This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be whisked away to a “destination unknown” in celebration of our anniversary.  I may have had an inkling where we were headed once I figured out we were driving.  And just like all my inklings… I was correct.  In just under two hours, we were in beautiful Napa Valley. Granted, it was pretty dark by the time we got there, but I could just tell it was beautiful.  We checked into the historic Napa River Inn (um, hello, our room had been part of a roller skating rink at some point) and headed off to dinner.

Now, I know that Napa is known for the wine alone, but did you also know that Napa Valley (specifically Yountville) actually has the highest concentration of Michelin star restaurants in the world?  You read that right.  So, what I’m trying to say that the food is delicious.  We were lucky enough to score reservations at Bottega, Bouchon, and Rotisserie and Wine.  Each one better than the next.

So anyway, back to what you really care about.  Wine.  Saturday, we were up and at ’em with a wine tour at the beautiful Duck Horn winery.  The vineyard is beautiful.  We had a tasting and headed on to our next destination, Opus One.  Now, you may think to yourself, “That sounds familiar.”  Probably because you remember that fine fellow, Sean Carter (Jay-Z), rapping about it.  First and foremost, the vineyard looks crazy.  It sort of looks like a cult or spaceship- just doesn’t look like it belongs on this planet.  After entering, you can score yourself a glass of wine for $30 and sip it on the terrace.  A stop by Alpha Omega and we had to head on home for a nap.  It became clear to me that Napa is just a sophisticated bar crawl.

The next day, after breakfast we were on our way to my mothership, Domaine Chandon.  Now, let’s be serious, I like all wine, but my favorite wine is that of the “bubbly” sort.  Domaine Chandon is a beautiful property and the winery is totally unassuming.  It is also home to one of those Michelin star restaurants (Etoile) that I was talking about – not to mention one of the youngest chefs, Perry Hoffman,  to receive a star.  Another fun fact?  It is and will always be the only winery in Napa to have a restaurant.  Another fun fact?  It’s the American baby sister to Moet (part of the LVMH group).

Needless to say, this was my favorite stop on our wine tour.  We did not have a chance to eat at Etoile, but they do have a delightful cookbook and I wanted to share a couple of fun (easy) recipes that you might actually be able to make.  The majority of them are a bit (ahem- six hours) time consuming.

Truffle Popcorn:


  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp minced black truffle (optional)
  • 1 tsp white truffle oil
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the truffles, truffle oil and a pinch of salt; keep warm.
  2. In a large, heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add the popcorn kernels, cover and cook over moderate heat until the popcorn starts popping. Continue cooking, shaking the pan continuously, until the popping has almost stopped.
  3. Carefully pour the popcorn into a very large bowl, add the truffled butter and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away.

Microwave Instructions

  1. In a cup or small bowl, mix together the unpopped popcorn and 2 tablespoons oil. Pour the coated corn into a brown paper lunch sack, and sprinkle in the salt. Fold the top of the bag over twice to seal in the ingredients.
  2. Cook in the microwave at full power for 2½ to 3 minutes, or until you hear pauses of about 2 seconds between pops.
  3. Carefully pour the popcorn into a very large bowl, add the truffled butter and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away.

Chandon Ginger Mojito


  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • Agave nectar
  • Ginger juice
  • Domaine de Canton ginger liquer
  • Domaine Chandon Brut Classic
  • Ice


  1. In a highball glass, muddle 2 lime wedges with 10 mint leaves and 1 tablespoon agave nectar.
  2. Add ½ teaspoon ginger juice and 1 ounce ginger liqueur.
  3. Fill with ice and top with 2 ounces of champagne.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of mint

And now, I need a Napa.