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Tank Garage Winery
 
January 24, 2024 | Tank Garage Winery

Napa Valley Winter Guide

As the vineyards hibernate under a blanket of frost, Napa Valley transforms into a cozy haven, and honestly, it’s a great time for a getaway. Sure, it’s a little bit chillier, but nothing warms the bones quite like some of the best wines in the world!  With lower crowds, and still generally moderate temperatures, we think winter is still an amazing time to savor the beauty of the Napa Valley. Here’s our quintessential guide for your perfect winter long weekend (and some extras for good measure)!

Friday

Arrive and Relax

Head out so you can arrive in Calistoga early on Friday morning. There’s a lot of wonderful places to stay in here, but our faves are Calistoga Motor Lodge, and Dr. Wilkinson’s Resort and Spa. Both spots perfectly blend hip luxury with vintage vibes, and, most importantly, both have the quintessential Calistoga Spa experiences. After dropping your bags at the desk, we recommend heading straight for a spa treatment! Calistoga is famous for its rich volcanic ash mud baths that are meant to relieve joint pain and leave you feeling rejuvenated. Afterwards, take an hour or two to lounge in their heated mineral pools, and then head to House of Better for a bite to eat.

Ready for the coolest part of the Napa Valley?

After your refreshing spa session, you’ll be ready for some exploration…and wine! Stroll or bike (lots of hotels have rentals) down Lincoln Street, on your way to the coolest destination in the Napa Valley (ok, we are biased but…), TANK GARAGE WINERY! Check out some of our fave local shops on the way. Our pals at Field Trip are where it’s at for all things plants and other unique oddities, Mad Mod Shop has rad retro-inspired women’s clothes, West of Poppy is an awesome hip boutique, and The Vintage Treehouse and Rags to Riches are our top picks for all things vintage and antique! That’ll get you all the way to Tank, where our crew will be waiting to taste you through all the cool shit we’re currently offering.

Dinner and a Nightcap

Grab a bottle from us to go, of course, and head to one of our faves for dinner. Feeling like a chill early dinner and love BBQ? Head to Buster’s Barbecue and Bakery right across the street from Tank! Want a fail-proof go-to with killer vegetarian options? Lovina is awesome. Italian Food? Head to Fleetwood. French Creole? Evangeline. Feelin’ fancy? Head to Solbar at Solage!

Looking for a little after-dinner Nightcap? Head to Susie’s for the real local experience. A little divey watering hole where the beer is always cold, but the bar selection is extensive, and they make a mean vodka martini. Picobar won’t disappoint if you love tequila, mezcal, or just want a beautiful artisanal cocktail.

Other Special Mentions for Calistoga Lodging

Indian Springs – upscale, spa services, manicured

Calistoga Wine Way Inn – cozy, quaint, great location

Auberge Solage Resort – luxe, modern, eye candy

Brannan Cottage Inn – stylish, simple, updated Victorian architecture

Saturday

Let’s Move!

Rise and shine! The valley is waiting for you! Let’s get that blood flowing before the wine does. We recommend starting the day with a hike, so you can take in some awesome wine country views. But first, coffee! We love Bella Bakery for a classic cup of coffee, espresso drinks, quiche, pastries, breakfast burritos etc. Sam’s General Store is another good option for that morning pick-me-up.

Head towards Bothe Napa Valley State Park to get a great dose of wine country wellness. The Ritchey Canyon Trail is a moderate and beautiful hike that’s open all-year round and takes about 2 and a half hours to complete. Want something a little more challenging? Check out the Bay Area Ridge Trail. Feelin’ a little lazy and just wanna focus on the wine and food (no judgement from us, that’s for sure)? The Redwood Trail is much easier and should take a little over an hour to complete!

Wine + Adventure

Hopefully you brought some snacks on the hike because it’s time to sneak in another wine tasting. Head over to our pals at Lola Winery! They make beautiful and unique wines with minimal intervention, and their staff is awesome. Other cool spots we’re into: Picayune Cellars for something cozy, Tamber Bey to drink awesome wine while you hang out with horses, and Chateau Montelena if you want to get a great history lesson and taste the classics.

Head down to St. Helena and spend the rest of the day enjoying its picturesque charm. Gott’s Roadside for lunch should fill all those post-hike cravings you’re looking to satisfy. This is the perfect spot for burgers, fries, and other solid comfort foods, plus milkshakes, beer, and lots of delicious drinks! They have good salads too if you’re trying to save up that appetite for dinner.

The Cliff Family crew have incredible wines available, as well as a killer food truck on property! Orin Swift is another super cool place to check out for bold wines and a very cool, non-traditional vibe.

Dinner and a Movie

The food options here are endless depending on what you’re looking for, but for the ideal winter vibe, we suggest checking out Charter Oak. They have simple, farm-to-table shareable plates that are cooked open an epic hearth that is on display for the whole dining room. The atmosphere can’t be beat, and the flavors are fresh as hell, so we recommend at least stopping in for a snack and a drink! On top of that, if you want to bring your own wine, the corkage fee is waived for the first bottle. Then stop over at Cameo Cinema for awesome movie selections in old-school digs. They also do throw-back movies and have special events with directors, film critics and scholars if you’re into that sorta thing.

