Hi friends - I’m so excited BottleRock Napa Valley is almost heeeere! For those of you new to BottleRock, it’s an annual music festival that began in 2013. Every year since it’s brought 40,000 people each day of the fest. This year it’s set to begin this Friday (May 25th) and will end Sunday the 27th.
BottleRock brings the most heavy hitter musicians ever. I love it! This year we get to hang in the Napa County Fairgrounds listening to Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg, Phantogram, Earth wind and fire, Muse, The Chainsmokers, MY PERSONAL FAV (St. Paul and The Broken Bones), E-40, Low Cut Connie, and so many more musicians I really can’t type them all ha. And of course there are amazing aftershows in downtown Napa if you want to keep the party going.
Unfortunately BottleRock is sold out, though you can get your hands on some sold out tix here, gouging free! Either way put it on your radar for next year because it’s definitely worth a visit. And for all you BottleRock lovers ready to rock n’ roll, I’ve put together a short list of ways to keep it healthy while you’re jammin out this Memorial Day weekend.
Please please please take this seriously! Lather on some sunscreen that isn’t cancerous 30 minutes before you plan to arrive. Bring it with you so you can layer more on every couple hours (or more frequently if you’re sweating a lot).
Bring a hat and some shades. And bring some light layers too so you can cover up if you feel like you might be starting to burn. (Also do you love how my felt hat as dog hair on it jeeezzz Tessa get it together)
You’re gonna be camping out here for a while. Give yourself the best chance to enjoy every moment by eating a healthy breakfast (hint: smoothies are your friend) at Hudson in Oxbow before you go into the festival. Or of course you can always make your own using my go to smoothie recipe.
Now once you’re in is where it gets fun.
If you end up veering off course, that’s ok. Keep in mind that we are in the Napa Valley foodie nation here with fine dining and exquisite chefs, so you just need to look for something moderately healthy as all the food tends to be very decadent.
Anyway, I chose vendors based on visits to their restaurants. So while I’m not sure what they’re going to plate up, I assume their fest food will be at least sort of consistent with their restaurant.
Even though it’s not going to be super hot this weekend, you need to stay hydrated!! So prepare yourself to buy some expensive festival water. Your body will thank you for it.
And yes I know of course you’re going to be boozing haha... I mean they have some of the best wines in the world (it’s in Napa, duh), craft beer, cocktails and even a bourbon bar. But just make sure you’re pairing your alcohol and water 1:1 so you don’t get a nasty hangover in the morning.
This part is so important! There’s so much to take in in a festival like this. I think it’s really important to build in a little time to decompress and rejuvenate. My favorite way to do this is to visit the Spa. There will be Rapid Recovery Hydration Therapy (yes, that does mean IV hydration), Zeel massages, Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, Lush (G-d I love them!!) and more.
Lastly, let’s face it. It’s easy to lose track of time and get scatterbrained in the sun… So this tip is only sort of health related, but I’ll tell you anyway. Download the BottleRock App. It’ll help you with finding food, wineries, building your schedule, you name it. Bring some order to all this joyous chaos gf.
Ok, that’s it folks! Have so much fun this weekend!!!! 🎶
Miner Family Winery’s Spring Fling has Flung (aka YAY IT’S SUMMER!!)
Have I ever told you how much I LOVE blogging? It opens up so many opportunities to meet amazing people and do incredible things. For example - a few weekends ago I went to The Miner Family Winery’s Spring Fling Release Party with Vineliving (Mallory) and so many other blogger friends. Let me tell you, this event was LEGIT. It gathered foodie bloggers from around the Bay Area to celebrate the sun, err, the summer. Of course we celebrated in true Napa style - with wine 🍷
Spring Fling was co-hosted by blogger goddess Vine-Living, which should tell you right there just how special this was. And if you don’t know who that is, go ahead and hop on over to Bloglovin and follow this amazing woman right now. She’ll teach you all the things you need to know to be hip in Napa.
