All over the map / Napa Valley for George’s Birthday!
Napa Valley for George's Birthday! | Jessica VerSteeg image 123
June 5, 2017

Napa Valley for George’s Birthday!

My husband wanted to be in Europe for his birthday, but this year a few things stood in our way of that so for the first time ever he had his birthday in the USA.

Unfortunately we found out only a few days before his birthday that we would not make it to Europe and that he needed to stay in SF, so we did what we could and planed a private weekend in Napa at one of our all time favorite dog friendly and eco-friendly resort, Bardessono.

Bardessono is a LEED Platinum Certified hotel in Yountville, California and is dedicated to protecting the environment while providing a luxury experience. Accommodations are heated and cooled using an underground geothermal system, while rooftop solar panels keep the lights on.

Bardessono French bulldog
Priscilla is pretty excited

Bardessono hotel and spa in Napa  Bardessono wine vineyard

Bardessono checking into our hotel
Checking into Bardessono

This is where the three best concierge sit, Chelsey, Matt, and Taylor. Their office is decorated with beautiful art from the Andrea Schwartz Gallery that you will also see throughout the entire hotel.

Blue oil canvas painting is by John Belingheri -totem / parasols 50″ x 50″ for $15,000. English Bulldog is by Brian Mock (I can not remember how much this was).

Bardessono Blue oil canvas painting John Belingheri Bardessono French bull dog American bull dog brian mock

bardessono IMG_3351

On the way to our room, the walls were covered with beautiful art, it is like a mini art gallery.

cara barer harajuku digital art
Cara barer harajuku 3/9 archival digital photography face mounted on pixel 36″ x 36″ $4,950
Peter Combe eye (Hindmarch) appropriated household paint swatches 18″ x 18″ $4,500
john nelson splendid
John Nelson splendid mixed media on panel 36″ x 48″ $5,900
john bonick silver thicket
John Bonick silver thicket #1 43″ x 47″ $8,500
clint imboden
Clint Imboden Dandelion #3, wood, mixed media

art nature

Next, we passed through the bar that is connected to the Lucy Resturant before making our way to our Spa suite. The Lucy Restaurant & Bar stands on its own as a Forbes Four Star rated restaurant. Most of the produce is grown right on the property (farm-to-table dining) in a cute little garden that all guests can walk through. The restaurant provides breakfast, lunch and dinner.

bardessono Lucy hotel bar bardessono Lucy hotel bar

The outdoor path to our room cuts through the center court yard showcasing this beautiful metal sculpture by Albert Dicruttalo that looks like it’s floating in the water.  Just past the sculpture is a cozy little hammock and all along the path beautiful flowers.

bardessono art Albert Dicruttalo
Albert Dicruttalo sculpture

Albert Dicruttalo hammock  bardessono

bardessono IMG_20170603_183639

hotel spa purple flowers

As I mentioned, Bardessono is a LEED Platinum Certified hotel, so they have continued with the eco-conscious design elements throughout the property. The room designs are sleek and modern with dark wooden floors and contemporary furnishings. Each spa suite comes with outdoor space, a fireplace and a bathroom that is meant to double as a spa, with a massage table built in (to me the best feeling after a massage is crawling into bed and sleeping, this is allows for that!) and a large soaking tub. Amenities include Egyptian cotton linens, flat-screen TVs, motion sensor shutters and an iPad control system to order in-house services. I’ll walk you through our room.

bardessono spa suit king bed
P.S. They always give you a complimentary bottle of wine along with a really nice hand written welcome note.

spa suit bardessono spa suit

Our outdoor space, you can kind of see some of the solar panels in the photo from our bedroom looking out and the one with Priscilla.


French bulldog solar panels eco hotel humanrace relaxing

Heading into the bathroom, Priscilla will lead the way and inspect everything.

bardessono spa suit bardessono bathtub spa suit

bardessono bathroom bardessono spa suit

Something random that that gives hotel rooms an extra bonus in my eyes, is having separate his and hers closet space.

bardessono spa suit closet bardessono spa suit closet

This hotel is known for its love of our four legged children so they take very good care of them. Shortly after checking in they brought Priscilla bottled water along with a water bowl, food bowl, and a little doggy bed.


bardessono French bull dog at bardessono frenchy dog food bardessono

The view from our front door balcony was just as nice as the patio balcony.

view from balcony
Center court yard
Entry to the hotel

And here Priscilla is looking down at the Lexus house cars.

bardessono bardessono

bardessono lexus
These cars are for all hotel guests

Making our way to the gym now and it just feels so relaxing.

