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
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.


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.


k. tap

crimson in bloom

months ago, my mom mentioned that she wanted to take hillary and i to vegas to celebrate our birthdays. it evolved into a girls getaway weekend with two of our favorite girls, kendall and lo.

hillary knows how much i love a cocktail garden so when she caught wind of crimson in bloom (located in red rock casino), she made us a reservation. anyone who knows me knows how i feel about flowers and rosé so walking in to this magical wonderland that combined both nearly took my breath away.

the menu was expansive and included tons of hard alcohol options too so we were able to have a little bit of everything.

we started with a bottle of sparkling rosé. i had to experience this flower cart experience and had a still rosé that was enhances with orange blossom, edible flowers and lemon. it smelled and tasted delicious. our waitress, michelle, made the absolute best recommendations.

once we were ready for something with a bit more of a kick, hillary and lo ordered the elderflower.

kendall ordered the rosemary, which was patron based.

staying true to form, i ordered the lavender. it was vodka based and had a little caffeinated kick. the little lollipop to enjoy afterwards was a nice touch.

and because none of us can say no to hillary, we all took shots of tequila or lemon drops before leaving to do some gambling.

crimson in bloom is open until mid may. the theme of the bar changes seasonally so if flowers are your jam, head to red rock before it’s too late.

happy friday!


k. tap

kennie’s 30th birthday – napa edition

i will be the first to say how grateful i am that i was able to properly celebrate turning 30 in vegas this year before the entire world shut down. one by one, i watched as the cancellation texts, emails and phone calls came through for so many of the 30th birthday celebrations my friends had planned. it was a bummer for all of us – 30 is a big deal.

kennie was no different. she was hoping to get all her friends together in either hawaii or nyc – both places holding a special spot in her heart as a home away from home. during one of our lengthy facetime calls, she mentioned how it just seemed like there would be no way to celebrate. i just couldn’t allow that to happen, especially to someone who is ALWAYS willing to show up to celebrate others. from la to vegas to hosting my grad school graduation celebration, kennie is a ride or die. i told her it might look different but it could be done. i suggested doing a few small celebrations so her birthday could still be acknowledged in a safe way. she was shocked when i told her i would be willing to drive to the bay. then, she mentioned she had never been to napa.

kennie, born and raised in the bay, lover of wine, had never been to napa. that’s all i needed to hear.

i told her how most wineries were not seating parties bigger than six so to choose four other guests (in addition to us) and i would map out a full day of fun. it was good to see her getting excited about her special day again. lucky for me, brianna was one of the guests. as a fellow aquarian and master planner, i knew i would have some help getting her big day together.

this past saturday, we loaded up the car and made our way to napa. there were definitely some bumps in the road (like us missing our first reservation due to one of our guests being late for pickup), but somehow, everything seemed to work out the way it was supposed to.

we started off at hog island island oyster company for some much needed champagne, oysters and chowder.

next, we made our way to madonna estate where bob made sure we had the most delicious rosé and pinot noir. this is where these phenomenal boxes by brianna were served. who doesn’t love tortellini on a stick? it was everything i never knew i needed. i got these wine glasses from amazon because they were too hilarious not to purchase.

i will admit that we saved the best for last – i am a member at domaine carneros and wanted kennie to be treated like the queen she is. dan at domaine absolutely made sure that happened. from us being seated with the most stunning view to him serving kendall an exclusive glass of le reve to us staying far past our reservation slot, everything about domaine carneros was perfect.

happy 30th birthday, kennie! i love you so much.


k. tap

black girl magic rosé

i am a sucker for a good rosé and this one by the mcbride sisters might be my new favorite!

it was gifted to me by my dear friend, tay. like me, she appreciates good wine and loves supporting small businesses, especially when owned by black women.

*a photo of tay and i at the sf vintners estate event last fall – we always say yes to wine!

the mcbride sisters were long lost sisters who connected and created something magical. they are now the largest black owned wine company in the united states but what i love most is that they are both sustainable and socially aware.

they seem to have something for everybody – whether you love riesling, rosé, reds or something sparkling, there are beautifully bottled options to choose from.

to get your hands on a bottle of rosé, click here. to shop the rest of their collection, click here.

have you tried any of the mcbride sisters wine? if so, which is your favorite?


k. tap