Refreshed, after a good nights sleep aided and abetted by a surfeit of mussels and wine, I awakened ready to face an arduous day of wine tasting. Make that a half-day, because we planned on sleeping in (see mussels and wine, above), and because Mary planned on getting a deep tissue massage, which frankly, sounds more painful than a completely voluntary experience for which you pay should be. So I pottered about reading newspapers and drinking coffee, building up a caffeine bulwark against the day ahead.
Then we went a-drinking, but in a socially approved manner because we hired a car service to transport our slightly inebriated carcasses from one winery to another. This is something I recommend highly unless you have a family member who 1) doesn’t like wine or 2) doesn’t drink at all and yet agreed to come along on a trip to Napa, which personally, I would find highly suspicious. Most of us are not lucky enough to have inexplicable yet abstemious relatives to bring along as the designated driver so we find it’s safest to contract out this exacting task. On the other hand, if you want to pay a visit the Napa Police Department drunk tank go right ahead, I’m sure the experience will be interesting and the denizens engaging.
I won’t bore you with the wineries we visited, mainly because I’m too busy boring you with the rest of this post. Let’s just say they were pleasant and the wines ranged from very good to better than a drain cleaner cocktail, and the views from the terraces of the wineries, those who had them anyway, were agreeable and we’ll leave it at that. I think it better if we avoid the whole question about how much wine we bought. It wasn’t a lot. Really. I figure we can drink up all the stock we ordered in a year, maybe two, especially if we go ahead and get our names on the liver transplant list right away. After we got back from the bacchanalian revels, we spent the late afternoon sitting out on our little deck-patio thingy, daring each other to take an outdoor shower and when that entertainment paled, we then went and drank some more wine. With food this time, though.
For the evening repast, we had reservations at Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller’s restaurant in Napa, or more precisely Yountville, which Mary had wanted to visit for long time. In her inimitably subtle way, she gifted me with the Ad Hoc cookbook last Christmas, which as a good (or at least a good enough) husband I construed as a hint, just a subtle supplication for a visit someday to this restaurant. Failing that, I was going to have to cook some of the offerings from the cookbook, and it had some pretty complicated stuff, so getting a reservation seemed all around easier.
The meal was, as expected, remarkably good. If you hadn’t gotten the memo, which I had not, dinner is prix fixe, which is a fancy French way of saying – you’ll eat what we make you and you’ll like it! This hearkens back to those golden days of yore and Mom’s cooking, when you’d start whining that you didn’t want the yucky lima beans (and really, why do they even grow these anymore, has anyone ever met anyone under the age of one hundred and thirty who likes them?), you want corn instead and Mom’d be all “This isn’t a restaurant, young man, you’ll eat what the rest of us are eating, or you can go to bed without dessert!” I haven’t worked out how you can turn this around on your Mom yet, and you’ll probably just end up going to bed without dessert if you try, so it’s probably best if we just leave this alone. Anyways back to Ad Hoc, it might be a good idea to have a mildly adventurous nature and willing to try something a little different if you want to dine at there. If your idea of audacious is having French fries with your steak instead of a baked potato, well, you might want to try elsewhere