32 (part three).

to round out our time in the south bay, my mom and i did lunch at one of my favorite italian spots. afterwards, we picked up some of my favorite women on earth and made our way to napa.

we checked into my favorite hotel there (the archer) before freshening up before dinner at a restaurant i have to go whenever i am in town (celadon). while i had never been there for dinner before (my friends and i often end up there for boozy brunches), it didn’t disappoint. i was so glad that my godmother happened to be in sacramento that week for work so she joined us for dinner and drinks at the hotel afterwards. we shared so many laughs over dinner – nearly three hours felt like 30 minutes.

celadon has the absolute BEST calamari (i used caps so you know it’s real)

wednesdays are meant for wine and we definitely did just that. first, we started with breakfast at charlie palmer steak. it came highly recommended and a couple of weeks before our trip when i mapped it, i realized it was in our hotel. somehow (even though i had stayed at the archer before), i had no idea it existed. i had definitely been missing out because we all enjoyed our meal so much.

avocado toast (with smoked salmon, cucumber, watercress, pickled red onion and a poached egg)
belgian waffle (served with butter, strawberry compote, blueberry compote and maple syrup)
huevos rancheros
blood orange 75 (gin, blood orange liquor, lemon and sparkling wine)

i would absolutely go back again and i would recommend ordering a savory dish for yourself and splitting the waffles with another person or two in your party. and even with me being a vodka girl, i had to have a couple of blood orange 75s. they were absolutely delicious. if you want to go to charlie palmer, make a reservation via opentable.

next, our wine tasting tour began. my mom had never been to napa so i was excited for her to get to experience it, especially with women who we both love so much. our first stop was artesa!

the view of napa from entrance of artesa
me + melissa 🤍
interior of artesa
complimentary glass while we waited for our table.
this yellow jacket is my new favorite item in my wardrobe. it’s by lezé the label and is part of hayet rida’s honey glow collection she released. it is so soft yet heavy enough to keep you warm while being so breathable. my dress is from asos.
sofia 🤍
mom + sofia 🤍🤍

artesa is a winery i had always wanted to visit but it seemed impossible to land a reservation on any of my weekend trips. i figured i would try my luck since we were going on a wednesday and booked it immediately. since i am a member at the two wineries we went to next, i knew i would be able to secure a reservation at each of those easily. we all loved the service at artesa and i thought their rosé and their reds were perfect. i think on my next trip this june, it is likely i will become a member. afterwards, we made our way to madonna estate.

the fields at madonna – we had perfect weather
me + mama bear 🤍
the garcia sisters + me 🤍🤍🤍
alexz hates pictures but we take such good ones together that she ends up forgiving me
melissa – quite literally my lifesaver

we all did tastings at madonna but ended up purchasing multiple bottles afterwards that we loved to enjoy there while we soaked up the sun, took photos and talked about anything and everything. melissa was such a fan that she became a member. i know she won’t regret it – i certainly haven’t. after leaving madonna, we drove just up the road to a winery that has my favorite views in all of napa – domaine carneros.

the squad.

we went all in. tastings. charcuterie plates. bottles. smoked salmon plates. we laughed. we cried. it was the most like myself i had felt since before being hospitalized last summer. it was just the most magical day.

sparkling chateau tasting
charcuterie
bottles on bottles on bottles.
smoked salmon
lil’ spoon + melissa 🤍🤍🤍
loves of my life

after leaving domaine carneros, felecia and i dropped the girls off, went to the airport and flew home. each part of my birthday was exactly what i needed it to be – from la to the bay to napa, i was surrounded by love and laughter. no matter what part you showed up for, just now how grateful i am.

xoxo,

k. tap

32 (part two).

after a much needed day of recovery on my actual birthday, my mom and i flew to the bay area on valentine’s day. we landed a little ahead of schedule, our suite was ready even though we were checking in four hours early and the weather was perfect.

last year, felecia and i spent valentine’s day with kendall and dom. when we realized we would be in the bay again on valentine’s day, it only seemed right to keep tradition alive. my dear friend, nick, wanted to join us for dinner. when i said we’d love that and just needed to make a new reservation, he took the reigns and booked at one of favorite restaurants without even realizing it – telefèric barcelona.

i had only ever been to the walnut creek location but since we were staying in the south bay, nick made the reservation for the one in los gatos. it was my first time going with a larger group so i was able to try many things on the menu i hadn’t previously. we had the best experience – not only was the service outstanding, the food was incredible and the drinks were delicious.

far more food was ordered than what was captured below however i had to include some of our favorites.

spanish meatballs – felecia and kendall were obsessed with these!
catalan tomahawk 40oz. served with dipping sauces and potatoes – one of the best steaks i have ever had in my entire life.
paella mixta (pork, chicken, shrimp and octopus) – we had them double the order since four of us would be sharing it (felecia is allergic to shellfish so she couldn’t indulge in this portion)
gothic mojito (i chose passion fruit however strawberry and raspberry were also options)

as if the top notch dinner and even better company weren’t enough, nick surprised us and treated everyone (including kendall and dom whom he had just met that night) to dinner for my birthday/valentine’s day. my favorite card i received this year was from nick. felecia also nearly died when he handed her a valentine’s day card. i am constantly reminded of how wonderful my friends and family are – it is even better when i get to bring different groups together.

mama bear, me, nick, kennie and dom

if you find yourself in the bay area and in need of delicious spanish cuisine, book a reservation through opentable at telefèric barcelona. there is one in walnut creek, one in palo alto and the one we went to in los gatos (the other two locations are in spain).