Anyway, Miner hosts this party every year to release summer wines into the summer season. You can really feel summer coming on with this event, so if you haven’t pulled out your summer dresses yet, it’s TIME.
I really loved this event because we were absolutely spoiled by Miner! They gave bloggers their entire second story which included unlimited wine, food catered by gourmet grilled cheese sandwich makers @grilledcheezguy (who are so talented they’ve won nine National Grilled Cheese Invitational trophies), and oysters by the infamous @billtheoysterman1996. Did you know he’s literally kidnapped people for private parties before and got paid for it??
Miner Family Winery
Miner is located right past the Oakville crossroad on Silverado trail. It’s absolutely stunning as their winery overlooks opposing vineyards. It was founded in 1996 by Dave and Emily Miner, though the caves there are serious and took 15 months to complete!
Dave and Emily married each other and released their first miner wines in 1999. Five years later Bon Appetit included them in the “Top Five” All-American wines. What a whirlwind! After more than twenty years of Miner, they’re still full steam ahead and their wines are as strong and beautiful as ever.
If you want to learn more about them before making your visit (because you really have to see it and taste it for yourself!), you can check out their blog or find them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
Anyway, back to the Spring Fling. If you’re lucky enough to go to one of these, you can expect to be treated to a truly delicious and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Rosato. But the specific blends and flavors are always different, so let me tell you about the wines we tasted this year.
2017 Rosato of Sangiovese
This is probably the summeriest wine of all the wines in the world. The French know how to welcome the sun in style, and it always involves a chilled rose wine! This rosé is made in the traditional Provence style using Sangiovese grapes. They’re pressed gently until a blush color is produced, leaving a dry, medium-bodied wine with cherry-pomegranate flavors. I really love this one, though it is slightly on the sweeter side compared to a red. Luckily it’s dry for a rosé though so I think even you dry wine lovers will enjoy a glass or two.
One of my favorite things to do when trying new wines is to think about the best vegan pairings to really bring forward all the right flavors. So I’ll do that for each of the wines I tried, starting with this one!
The Rosato practically sings with joy when you add a side of flatbread lightly smeared with olive oil. Or of course you can dunk for some added fun. But really any fat will work beautifully with Sangiovese grapes since it helps to balance the tannins. You can try other oils like avocado or walnut, or try drizzling oil over other foods like tomato and basil. If you want something non oil-based, hazelnuts, pistachios and fig work really well here.
2017 Sauvignon Blanc
This is a Bordeaux style white wine that’s crisp in all the right ways. This bright flavor comes from being fermented and aged in steel barrels. When you sip on this beauty, expect to smell stone fruit and fresh herbs while tasting grapefruit and melon. Interestingly this type of wine is best enjoyed in its youngest years, within 2-3 years after bottling.
I love pairing this with an English pea hummus and vegetable crudite. Basalt in Napa does an amazing English pea hummus. Did you know English peas and sweet peas are the same thing, and are actually garden peas? Did you also know I love geeking out about veggies? Ha!!
You can also pair sauv blanc with cucumbers drizzled with coconut aminos and black sesame seeds, seasonal green veggies like broccoli or legumes like green or fava beans. And of course a little vegan pesto pizza never hurt anyone….
This is a beautiful Rhône style white wine that’s also fermented in stainless steel, but in tanks instead of barrels. Before they make it to the tanks, they’re whole cluster pressed, which gives it a really bright tropical flavor. It’s a well balanced wine that’s also best enjoyed within the first few years of bottling and should be served chilled.
Viogniers pair best with a salad course. I like to make mine super colorful by adding fresh fruit like apricot, peach, blackberries, or mango. You can continue playing with your salad by adding microgreens, homemade dressings (it’s actually pretty easy and fun to make these!), nutritional yeast, and slivered almonds, sesame seeds, cucumbers, or anything that adds a little crunch.