Every corner you turn there is something beautiful to look at


bardessono cout yard art

There is a small fitness center available with a handful of cardio machines, weight equipment, and a mat for stretching or doing core workouts on. There are towels, water, and fresh fruit provided for all guests as well. I am not sure when the classes are, but I heard there are complimentary yoga classes offered.

bardessono gym

bardessono bardessono

Just past the gym is where the cute little garden is that Lucy gets most of its veggies from.


Lucy garden at bardessono Lucy garden at bardessono

Lucy garden at bardessono Lucy garden at bardessono

Lucy garden at bardessono rhubarb  Lucy garden at bardessono

Lucy garden at bardessono Lucy garden at bardessono mint

Lucy garden at bardessono wine grapes Lucy garden at bardessono

Lucy garden at bardessono corn Lucy garden at bardessono corn

Now back at the room and ready to make use of the in room massages! Every room has a massage table in the bathroom, but not every room comes with a great assistant like Priscilla.

spa suit bardessono massage  spa suit bardessono massage

spa suit bardessono massage
I think Priscilla wants a massage too.

After a realizing massage we took a nap and got ready for dinner at Morimoto.

Napa dinner date flown pink dress

The ambiance is really great in this restaurant from the decor to the music, everything was filled with life and the water view is beautiful.

morimoto napa morimoto napa

Photo credit to Victor M. Samuel

We went for my husbands birthday (In Russia it was his birthday already) so I called in advance to let them know and had our concierge Chelsey let them know as well, but then kept telling us happy anniversary :/

No big deal, the most important part is the food. I would say the first three dishes were AMAZING but after that it went downhill, between each plate we waited 15-20 minutes, the soy sauce tasted like 100% salt and we were not able to really enjoy the flavor of the sushi. When the last plate came they brought me two types of meat (when I called and when Chelsey called we both told them I only eat fish and chicken, no other meat whatsoever. Side note: it is not for vegetarian reasons, I just have a hard time digesting it).

When they were setting our table for the last meal I asked our waiter why I had a steak knife if I will not be eating meat? And he told me, “no worries there will be no meat for you it is just part of the setting.” so I said, “ok.” After 30 minutes of waiting I was presented with scallops (I love), lamb, and pork. My husband got scallops, duck (I think), and wagyu beef (he loves wagyu and said this was a disgrace). I was quite shocked, but our waiter (really nice guy and very understanging) did react quickly and said he would replace my dish with Buri Bop, it was not mind-blowing but it was good.

Now the dessert, we only had one and despite them telling us happy anniversary I think I licked the cup clean, it was so good!

Side note to the restaurant, I think they need new chopstick holders. The ones they have don’t keep the chopsticks in place, they just keep rolling off the side and I don’t like eating with chopsticks that touch the table.

sushi bar
The bar

morimoto napa morimoto napa

morimoto napa
Somehow they forgot my second chopstick, but I wanted to point out the chopstick holder, I would recommend they getting one with a little dip, so it actually holds the chop sticks and keeps them from rolling off.
morimoto napa
My blue eyed birthday boy
We did omakase
morimoto napa
Toro Tartare – wasabi, nori paste, sour cream
morimoto napa
Kanpachi carpaccio – hot oil, garlic, chives, ginger, mushrooms (this was very good)
morimoto napa
Bagna cauda – garlic, anchovy, local vegetable oil (If I had this at home it would become the only way I eat veggies, also that chicken nugget!!!! THE BEST).
morimoto napa
Inari dumpling soup – king crab and tofu stuffed inure, fume blanc (this I could have done without, and that was surprising to me because I love crab, love dumplings, and love soup).
morimoto napa
Chef’s sushi choice – sake (salmon), hama-hara (hamachi belly), bonito (katsuo), ichi-dai (knife jaw), Saba (Japanese makerol). (The fish it self was great and good quality fish, but the soy sauce ruined it, so I ate the rest without soy sauce).
morimoto napa
Gulf Snapper – mussel, rice, seared banana, bell pepper relish, Thai curry. (This was a good dish)
morimoto napa
Surf and Turf and Turf – Peruvian scallops, lamb, and pork belly (I don’t eat meat so they replaced this for me with Buri Bop)
morimoto napa
Buri Bop – yellowtail seared in. a stone bowl, carrots, spinach, royal fern, daikon, sweet sesame soy, chicken egg yolk, served over rice.

morimoto napa morimoto napa

morimoto napa
White chocolate line ganache – coconut foam, mango sorbet, pop rocks (LOVE)

Now it’s time to wake up the birthday boy!

bardessono bardessono

After waking up to gifts we decided to take a little late morning stroll with Priscilla and the flowers were so beautiful along this path that I have to show you.

