- Napa Valley,
- North America,
- Sonoma County,
- United States
Planning a domestic trip to Cali's Napa Valley and then moving on to San Fransisco. Lush vineyards, beautiful countryside and amazing food.
Spice Islands Marketplace, California
St. Helena, California 94574
Tel: 888 424 2433
Whether you're in the market for a pair of chef's pants, a jar of exotic sea salt, or an obscure kitchen gadget, this Napa Valley shop—the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone's campus store—is sure to have it. This is where CIA students (and many local chefs) shop, and it's stocked with the wine country's best selection of quality knives, cookware, and glassware. The store also has more than 1,700 cookbook titles in stock, an array of packaged ingredients, and hard-to-find spices from around the world.
Open daily 10 am to 6 pm.
Sonoma, California 95476
Tel: 707 939 2847
Baksheesh specializes in handcrafted gifts and housewares from the developing world. Committed to fair trade and to supporting disadvantaged artisans, the store culls gorgeous one-of-a-kind items from countries throughout Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East: coiled bamboo platters from Vietnam, Mayan-inspired ceramic vases from Peru, Indian block-printed tablecloths, and musical instruments from Cameroon. One of the most popular items is a trivet made out of recycled newspaper, from the Philippines. With each purchase, you'll be doing good—and you'll want everything in the store. Other stores are located in Healdsburg (106B Matheson St; 707-473-0880) and St. Helena (1327 Main St.; 707-968-9182).
Artefact Design & Salvage, California
Schellville, California 95476
Tel: 707 933 0660
A warehouse-like space adjacent to Sonoma's Cornerstone Gardens, Artefact is stuffed with dramatic and unusual objects found around the world by owner Dave Allen. The artful and exotic inventory is ever-changing, but expect to find items like 19th- and 20th-century clock faces from European train stations; giant hand-carved stonework from India; twelve-foot-tall parlor doors with rich, weathered patinas; wooden spires from long-gone churches; tattered, sculptural cargo ropes from Holland; and limestone fountains and basalt birdbaths from France. Prices range from pocket change to tens of thousands of dollars.
Open daily 10 am to 5 pm.
See + Do
Charbay Winery & Distillery, California
St. Helena, California 94574
Tel: 707 963 9327
When you've had it with crowds, cabernet, and the pretense of the major wineries, book a tasting at Charbay Winery, a folksy throwback to the days when Napa's wineries looked like farms, not monuments. Founded by a 13th-generation master distiller from Serbia, Charbay has a cult following for its spirits and aperitif wines. Giant copper stills lie outside the garage-like tasting room, which doubles as the barrel room. During the sit-down tasting at a plastic table and picnic chairs, you'll sample unusual fortified and still wines. If you secretly add ice to your wine, you'll be delighted by Charbay, a Mendocino-grown chardonnay enriched with house-made brandy; serve it straight up as a dessert wine, or add ice and a twist for a smart and elegant aperitif. Do the same for the berry-rich rosé, and it tastes just like sangria. But the spirits are what make Charbay famous. California law won't allow you to taste them on-site, but trust us: The vodkas are fabulous, and some come flavored with bright fruit like blood orange, raspberry, or Meyer lemon.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 9 am to 5 pm.
French Laundry, California
Yountville, California 94599
Tel: 707 944 2380
At this culinary mecca, perfectionist chef Thomas Keller coaxes otherworldly flavors and textures from familiar ingredients. His famous salmon tartare "ice cream cone" is the first clue that there's alchemy in the kitchen, and the subsequent parade of nine courses confirms it. Service is flawless, and the pace is languorous—allow at least three hours. The French Laundry has won almost every award a restaurant can get, which accounts for the strict reservations policy: You have to call at least two months prior to the day you want to dine. The wine list is possibly the best in the region, but don't finish all those little pours or you won't remember what you ate. If you can't score a reservation but still want to try Keller's cooking, either book a table at his brasserie, Bouchon, or at Ad Hoc, an informal eatery serving his favorite comfort-food dishes at far more affordable prices.
Open Mondays through Thursdays 5:30 to 9 pm, Fridays through Sundays 11 am to 1 pm and 5:30 to 9 pm.