If you’re not feeling salad vibes, first of all, I think you just haven’t found your salad soulmate yet, but ok ok, you could also pair with sweet root veggies like sweet potato, carrot or parsnips. Eating them raw will give you the highest nutrient bang for your buck, but feel free to roast them with a little cinnamon, ginger or turmeric if you’d prefer to eat them warm.
2014 Grenache Sierra Foothills
Miner offers two grenaches, which are Rhône-Style red wines. We tried their Sierra Foothills grenache, which comes from the Naggier family vineyard. Their other grenache is sourced from Hudson Vineyard. The Sierra Foothills blend has a light body, a strawberry/raspberry flavor and a floral and spicy scent. I know it’ll be hard, but try to drink it within four years of bottling. This one should be served chilled just below cellar temperature.
As far as food goes, Asian, Thai and Indian curries are my favorite to pair Grenaches. Any of them work, but if you’re really getting creative you can look into curries from other countries too! Grenaches usually have a fruity characteristic like strawberry, black cherry or raspberry. Vegan paella or vegan risotto works really well too, and honestly any world food works perfectly here because of the spices in Grenache.
2014 Syrah Stagecoach Vineyards
Instead of trying their other grenache, Miner treated us to another Rhône-Style red - their Stagecoach Vineyards Syrah. Stagecoach is located on Atlas Peak and offers classically dark, fruity flavors with a fun smoky spice.
Because of the smokiness, I love pairing syrahs with Mediterranean food like dolmas, falafel, hummus and pita, or Greek salad.
2015 Emily’s Cabernet Sauvignon
We ended with a Bordeaux style red wine - the classic Cab Sauv. In fact, it’s so classic that they offer 3 different varieties. Emily’s was named after the co-founder of Miner named…. You guessed it, Emily. They gave this one the honors of sharing her name because it’s as beautiful and expressive as she was. The wine is decadent and smells of black fruit, toasted oak, espresso and mocha. Though it’s labelled a cab sauv, it’s actually got a little merlot and petit verdot in there too.
This is my go to dinner wine and the one I was most excited to try. Whenever I am out I always get a cab. The bold flavor just calls to me and I know I’ll be happiest with this! So in my mind it pairs with every vegan dinner I make. Really this is the wine I would buy over and over again and love it equally the same at every dinner.
Now that you’ve heard all about these delicious summer releases, I hope you can make some time over the next couple of months to check Miner out for yourself. Whenever you’re ready to live a life of luxury and try these bad boys out in a CAVE, they’re ready for you. Bring your phones (haha, as if you’d forget!) and they’ll even snap some pics of you and your friends. Remember to use the hashtags #MinerGals, #MinerWines, and #DrinkMinerWines to get Insta famous. And don’t forget all their summer releases pair perfectly with vegan dishes, so have fun and get creative!
PS - for those of you event lovers like myself, Miner hosts a stage at BottleRock (May 25th - 27th) that will have music, shade and games. It’s super fun so make sure to stop by. There’s also going to be a First Friday Sunset Lounge Tasting Event on July 6th. If you’re into eating, drinking and sunset viewing, this is your jam. Space is limited so make sure to snag your spot while you still can.
Thanks for the help Talia Chakraborty
Your vegan vacation guide to Cabo San Lucas
Recently I went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was sooooo pretty and the food was really on point. There’s no better way to destress than to eat guac with your toes in the sand, so Cabo was a dream come true for me. I got to destress and spend time with my super sweet aunt who will be moving there soon... Which hopefully means I’ll have many more trips to Cabo in my future :)
Where to stay
I had a great time lounging in a villa in Pedregal, which has a private beach and an off the beaten path, non-touristy feel. You can rent villas or homes there and I highly recommend it! But wherever you choose to stay in Cabo, I’m sure it will be great.
Once you get yourself situated, one of the first things you’ll want to do is grab something to eat. Hopefully you’ve brought your walking shoes, because the hills are serious here and you’ll need them to get around comfortably.
