We’ve just returned from another fabulous weekend in the Napa Valley. The occasion was a 70th birthday party for a dear old friend.
I say “old” based on the length of our friendship, not his age…although I admit my perception of middle age resides on a sliding scale now.
Our reunion began at Tra Vigne in St Helena. It’s vine covered, rustic stone exterior set the mood for our fabulous meal. I adore everything about Italian food and coming here felt like a trip to Tuscany. Nestled in the heart of historic St. Helena, Tra Vigne, serves outstanding Northern Italian cucina crafted from fresh local ingredients.
The entrance is flanked by two beautiful carved stone lions.
I haven’t seen my friend Silvia in almost twenty years and she’d probably shoot me for this picture, but it’s the only semi usable one of us in front of the Lions.
Pardon my “stork” pose. I refused to wear my walking cast for this trip so I’m hiding my surgical-tape wrapped toes:).
We had a large corner booth just inside the bar area, which felt cozy and private enough for us to boisterously relive old times and catch up on what’s new. In truth, we were a loud crowd and the restaurant atmosphere was perfect for us. Our waiter was gracious, attentive and very helpful with menus selections.
We’ve been “couple” friends since our children were in elementary school together. PTA, carpools, Little League and Cub Scouts were just part of our shared experiences. We rotated homes for frequent dinner parties where laughter reverberated into the night and great wine flowed.
As happens in life…jobs change and people were transferred all over the world. We’ve done our best to stay in touch but haven’t had a chance to all sit down together… for over 15 years.
This visit… we (women) all passed our cell phones around to ooh and aah over each other’s fabulous grandchildren!! Several born in the same month and year, two named James. My James was the most adorable…but you knew that 🙂
The Tuscan courtyard, under a canopy of twinkling light covered trees, was bustling with activity. It was a balmy night… so I stepped out to just snap a picture of this pretty area. Next time we’ll request a table out on the patio. It was beautiful!
Per our normal, the women commandeered one end of the table and the men sat at the other. In honesty, we started out with a more traditional seating arrangement, but it quickly because obvious the men seated between the women were not happy campers.
I ordered the Halibut which was cooked to perfection. I also did succumbed to the fresh baked bread and olive oil…because I’m only human and this was an Italian restaurant! My Caesar Salad came with a large side dish of shaved Parmesan Cheese, perfection! My wheat and dairy restrictions were tossed by the wayside for this entire weekend. It would have been cruel not to.
My friend Adrienne of “The Rich life on a Budget” told me Tra Vigne was one of her favorite restaurants, and now it’s one of mine.
Be sure to make a stop at Tra Vigne on your next trip to Napa Valley.
It also happens to be right next to my favorite spot in St Helena… Merryvale Vineyards, where we spent a large portion of the following day, tasting, buying and restocking up on truly outstanding wines
Do you have a favorite restaurant in the Napa Wine country?
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