Cast Iron Skillet Olive Bread

Cast Iron Skillet Olive Bread

Cast Iron Skillet Olive Bread – No-Knead Recipe

With so much more time at home these days and the desire for comfort food, there is nothing better than the smell of baking bread in the house. Who doesn’t just love homemade bread? When I went searching for an easy bread recipe, I found many that can be made in a cast-iron skillet that requires no kneading and only a few hours rise time. There are others that I have made that are also no-knead, but do require an overnight rise and can be cooked in a cast-iron Dutch Oven.

This delicious and simple cast iron skillet olive bread recipe requires little effort for a big tasty reward. From the recipes that I found online, I took the basics from the recipe and created my own version of the cast iron skillet olive bread.

The main ingredients are simple, and the Kalamata Olives and juice strained from the olive jar add some great flavors to the bread.

A fun thing to do when doing a barbecue on the grill, slice up the bread, smear with some butter or olive oil and toast it right on the grill. The smoky from the grill make this bread irresistible.

Calistoga’s Lincoln Avenue Downtown Eateries

Calistoga’s Lincoln Avenue Downtown Eateries

Photo Courtesy of Visit Calistoga – Downtown Calistoga’s Historic Lincoln Avenue

It’s natural to think of the Napa Valley as one ‘place.’ But the 30 north to south miles that comprise this verdant valley feature distinct towns, each with individual personalities. There’s Yountville with its chic tasting rooms and Michelin-starred cuisine, Rutherford with its concentration of Cabernet producers, and St. Helena with its quaint downtown shopping district. And to the north, Calistoga encourages its guests to slow down a bit and unwind. The small town’s official motto is ‘Relax, you’re in Calistoga,’ a directive easily followed, thanks to its famous mud baths, gracious inns and resorts, and variety of restaurants that promote a laidback vibe.

During the late 1700’s, the sole inhabitants of the area of Calistoga were populated by a large group of indigenous people called the Wappo Tribe during the Spanish colonial era. They were part of the now extinct Yukian language group who were the earlier settlers of this region. The Napa Valley name was actually derived from the word Napa meaning “plenty” in their native language.

California’s first Millionaire, Sam Brannan purchased 2000 acres in the Calistoga area in 1885 with plans to create a spa resort for the rich and famous, similar to the health and hot spring inspired retreats in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The main street in Calistoga premiered Brannan’s Hot Spring Resort which opened in 1862 and is now the current location of the Indian Springs Resort along Lincoln Avenue. In 1876 the Magnolia Hotel building burnt down and was later rebuilt as the Calistoga Hotel in 1902. In 1907, the Europa Hotel was built and then sold to Johnny Ghisolfo in 1912 which later became the Mount View Hotel. The Lincoln Avenue boom was followed by the opening of the Calistoga Inn, constructed originally in 1920 about the time when Lincoln Avenue was first paved, and more power lines were added to illuminate the bustling downtown. Brannan’s inspiration paved of the way for the growth of Calistoga to its popularity and charm today.

Many of the original buildings along historic Lincoln Avenue are now home to many of these popular downtown eateries along Calistoga’s food row.

All Season Restaurant

All Seasons

For the past 35 years, this favorite up valley restaurant has been offering creative seasonal dishes to their new and dedicated patrons both local and visitor alike. This charming bistro serves inspired food and wine, classic to contemporary. Their relaxed atmosphere, excellent service, and outstanding cuisine have made this iconic restaurant a mainstay to dine along Lincoln Avenue. Must try menu items: Ahi Tuna Carpaccio, Mary’s Organic Chicken Breast, Angus Rib Eye Steak, Seared Duck Breast.

Tuna Carpaccio

Butternut Squash Soup

1400 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga www.allseasonsnapavalley.com 707-942-9111 Open for lunch and dinner daily except Tuesdays.

Boskos Trattoria

Boskos Dining

Bosko’s Trattoria

Calistoga’s longest running restaurant for 36 years, continues to serve quality made fresh daily authentic Italian Cuisine offering house-made Pasta and wood-fired pizzas. Step into the old country of Italy with cuisine that brings you home-style Italian foods along with a generous selection of moderately priced California and Italian wines. Their sumptuous pastas are made from scratch daily offering you a wide variety to choose from. They also offer Antipasti, soups, and salads. Don’t miss out on their happy hour every day from 4:40 to 6:30 where all wines listed are $8 and all appetizers are half off.

