts for artists, merchant marines, hippies and world travelers. Visitors were attracted by the view and the jukebox, which played everything from Edith Piaf to Jimi Hendrix.
In 1982, Place Pigalle was remodeled when Bill Frank (the bartender) took ownership. He made major improvements to the menu and even the equipment in the kitchen (by tearing out the Sears electric range). It was shortly after that, the restaurant began to attract a more serious following by distinctive diners.
Seth and Lluvia Walker now own Place Pigalle and keep a strong commitment to the restaurant’s tradition and history.
Below is a peek inside the dining room, which is on the smaller side, but looks spacious thanks to lots of windows and an enormous mirror on one side of the room.
Bar area at Place Pigalle
At the table, were my favorite flowers, tulips, which I normally don’t see until spring. 🙂
If you go to Place Pigalle, do everything you can to sit at table four. That’s pretty much the best view in the restaurant, which can be very helpful if you are trying to woo someone. 😉
We started with a 1/2 Dungeness Crab for our appetizer. The crab is served with with tarragon aioli, drawn butter, and lemon. To pair with the crab, we ordered a few glasses of sparking wine, and our server suggested a 2008 Prosecco, Bortolomiol, Brut, Filanda Rosé Valdobbiadene, made from 100% Pinot Noir.
I am pretty sure I could have ordered another crab and a bottle of the prosecco for my meal, but I was too excited to order other dishes once I saw the full menu (which I would describe as French-inspired).
The BF ordered the Roasted Beet Salad with Baby Arugula, Toasted Walnuts, Chèvre, Shallots, Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette. It is a warm salad, and the Chèvre is rolled in the toasted walnuts in a little cheese ball. The arugula is a bitter contrast to the natural sweetness to the beets, and the flavors are all tied together with the vinaigrette. I ALMOST wish I had ordered the beet salad, but…
I was quite pleased with my Mixed Greens Salad. It was made with Gorgonzola, Spiced Pecans, Roasted Garlic, and served with Wildflower Honey Vinaigrette.
To accompany dinner, we ordered a bottle of a Bordeaux blend, the 2004 Château Greysac, Cru Bourgeois, Médoc. The Médoc part of the name refers to the region (and Médoc is the largest wine making region of Bordeaux, France). A perfect little French wine to go with what was to come next!
For my entrée, I ordered the rabbit roulade prepared with house-made duck and rabbit sausage, argula, onion jam, and a huckleberry reduction. I am a little ashamed to tell you that I pretty much cleaned my plate other than a piece of the roulade I bartered with the BF so I could taste just a little more of…
My BF’s Cattail Farms Lamb Foreshank with a chestnut purée, squash Napolean, and swimming in a little moat of jus. And I think I actually liked the lamb just a tiny bit better than my dinner! As flavorful as the rabbit was, the lamb was on the very next level. With the food and the wine and the company being so perfect, I could not have asked for more. I only wish I could have taken photos of the view from our table, but they just don’t do it justice.
Near the end of our dinner, Seth, (one of the owners of Place Pigalle) came by our table and introduced himself. We talked a little bit about food, wine and social media. Yes, my favorite topics! 😉
Seth graciously posed for a picture with me. 🙂
As I write this I find myself craving the food we had, and dreaming of the components in the dishes… Like, I have an acorn squash in the fridge and I am thinking about how good the duck sausage (that was in the rabbit roulade) would be baked inside an acorn squash!!
Thanks to Seth, the chef, the sommelier, and the waitstaff for making everything perfect and a night I will remember forever!
Place Pigalle is open for lunch 11:30-3:00 everyday and for dinner 5:30-9:30 Monday-Thursday and 5:30-10:00 Friday-Saturday. They close at 3:00 on Sunday.
You can follow Place Pigalle on twitter here and you can find them on Facebook here. To make a reservation, you can go here or you can call the restaurant at 206.624.1756. Tell them you NEED table four!
PS: (Extra tip) There is free parking available After 5pm in the Public Market Parking Garage. The Public Market Parking garage offers covered parking and is connected to the Market’s Main Arcade by an elevator and sky bridge.