Party Train

Talk about a memorable birthday weekend! Backing up to Friday, as soon as I was finished up with classes for the day, my parents picked me up from campus, and we headed to Napa, California. When we got to our destination, we headed to the downtown area for lunch and ended up at a nice fish place. We all started with a glass of wine and bread! I opted for a Caesar Salad with Homemade Garlic CroutonsAnd a cup of some of the best Clam Chowder I have ever had!The cute little dill drop biscuit on top was the best part.This was the perfect amount of food to hold me over until dinner time. I wanted to keep my midday meal light because my parents and I had special evening plans.

So what was the special occasion? The Napa Valley Wine Train!

The Wine Train was a three-hour ride in a lavishly restored vintage rail car through thirty-six miles of world famous vineyards in “Wine Country”. There was even a violinist strolling through the cars taking requests and playing music for the diners. And the best part of the whole experience? The 4-course gourmet dinner we got to enjoy along the way!

We got to the station to check in about half an hour before boarding began, so we all ordered a glass of champagne to sip on while we were waiting.
Mom and I!Before we knew it, we were called to board the train and were led to our table.
Once on board, we were immediately greeted with another glass of bubbly.
We enjoyed fresh bread and butter with our drinks.As soon as we pulled away from the station, the dinner began.
We all recieved an Hors d’Oeuvre plate with seasonal vegetables, artisan cheeses and finely cut meats to start. Everything on the plate was incredibly delicious, and set the tone for the entire meal. At soon as we started we all had high hopes for the rest of the night!

The first course was next.Baby Lettuce Salad with Candied Walnuts, Smoked Goat Cheese in a Honey Cider Vinaigrette.

Intermezzo was a delicious mixture of coconut, wild berry and pineapple Harlequin Sorbet.

For the entree portion of the meal, we were offered 5 choices. My choice was the Chef’s Vegetarian Trio and the suggested wine pairing choice.
Grilled Zucchini with Local Goat Cheese, Sweet Pea Raviolis and Yam Stuffed Gypsy Peppers.

It was incredible! I ended up using another piece of bread to soak up all the sauce left on the plate when I was done!

At this point, we were all completely satisfied with our amazing dinners….but we still had room for dessert!

We were moved from our dining car to an adjacent “dessert car” just a short walk through the train.

Once there, both my dad and I ordered after dinner coffee drinks. We both choose the “Almond Chocolate Coffee”. Hey, when in Rome, right?!
Disaronno Amaretto, Dark Creme de Cacao and Coffee

And then we were served our dessert! We were offered three choices, and when I heard the words “goat cheese cake” I was immediately sold.
When the waitress brought our desserts, she brought my mom the wrong order. When she apologized and said she would go get the correct order, I joked with her that I would take the chocolate cake anyway.

Apparently there were extras because about fifteen minutes later she placed one down in front of me! I am never one to turn down a dessert, even if it is the second one of the night!
And it didn’t stop there!
I received a special little birthday truffle with a candle on top!
It was the best birthday ever!

This morning after breakfast (which may or may not have been the last of my birthday cake), we left Napa and drove back to town. My parents took me to the grocery store so I could restock my completely empty refrigerator. After lunch, we said goodbye and they hit the road back to Southern California. We had such a fun weekend, and I was sad to see them go! This weekend was exactly the break from school that I needed to get me through the next (and final!!) month of college!

Needless to say, I have hit food overload. I have a hot and sweaty date with the treadmill first thing tomorrow morning!

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