Boskos Pizza

1364 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga www.boskos.com 707-942-9088 Open 11:30am to 9:30pm

Busters Barbecue

Busters Original Southern BBQ

Busters, showcased in National Geographic, has been referred to as the “Best BBQ West of the Mississippi” and voted “Best Barbeque” by the Bohemian year after year. Busters patio is the perfect stop for authentic Southern BBQ dishes with recipes from the heart of Louisiana with pork ribs, beef ribs, pulled pork, tri-tip, BBQ chicken, savory baked beans and corn of the cob. Be sure to stop in for great jazz and blues on Sunday afternoons,

Busters BBQ

1207 Foothill Blvd., Calistoga www.busterssouthernbbq.com 707-942-6505 Dine in or take out. Open for Lunch or dinner 7 days a week.

Cafe Sarafornia

Café Sarafornia

The name of this restaurant was named after California’s first Millionaire Sam Brannan who claimed he was going to make the town the Calistoga of Sarafornia when he meant to say the Saratoga of California, hence the name of the town and the name of the diner. The owners, the Dierkhising family, have been in Napa Valley since 1976 and have owned the restaurant for nearly that long. This is a wonderful place for breakfast to start your day, offering dishes like their famed braised pork tostada, the Brannan Benedict, and the best in the valley – Huevos Rancheros. Lunch is impressive as well with classic burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Their popularity it tremendous, they serve over 91,000 people per year, that’s 250 per day. The line is worth the wait!

Cafe Sarafornia

1413 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga www.cafesarafornia.com 707-942-0555 Open Daily from 7am – 2:30pm

Calistoga Inn, Restaurant and Brewery

Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery

It’s a brewery, hotel, and restaurant on this stately historic property in the middle of downtown Calistoga. The restaurant has been one of the most popular outdoor dining venues in the Napa Valley with its patio stretching along the Napa River, and in the adjacent historic water tower, you will find their award winning micro-brewery, The Napa Valley Brewing company. It has become a popular place for sports enthusiasts as it boasts 5 large flat screen TV’s making it also the sports bar to hang out at in Calistoga during big sporting events. The weekend Brunch on their spacious patio is a must. Two lunch favorites are the Shrimp Louie Salad, the Heirloom Tomato, and Fig Salad and their Best Burger. Dinner highlights are the Country Paella or choose from one of their prime cut steaks.

Calistoga Inn Patio

Calistoga Inn

1250 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga www.calistogainn.com 707-942-4101 Open 11:30am to 9:30pm

Checkers

Checkers Interiors

Checkers Restaurant

This simple, understated café has been serving Italian classics and pizzas to Calistogan’s for several decades as an unpretentious neighborhood meeting place for a quick lunch, family dinner or a festive happy hour. The cuisine is Mediterranean inspired which includes a variety of pastas, pizzas, calzones as well as Chicken Marsala, Pan Seared Salmon and Braised Lamb Shank on their extensive menu. Don’t miss the House-Made Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce for dessert.

1414 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga 707-942-9300 11:30am to 9:30pm

Evangeline

Evangeline

Evangeline Patio Dining

This now locally owned French Bistro with Creole Soul invites you to join them for dinner at Evangeline.  This popular eatery in Calistoga offers you fun versions of French bistro favorites such as Coq au Vin, Croque Madame Beef Tartare and Shrimp Etouffee. Their intimate polished interior and inviting patio dining on their charming covered terrace delivers a memorable dining experience. This Solbar spinoff offers an impressive menu of New Orleans style dishes to the table along with inventive cocktails, craft beers, and an extensive wine list. They are primarily an outdoor restaurant with limited indoor seating. Reservations are not available for inside seating.

1226 Washington Street, Calistoga www.evangelinenapa.com 707-341-3131 Dinner Daily from 5:30pm to 10pm Brunch on Saturday and Sunday 9am – 2pm

Hydro Bar and Grill

Hydro Bar & Grill

Located in downtown Calistoga, the restaurant’s building dates back to 1906, just after the 1901 fire which destroyed most of the original town of Calistoga. This historic building, originally a carriage house and stable, has been home to Hydro at this location since 1996. Their sister business, All Season’s Bistro has been a Calistoga favorite since 1983. Alex and Gayle and their two dining establishments have been serving quality food, inspired drinks, and great local hospitality for almost 40 years. It is the spot as they often refer to pop in grab a bite, share a drink and have a little HYDROTHERAPY!

Hydro Bar and Grill

1403 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga www.hydrogrillnapavalley.com 707-942-9777 8:30am – 11pm Open Every day except Thursday morning until noon for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Chef James of Johnny’s

Johnny’s in Calistoga

Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar

Johnny’s initially opened in the Mount View Hotel in 1933 by Johnny Ghisolfo who served on the Calistoga city council and later became known as “Mr. Calistoga.” The original Johnny’s closed in 1984 and then in 2016 reopened in honor of former owner John Ghisolfo. This resurrected pub and bistro offers the perfect place to enjoy good times with friends and family whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner or happy hour (which they claim to be one of the best in town.) Their house Mud City Brews are worth stopping in for a bit of Cheers.

