We got a rental car for our day trip to Napa. As we drove toward wine country, we hit the 24 hour mark prior to our Hawaiian Airlines flight back home so we made sure to check in for our flight as well as take the Hawaii health questionnaire that would clear us for Safe Travels approval. Smartphones are so powerful. We made it to Napa and stopped in Downtown Napa for a little while and got some food in our tummies before heading to Kenzo Estate for our 12 noon tasting reservation. We were surprised and happy to find that Atsushi-san who is the VP of operations was our wine educator. He shared so much with us about the winery and the company. We loved every single one of the wines we tasted and bought a few bottles to enjoy in Hilo.
After Kenzo, we drove to Yountville and tried to walk around but it was just too hot. I think the temperature was in the high 80s that day. Luckily we could head to our reservation at the Thomas Keller/Shaoching Bishop champagne cavaiar restaurant. Keller, of French Laundry and Per Se fame partnered with Shaoching Bishop, caviar expert to open Regiis Ova Lounge, a restaurant with champagne, caviar, and live piano music. On the menu were Daniel Boulud’s smoked salmon with bagel wafers and a Meyer lemon schmear. YUM! The tasting flight of Regiis Ova Caviar was also an essential order. My favorite was the Hybrid. We also ordered Bluefin Tuna Tartare and Tempura-Fried Chicken Tenders. The Crispy Berkshire Pork Belly was outstanding. I need to practice cooking pork belly at home! Anyone have any recipes? After having champagne and caviar, I loved visiting The French Laundry Garden and I am inspired to try getting my garden growing again.
We drove back to the city and stopped on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge to get some views of the bridge and the city but the fog was so thick and we just had views of Karl the Fog. Once we got back in the city, we drove down Lombard Street for fun before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at SPQR. They are known for their fresh pasta and serve a 5-course $85 menu featuring seasonal and local ingredients with Cal-Italian flavors.
This restaurant also has earned a Michelin star. We enjoyed Pork Belly (again), Verde salad, Tortelli Caponata with Octopus Puttanesca, Prociutto and Corn Sacchetti with Roasted Cob Broth and Black Truffle, and Beef Sirloin with Marsala Mushroom and Red Wine Leather. Dessert was Hot Chocolate Torta and a Spiced Sugar Bombolini. YUM! My favorite dish was the “egg-in-the-hole” and the creamed corn that came with the pork belly. The service was outstanding and we learned so much from the sommelier. We had a complimentary taste of a digestif called nocino that I loved. I wonder if I’ll be able to find that through my pal at Kadota Liquor. We were again the last to leave and were again, lucky enough to meet the chef and take a photo with him. We even found out that he is an avid bicyclist who bikes around 150 miles a week! Each day of our trip was different and full of fun things to do. What a great few days Living Hilo Style in San Francisco.