xoxo,

k. tap

giada – the cromwell las vegas

just before christmas, i was lucky enough to venture to vegas for a much needed getaway with some lovely ladies from my last job. we had agreed to ahead of time to do one calm night and one wild night. our calm evening was definitely memorable because we had the most magnificent dining experience at giada.

for all of my fellow food network lovers, dining at giada was just as dreamy as you think it would be. i was especially excited to experience this with annie – she has all of giada’s cookbooks, loves a good italian meal. today is her birthday so this post is in honor of her. happy birthday, annie!!!

i cannot go to an italian restaurant and not have burrata. the burrata crostini was served with a kale salsa verde and toasted pine nuts. it was absolutely divine.

next, i had an arugula salad. it definitely had a little something special since it was combined with candied lemon, crispy pancetta and parmigiano-reggiano. it was a simple salad but absolutely decadent. for my main course, both amanda and i had the ravioli which comes with lobster, candy stripped beets and preserved lemon butter. our waitress suggested we get the lemon potatoes as a side to share and dip them in the preserved lemon butter sauce. it was absolutely to die for.

annie got giada’s signature lemon spaghetti and was in heaven. the presentation was just stunning.

michelle and vicky split bone-in tuscan ribeye and salmon paired with roasted broccolini. to say they were pleased with their choices would be a gross understatement. everything was seasoned to perfection.

more cocktails were consumed than i care to count and every single one was amazing. my favorite was probably my drinkable dessert. giada’s take on affogato included a bailey’s gelato they make in house. i am still dreaming of it.

our experience was seamless from start to finish. there are few things that compare to an amazing meal with even more amazing women.

if you are in vegas, be sure to make reservations via opentable at giada – the cromwell las vegas. you will be so happy you did.

xoxo,

k. tap

the dorsey cocktail bar

in honor of thirsty thursday and me having intense vegas withdrawals, i thought you all would love to hear about a bar you must visit if in vegas, especially if at the venetian. i went to the dorsey cocktail bar for the first time last december and knew i had to make a reservation for my mom and i for labor day weekend.

one of the reasons i fell in love with the dorsey is because it reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time – beauty and the beast. as a child, i also said if i could be any princess, i would choose belle. and while i loved her yellow dress and the relationship she had with the staff members of the castle, what i envied most was the library. as an avid reader, there was nothing more captivating. and strangely, the first time i walked into the dorsey, i felt like i was in a sultrier version of the beauty and the beast library. what made it better? the craft cocktails they serve and on this most recent visit, the bomb ass dj that was spinning everything from lauryn hill to ja rule to biggie to megan the stallion.

during covid, a reservation is highly recommended and the minimum is two drinks per person and one appetizer per two people. trust me – you will want more than just that the second the first sip hits your lips.

felecia and i ordered the following cocktails: spicy flamingo, sunflower and easy street. the spicy flamingo is kind of like their spin on a spicy watermelon margarita – who doesn’t love watermelon with a little kick? don’t be deceived by the name sunflower – that drink came with the perfect punch since it is gin based with absinthe but balanced perfectly with floral and citrus notes. easy street is named perfectly because the cucumber and vodka is super smooth and goes down easy.

something i loved was how the bartenders did not take offense to modifications to a cocktail. my mom is definitely a vodka girl and made an adjustment to the spicy flamingo to have it made with vodka instead of tequila. it did not disappoint.

there is ample space to spread out and be comfortable – this was especially crucial during covid. the music is played at a volume where you definitely enjoy it but do not need to yell to have a conversation. and for people like us who like to stay in the venetian, is there anything better than getting buzzed downstairs and just taking an elevator back up to your suite? absolutely not.

when planning your next vegas trip, make a little reservation on opentable beforehand and thank me later.

xoxo,

k. tap

vanderpump cocktail garden

over the weekend, i took a much needed road trip to vegas with my mom for an early birthday celebration. on saturday, we were lucky to have hillary join us for the day as we adventured to the most magical place in vegas – the vanderpump cocktail garden.

it is like stepping into the most beautifully lit forest. the experience was outstanding and the garden certainly had the lisa vanderpump touch. an added bonus? i have never seen a more efficient line/check in process. every single person working there was friendly, knowledgeable and aesthetically pleasing. and of course, the food and drinks were to die for.

if you are familiar with villa blanca, you probably already know and love the goat cheese balls. well guess what? you can get them here, too! we also did the crispy chicken sliders and the truffle potato puffs. not only was everything fresh and decadent, it was the perfect size to pair with a cocktail.

speaking of cocktails, our waitress, ashley, was able to answer all of our questions. she also returned in the blink of an eye with the most amazing drinks for us to try. my mom and i both went with the “please her, caesar!” and hilly had the “puff the magic dragon” – both were insanely delicious. my drink was vodka and champagne based while hilly’s drink was mezcal based. there truly is something for everyone.

both ashley and brandon (another employee at the cocktail garden) were just delightful. we felt right at home. when brandon realized he was in the company of a fellow virgo, he asked my mom what her favorite spirit was. when she replied with vodka, he brought these amazing shots for the table with an edible flower that numbs your mouth a bit and enhanced your tastebuds. my mom was SHOOK. she said that in all of her years of drinking, she has never had drinks this delicious or unique.

it was the perfect way to kick off a week of celebrations and we can’t wait to go back.

have you been to the cocktail garden? if so, what did you get?

xoxo,

k. tap