Wine Country Fun

In my last post, I talked about my four favorite winemakers in California wine country and our amazing tour guide, Barry. But we were in Napa for four days, and there was no way I could handle four straight days of non-stop wine tasting. I would either die (and by die, I mean vomit) or fall asleep in between the vines. Either way it wouldn't be pretty.

So what else did we do... 

We stayed in a beautiful villa on the golf course of the Silverado Resort just outside Dowtown Napa that I would 1000% reccomend. I loved having our own space (and fireplace!), but if walkability is important to you, definitely opt for a villa closer to the center of the resort! I'd also look into staying in Yountville. It is the cutest little town and conveniently situated between Napa and Calistoga. We sillily thought that staying there would be too out of the way, but we drove through it both days we spent wine tasting. Barry also told us that there are some amazing Airbnb & VRBO rentals available in the area.

We also had some great meals. My favorite restaurant was The Girl and The Fig in Sonoma. We live right next to an excellent French restaurant here in Durham, and this casual take on French "country" food was such a treat. I got the pastis-scented mussels and the potato gnoccchi with bacon, squash, parmesan, olives, and peppers. Yum, yum. yum. 

The barbecue at Bounty Hunter was also on point, and that comes from someone who's spent a more than appropriate amount of time eating Texas, Memphis, and North Carolina BBQ. Be prepared to wait for a table, and if you're lucky, you'll be waiting during happy hour.  They have a killer wine list and a BBQ sampler plate. I split the beer can chicken for dinner (eaten after stuffing my face with pork, brisket, ribs, and red wine).

Now, since I couldn't spend the entire vacation alternating between eating and drinking, we threw one big non-wine activity in their mix... ballooning! 

Okay, I can't even really say this was non-wine because we took off from Domine Chandon (part of Moet and producer of the absolute cutest sparkling wine bottles) and we were treated to a champagne brunch afterwards.  But it was so beautiful and we got the most amazing pictures.




Oh, and we capped off our trip with a day in San Fransisco! 


Happy traveling darlings!


Marzipan Chocolate Chip Cookies

So desserts are not really my thing. Generally, I feel like dessert recipes are overly complicated (this one requires THREE types of sugar) and they take too long and use fifty bowls and then once you're done you can only have a little bit of whatever sugar-filled item you painstakingly labored over.   


So why am I sharing a cookie recipe today? Because, it's Christmas darlings.

...and because its also law school exam season and the boyfriend has banned all things merry and bright until after exams are over ON THE 19TH! That baaaaaarely leaves any time for Christmas cheer.

[insert overly dramatic sigh here]


Luckily, this ban does not apply to food so I am cooking and baking my heart out. So far, I've made my 10 step breakfast bread, two batches of pop tarts - one batch the boyfriend stress ate so I had to make a second batch, which I forgot to take pictures of, so I'll be making a third batch soon - then I had extra pie crust so I made super yummy chicken pot pie from scratch, and then I got tired of baking/all of my pans and mixing bowls were dirty so I made a huge batch of my favorite momofuku soy sauce eggs (I'll be sharing my paleo version soon) which I then proceeded to eat on everything and anything, and finally, I ran out of pop tarts and needed to get my sugar fix elsewhere. 

Enter cookies.


These cookies are delicious. They are salty and sweet and have the best sugary-almond surprise. The recipe is kind of a pain in the ass, but only if you plan on baking alone. Grab some friends (preferably one who has a kitchen aid stand mixer), a bottle or three of wine, and gather in the kitchen. That's what the holidays are about.  


Chocolate Chip & Marzipan Cookies

adapted slightly from i am a food blog 


  • 100 grams marzipan (i buy this marzipan found in most grocery stores and use half of the package in this recipe)

  • 1.75 cups all purpose flour

  • 0.75 teaspoon baking soda

  • 0.5 teaspoon salt

  • 1 stick butter

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips (the bag I used was 12 oz)

  • flaky sea salt


Preheat the oven to 360°F.

Roll marzipan (100 g) into little balls, roughly the same size as the chocolate chips you are using. 

Whisk together the dry ingredients (1.75 cups flour, 0.75 tsp baking soda, 0.5 tsp salt) in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, use a stand or handheld electric mixer to cream butter (1 stick), white sugar (2 tbsp), turbinado sugar (2 tbsp), and brown sugar (1 cup). Once the butter/sugar is light & fluffy, add 1 large egg and vanilla (1 tsp) & mix until combined.

On a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, chocolate chips (12 oz bag), and marzipan balls until all the ingredients are is just barely incorporated.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and flatten oh so very slightly.  Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You'll want them to be about 2 inches apart. 

Sprinkle with flaky salt and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, check on the cookies. You want to remove them from the oven once the edges are golden, but before they turn golden brown.

Once you've reached (or surpassed.. it happens) the perfect golden edges, remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for five or so minutes.

Enjoy with red wine or whatever bottle is open by the time you finish the recipe.




Happy holidaze!