For breakfast try the Huevos Montelenos, for Lunch the local Fish and Chips and for Dinner Oysters on the half shell and the Jagerschnitzel. Sunday special is always a hit with their Slow Roasted Prime Rib.

Johnny’s Egg Benedict

Johnny’s Cobb Salad

1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga www.johnnyscalistoga.com 707-942-5938 Brunch Daily 7:30a to 2pm; Dinner opens up at 4pm; Happy Hour 4pm to 6:30pm

Sam’s Social Club at Indian Springs

Sam’s Social Club

Sam’s named after famed resort founder Sam Brannan at the Indian Springs Resort offers a vibrant and inviting atmosphere. This new American Eatery & Bar is the place to meet for food that is seasonal, creative and thoughtfully prepared. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails at their stylish bar a spacious dining areas with both inside and outdoor seating. Sam’s has become a significant hangout in Calistoga offering innovative, delicious menus that are reasonably priced. Their unpretentious vibe extends to the plates such as grilled octopus endowed with a peppy Romesco sauce or a pan-seared duck. Their burgers on the homemade buns are a must try. Kids love it too, especially the mac & cheese!

Sam’s Social Club

Sam’s Social Club Specialty Drinks

1712 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga www.samssocialclub.com 707-942-4969 7:30am – 9pm

Veraison in Calistoga

Veraison

A relatively new addition to the Calistoga dining scene in late 2016, Veraison delivers French-inspired farm to table cuisine at this intimate dining establishment. As a recent recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for 2018, you can be assured that this is one to put on your list when visiting the Napa Valley. Owner Dan Kaiser and Executive Chef James Richmond took Calistoga by storm with the opening of Johnny’s in March 2016 and later transitioned Johnny’s Tableside to its own entity as Veraison. Both of Kaiser’s restaurants are a huge success.

Oysters at Veraison

Veraison Charcutterie

Must try menu items: Oysters from their Raw Bar, House-made Charcuterie & Artisan Cheeses, Chef’s Tasting Menu which changes daily with all freshly sourced ingredients.

French, Small Plates, Upscale, Cozy 1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga www.veraisoncalistoga.com  707-942-5938 Opens 5pm Every Day

 

 

 

Ten Recipe Twists on the Cinco de Mayo Margarita

Ten Recipe Twists on the Cinco de Mayo Margarita

Whether it is Cinco de Mayo, National Margarita Day, National Tequila Day, National Cocktail Day, Your Birthday, or Someone else’s Birthday, just about any day is a good day for a Margarita. Here are a few Margarita Recipes to get your spirit moving!

History of the Margarita

Where did the Margarita originate? Over the years many have taken claim to the creation of the infamous tequila drink – “The Margarita.” The cocktail the “Daisy” was a similar drink made with brandy instead of Tequila. Though during prohibition people traveled over the border and picked up tequila which was substituted for the brandy. Daisy in Spanish is Margarita.

In 1937, there was a recipe for a “Picador” using the same mix of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice in a cocktail book. There are others that claim that Dallas socialite Margarita Sames created the drink for her guests at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. The first known published recipe was in the December 1953 issue of Esquire. Though in 1945, the first importer of Jose Cuervo promoted the slogan – “Margarita: it’s more than a girl’s name.”

Nowadays, there are so many creators and mixologists of tequila drinks with different versions and flavors of the Margarita with so many variations of Margarita recipes. In essence, all of us who have concocted our own Margarita recipes can take our own five minutes of claim to fame too. Here are a few of some of my favorite twists on the colorful Margarita, some with my own input and diversions to the recipe. It’s your turn to take it and run with it!

It’s Margarita-Thirty!! Cheers and Happy Cinco Mayo!

The Traditional Margarita

The Traditional Margarita

Makes 2 Margaritas – increase ingredients as needed depending on the number of Margaritas you are preparing.

  • 4 OZ Blanco tequila
  • 2 OZ Cointreau or triple sec
  • 4 OZ fresh lime juice
  • Ice
  • Slices of lime or lime wedges

Fill a Cocktail shaker with ice along with the tequila, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice. Shake well, then strain into a chilled glass or serve on the rocks.

Another Spin on the Traditional Rita – The San Antonio Margarita

San Antonio Margarita

Recipe Inspired by well-known Texan Josie Davidson whose father received this recipe from Mario Cantu, owner of Mario’s, an old-line Mexican Restaurant in San Antonio. This famed Margarita recipe was passed on to the New York Times in 2015. It’s a five-star winner with 818 five star ratings!