Leading the way
bardessono water fountain
The sound of running water is so relaxing

bardessono flowers morning glory bardessono French bulldog morning glory

bardessono butterfly flowers
the colors were just so beautiful
bardessono bridge frenchie
On a mission

bardessono pink roses bardessono honeysuckle

bardessono hydrangea
beautiful hydrangeas

hydrangea chary tree tree garden chary

Lilly purple flower

French bulldog blue
Back in the room and our guard dog informs us that there was a knock on the door
A delivery from Whole Foods!

Now that the pup has been walked and our delivery is safe in the room, it’s time for a bike ride to lunch at Bistro Jeanty and the a little wine tasting at Bell Wine Cellars.

Bardessono bike rentals
These bikes are free for any guests to take out for as long as they want
bike ride in Napa
Off to lunch

Bistro Jeanty was recommended to us by our Concierge Chelsey, having been around since 1997. She said it was a staple for the locals and has earned a Michelin star. Chef-Owner Philippe Jeanty, was born in Champagne, France, and came to California in the late 1970’s to cook in a fine-dining restaurant.

The interior was cute and cozy, but the weather was so nice that we ended up sitting outside in the covered patio with the warm sun and a cool breeze. The crowd seemed to skew on the older side, so the vibe was quaint and serene. The menu was a classic French bistro menu, when many of the traditional dishes such as escargot, cassoulet and duck confit. This is now one of my favorite French restaurants near SF – everything was served to perfection.

bistro jeanty napa bistro jeanty napa bistro jeanty napa

bistro jeanty napa
Waiting for our table

bistro jeanty hoste bistro jeanty decor

bistro jeanty bistro jeanty

bistro jeanty bistro jeanty

bistro jeanty bistro jeanty

bistro jeanty bistro jeanty

bistro jeanty bread basket
I could have eaten just the bread and butter
bistro jeanty onion soup
Soupe a l’Oignon (French onion soup)
bistro jeanty deviled eggs
Deviled eggs with black truffle and mache

bistro jeanty bistro jeanty

bistro jeanty bistro jeanty

bistro jeanty
Ending this fabulous lunch with tea

Another recommendation by our concierge Chelsey was Bell. We have toured all of the big vineyards already and wanted something close, and we wanted something intimate, private, and personalized. Bell is a very small vineyard and the tour is nothing extravagant. Ff this is your first time visiting Napa I say mix Bell in with a few others so that you can find out what you like best, because some people like the small boutique wineries, some are looking for a winery that focuses on their favorite style of wine, while others want something lively with many amenities like restaurants, shops and art galleries.

I am sure Napa has over 400 vinyards to choose from so do some research to see what you like best, to get you started here are a few tastings and tours that are open to the public: Cakebread CellarsBeringer VineyardsChateau Montelena WineryV. Sattui Winery, The Mondavi WineryInglenook Winery, Kenzo Estate, Luna VineyardsPeju Province, Castello di Amorosa, and Spottswoode just to list a few.

All of those that I’ve listed are amazing, but I will say regardless of Bell being small the wine is top of the line and our host was not only entertaining but knowledgeable. We enjoyed the wines we tasted immensely, and we ended up buying 2 bottles of 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone 337 and 2 bottles of the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone 6 that they delivered to our hotel shortly after we left, since we were on bikes. We could not get all of that wine back without dropping a bottle so they said they wold send it our way.

bell winery Napa
Parking the whips
bell winery Napa
Welcome to Bell
bell winery Napa
Beautiful grounds

bell winery Napa bell winery Napa

bell winery Napa

bell winery Napa bell winery Napa

bell winery Napa
How it’s made

bell winery Napa awards bell winery Napa tasting

bell winery Napa
Let the tasting begin

bell winery Napa tasting bell winery Napa tasting 2014 merlot bell winery Napa tasting Cabernet Sauvignon unfiltered reserve

bell winery Napa tasting 2013 clone 337 unfiltered cabernet bell winery Napa tasting 2014 syrah block 6 bell winery Napa tasting 2013 clone 6

biking in napa
It was a beautiful bike ride back

Remember the Whole Foods bag we had delivered? Priscilla decided she wanted what was inside of the bag. It is so hard to be mad at her though, after all it is our fault for leaving it on the floor.

