Cakebread Cellars Tour in Napa Valley + Friday Favorites


Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m comin’ at ya’ from Napa, California – yeah! A couple girlfriends and I have been talking about taking a girl’s trip for-ev-er, so we finally decided to stop talking about it, cash in our collective hotel points and frequent flyer miles, and actually do it! :)

We arrived yesterday afternoon and, after getting settled into our hotel, headed to a winery I’ve been dying to visit for oh, about 8 years – Cakebread Cellars.

The first “business trip” I ever took right out of college was with my then boss to Toronto (which is an amazing city, btw. The shopping!) While we there we ate at this adorable shabby-chic, hole in the wall Italian restaurant with an incredible wine menu. At the time I knew nothing about wine and picked a glass of “Cakebread wine” to have with dinner thinking it would taste like, well – cake. Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHA!

I know.

The glass of wine didn’t taste like cake, rather it was from the Cakebread Cellars in Napa, and was absolutely unforgettable. A luscious Cabernet that was neither too harsh nor too sweet. It was, in a word, perfect.

Ever since then I’ve been on a Cakebread hunt. I’ve found bottles sold locally, but for $90+, and have never found it on a wine menu no matter where I go. Anyways, imagine my delight when I passed by THE Cakebread Cellars during my Hilton HHonors Napa trip last month on the way to another stop. I knew if/when I returned it would be one of the first wineries I’d visit, and yesterday, we made it so.


The girls and I toured the family owned and operated cellars, sampling 6 different wines with our tour guide Nash, and several other visitors.

It was a beautiful afternoon and a perfect way to kick off our weekend of wine tasting.

And guess what? The wine was AMAZING!!! I could not have been more excited to sip, savor, and sip some more.

We’ve got two more full days of wine tasting in the area, so wish us luck! :)

In the meantime, I hope you have an awesome weekend planned out, and please enjoy my favorite finds from around the web and beyond, in this week’s Friday Favorites!

Favorite indulge: 7 Layer Cookies a la Mode. Are you KIDDING me! I think one bite of this luscious, indulgent dessert would send me straight into a blissful sugar coma!

Favorite read: 15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years. No gimmicky “Cosmo” advice here – just real, practical ideas for keeping your marriage strong from a couple that just celebrated 15 years together.

Favorite breakfast: Sausage & Cheese Muffins. I had the BEST breakfast casserole at a baby shower a few months ago that had biscuit mix in the casserole. Like, not on the bottom nor top, but laced throughout the entire thing. I haven’t been able to find a recipe even resembling it until I found these muffins. Can’t wait to try ’em!

Favorite DIY: Homemade Pumpkin Coffee Creamer. I long for the pumpkin spice creamer at the grocery store every fall, but never want to pour the chemical-laced stuff into my coffee. This homemade, organic version sounds delicious!!

Favorite freebie: 7 Ingredient or Less E-Cookbook. My friend Dana at the Minimalist Baker just came out with her first e-cookbook with 10 yummy recipes that have 7 ingredients or less. Trust me, each one looks just as delicious as these Strawberry Ombre Pancakes, which are included in the book!

Favorite fashion: Gap’s Boyfriend Jeans. Ok I’m having a dilemma. I am obsessed with the idea of Gap’s boyfriend jeans, which are super slouchy and loose fitting (I hate wearing tight clothes.) Only problem is I would wear these with flip flops or flats, not heels. Would that look dumb?! I can’t tell!

Favorite meal: Chinese Spicy Chicken. Ohhhh yes – crunchy, battery Chinese food that isn’t deep fried! Doesn’t this look delectable?!

Favorite redo: NEW Sock Bun! So I shared a way to make a sock bun a few months ago in a Friday Favorites post, but last weekend my friend and I found a NEW and MUCH better way to do it – just look at the bun I was able to achieve in like, 30 seconds! We were giggling like school girls when we figured it out! What is it about buns that just make me insanely happy? (Click on the link above to see the tutorial we followed!)

Favorite game day dish: Jerk Port Nachos. I MEAN REALLY.

Favorite find (maybe ever): Pinstrosity. I have been in the weirdest mood this week – laughing like an insane person at things I would normally just maybe chuckle at (case in point – I laughed ’til I cried at like, 4 episodes of the Big Bang Theory this week.) Anyways, that said, I laughed at this website, where people submit failed attempts at projects or recipes found on Pinterest, until I could no longer breathe. Maybe it’s really not that funny, but I think it is. Wait ’til you get to the stacked children photo attempt. JUST WAIT.