  • 1 cup plus a splash of tequila
  • 1 cup plus a splash of orange liquor
  • 1 cup plus a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice

Combine all of the liquids in a pitcher with 6 ounces of water and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator to chill. Then serve over ice in glasses with salted rims. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

24 Karat Gold Margarita by Loews Miami Beach Hotel

24 Karat Margarita

It seems like ages ago, but just like yesterday that we traveled across the country to Loews Miami Beach Hotel. It was only a few months ago in February that we were invited to participate in the exquisite festivities held at the hotel for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in South Beach. During our visit, we had the distinct pleasure of joining Steve Turk – Food and Beverage Director for Loews, Linda Villafane – Director of Public Relations for Loews Miami Beach and Contributing Food Writer for Forbes in the hotel’s spectacular lounge, Bar Collins, for a pre-celebration toast. We were all dressed to the nines, looking like royalty for the evening’s formal festivities celebrating SOBEWFF. This set the perfect stage and the perfect opportunity to toast with the bar’s famous in-house Margarita, the “24 Karat Rita.”

These brilliantly decorated tumblers arrived at our table glowing of effervescent sparkles adorning the glass rims and the floating lime wheels. Almost to pretty to drink, but feeling decadent and adventurous, we all cheered and jumped right into these jeweled libations.

Their specific recipe remains a bit of a secret. We do know it includes a generous pour of Roca Patron Silver over crushed ice, with fresh lime juice, a bit of Cointreau, adorned with edible 24k gold leaf and lime zest! Bravo Bar Collins – you definitely knocked it out of the park!

Black Grape and Chili Margarita – Courtesy Food and Wine

Black Grape and Chili Margarita

Serves – 2

  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedges for garnish
  • Ice
  • 4 oz Concord grape juice
  • 3 oz Reposado Tequila
  • 5 ox triple sec
  • Serrano chili pepper with seeds thinly sliced
  • Black Grapes for garnish

Mix the chili powder with the salt and sugar. Moisten the rim of the two glasses with a lime wedge and dip the glasses into the coast around the rim.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the grape juice, tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and 4 slices of serrano Chilies and then strain into the two glasses. Garnish with sliced serranos, lime wedges, and grapes to serve.

Blue Margarita

Blue Margarita

If you are dreaming of the Azur waters of Mexico or the Caribbean and can’t get there right now, this refreshing Blue Margarita will definitely take you there. Take a sip, close your eyes, and just imagine being there! I do it every time, and if it’s a little too chilly outside, I just turn on my favorite travel video of the beaches of Mexico and it takes me right back!

Serves 4-6

  • 1 cup of tequila, preferably Reposado
  • 1/3 cup of Curacao (Blue)
  • 1/3 Cup of Cointreau or Triple Sec (orange-flavored liquor)
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)
  • Limes wedges for garnish

Combine the tequila, Curacao, triple sec, and lime juice in a large pitcher with crushed ice or you can pour it on the rocks into tumbler glasses or decorative glasses for a straight-up Margarita.

According to master mixologist Dale DeGroff, a drink called the Tequila Daisy was served at Tijuana’s Agua Caliente racetrack in the 1920s. It was made with lemon juice, tequila, and a sweet ingredient—the template for a Margarita.

The Jalapeno Basil Lime Frozen Margarita

This recipe is inspired by the recipe created by the Vancouver duo – The Food Gays. I just love the Jalapeno kick and the twist with the basil added.

  • ¼ cup basil
  • ½ cup jalapeno with seeds
  • 6 oz of barrel-aged tequila – or a good Reposado
  • 3 oz triple sec
  • Juice from 4 limes
  • 2 Tablespoons of honey or agave syrup
  • 2-3 cups ice
  • Salt for the rim
  • Lime wedges for the garnish

Muddle the basil and jalapeno together, then add the tequila. Let it infuse for 24 hours in the refrigerator. The next day strain and just keep the liquid, discard the basil, and jalapeno. In a blender add the tequila mix the triple sec, the lime juice, the honey, and ice, then blend until smooth. Pour into your salt-rimmed glasses and garnish with lime wedges.

Spicy Margarita Punch

Serves 10

Spicy Margarita Punch

It’s the combination of the cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, and mint that takes the flavors of this Margarita off the charts. This is a perfect libation to pre-make ahead of time for your Cinco de Mayo celebration.