Now if you happen to find yourself in a villa, it’s pretty easy to eat vegan in Cabo. You can ask your chef to prepare healthy Mexican vegan meals so you’re not missing out. I highly recommend ordering skinny margaritas with fresh lime and your favorite tequila. And of course, enjoy all the fresh, made to order guacamole your heart desires. Just remember to ask for veggies for dipping instead of chips.
When you’re ready to venture out and try some local cuisine, you absolutely have to try these gems. I’m seriously still dreaming of them:
There are five global locations of OMNIA. Their newest location is in Cabo, which is funny because it’s actually in San Jose. Anyway, when you walk into the OMNIA you’ll immediately feel like you’re walking into the future. You walk through these incredible arches with wide open views of the ocean. Once you’re inside you’ll have a couple of options:
This place is literally on the beach, which means you can dine with your toes in the sand. As I said, Cabo makes dreams come true. The Office happily modifies anything on the menu to your specifications. And if you get veggie fajitas they’re not just bell peppers and onions. They also include carrots, zucchini and broccoli, their tortillas are off the charts delicious and the guacamole is insane.
Warning - try to avoid Rambo if you’re being good because he’s The Office’s tequila master. No joke, he’ll tip your head back and pour tequila down your throat!
You’ll need to make a reservation to get in here. It’s pretty pricey (as in, this place definitely uses US prices) but it’s worth every penny! The ambiance is killer since it’s on the Pacific Ocean and you can hear waves crashing into the walls of the patio as you eat. And since it’s in the Pedregal,it’s got a stunning and super luxurious feel.
I really like the story behind their location. It’s no accident that El Farallon is in the Pedregal. To put this marvelous restaurant and hotel where it is, the owner had to literally drill her own cave through the Pedgregal! I can’t even with that.
Other cool things they offer are live music, a champagne bar with stunning champagnes and a vegetarian menu. For our appetizer we had mixed salad with a lovely vinaigrette and asparagus soup, and for our main course I had a stuffed tomato with quinoa and extra veggies on the side (peppers, mushrooms, beets and carrots).
This place is surprising in the best way. It’s in San Jose which takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to, and is a fully functional community farm in the middle of the desert. Imagine an oasis and you’ve got Flora Farms.
You approach the farms on a dirt road and the terrain suddenly shifts from sand to palm trees and lush veggies and flowers. The farm is set up like a little community with very posh storefronts selling everything from homemade chocolate bars and jewelry to painted bull skulls. They have a lovely restaurant that’s partially inside a barn and partially outside overlooking the gardens. The menu is seasonal and changes frequently, so you know whenever you go you’ll be dining on the absolute freshest ingredients of the day.
When we went for lunch they featured a variety of fresh local foods. One that stuck out to me was the wheat berries and kale salad with grilled onion, parsley, figs and lemon. They also have pizza, soups (one of which was a warm tomato soup with parmesan and black lentils and olive oil), and sandwiches like the local slow poached tuna with fennel, dill, lemon, sun dried chili and aioli on a ciabatta. And of course they feature their famous handcrafted farm cocktails pretty much any time they’re open.
I had a chilled asparagus soup with toasted almonds and olive oil and a massaged kale salad with thinly sliced beets. One of the most fun things on the menu is their “walk through the garden” appetizer selection of today’s freshly harvested vegetables. If you’re into seasonal produce, you’ve got to try it.
Still hungry for VEgan?
If you have extra time, these restaurants are also vegan friendly and will happily accommodate any special requests:
If you’d rather stay in and cook, California Ranch Market is the perfect place to stock up on vegan goods. Vive Organiko is great too if you have any snack or toiletry needs.
Keep in mind that new restaurants and hidden local gems pop up all the time. So to stay on top of the best food of the moment, follow my tips in this blog post. If you’re in a pinch, you can always try ordering a fajita with no meat. Skip the tortilla and rice and replace with extra beans and some leafy greens. Enjoy!