Favorite fitness: Fat Blaster Workout. I love workouts like this to bust out after running. It’s straightforward, doesn’t require any equipment and, most importantly, WORKS!

Favorite sweet: Chocolate Dipped Salted Nut Rolls. Homemade salted nut rolls dipped in chocolate – ‘nuf said!

Favorite funny. See above re: weird mood. I just thought this was absolutely hilarious. Rebel baby polar bear – whee!

Favorite bite: Spanakoptita Bites. Mmmmmm luscious cheese and spinach in crunchy cups. Super cute appetizer.

Favorite dream: Burberry Military Coat. Beautiful shape and tailoring. Now to scrounge up the $1K to buy it…drat!

Favorite dip: Warm Black Bean Dip. Creamy, cheesy, dippy – perfect for watching my…

Favorite WINNERS: IOWA HAWKEYES! The University of Iowa’s football team plays Iowa State University in “Iowa’s Superbowl” (although I kind of wish they would stop calling it that…) this weekend. Anyways, it’s the biggest rivalry in the state, and I am totally team Hawkeyes! WHEE!

View past Friday Favorites >

Have a GREAT weekend, everyone! (And seriously, GO HAWKS!) ;)

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  1. April 09.07.2012

    If you love pinstrosity try

  2. Jolene 09.07.2012

    Travel to Decorah, IA and dine at the Rubaiyat. They have Cakebread Cellars wine!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.07.2012

      Ok awesome!! I will check them out sometime!

    • Sarah 09.08.2012

      I am from Decorah!! It is an amazing little town, and so beautiful. Also, you should stay at the Winneshiek Hotel downtown! And you have to go to the Whippy Dip. ;)
      And GO HAWKS!!

  3. Raquel 09.07.2012

    Is it just me or is the new sock bun link not working? :(

  4. Vanessa Kasparek 09.07.2012

    After a long week, I always look forward to my Friday evening ritual: Reading the latest issue of People magazine and the latest edition of your Friday Favorites! Thanks for all the fantastic ideas! ;)

  5. Sara 09.07.2012

    YES! Go HAWKEYES! Silly, really, since I do like both teams when they aren’t playing each other…
    The article about marriage is fantastic, BTW.

  6. Alicia 09.07.2012

    You can totally wear boyfriend jeans with flats or sandals! I work at Gap and we encourage it and dress our mannequins in it! It looks great!

  7. Sarah 09.07.2012

    OMG, Cakebread is THE BEST! So glad you got to experience their awesome tour and wines. I always recommend it to anyone visiting Napa.

  8. Julie 09.07.2012

    OMG, that naked family pic is… DISTURBING! The cookie monster ones cracked me up, tho.

    Go Clones! :P

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.07.2012

      Ew, I know – the naked one is weird, but the three kids with the crying baby was soooo funny to me!

  9. Katy 09.07.2012

    Yes! The Gap boyfriend jeans! Do it, do it, do it, buy them. I caved and tried on a pair last week, thinking there was no possible way those jeans would look good on a short person. Maybe they are miracle jeans but they looked kinda awesome. And they are so utterly comfortable. Perfect fall jeans!

    As far as shoes, I promptly came home and pranced around in them with sandals, flats, and black heels. Check, check, and check :) Happy shopping!

  10. Ah! I’m so jealous that you’re in Napa! I hope you have the best time. Hubster and I went in April and I posted all about our trip and the wineries we visited. We loved Cakebread! They have awesome wine. If you want a totally un-Napa like stop, check out Praeger Port. I walked in saying “I’m not a port person” and was totally changed by their white port. It tasted just like pecan pie. We bought a bottle (duh!) and are saving it for the holidays.

  11. So glad to hear you’re a Hawkeye fan :) I thoroughly enjoy your blog, and it really would be a shame to have to stop reading because you’re a Cy-backer :)
    Those homemade salted nut rolls look amazing — salted nut rolls are kind of a weakness of mine <3

  12. Michele 09.07.2012

    I can’t wait for the game this weekend! We’ll be watching it from good ol’ Georgia! I already checked to make sure we get it on tv. Yep, we do! Woo hoo!!

  13. Bethany 09.07.2012

    Kristin! What about the Panthers! They have their first home game this weekend!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.07.2012

      Eek, I didn’t even know – I’ve never really followed Panther sports!