  • 1 large or 2 medium cucumbers
  • 2 jalapenos thinly sliced – one for the mixture and one for the garnish
  • ¼ up of de-stemmed cilantro
  • ¼ cup of mint
  • One bottle of Silver Tequila – 750 mills
  • 2 cups fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup of agave nectar
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • Ice, lime wedges, and salt for serving

In a large bowl or punch bowl if you intend to use one, muddle (mash) the cucumber with the jalapeno, cilantro, and mint. Add the tequila, lime juice, agave, orange juice and stir well. Refrigerate for at least an hour or you can keep if overnight if you are making it ahead of time.

Strain the liquids from the mixture and discard the solids. Keep it in the punch bowl or put the mixture into a large service pitcher along with some ice. Serve into salted rimmed glasses and garnish with thinly sliced cucumber, jalapeno slices, and limes wedges.

The Mayan Mule

The Mayan Mule Margarita

Well, what can I say about this one except you just have to try it!

Serving Size per glass 1

A South of the Border twist on the Moscow Mule

  • 5 ounces of aged gold tequila preferably a Reposado
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • 3-4 ounces of ginger beer
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Sliced lime into a wheel to garnish
  • Mint sprig to garnish

Combine the tequila and lime juice in a tall glass.

Add Ice.

Add the ginger beer and Angostura bitters and stir.

Garnish with the lime wheel and sprig of mint.

The “DanaRita”

“DanaRita”

A recipe created and made for many years by my husband Dana which is a Margarita that has become legendary amongst our family and friends. It is one of the most requested and popular libations when we all congregate. “Dana, can you make me one of your DanaRitas?”

Dana’s Inspiration – Simplicity – Make people smile, feel smart and witty, and dance in public.

Key observations to making a really stellar margarita – A quality margarita is not green or slushy. Look for a golden color and pour over ice cubes.

Preferences – Salt on the rim (optional but traditional for sure); any size glass but tall one is preferable. And for the tequila – Reposado is preferred which is more flavorful and has that rich golden color from the toast of the barrel aging.

  • 50/50 ratio of tequila to everything else
  • Everything Else – Orange flavor liquor (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or just fresh-squeezed oranges)
  • Fresh Squeezed Lime – Lots of it
  • Splash of Sparkling water to give it a little zest
  • Ice

Using an 8-ounce glass, salted rim or not, squeeze a whole lime into the glass, squeeze a half orange (about 2 oz juice)

Add 2 ounces tequila, then add about 1 ounce of sparkling water. Add ice then a splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier on the top.

Mango Coconut Chili Margarita

Mango Coconut Chili Margarita

If you are lucky enough to be spending the Cinco de Mayo celebration someplace tropical you may want to make this spin on the traditional margarita. I am sure you will find plenty of fresh mangos and coconuts in abundance. Just the thought of it makes we want to beam up someplace tropical right now, sit under a palm tree listening to waves crashing, and the warm ocean breezes blowing across my body while relaxing to the soft sounds in the distance to a steel drum band. Can I go now, please?

Almost the next best thing to being in the tropics right now is indulging in this delightful tropical tequila libation.

2 -3 servings

  • 1 ripe mango (1 cup cubed or if you can’t find it fresh, a bag of frozen mango, or mango sorbet as a last resort)
  • 1 cup of Orange juice – fresh squeezed preferred
  • 1 cup of Fresh Coconut Water or Store-bought Coconut water
  • A few Chunks of Fresh Coconut or a small scoop coconut sorbet or coconut flavor rum – your preference
  • Several Medium-Sized Limes
  • 3 ounces of Silver Tequila or Reposado
  • 5 ounces of Cointreau or Triple Sec Orange Liqueur
  • A dash of hot sauce – your preference or not, some like it hot!
  • 1-3 Tablespoons of Agave Nectar (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • ¼ Cup Lime Juice
  • Lime Wedges for Garnish
  • Chili Powder and Sea Salt mixed for rimming the glass. I also like to use Tajin Clasico con Limon

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix until creamy. Be sure to taste it so that you can adjust it whether you want to add more Tequila, Orange Liqueur or Agave Nectar. If you like the spice of it, add in a bit more chili powder or hot sauce.

The Brave Bull

The Brave Bull

After a long day of Cinco de Mayo festivities or any fiesta activities, it’s time to relax before siesta in the evening with a Brave Bull. It is sometimes referred to as a Mexican Black Russian. It is a cocktail that was introduced in a 1960’s action movie and it truly lives up to its name. This is a unique and quirky combination of Kahlua and Tequila Blanco, but you can use your tequila of preference. This is my husband’s go-to late-night libation and his preference on which tequila is to use one of his favorite Reposado tequilas we usually have on hand. Sometimes we add in a little milk or cream, somewhat like a White Russian or you could call it a Brave White Bull! Buenos Noches!

