Honestly, I don't really celebrate my birthday very often, but every so often lots of other events seem to creep up on it and it makes it a celebration that lasts anywhere for a few days to a few weeks. This year it will be a two week celebration. It started last Saturday with dinner at my parents' house (cioppino), cake and gifts. On Sunday we headed to The Melting Pot to use a Living Social deal (and celebrate). Monday I ended up meeting a friend at Chevy's to use my free birthday entree coupon, then I took a few days off from eating out and headed to Napa on Friday. At The Meritage Resort and Spa I enjoyed one of my favorite burgers at Crush Ultra Lounge and they surprised me with a beautiful chocolate cake for my birthday. Later that night I attended a screening of Philomena as part of the Napa Valley Film Festival at the Napa Valley Opera House.
Although I hadn't planned to stay overnight at The Meritage overnight I was able to and wake up to a breakfast at Blend before heading out on their first Saturday Wine Tour, where they use their shuttle to take guests on a wine tasting excursion for the day. We started at Grgich Hills for a Napa Valley wine history lesson (he's the wine maker from the movie Bottle Shock, although it doesn't mention him by name), a tour of their crush pad and cellars, plus an extravagant wine and cheese pairing. Not only do the wines have great history, but they were all incredibly good and I purchased a few bottles so my family could enjoy them during our Thanksgiving celebration at the Bradley Lodge in a few weeks. After Grgich Hills we drove past The French Laundry to Pine Ridge Vineyards for another tasting at one of the top tasting rooms in the Napa Valley. The wines were all great (and from what I hear so were the bread sticks), I bought another bottle, and then it was time to enjoy our lunch on their patio prepared by the chefs at The Meritage. The sandwich on a ciabatta roll with lots of meat and brie was fantastic, especially when paired with fresh persimmons and figs. We wrapped up the day with a wine and chocolate pairing back at The Meritage Resort and Spa with Trinitas Cellars. They were all new chocolates from when I had done the tasting previously, so that was fun and it's always good to end a day of tasting with chocolate.
After driving back to Roseville, I went to church and had dinner at Dos Coyotes. Now it's time for week two of Birthday Week celebrations to begin. Dinner at Bayside today. Happy Hour at Ruth's Chris Monday, another dinner at Bayside on Tuesday. Happy Hour at Mikuni Kaizen on Wednesday, nothing scheduled for Thursday, and back to The Meritage Resort for Flavor! Napa Valley and an event at the Culinary Institute of America on Friday.