All posts by Owner

Spring is here in Napa…great wine, great weather, so few crowds

Wowza!  Spring has hit Napa big time.  Blue skies, sunny afternoons, mustard in bloom.  We haven’t seen a February like this since 2008.  So warm I had to go find where I packed my shorts and sandals.  The secondary benefit: no crowds.  With so few people here, especially during the week, now is the best time of all to be here.  Great views, lovely wine, and plenty of space to call your own.

Travel Writer falls in love with The Inn On First

We were recently visited by Maximiliano Morales, Wine & Hotel Trend Writer from Chile and CEO of www.andeswines.com the leading wine marketing site of South America with 15 years of experience in working with wineries and countries to communicate their wines to the wine press and hotel industry.
He was visiting to write a Special Report for www.andeswines.com about California Wineries and included The Inn on First as part of an exclusive report in spanish and english.
Take a peek at what he has to say about his stay:

Last chance for holiday savings!

15% added to value of Gift Certificate purchases
GFT-2T

Purchase a gift certificate with a value of $300 or more and we will add another 15% onto the value as our gift to you.  If you are planning to visit in the next two years, this is a great value to purchase now!

$300 becomes $345, $500 becomes $575, and $1000 becomes $1150.
Or, purchase a gift certificate for $500 or more and receive a $75 credit toward a 5-hour wine tour with innkeeper Jamie Cherry.
Good for gift certificate purchases through January 15, 2018 and must be redeemed by December 31, 2019.  After 2019 value is reduced by 15% or wine tour credit is reduced by $75.
Value will be added after purchase and reflected in PDF Gift Certificate sent to you.

Extend your weekend and take off 50% your extra night

Thinking about extending your 2-night weekend stay?  Come one day early, or stay an extra day, and we will take 50% off your extended night room rate.  Applies to 2-night weekend (Fri, Sat) stays only through April 2, 2018.

Restrictions apply.  Discount applies to Sunday or Thursday nights only. Must book before January 15, 2018.  Holiday weekends excluded.  Not applicable with other discounts.  Call to receive this discount now (707-253-1331).

20% off midweek night stays

Reserve three midweek nights (Sunday through Thursday) by January 15, 2018 for any stay through April 2, 2018 and take 20% off each night.  Holidays excluded.  Not applicable with other discounts.  Call to receive this discount now (707-253-1331).

Book Now

A_Napa_Valley_Breakf_Cover_for_Kindle

Chef Jim Gunther’s cookbook is a great gift for everyone this holiday season.  Loaded with 200+ recipes it brings a taste of Napa to every home.

Purchase yours today for $40 at Amazon.com.
Black and White Edition and Kindle Edition available, too.

Angele Restaurant: California cuisine meets French inspiration

A twenty minute walk from The Inn On First (won’t feel so long as you wind around the river path or enjoy window shopping along First Street and Main Street), is a lovely, very romantic restaurant, Angele(pronounce Awn-jell).  Named after her French grandmother, the owner, Bettina, provides a lovely ambience to enjoy a clean, quiet environment with beautiful food.

The menu changes seasonally which is what locals love, and rather than being strictly french, she brings french accents to the dishes without overwhelming you with cream and butter.  Fresh summer tomato salad with homemade ricotta, fried deviled eggs, and classic escargot are some great starters.  For dinner, homemade pappardelle with summer squash, or whole Branzino fish with carrot salad, or your traditional steak frites.

For those looking for a quiet, romantic restaurant, great food with lovely ambience, followed up by a quiet stroll along the Napa river after dinner, Angele is the place.

 

The Corner Restaurant: upscale American food

Twice within a month friends came into town and both times they chose The Corner as the restaurant of destination.  Only a fifteen minute walk from The Inn On First, a Napa Valley luxury bed and breakfast. The Corner provides a hip, casual atmosphere with an uptick in scale on the food.  They take great American classics and make them into something wonderfully delicious and fun.

Garden Beets with Candied Pecans, oh my.  Pork Belly with Peach Mostarde, mm-mm good.  Foie Gras with Pistachio Butter on Brioche, a slice of heaven.  For main courses, they provide enough choices for meat and fish eaters to find something to please the palate: Squid Ink Tagliatelle with Mussels (yes, your teeth will turn black as you sop up every morsel), Sturgeon with Eggplant Raviolo, and Duck Breast with Pinot Lacquer and Cherry Juice.

When you want American basics with a high touch of class and distinction, this is the place to eat.