The recipe is easy – it is one part Kahlua and 2 parts tequila over ice. Though you can also do 50/50 on the mixture too!

 

Please post your comments and photos of your own versions of the famed Margarita!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Napa Valley Spa Resorts and Wellness Retreats

Napa Valley Spa Resorts and Wellness Retreats

The Best Places to Relax, Chill and Pamper Yourself in the Napa Valley

Napa Valley Spa Resorts and Wellness Retreats

Visiting Napa Valley for the Spa and Wellness Retreats is one of the major draws to visiting this wine country region. The Napa Valley truly sets itself apart from other premier travel destinations around the planet, with so much to offer. Travelers venture to this world-class wine country mecca to experience all of the flavors, sights, sounds, and sensations. Guests to our valley seek to taste selections of some the highest rated wines from around the globe, dine at the finest restaurants featuring Michelin Star Chefs and rising celebrity chefs, be entertained at the best shows and venues from BottleRock to the Napa Valley Film Festival, play championship golf courses, and of course, relax and luxuriate at exclusive premier 5-star spas and wellness centers.

After a day of wine tastings or before your evening dining out, let your journey take you on the pursuit of luxurious excellence and pamper yourself with the ultimate spa experiences. Whether your mission to rejuvenate and revitalize with a holistic treatment or practice yoga amongst the vineyards, you will find a vast variety of locally inspired treatments. Each spa and wellness center will offer you a unique sanctuary that will restore, renew, and revitalize the mind, body, and spirit.

Calistoga Ranch

These Napa Valley destination spa retreats offer the opportunity to escape, pamper, and indulge in an intimate environment of tranquility and Zen. You can get-a-way from your hectic day-to-day and retreat amongst the vines to nurture and rejuvenate your body. Your perfect personalized treatment will take you to nirvana. In addition, many of the spa resorts offer spa-inspired cuisine with healthy culinary menus while constantly committing to creating the perfect guest experience.luxury

The Spa Terra at The Meritage Resort – Napa

Spa Terra is recognized as one of California’s premier spas offering locally-inspired treatments in the sanctuary of their inviting underground estate cave. Their vast menu of services and luxurious amenities are there for your sheer enjoyment, also offering a relaxation lounge, Jacuzzi, and steam room. They offer skincare treatments for both men and women, packages such as the couples escape and Spa Terra Journey, and a wonderful selection of massages and body treatments. www.spaterra.com

Carneros Resort and Spa – Napa

The Spa at Carneros Resort

The resort and spa are located on 28 acres in the Carneros region of Napa surrounded by rolling hills and scenic vineyards. Their spa provides tranquility and nature to mend the body mind and spirit. They offer an inviting selection of treatments incorporating detoxifying “from the land” culinary ingredients, they also offer healing treatments that aim to cater to every guests’ personal needs. The spa director’s favorite pick from the menu is the “Tranquility Pro Sleep Massage” which is a unique treatment that acts on three different sensory pathways to achieve a peaceful mind and body state for profound relaxation. Fitness center and classes are also offered. For a complete list of their services go to www.carnerosresort.com

The Spa at Silverado Resort – Napa

Girls Afternoon at Silverado Spa

Their 16,000 square-foot spa facility has 16 indoor and 3 outdoor treatment rooms in the Meyer Lemon Garden. They also feature the Boost Café offering delicious spa cuisine, a Relaxation Pool, and Spa Boutique. In addition to their vast selection of spa packages, massages, body treatments, they also offer a full-service nail and hair salon, wellness coaches, and skincare. The state of the art fitness center with more than 30 fitness classes weekly, also provides assisted weight machines, outdoor running, and stretching areas as well as strength training and cardio equipment with private TV’s and headsets. The Spa at Silverado’s signature treatment is the “Lomi Lomi Massage” – a rhythmic full-body massage technique where the therapist works gently yet deeply into the muscles with continuous flowing strokes enabling the recipient to relax and feel their Aloha. www.silveradoresort.com/spa/

The Spa at the Estate – Yountville

The Spa at the Estate In Yountville

Wellness at the heart of Yountville where soothing fountains, cascading waterfalls, and serene reflecting pools envelop their guests in an atmosphere of quietude and creature comforts. They offer seven treatment rooms and five private spa suites appointed with relaxation lounges with indoor and outdoor fireplaces, Swiss experience showers, steam showers, saunas, and outdoor hydrotherapy soaking baths. They offer Holistic Body Therapies, blending ancient traditions, and cutting-edge technology where their therapies are designed to soothe sore muscles from 50 minutes to 110 minutes. They also offer a selection of massage therapies and facial therapies. For those on the go, they offer a tasting menu of 25-minute treatments or combine them to have a multi-treatment experience. Gentlemen you weren’t left out, there are special treatments for you too! http://www.villagio.com/spa-villagio-en.html

