napa valley, california: eats and drinks

Last Tuesday I celebrated my birthday by spending the evening at home with my family, then, once the kids were in bed, packing up a suitcase to head to the Napa Valley with my sweetie. We left our kids at home in capable hands and headed off to California on Wednesday. The weather didn’t entirely cooperate, so I didn’t get to take as many photos as I’d hoped, but the trip was spectacular regardless.

We’ve been blessed with the friendship of some wonderful people who are, as they say in wine country, In The Business. Luckily, these are friends who never seem to mind letting us tag along on their wine trips. And from my  limited experience, traveling to wineries and vineyards with someone in the wine industry is a whole heck of a different experience than the alternative.

We drank incredible wines, ate some pretty great food, and saw some fabulous sights out there. Below are some snapshots of some of the meals and wine tastings we went to. Part of my brain – or is it my heart? – is still back in Yountville. Come along with me for just a few minutes and I’ll take you there.

If you click through each photo, it will take you to my Flickr account where you can read more about it.

old vines

harvested grapes

roast chicken

butternut squash soup

silver oak

rainy day in napa






pan-seared salmon at cia

padron peppers


mushroom risotto

oakville reds


oakville lunch


napa valley

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27 Responses to “the ifbc in new orleans, a wrap-up”

  1. DessertForTwo — August 31, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

    “This food blogging community is pretty damn great. It’s an honor and a blessing to be part of it.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    Glad you had fun! Thanks for telling us what you ate at each restaurant. I love details like that!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — August 31st, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

      When will I get to see you again, by the way?

  2. Dianne Jacob — August 31, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    Great to see you in NOLA, Merry-Jennifer, and I enjoyed spending a little time with you. Your photos are just gorgeous! This conference seemed a little mellower than others I’ve been at recently, don’t you think?

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — August 31st, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

      It was wonderful to find the time to chat with you there, Dianne. I agree, the conference did have a wonderful, casual vibe. It felt intimate, and I loved that.

  3. Wendy Read - Sunchowder — August 31, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    What an amazing post Jennifer! I also learned so much at the conference 🙂

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — August 31st, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

      It was so lovely to meet you there, Wendy!

  4. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — August 31, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    Mj – great post, brought back some wonderful memories of my trip last year. NOLA is fab. Wish I could have been three to hear you speak. You are truly an inspiration.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — August 31st, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

      Aw, you’re so sweet, Mardi. I wish you could have been in New Orleans, too. You’re overdue a hug.

  5. PeeDeeFoodie — August 31, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

    Congrats on a wonderful wrap-up. Love the photos! This was our first conference, so we’re newbies to the community. Thanks for such a warm welcome.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — September 1st, 2011 @ 7:10 am

      It was wonderful meeting you there!

  6. LiztheChef — August 31, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    Thinking of coming to Santa Monica in mid-Nov for IFBC? I’m going…

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — September 1st, 2011 @ 7:09 am

      I really wish I could, but I can’t get out there for those November dates.

  7. Jamie — August 31, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

    I fell in love with the city and was swept away by the amazing food and I so want to go back to NOLA again… But the conference, as you said, exceeded my expectations. I not only learned so much but was so inspired! (oh, boy, your session set me straight!) And I loved the ambiance. Everyone got along so beautifully. I am truly happy that I got to spend so much time with you, talking, laughing and getting to know each other and I hope that we stay in touch. And we still need to do a video project in claymation.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — September 1st, 2011 @ 7:10 am

      Ha ha! Yes, claymation may be the way to go. 🙂

  8. SweetSugarBelle — September 1, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

    I just visited in January, and had such a wonderful time. It was truly beautiful, and despite the Katrina reminders, the culture overwhelmed me. I felt like I got a big happy NOLA hug the moment I arrived!

  9. Ethan — September 1, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

    great little recap of IFBC. Sounds like it went as it should be…the conference is simply a way for people to get together and become friends.

  10. Liz @ Southern Charm — September 1, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

    Glad you had such a great time in my town and was able to experience all of the food! And there is so much more, which I’m sure you know, to try!

  11. Gail — September 1, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

    I’m so glad it was such good conference. How could it not have been in NOLA with such beautiful friends there to share it with.

  12. Kevin (Closet Cooking) — September 2, 2011 @ 6:56 am

    Nice recap and photos! I am now wishing that I was still there. 🙂 It was great meeting you and sharing an amazing meal at GW Finns!

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  14. Paul (GetMeCooking) — September 3, 2011 @ 6:36 am

    Nice writeup and photos! I’ll have to visit New orleans one day.

    It’s nice to see what food bloggers from around the world are up to. I attended Food Blogger Connect in London, UK a few weeks ago

  15. Lora ~cakeduchess — September 3, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    What fun it was to meet you and share a delicious lunch that first day. Bourbon Street is loud and smelly and I’m thrilled I finally got to see it. So sorry I missed you speaking. I could use some of your tips:) Hope to see you again soon…we are practically neighbors;)

  16. Maria Raynal — September 4, 2011 @ 8:25 am

    Love your writeup. You captured the moments perfectly — some that I didn’t even catch, even though we were together almost the whole time. Perfect.

  17. Liren — September 4, 2011 @ 10:47 am

    Wonderful recap, I do wish I had been there as well. I am hoping to attend ICBC in Santa Monica this fall, fingers crossed!

  18. Sheri Wetherell — September 9, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    It was so wonderful meeting you and having you part of our conference! You did a fantastic job! I agree, it was a nice, mellow conference! Perhaps that Southern grace got into everyone?! 🙂 Hope to see you again soon. XO

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