1313 Main: Knocked my socks off with food flavor and presentation

Only a 15 minute walk from The Inn On First, a romantic Napa bed and breakfast inn, 1313 Main opened initially as a wine bar and later morphed into a restaurant.  Elements of the wine bar still exist as you enter the space, but really the restaurant is the shining star.

The menu is broad (such as frog legs, wagyu beef) and yet the basics are there as well (beef rib, roasted chicken, fresh fish).   The chef accommodates all food issues and easily presents great flavor and stylish presentation even for vegans.  You will find delicacies such as Peach Gaspacho, to Trout Tandoori, and Porcini Mushroom Raviolo.  For larger plates, tender Lamb Saddle with Chimichurri Sauce, stuffed Squash Blossoms, or the Hakaido Scallop with Spring Onion Perogi.

The service was great and the ambience casual with a touch of elegance.  Overall a real hit in my book and one of new favorite restaurants in downtown historic Napa.

#naparestaurants, #1313main

I’m a Vegan-Cheater

As a chef it is a funny thing to state you are eating vegan.  People look at me strangely, wonder if I am okay, and when invited over to their homes are wondering if I will be satisfied without a piece of meat on my plate.  That’s okay.  This was my reaction to most vegans who came into my life.

Over the course of the past ten years I have worked with many vegans here at the inn, all of whom have given me ideas and assistance on what could and would make a nourishing breakfast without eggs or meat or cheese (some of the mainstay building blocks of breakfast).  Their education has opened my eyes and palate to try new things that are all plant-based, and I have fallen in love with most if not all of what I have made.  Many have shared recipes, tips and tricks with cooking and keeping things in balance, and over that time I have come to appreciate the challenge of vegan cuisine at breakfast.  Generally I can say I have been fairly successful and am still growing in presenting new and exciting breakfast items for vegans.

Then, as some of you know,  five years ago I had a fight with a bad piece of cheese and, Hi-Ho the dairy-oh, the cheese stands alone- I lost the battle.  Since then I have been unable to eat pork, beef, or dairy.  Did you know that beef and pork share the same protein structure?  There is something in that protein structure that doesn’t agree with my body today.  It is never immediate but takes hours for the pain to become uncomfortable

Okay, so I made adjustments, found a great source of Vegan Cheese called “Follow Your Heart” and even Jamie loves it (it melts, cooks well into product, and goes well with crackers).  I am a cheese-a-holic, need a piece every day to feel whole and satisfied as a human being.  Chocolate?  Could leave it behind.  I know, I know.  For some of you those words are anathema.  Yet for me it is everything.  Leave cheese behind?  Never!

Recently a guest, William Brown, came through the house, a doctor who had recently moved to vegan and shared a bit of his story with me, how going vegan has been proven to reverse heart disease.  What?  Reverse it?  Oh my, yes.  I did my research, read some more and decided to give it a try.  Oh, I’m not perfect by any means.  I still eat eggs.  I simply cannot give up that deliciousness. Also, they call for a reduction or elimination of refined flour products (ugh, what, no bread?) and sugar (give up sugar?  have you tasted my chocolate chunk cookies?).  I suppose you could call me a Vegan-Cheater.

I tell people that I am 99% vegan.  The one percent is for when I don’t want to be vegan as something so delicious is sitting in front of me I must take a bite, or ten.  Like homemade flour tortillas.  I will let you know how I progress.  Yes, I will still incorporate eggs, dairy, and meat into breakfast as I want to play with a full deck of ingredients as I continue to work toward my goal of 250 breakfast recipes.  150 down.  100 to go!

The French Laundry has changed how they take reservations…plan for Sep/Oct right now!

The French Laundry, acclaimed chef Thomas Keller’s premier restaurant in the Napa Valley featuring a 9-course, 3-hour culinary adventure., has changed the procedure for making reservations.  They no longer take phone reservations.

To obtain a reservation, you must use their reservation page on their website.  They open reservations on the 1st day of every odd month (Jan, Mar, May, July, Sep, Nov) at 10:00 am PST.  For example, on July 1st, at 10 am PST, they will take reservations for September and October. Website

Jacket required.  Current cost is $310.

Is it worth it?

Is food fuel or pleasure to you?  That is the real question.  If fuel is your answer, then NO, don’t go.

For those who evaluate, savor, and appreciate every bite of food, an absolute YES.  It is the Disneyland of Food, every dish a new ride and new experience.  The food is about purity of flavor and putting those flavors together in such a way that the palate finds intrigue, mystery, and ecstasy come together over the course of your meal.