  14. Amanda 09.07.2012

    Have you been to Zins Restaurant in Cedar Rapids? They have this cool refrigerated wine dispenser that allows them to keep nicer bottles from going bad too quickly, so they often have the Cakebread Chardonnay by the glass. Much more affordable to have a glass than a $90 bottle!! Plus they have amazing food and cute desserts (mostly small plates). You need to go if you haven’t been, I think you’d love it!

  15. Ooo….have the best time on your trip!!!

    Thanks so much for including the 7-layer cookies in your post! :)

  16. Brandy 09.07.2012

    Seriously…my mom and I laughed until we wheezed, peed our pants and cried over Pinstrosity, just last night!! So hilarious!!

  17. Melissa 09.07.2012

    GO Hawks! Have a great weekend in Cali!

  18. I heard about the pinterest misshap website and been meaning to check it out. The baby polar bear is adorable and I want those pancakes tomorrow morning. Have fun tasting wine with the girls!!

  19. Kristin 09.07.2012

    I commented for the first time the other day to let you know how much we loved your crock pot spaghetti sauce, and now I am commenting again because I was JUST at Cakebread Winery in Napa two weeks ago! I took a trip with my mom and sister, and this was hands down my favorite. I splurged on two bottles (both cab!) for my birthday, and I can’t wait to drink them on a special occasion. Enjoy your trip, the food is as amazing as the wine!

  20. Lu 09.07.2012

    There is NOTHING like a perfect glass of wine! I really need to stop looking at your blog when I’m hungry and the fridge is empty!!

  21. Omg, so above those nachos you put “Jerk Port Nachos” instead of pork, and I was SOO grossed out thinking it was a nacho recipe made with port beer! Glad to see it’s pork. Sounds delish ;P

    Where else are you going in Napa? My fave wineries to visit are Jessup Cellars and Nickel & Nickel, both in/near St. Helena. OMG and for a perfect ladies day, you must taste champagne at Domaine Carneros! Lucky me to have a boyfriend whose parents live in the city of Napa!

  22. Jessie 09.07.2012

    Yesterday I tried to make the dried strawberries from pinterest, they didn’t look as pretty as the ones I posted and I really didn’t know if you wanted them completely dried or what, so I left them in the oven and thought they would finish drying. Later that night I shut the oven off, but didn’t take them out. Today went to start the oven and forgot them in there . . . definitely didn’t look like the picture after that!

  23. I love those jeans, too – and I wear them with flip flops. :) I’m swooning over that coat, but yikes, the cost!! Thank you so much for including my chocolate dipped salted nut rolls – I super appreciate it – have a great weekend!

  24. Ellie 09.07.2012

    Have you been to Hilarious!
    I also could not get the sock bun link to work…
    Go Hawks!!

  25. Erin Redmond 09.07.2012

    I see miss Lindsey Eis! Hope you are having fun, looks like a beautiful day.


    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.07.2012

      It was so gorgeous – thanks for all the great recommendations – we had a blast!

  26. Amy 09.07.2012

    I couldn’t get the sock bun link to work either :(

    I’ll check back later to see if it’s working yet I guess.

  27. Lindsay 09.07.2012

    In Oregon, we call the game between Oregon State and University of Oregon the Civil War. :)

    Enjoy your trip!!

  28. Mary 09.07.2012

    I love Nappa! Make sure and go to chateau montelena in Calistoga. The wine is awesome. It’s my favorite winery in Nappa, so beautiful. Cakebread is really good! Enjoy your trip

  29. Kristen 09.07.2012

    Love your Friday posts the most! It’s a great start to my weekend :) Enjoy your trip.

  30. Nicole 09.07.2012

    Only thing bad about today’s blog was the Hawkeye posting. GO STATE!! :)

  31. Emily 09.07.2012

    LOVE Napa!! If you get a chance, try Beauchaine Winery off the main drag in the southern part of the napa wine trail. Absolute best white wine!

  32. Jenny 09.07.2012

    Go hawks! I love everything about your blog by so fun reading and seeing your hawkeye stuff and also des Moines. I lived there after graduating and I mIss it! Go hawks!

  33. Adrienne 09.07.2012

    If you’re looking for restaurant recs in Napa still, we looooved Bistro Jeanty (tomato soup in puff pastry!), Bouchon, and Redd (and Bouchon Bakery for sweets). We thought Ad Hoc was good but a little overhyped.
    ~an Iowa (State) girl in Cali :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.07.2012

      We went to Redd last night – SO delicious! Best scallops ever!