Now that we have full bellies and are already quite relaxed from a few glasses of wine it is time for the spa, this time not in our room but in the spa for a couples massage. Like the rest of the resort, the spa is committed to environmentally conscious design and practices so all-natural products and wine country-inspired treatments are this spa. My only wish would be to have a bigger spa with a bigger steam room, sauna, and more of a lounge area. The treatments are great though.

napa spa
Ready to relax
couples massage
couples room

couples massage kiss

After our massage, one of our friends stopped by to give the birthday boy a fun gift and to join us for dinner at Kenzo.

putting the drone together

After wrecking the drone a few times, it was getting close to our reservation at Kenzo so we put the drone away and went to dinner. The latest venture from the owners at Kenzo Estate (Kenzo and Natsuko Tsujimoto), an exceptional, authentic Japanese restaurant featuring a traditional pre-fixe Kaiseki menu as well as a pre-fixe sushi menu.

Service at Kenzo was amazing as they provided meticulous attention to details with everything. The decor is about simplicity, making everything feel so clean and all about the food. From the smooth, light wood counter to the relaxing lighting, everything captures the elusive qualities of symmetry and simplicity. Dinner at Kenzo feels like a choreographed ballet as the chef gently places his creations on the counter followed by waiters that stand behind you waiting to bring the masterpieces down to the wooden mats on your level of the counter. This process adds a ceremonial quality to the experience. And in the end your chef will sign your menu.

dinner keno Napa
Birthday Date Night at Kenzo

Chef Hiroyuki Kanda (earned three Michelin stars for his Tokyo restaurant nine years in a row) left for Japan the day before (Kanda is sourcing fish from the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo),  but he trained the chefs and we had an amazing chef named Shuhei Shimazu.

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant decor
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant
Simple and clean
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant
Chef Shuhei Shimazu
Kenzo birthday sushi
Customized menu the says Happy Birthday!
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant
Starting off with a little bubbly

IMG_20170604_195435 IMG_20170604_195441

Poached Blue Shrimp, Shiitake Mushroom and Asparagus – with keno estate grown olive oil dressing

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant
Assorted Appetizers – strip jack sashimi, Japanese egg omelet, king salmon sashimi, abalone and broccoli with wasabi gelee

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant kenzo napa michelin star restaurant

Chef’s Daily Pressed Sushi – Japanese mackerel, white sesame, ova shiso leaf and pickled ginger

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant kenzo napa michelin star restaurant

Grilled Chiba Golden Eye Snapper – with premium dash broth

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant saki

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant
Rice Cracker Crusted Aomori Greenling – egg yolk sauce and pea tendrils
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Chef Shuhei Shimazu preparing the next course
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Bluefin Tuna
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Striped Jack
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Sea Bream
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Horse Mackerel
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Gizzard Shad
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
When Chef Shuhei got low on wasabi he made fresh wasabi the traditional way by rubbing the wasabi root over shark skin.
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Ink Squid
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Blue Shrimp
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Salmon Roe Bowl
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Bluefin Tuna and Scallion Roll
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi
Red miso soup

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi desert wine

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi

green tea
Green Tea
kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi birthday
Kenzo really made this birthday special, thank you.

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi

signed keno menu signed keno menu

kenzo napa michelin star restaurant sushi

As if the night could not have gotten any better, when we returned to our room it had red rose petals sprinkled all over with chocolate covered strawberries, a happy birthday note written IN RUSSIAN! And they even left Priscilla a hand written note and doggy wine!

red roses in the room

roses and chocolate covered strawberries happy birthday

blowing out candle chocolate covered strawberries
Birthday boy making a wish, such a strong wish even the tree was being blown.
bathtub with red rose peddles romantic
I mean they went all out!
doggy wine
And they included Priscilla!

After an amazing weekend it is time to check out and head back to San Francisco, but first we need breakfast.

Priscilla leading the way to breakfast.

brunch in napa

eggs benedict egg white veggie omelet

drone in Napa with French Bulldog
Bye Bye Napa

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