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

barrel club brunch

last weekend, my mom and i did a little weekend getaway to the bay area to celebrate my 31st birthday. we both needed a change of scenery, santana row never disappoints with outdoor options and most importantly, quality time is my primary love language and the bulk of my friends are still in the bay. the weekend was incredibly restorative and i definitely kicked off my birthday the right way.

let me introduce you to the barrel club brunch at lb steak!

michelle, my mom and i started off with strawberry mimosa floats which included strawberry sorbet, sparkling wine, mint and fresh berries. none of us could have just one.

trying to figure out what to order was tough because everything sounded amazing. i tend to lean towards savory when at brunch but i wanted to try the vanilla bourbon barrel french toast SO BADLY. needless to say, i was relieved that my mom ordered it with a side of bacon so i could have one amazing bite. it did not disappoint. the lavender cream was next level.

michelle had the fancy toast and in my mind, a good avocado toast is the quintessential california brunch must have. the arugula salad paired perfectly with it.

and last, but certainly not least, the everything benedict. it is not secret that i love seafood and this everything benedict included so many of my favorites – dungeness crab cakes, poached eggs and hollandaise on an everything bagel paired with the most delicious tater tots.

our service with christian was impeccable. we ended up staying for drinks well after our food was finished before heading to our next reservation. our friend joe joined us towards the end and enjoyed an old fashioned. since lb steak has a full bar, the world is your oyster. ironically, none of us ordered steaks, yet we had the best experience. i will say this – if you are there for dinner, their ribeye is unreal.

if you find yourself in the bay area, make a reservation via open table at lb steak. happy saturday!

xoxo,

k. tap

telefèric barcelona

over the next week, all of my posts will be bay centered. over the last month, i have gone to the bay area on two separate weekends to change my scenery, spend time with loved ones and recenter/refocus. it has been so good for my soul.

when jason and vana moved to walnut creek, i was thrilled for them. i couldn’t wait to give them restaurant recommendations. telefèric barcelona was the first one i gave and it didn’t disappoint. naturally, i had to go when i was there a couple of weeks ago with taylor. this time, i finally documented my experience. who doesn’t love authentic spanish tapas?

here are some things you have to try when you go:

we had to start with cocktails – i had the watermelon martini and tay had the sangria barceloneta. both were fruity, fresh, light snd perfect for an afternoon.

the crab croquetas were amazing and the tuna sashimi was a touch i’ve never had anywhere else. now? i don’t want it any other way.

the patatas bravas were golden, fried perfectly and flavor packed.

salmon tartar tasted even better than it looks! it being served with fresh corn tortillas was the perfect addition.

i have never had anything from telefèric and not loved it. this time was no different.

i would make a reservation to be safe. thank god for opentable.

when you go to telefèric, please tell me what you indulge in.

xoxo,

k. tap