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An Ultimate Girls Summer Weekend in Wine Country

I’ve been on at least a dozen girls weekends. The destinations are always great: New York, Palm Springs, Chicago, Miami, the North Carolina mountains. But I’d not done a girls trip to Napa Valley wine country. I’m not talking over the top 5-star accommodations and 3 star Michelin restaurants; we were more budget minded (we’d rather have money for shopping). We ate and drank well, and even found a nice place to stay that was less than $200 per night (thanks Priceline!)

You probably don’t think of downtown Napa as a destination for style or shopping. People used to bypass Napa on their way to winery tasting rooms and St. Helena. Well things have changed. Now Napa is a must stop for great dining, wine tasting and shopping. Read more

EAT – A Thomas Keller Dinner at Home

On Sunday night my cookbook club took on the challenge of making dishes out of famed wine country chef Thomas Keller’s series of cookbooks. We divided up into teams of two and each made one course of a plated, sit-down dinner (usually everything’s served buffet-style.) We feasted on 6 courses, made from The French Laundry, Bouchon and Ad Hoc at Home cookbooks. At the end of the meal, we all agreed that while everything was delicious, the time involved — 8 hours for a quiche (Bouchon) 3 days for French onion soup (Bouchon) — was way more than we’d ever want to do on a regular basis. But we sure did gain an appreciation and understanding of why Keller’s restaurants are so darn expensive! To us, the Ad Hoc cookbook was the most approachable with recipes that aren’t as time consuming or complicated. Notice no one attempted anything out of…