Cricketer’s of the Valley

Napa Valley Cricket Club victory in 2012 by the smallest of margins, 2 runs
Napa Valley Cricket Club victory in 2012

You don’t think of Napa Valley as a very sporting place. Except if you include the Raiders annual preseason visit to Redwood Middle School. Lately I’ve heard funny accents around the valley talking about this new sport of Cricket. I decided to investigate. Turns out this sport was one of the precursors to baseball. Developed in the 16th century and played in most of the British colonies.

Now it’s finally arrived in Napa Valley. So who plays this game and why? Being the hub of wine in California, Napa has a wide diversity of winemakers. Many travel from as far off as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Wine is perfectly matched to the game of Cricket. Steeped in tradition that enjoys a break for afternoon tea at 3 o’clock, Napa will change it up with wine. About 2 years ago a group of ex-pats as they go by, decided there was enough interested parties in the valley to put together a team. Marin has had a long tradition of cricket going back thirty years. San Jose has a large influx of East Indian engineers who also enjoy the game of cricket  and are highly competitive. Napa Valley is home to Treasury Wine Estates with many Australians working at various wineries all over Napa.

How is this game played I hear you say? That is a very complex answer. Consisting of eleven players per side, a wicket keeper,  bowler, batsmen, Stumps and outfielders it sounds comparable to baseball. I assure you, there is a lot of strategy and rules. For a good overview look at this Cricket Rules site. I suggest coming to watch their opening match this Sunday the 28th of Apri. The Aussies defend their title against the ROW (Rest of the World). See a preview in this Calistogan article here.

The game starts at 10:30 and there will be a BBQ with wine and refreshments open to the public. The whole family will enjoy it with activities for the kids. Join the club on Facebook for this event and be sure and share with your friends.

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Mother’s Day Brunch in Napa

So many choices come to mind when I think of breakfast in the Napa Valley. Brunch on the other hand is a different animal.

Fume Bistro
Fumé is nestled in residencia

Fumé Bistro is unassuming, yet local favorite. Napa foodies are tuned in if you’re a regular for Monday Night Burger at the bar deal. $5.55 for half pounder burger and fries at the bar, only. If you like to sleep in on Sunday, Fume is the place for you. Offering such great favorites as Huevos Rancheros with their cocktail specialty, Bloody Mary. For mom and the family, it’s a perfect setting. I would reserve your spot now. I’ve seen groups as large as 20 Fumé Bistro

Grace's Table Brunch
Grace’s Table Brunch

Napa downtown has experienced a renaissance of late. One of my new favorites for breakfast is Grace’s Table.
Located on a 2nd street corner you have the option of sitting outside or enjoying open wall dining. Weather is starting to sizzle and the breeze is much appreciated. On the left you have Eggs Benedict, a brunch favorite. The right is Iron Skillet Cornbread with lavender honey butter and mâche lettuce. You can’t go to Grace’s without ordering this selection. Grace’s is modern in decor with a great wine list. Suitable for couples and groups of 6. Treat your mom this Mother’s Day.

ABC Bakery's French Toast with Pear
ABC Bakery’s French Toast with Pear

Alexis has been baking breads and cakes in Napa for over 25 years. Her dedication to quality and consistency shows in all her food. Be sure to arrive early as there is no reservations here. I highly recommend the spinach omelet with white cheddar and applewood bacon. Comes with country potatoes and  cinnamon toast! Fantabulous! The service and communal atmosphere will make you come back often. Couples  and groups of 4 are best. The communal table can handle 6-8. Treat your mom or the mother of your kids to this awesome treat! Menu available here:

Be sure and follow my blog and share all your experiences. Cheers!

The Flavor of bASH

Favorite Foods from 2012 bASH
Favorite Foods from 2012 bASH

This Saturday at The CIA in Appellation St. Helena celebrates food and wine Awesomeness.  Rockstars in St. Helena’s kitchen served up their finest. Extraordinary local vino complements this rich event. My favorites were David Fulton, Corley, Crocker & Starr and Revana. I attended last year’s soiree and was impressed. Napa Valley came out in droves. Dressed up and taking in the wondrous bounty. I won’t even tell you all the ingredients above. You have to be there to experience it. Tickets are almost sold out so I suggest you get yours now! Don’t let the kids keep you from this “Must Attend” event. Email me and I can arrange childcare – Cheers COTV – Email Me

bASH Bottles of 2012
bASH Bottles of 2012

Arts in April Napa Valley

Planning a Napa Valley getaway during the month of April will definitely not disappoint.  Arts in April is a celebration of the beautiful connection between wine and the arts , this program spans the entire month which will guarantee to satisfy any craving you might have for the various art exhibits and tastings planned that will allow you to experience a truly authentic dose of Napa Valley culture.

