Friday, October 8, 2010

Girls Getaway to Napa - Mas Vino

With some free time the next morning, we drove to St. Helena for brunch and shopping. We found Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen ( and parked ourselves in the cute outdoor dining area. Our server convinced me to try the Mighty Meatloaf, which is served with horseradish, barbeque & garlic mashed potatoes (like I needed any more food at this point). It was perfect! We made our way to the stores for some shopping. St. Helena was founded in 1853 and is the high-profile center of the Napa Valley wine industry. It’s still a small town with less than 6,000 people. The main street of St. Helena is, coincidentally, called Main Street (as well as Highway 29 and the St. Helena Highway.) Someone said this is small town America with a designer's touch. From shoes to vintage to gifts, we found several cute stores and enjoyed our stroll down Main Street St. Helena.

After going for almost 24 hours with no wine, it was time to quench our newly-developed thirst for the grape. We made our way to Ehlers Estate ( where we were greeted by the company’s Winemaker and General Manager Kevin Morrissey. Like so many others in the wine business, we instantly picked up on Kevin’s passion for wine making. He told us the two most important things regarding wine making are balance and structure, which is evident as you taste Ehler’s prestigious 2006 Ehlers Estate St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 1886. Another stand out feature about Ehlers is that upon the passing of French owner Jean Leducq in 2002, he left the estate to his beloved Leducq Foundation and all of the proceeds from the estate go to philanthropic efforts. After our tasting and tour, Kevin showed us to our home for the night....Ehlers Estate’s private guest home. Once again, we found ourselves in heaven and on the front porch overlooking vineyards as far as we could see.

Dinner that night was at Mustards Grill ( where half the fun was in reading funny signs, sayings and the menu. Known as the fancy rib joint with way too many wines, Mustards is the place to go for a heaping plate of honest American fare with worldly sophistication, washed down with a glass of the valley's finest. Everything we sampled here was delicious, but my favorite was the Grilled “Laotian” Quail that was served with local beans, sweet-hot chili and sticky rice. I don’t normally eat quail, but this was off the charts incredible! And who could pass up the Warm Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Tart served with caramel sauce, expresso ice cream and praline? Not this girl. This place is super cute and a must stop during your trip to Napa.

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