Other Eats in St. Helena that we Love:

Cook St. Helena – elegant, cozy, homemade pasta

Himalayan Sherpa Kitchen – casual, big ethnic flavors, vegan options

Tra Vigne – family friendly, pizza, comfort foods

Goose & Gander – rustic, basement bar, inventive cocktails

Press – if you’re looking for a Michelin-Starred experience to remember

Sunday

Napa-Bound

Let’s make our way down to the town of Napa today. Looking to start the day with another hike? Check out Rector Dam Hike, Westwood Hills Park, or The Skyline Trail. Then go to Naysayer Coffee for the best coffee in town: this is a local family-operated shop with incredibly fresh, beautiful beans, and impeccably crafted espresso drinks. You’ll be ready for some nosh after that, and we suggest Winston’s for some of the best breakfast/brunch food you’ll probably ever eat. La Cheve and Petit Soleil are also excellent backups for a mid-morning fuel-up.

More Wine…duh

You gotta go visit our pals at Gamling & McDuck right in Downtown Napa. They focus primarily on Chenin Blanc and Cab Franc, blending Loire and Napa Valley vibes into stunningly beautiful expressions of their chosen varieties. Plus, they’re cool as hell. Right across the street from them, check out Benevolent Neglect: hand-crafted and minimal intervention wines with a wide range of varieties. Their tasting room is funky/chic, decked out with record player, and option to BYO vinyl, plus there's already a great collection available to choose from!

Speaking of which…let’s do some shopping? You might want to check out Folklore before you hit up Benevolent Neglect for their great vinyl selection. They’ve also got snacks and a full bar if you’re feeling spicy and have got a DD for the day. Napa Bookmine is where it’s at for new and used books. Jeffries General has cool and eclectic gifts and food items. Then head over to the Napa Oxbow Market for a ton of other cool shops and food options! If you’re hungry, we recommend grabbing a bite at Loveski Deli, or stopping at Hog Island for some oysters. Both are in the Oxbow.

Wrap up the Day in Style

Hop back in the car and head 10 minutes up the Silverado Trail to our sister winery, James Cole. James Cole shares the same ownership and winemaking team as Tank and presents a completely different style: crafting luxurious and premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux Blends on a gorgeous, romantically hip Estate Vineyard! These wines are a stunning representation of what the Napa Valley has to offer, and the perfect idyllic setting to close out your wine-tasting adventures!

Before you go back to reality, you’re gonna need one last Wine Country feast! If you’re ready to splurge a little, you can’t go wrong with a favorite Napa main-stay, Bistro Don Giovanni. If you’re willing to head a hop, skip and jump away to Yountville, we also love Bistro Jeanty (make sure to get the tomato soup), and Ciccio for killer Italian fare. Trying to keep it cheap? No prob. We love Mother's Tacos, Kitchen Door, and Yak & Yeti.

Other Cool Places to Drink Wine in Napa:

Brown Estate – black-owned, refined, bold flavors

Brendel – unpretentious, fun, organic

St. Clair Brown – beautiful garden, very small production, nuanced flavors

Cadet – bar vibes, cool urban feel, huge selection

Bay Grape Napa – shopping, unique local options, informative staff

Time Posted: Jan 24, 2024 at 10:53 AM Permalink to Napa Valley Winter Guide Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
January 10, 2024 | Tank Garage Winery

Crushed Hearts with Easy Coconut Chicken and Sticky Rice

Our funky and bright carbonic white, Crushed Hearts is the perfect wine to cure the January blues, and even better when it's paired with Thai flavors. This easy dish can be made in one pot, and all the ingredients are hella cheap. We think it's ideal for a winter weeknight dinner that's cozy and comforting, with that fruit-forward carbonic kick that perfectly compliments the herbs and rich coconut.

Ingredients

1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
¼ cup neutral oil, such as safflower or canola (Olive oil works fine though!)
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 ½cups short-grain white rice (sushi rice works well)
1 ¾cups chicken broth
1(13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1 yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped
½ cup roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced (½ cup)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
Sriracha, for serving

Step 1

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Rub oil on chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper.

Step 2

Heat oil in large pot, or dutch oven, and begin frying chicken thighs until there is no longer any pink. This should take about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Step 3

Add a little more oil to the same pot and add garlic and ginger, stirring for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add rice to pot, and stir to coat with oil, garlic and ginger. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, bell pepper, cashews, scallions and salt and stir to bring up any brown pieces from the bottom. Place the pieces of chicken on top, and then bring pot to a boil on high.

Step 4

Cover pot and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender and chicken completely cooked. Take out, sprinkle cilantro all over, and serve! Add sriracha or hot sauce of your choosing. Enjoy!

 

Get Crushed Hearts

 

Time Posted: Jan 10, 2024 at 7:12 PM Permalink to Crushed Hearts with Easy Coconut Chicken and Sticky Rice Permalink
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