The Spa at Bardessono – Yountville

Bardessono Spa Yountville

They are nestled amid the picturesque Napa Valley hills in the heart of the hamlet of Yountville where nature guides the nourishment of the body and spirit. You will come away relaxed from head to toe with their luxury spa packages. Combining the best of the East and the West their spa massage treatments promote health and wellness and are customized to fit their guests’ unique needs and personal preferences. You choose your desired style and pressure for relief from stress, for relaxation, or for aching muscles. It also includes your choice of a special seasonal blend of essential oils or unscented organic oil. Non-guests can also take advantage of Bardessono’s spa services with Day Guest options. Weekly yoga is complimentary for guests and also available for non-guests with drop-in and weekly pass options. www.bardessono.com

Meadowood Spa Resort – St. Helena

Meadowood Spa Treehouse Retreat Room

The new Meadowood Spa offers a unique all-suite concept, creating an elevated spa experience and giving guests a true sense of retreat and privacy. These intimate private treatment suites include a private bathroom, steam shower, and built-in seating area in from of tranquil views through open sliding windows to nature beyond. They offer facials, scrubs, wraps, massage, treatments designed for men, in guest room services, and a spa boutique. Meadowood Chef Victoria Acosta has designed a culinary seasonal menu, offering delicious and healthy options for guests to enjoy in their spa suites or in the relaxation gardens. http://www.meadowood.com/spa

Auberge du Soleil Spa – Rutherford

The Spa at Auberge du Soleil

The spa at Auberge is based on the design of a Zen master, creating a physical and emotional barrier from the outside world, which allows guests to focus inward while taking in the beauty of nature. Their new seasonal treatment, “Winter Harmony Retreat” will treat you with an array of luxurious services to nourish, refresh and replenish your skin. In addition to a warm aromatic sesame oil massage, you also choose one or more treatments of Peppermint Sugar Body Scrub, Winter Forest Clay Wrap, Pink Himalayan Salt Bath, Balancing Energy work, Hand & Foot, Reflexology, Hair and Scalp Renewal. 30, 90, or 120 minutes. In addition to their inviting variety of spa treatments, they also offer the highest in quality fitness classes and private instruction. https://aubergedusoleil.aubergeresorts.com/spa/

Solage Resort and Spa – Calistoga

Solage Couples Treatments

The spa facility is artfully designed and ecologically conscious creating the ultimate retreat to experience relaxing and invigorating services including new twists on the renowned “Calistoga Mud” and mineral water therapies. The Bathhouse as Spa Solage offers the ultimate wellness experience, featuring healing geo-thermal pools and mineral-rich mud therapy in a restful, restorative setting. Their spa menu offers a vast selection of services – massage, body renewal, body scrubs, enhancements, signature facials, advanced skincare, facial enhancements, waxing, couples connecting, and just for him. In addition, there are mid-week wellness packages, fitness programs, and specialty wellness sessions. Try the “Chai Spice Body Renewal” – body brushing, a warming vanilla coconut oil massage, and finished with a nurturing wrap and foot treatment. They also serve deliciously inspired spa cuisine at the Solbar outdoor patio. https://solage.aubergeresorts.com/spa/

The Spa at Calistoga Ranch – Calistoga

Yoga at Calistoga Ranch

The experience is one of the most unique spa experiences nestled away in a wooden canyon. It provides an oasis where you will find soothing soaking pools overlooking a creek and moss-laden oaks. They offer restorative organic spa treatments in restful private rooms where you will enter upon a journey to pure relaxation. In addition to their signature treatments, they also offer complimentary classes in their state of the art fitness facility or out amongst nature. Classes range from Yoga to Qigong to Pilates and Circuit Training. One of their newest seasonal treatments is “Toastie Toes and Fell Good Fingers” where you will receive a revitalizing hand and foot treatment, exfoliates, hydrates and nourishes with warm towel wraps and relaxing reflexology. https://calistogaranch.aubergeresorts.com/spa/

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Spa Getaways in the Napa Valley, The Best Places to Relax in Wine Country - NapaFoodGalTravels

Linguine with Shrimp and Peas

Linguine with Shrimp and Peas

What to Cook Tonight – If it’s Tuesday it must Be Pasta Night

Linguine with Shrimp and Peas

Tonight was the night to do a pasta dish. So linguine with Shrimp and Peas was the dinner ticket! We have been eating meat pretty much every night whether it is a burger, tri-tip, chicken, or BBQ Ribs. It is time to mix it up a little bit with a refreshing but easy to prepare pasta dish. Our course I rely on what I happen to have fresh in the fridge, frozen in the freezer, and what’s available in our stocked pantry.