And though I stuck to skinny margaritas (“when in Rome…”), I wouldn’t be a Napa girl if I didn’t recommend some cool wine bars for you to check out while you’re there.
Annnnnd I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give you a coffee recommendation. Interestingly, coffee isn’t grown in Baja California, the state that Cabo’s in. This means that roasters in Cabo need to import from somewhere in order to offer coffee, whether that’s mainland Mexico or anywhere else in the world. I really like Cabo Coffee Company’s solution to this. They import organic beans from a private grower in Oaxaca and then roast the beans daily themselves. You can really taste the difference between these beans and other imported roasts.
Things to do
If you ask me, food and drinks are the highlight of any great vacation. But there should be more to your days than that, so here’s a list of some amazing things to do in Cabo:
1. Scuba dive with Laura at Cabo Private Guide
We did an insane shark dive with her down to a shipwreck called El Vencedor. You can see a really neat short clip of sea life that typically hang out around the shipwreck on YouTube. We were super lucky and saw 11 bull sharks between the 7 - 12 feet long. This was an amazing experience for us, and would be really cool for any diver.
But if you want to take things down a notch she can host a variety of adventures for all skill levels ranging from snorkeling and searching for pretty fish to seeing a whale shark or even seals. She’ll get you covered at unbeatable prices, plus she’s adorable, so you really have nothing to lose.
2. Check out El Arco (The Arch)
This area is so pretty and makes for some incredible photo ops. It’s a great place to spot fish and birds and swim in the prettiest blue-green water you’ve ever seen. People love to visit by boat, snorkel, paddleboard, kayak, or really any way they can get over there. It’s pretty easy to get there so you’ll have your pick! You can even jump off of some of the rocks into the perfectly blue-green water if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. Some people also call it Land’s End because if you go south from this point, you won’t hit land again until you’ve reached Antarctica! So be careful to explore but not go too far
3. Relax on the beach
I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of the beaches here, but if you’re looking for the best of the best, check out Playa el Médano or Lover’s Beach (aka Playa del Amor).
Divorce beach is pretty too as long as you don’t swim there (it’s too rocky to swim safely). And don’t forget any of the beaches here make for a gorgeous run!
4. Treat yourself to a massage
I think most people go to Cabo to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Of course you also have your spring break crowd, but I’m pretty sure you don’t fall into that category :)
So since you’ve gone to relax, why not treat yourself to an incredible massage from Massages at the Sand Bar, where you can actually see the ocean during your massage if you’re somehow able to keep your eyes open?
5. Get your culture on
Did you know there’s a whole Gallery District in Cabo filled to the brim with local and folk art, including tons of high end paintings, sculptures, jewelry and anything else you’d expect to find in 14 major galleries? If you’re into this sort of thing (because why wouldn’t you be), you can catch an Art Walk every Thursday between October and June.
6. Soak in that gorgeous sunset
Don’t miss this! Find yourself a place to watch the view each night and take in all the beauty that Cabo has to offer. Most people prefer to do this from a beach, restaurant, or bar, though any balcony or really anywhere at all with a view will do.
But if you want to know my favorite place, I head straight to the Mona Lisa every night. Their Tattinger Terrace champagne bar is perfect for grabbing a few drinks and watching the sun go down over the iconic arch (El Arco). They also have a Michelin star trained chef serving up Mediterranean style food if you’re feeling hungry.
Some of my other favorite things to do were:
As you can tell, there’s tons of things to eat, drink, see and do in Cabo. It’s easy to fill your days exploring, but keep in mind you’re probably also there to relax. I recommend keeping an easy pace by choosing a few bucket list activities and leaving the rest of your schedule open so you have plenty of down time to soak it all in.
So tell me - have you ever been to Cabo? What were your favorite things to do there?
Special thanks to Talia Chakraborty 💕
Just another girl who is trying to inspire others. Passionate about health and fitness. And a love of coffee and peanut butter.