Aside from visiting wineries, which is the thing to do when you are in Napa Valley, we visited the Culinary Institute of America campuses and took a day trip to San Francisco.
Because of so much rain this year Napa Valley was unusually green and lush.
Regusci’s winery allowed Charlie to fly his drone. He captured a good picture of the vineyard and winery.
I love to cook and going to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Greystone for a tour was on my bucket list. Not only did we take a tour, but we also enjoyed an absolutely fabulous lunch at their restaurant. Lunch is served and cooked by the graduating students. They did a fantastic job! Lunch could not have been any better. I even got to tour the kitchen.
The building is beautiful, inside and out. It was built in 1889 as a cooperative wine cellar. From 1945 to 1989 it was owned by Christian Brothers and operated as a winery. In 1978 the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The students in training:
The training kitchen:
Our fantastic lunch:
Because we enjoyed CIA Greystone so much, we decided to see if there were any interesting events at CIA Copia. For clarity, CIA owns both facilities. The students go to school at CIA Greystone in St. Helena, while CIA Copia, located downtown Napa, is used for public events and classes.
CIA Copia’s building is a little more modern than its sister location. This mural, called “The Garden,” was painted by San Francisco Bay area artist Allison Tinati in just 6 days, using more than 100 cans of spray paint.
I love the couple on top of the building, enjoying the views of Napa Valley while drinking some red wine.
A photographic exhibit of Paul and Julia Child was on display so we checked that out and learned a little bit about the couple and how Julia developed her passion for cooking.
We also toured the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum. There are some amazing collections of cookware in this museum.
One day I wouldn’t mind returning and taking a class in this fabulous training kitchen.
The most interesting thing we did at Copia was to partake in the ‘Le Petit Chef: 3D Dining Experience.’ We traveled with Marco Polo on his journey discovering spices and foods in Marseille, Arabia, India, Himalaya and China. The 3D animation played out on our plates and along the table. As Marco Polo arrived at a new region we were given food to align with it. The food, wine and experience were all great. We put together a short video. It is a little choppy, but gives you a feeling for how the experience was. Here is a link if you’d like to check it out: https://youtu.be/3ruT8i4MFIM
The weather during our stay was cloudy, chilly and rainy, except for the one day we had tickets to Alcatraz. Fortunately, during that day we had clear skies and temperatures in the 60s. It was my first visit to Alcatraz. Below are a few pictures from our visit. Click on the first picture to begin a slideshow.
Following our Alcatraz tour we walked around San Francisco. We stopped in at The Buena Vista Café for Irish Coffee. This place is famous for these drinks. We sat at the bar and watched the talented bartender work his magic, as he did on CBS Sunday Morning. (https://youtu.be/eRK5MdfEi84)
For lunch we dined at McCormick and Kuleto’s Seafood and Steaks. We scored a table next to the window with a view of Alcatraz and the bay. The food and views were both excellent.
After lunch we continued walking around the city, ending the day at The Presidio, a national park site at the Golden Gate Bridge. I wish we had had more time to explore this area.
Below are some final pictures from our San Francisco visit:
The Golden Gate Bridge:
Views of San Francisco from the Alcatraz Ferry:
Looking out over Lombard Street:
Trolleys and busses:
The coolest Ice Cream truck I’ve ever seen:
Our time in Napa flew by. Our next destination is a short stop in Point Reyes National Seashore. More on that later….
Where we stayed in Napa:
We spent 6 nights at the Napa Valley Expo RV Park (http://www.napavalleyexpo.com/rv-park.php) . The park is small, with just 24 parking spots. All sites were full during our stay. The park is optimally located, just a mile or so from downtown Napa. It is very clean and our site was fairly spacious. We would definitely stay here again, as there are not a lot of alternative options in the area.