Now the diverse schedule of events is so wide ranging that you can’t possibly experience it all but I will share my top 5 with you.

bash_headlineApril 13, 2013

Taste a variety of wines from St. Helena Appellation wineries, sample food and wine pairings created by St. Helena restaurants, caterers and food purveyors as well as by student chef teams from the Culinary Institute of America, and vote on the best food and wine pairing.  Wineries and chefs collaborate to offer sips and savory bites from a variety of St. Helena restaurants, caterers as well as “rising star” students selected by the teaching staff of the Culinary Institute of America. Greystone Campus,   This will be a delightful treat for the palate and one where you will more than likely require a driver or taxi following the event and I can certainly help you there.

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Domaine Chandon featuring photographer Vi Bottaro
and partnering with Napa Valley Film Festival  ~ April 1-30

During the month of April, Domaine Chandon will host a variety of events including art receptions, art tours, specialty cocktail and artist lectures.  And for an extra special treat, from April 19-21, The Napa Valley Film Festival will provide visitors of Domaine Chandon the best of food, wine and films,  offering five favorite short film viewings including Table for One and Stakeout.  What better way to enjoy Napa at its best than to stop by one of the best places for bubbly and get a small glimpse into one of the newest events to Napa Valley that will be in November so feel free to plan to come back and enjoy the full film festival from Nov. 13-17, 2013.

Old vine from To Kalon vineyard
Old vine vineyard from To Kalon #2 by photographer Vi Bottaro

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Cornerstone Cellars in Yountville will be featuring Artist Janet Ekholm

One of my favorite places in Yountville has to be Cornerstone Cellars and I guarantee you will find at least one wine you love there, if not the entire lineup.  During the month of April, there will also be amazing pieces of Janet Ekholm’s on display.  However, if you are visiting between April 18th through the 20th, the artist will be on hand to personally provide tours of her onsite gallery while guests enjoy complimentary tastings and live music.  Janet’s focus is on the human figure, especially the female body and how special it is to find someone who purposely highlights the inner strength and grace of women.  You will enjoy the stunning wines Cornerstone produces  and take advantage of the sale prices offered on the wines that feature her art on the labels, perhaps even have the artist sign the bottle while you are there. I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed when stopping by Cornerstone Cellars.  Say hi to Jeff, Craig or Michael.  Cheers!

Inside Cornerstone Tasting Room
Inside Cornerstone Tasting Room

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Yountville Art, Sip & Savor April 20th

Now, while in Yountville to visit Cornerstone and Domaine Chandon, why not combine your visit with the Yountville Art Sip & Savor. This will feature an array of tasting stations adjacent to some of the most popular public art installations.  Each tasting station will feature a Yountville Appellation Winery paired with a sweet or savory treat from the local restaurants in town.  Now the route is very walk able while in town but there will be a trolley running from Domaine Chandon through town and to the Yountville Park.  The best part is this event is practically free, donations may be requested of merely $10.00. So what better opportunity to try out local food and wine while enjoying the quaint town of Yountville!  Hope you can visit soon!

Arts, Sip & Savor
Arts, Sip & Savor

Live Taping of “Wine Booty” with Judd and The Pirate
Judd’s Hill Winery ~ April 26

Judd's Hill Pirates

Judd’s Hill Winery founder Art Finkelstein isn’t just a talented winemaker, he is also a talented painter.  So on exhibit between April 22-28, a collection of his paintings will display and all purchases of Judd’s Hill Founder’s Art Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon will be sold at a 15% discount.  To add excitement to this month of artistic displays, the winery will present a live taping of the winery’s popular web based video series “Wine Booty” from 5:30-8 p.m. at the winery.  Show up in black tie or nautical attired and walk the red carpet, enjoying an evening as part of the live audience, meet the creative cast and spend time with the Napa Valleys finest winemakers and artists.  An interesting menu of Hollywood Legendary Pink’s hot dogs will be flown in for enjoyment paired with the lovely wines produced by Judd’s Hill.  The ticket price to attend is only $25/each and proceeds benefit the Arts Council Napa Valley non-profit.