Catching our breath from a whirlwind Fall season, we are just now uploading pictures from a few jaunts in between weddings. In early Fall, we hauled off to Napa and San Fran for a few days to unwind before the siege. We rationalized the trip (ha!) as so much of our influence comes from the West Coast. They always seem to be one step ahead of us, and yet somehow right in line with the hospitality and gentility that mark Southern affairs.

On the drive from San Fran to Napa, we took a Pacific Coast Highway detour to Stinson Beach, where fresh fish tacos and cold beer hit the spot (and you thought wedding planners couldn’t relax?):

Stinson Beach Fish Tacos

Our immediate thought: what Spring 2010 bride may like the idea of a fresh taco station?

Toast on Stinson Beach

Lunchtime toast…

Ryan & Calder

Old friends…

Stinson Beach lifeguard hut

Funky little lifeguard huts and the requisite guitar-playing surfer… maybe he wants to play some of our cocktail parties.

Stinson Beach at Lunch

West coast beaches are cool, too…


Eight strong, we bunked on Soda Canyon Road in the hills of Napa and simply took in the breathtaking views:

View from Soda Canyon Road

You know you’re high up in the hills when you’re eye-level with hot air balloons…that would be a killer end-of-the-night getaway?

Sunset in Napa

Sunset from our vantage point…


The next day was filled with private tours at boutique wineries and more landscape eye candy:


A morning glass of bubbly at Artesa… our champagne-loving clientele would be proud!

Entrance to Artesa

Maybe we can build our next tented affair into the side of a mountain? (die!)

Artesa barrels

Aged French oak at Artesa

Sampling grapes

Sampling grapes during the crush…

Bistro Don Giovanni

Imagine this lovely space (Bistro Don Giovanni) filled with raucous college friends, and a MadoroM vintner…

Bistro Don Giovanni fig pizza

The Roquefort Fig Pizzettes were just horrible. Terrible. Really.


High-tailed it in our shameless prom limo to the last stop of the day, David Arthur Vineyards. Of course we talked shop with the proprietor, David Long, and his daughter, Laura Long, who are eagerly campaigning for Napa vineyards’ allowance to host weddings. We had a blast brainstorming how to get BME back to plan a few West coast affairs.

David Arthur Vineyards

Can’t you just see a cocktail party here?

A David Long sandwich

A David Long sandwich at David Arthur…


Evening chow at a darling Mexican joint was followed by shopping along Main Street in St. Helena, where Martin left us jaws a-gape.

Martin Martin

The scale and unique nature of each piece just floored us. If only we could have packed a few key pieces back to Charleston for our weddings!

Late Night Dip

Confession: late night dancing back on Soda Canyon Road!


Another day, another winery? We started off at Fontanella, which only produces about 1000 cases a year of the most delightful vino, including killer Zins and big, bold Cabs.


Then Yountville’s Bouchon for lunch:

Bouchon exterior
Someone has a green thumb…

Bouchon salad

Attempt at being healthy…

Bouchon frites

A Croque Monsieur sabotage…

Bouchon in Yountville

Couldn’t resist their bakery next door…

Bouchon sweet treat

Can’t say that we shared this… must we repeat that this is all “research”?


After a few days in Napa, we popped back to San Francisco to paint the town red (or should we say blue?)

We picked up cheeses and charcuterie to pair with wine from our trip and trekked over to the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park.

Entering Golden Gate Park Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

You can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl! Toggling between Emmylou Harris and Little Feat made our night.


A day of eating and walking our way through SF included:

Climbing florals

Just like Charlestonians, San Franciscans make the best of tight spaces…and we do love us some orange.

After lunch at Rose’s Café, we shopped our way through Cow Hollow, the Marina, and Pacific Heights.

Nighttime brought us back to that area for dinner at the über-trendy A16, where we sampled buttery gnocchi and peppery proscuitto with abandon.

A16 A16


The next day, we piled onto the ferry for a trip to Sausalito to sample SF’s best sushi at Sushi Ran:

Sushi Ran

That evening, we had drinks at The Big Four at the Huntington Hotel, which was old school and cozy and just called for a whiskey neat (or something seemingly dapper and manly):

The Big Four

Our entire trip was capped off by dinner at La Mar, on the Embarcadero:

La Mar La Mar Cebiche

The highlight of the night was the Santa Maria, a wedding-worthy signature cocktail of: Pisco, pomegranate-infused tequila, lemon juice and ginger syrup. Insert deep sigh of contentment.