Since we don’t just run out to the store these days on a daily basis to pick up ingredients for the evening meal if we don’t have it on hand. My grocery curbside pick-up day isn’t until Thursday, so for tonight’s meal sourced the ingredients from what I have on hand. Good thing we usually always have a good selection available to us at home. My recent delivery from Costco just brought us a large bag of lovely frozen shrimp, so for tonight – shrimp it is. Along with imported linguine and frozen peas from the pantry and freezer. I took a recipe that I usually do and adapted it to use the ingredients I have on hand here at home.

The original recipe calls for fresh shrimp, I used fresh-frozen. It also called for fresh basil which I have just run out of, but fortunately, we always keep on hand cubes of frozen Pesto Sauce which worked as a perfect substitute. The only other item the I had to change up a bit as I used Trader Joes Frozen Peas instead of fresh sugar snap peas since I did not have any of those available either. I also added sliced and quartered zucchini and halved cherry tomatoes.

As we all know in a pasta dish, you can create just about anything with what you have available at home provided you have the key ingredients which are, of course, good pasta, garlic, parmesan, and extra virgin olive oil (I like to use the freshest I can get from my quarterly delivery from my olive oil club). All of the rest you can easily improvise with your own choice of ingredients.

Please make comments and share photos of your dish that you created from this recipe!

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon

 

Mastering the Art of Cooking One of Julia Child’s Most Famous Dishes!

 

Movies and cooking! I decided to prepare the famed recipe Boeuf Bourguignon from the movie Julie and Julia, inspired by Julia Child’s iconic cookbook – “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. It seems like every time I watch a foodie movie I get motivated to cook one of the dishes prepared in whatever feature foodie film I am watching. This time was not much different. Last week, I was doing a food movie binge watch and one of the films that I indulged in was Julie and Julia which was released in 2009. It is still a foodie movie classic and always one of my favorites.

The storyline of Julie and Julia is a deliciously delightful feature about writer Julie Powell who has a mission over the course of one year to cook every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s famous cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” She showcases her cooking journey in a food blog “The Julie/Julia Project” as she chronicles her daily cooking efforts in her tiny New York kitchen. Her book was originally called “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.

Meryl Streep as Julie Child in Julie and Julia

Julia Child in Julia’s Kitchen

The plot of the movie is intertwined with Julia Child’s autobiography “My Life in France” written with Alex Prud’homme and Julie Powell’s memoir, “Julie and Julia, My Year of Cooking Dangerously”. Though the two never had the actual opportunity to meet, the movie “Julie and Julia” intertwines their lives. It segues back and forth from Julie’s trials and tribulations cooking page by page in her tiny kitchen in 2002. Then the scene transitions into 1950’s Paris to Julia Childs foray into actually learning and mastering the art of French cooking while living in France and along the way collaborating the tumultuous adventure to get her monumental cookbook published.

During the course of Julie’s year profiling her day to day adventures in the kitchen through the pages of Julia’s cookbook, the Julie/Julia Project blog after a while began to amass a cult following, so much so that Judith Jones who was Julia Child’s editor asked to meet with Julie and to prepare a dish for her. Of course, Julie chose Julia’s infamous Beef Bourguignon from the cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking – Volume One on page 315. Listed in the books’ INDEX under Beef and then Stews. The recipe titled Boeuf Bourguignon – Boeuf A La Bourguignonne (Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms).

Movie – Julie and Julia

Though due to extenuating circumstances the meeting between Judith and Julie never had the chance to take place. What actually did result after Julie’s second attempt at the recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon was a masterpiece of the dish as she conquered Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe to perfection according to her husband, who remained her loyal follower and taste-tester.

Cheers Julia Child – You are My Hero!

Excerpt from the cookbook with the intro to the recipe:

“As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man and can well the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately, you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.”

Are you ready to get cooking? Here’s the recipe. Trust me, It is really is very easy to prepare. It just takes a bit of time, which we all have plenty of right now. You will love the journey in your kitchen. Bon Appetit!

Another excerpt from the cookbook – Mastering the Art of French Cooking gives you recommendations for the vegetables, sides, and wine. Of course, according to the cookbook, all of the wine suggestions are French wines. However, there are plenty of wines from around the world that will pair nicely with this hearty dish.

Vegetable and Wine Suggestions

 “Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve the beef with a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as a Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Emilion, or Burgundy.”