My friends and I didn't really coordinate big July 4th plans, so we decided to go to Napa Valley. Napa Valley is one of my favorite places. It's essentially the equivalent of Palm Springs to an LA resident. Only a 2 hour drive out of the SF/Bay Area to a tranquil, quieter environment with delicious cuisine.
My wingman "S" went to college and found a job out there, so it's only natural that we would make frequent visits to her in wine country more often. She actually had to "work overtime", which consisted of photographing her company's float for the Calistoga July 4th parade. Although I don't have the photos to prove it, Calistoga is an adorable small town with unique shops along a main road, a surrounding neighborhood with beautiful homes, and avenues lined with trees. We snagged these amazing seats at the hotel bar of the adorable Mount View Hotel & Spa. It felt luxurious to have a fantastic view of the parade, seats in the shade, cocktails and charcuterie.
S had to feed her roommate's dog, so we rushed home after the parade. Her name is Matilda, and she's a big, cuddly bear.
Not many places were open on July 4th, but I was so lucky to find at least one spot, which was R + D Kitchen in Yountville. Holy crap this place is amazing. When I called, the only slot available for a party of 5 was at 9:30pm. I said I needed to consult with my group and that I would call back. When I called back a short 2 minutes later, the hostess said a party canceled and we could do 5:30pm. PERFECT!
We got there early and enjoyed cocktails on their amazing patio. We had gorgeous, warm sunshine and a large table with an even larger umbrella. We would have stayed outside for dinner but they wouldn't serve their meals out there :(
I didn't photograph too many photos of our food, but I had to for this plate. This is the Spicy Tuna "Osaka Style" and it was freaking delicious. Honestly, EVERYTHING at this place is delicious.
Post-meal, it was only right that we take a photo in front of this vintage flag they have near the kitchen. The waiter didn't have too many facts on hand, but he did say it was from 1861 when Kansas became a state!
After dinner, we headed back to S's house to chill, and then we decided last second that we should try to catch some fireworks. Sadly, from her home in the hills above St. Helena, there were no views of fireworks. Next time we need to stay in Downtown Napa or Calistoga.
The next morning, S took me to her favorite breakfast spot in St. Helena: Gillwood's Cafe. Deliciously strong (and fair trade/organic) coffee and Eggs Benedict served in these perfect dishes to ensure that the Hollandaise doesn't get away from you. I saw a guy next to us drizzle his leftover sauce over his hash browns. BRILLIANT.
I'm convinced all you need for a happy life is nature, good weather, and amazing food and drinks. Thank you S and Napa Valley for taking such good care of me.