      • Adrienne 09.07.2012

        Yess that’s what I had there! They’re to die for!!

  34. Ellen 09.07.2012

    Spent two years going back and forth to Nappa valley to see my husband while he was out there working and loved it! Great food, scenery and wine!!!
    Excited to see the ISU CYCLONES vs (DAMN) Hawkeye game tomorrow!! Go Cyclones!

  35. Mandy 09.07.2012

    I moved to San Francisco from Iowa about 3 years ago and love to take weekend trips to Napa now that I’m out here! Have been to Cakebread and it’s wonderful. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Go State :)

  36. Nicole 09.07.2012

    Try Jax Vineyard in Calistoga. It is family run but appointment only.

  37. Morgan 09.08.2012

    Hi Iowa Girl, My name is Morgan and i’m a 23 year old from California. I have been reading your blog daily for over a year now and I just wanted to tell you something funny. First of all, I stumbled upon your blog while I was teaching English abroad in Barcelona. I don’t even know how it happened but I started visiting your site everyday because of your positivity, great photographs and your brilliant cooking ideas. Not only have you visited my hometown of cardiff (actually right next door-encinitas) but today I was scrolling through your pictures and recognized someone! I saw the first picture of your waiter and thought to myself, that looks like my friend Nash! What a small crazy little world! Thank you for always brightening up my day :)

  38. I would love to go to Napa – it looks beautiful!

  39. melanie k 09.08.2012

    great episode of Friday Favorites!!! Let us know if you obtain the recipe for the sausage cheese muffins! I want to make those for church! :-)

  40. Brenda 09.08.2012

    go cyclones

  41. Tom 09.08.2012

    Kristin, if you all are still in the Valley Sunday, stop by Hagafen Cellars, I will be working. Always love to have the Iowa peeps in town. Watching th Iowa – Iowa St game in SF today with the Hawkeye crowd

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.08.2012

      Dang! We’re leaving Sunday morning. I definitely want to bring Ben back someday, so I’ll put Hagafen on the schedule. :)

      • Tom 09.08.2012

        sorry we’ll miss you this go around. If you have time today, stop in and ask for Aine, we’re also “picnic friendly” and she can set you up. Have a blast, looks like great day around the Bay and the Valley!

  42. Karen 09.08.2012

    Next time you come back – branch out a bit from Napa and try Cline in Sonoma and J in Healdsburg. Both AWESOME! (You can get Cline wines easily at Trader Joes and Bevmo, etc.) Have fun!

  43. Kim 09.08.2012

    I see that you fixed the sock bun link but I still can’t get it to work. I would love to see the video if you have time to point me in the right direction to find it. Thx! LOVE your Friday favs!

  44. Homemade pumpkin coffee creamer sounds amazing…and I need to check out that pintrosity website! I have a weird sense of humor too, can’t blame you for laughing to tears at big bang theory!

  45. Megan 09.08.2012

    We tried Cakebread on our honeymoon in Hawaii through the advice of our waiter (I had never heard of it before then). It was the beeeest! Now we get a special bottle every year on our anniversary because it’s very pricey!

  46. Michelle 09.08.2012

    Sounds like you are having a great time in Napa! You are hitting some of our favorite spots like Cakebread and Redd. If you have time, stop by Frog’s Leap (love!), Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and the Oakville Grocery Co. You won’t be disappointed!

  47. shandy (@webgals) 09.08.2012

    I am late to getting to my RSS feed this week…but Go Cyclones. :)

  48. Tiffany 09.08.2012

    Cakebread is so yummy! Sounds like you’re having a fantastic trip.

  49. lisa 09.09.2012

    On your next trip out to Napa, get reservations at Schramsburg. They make top quality sparkling wine, and the tour takes you through the caves under the hills and teaches you how to riddle the bottles. Totally cool.

    Hopefully you missed the game…both sides played ridiculously badly. Painful to watch. Would have much rather been in Napa!

  50. Carey 09.09.2012

    The sock bun link still isn’t working. =(. Funny that you put this isln your favs. Over the summer I googled how to make a perfect bun and found the sock bun. I absolutely love it. I just have to buy hair pins as the boby pins stretch out when I use them for this.

    • Jenny 09.10.2012

      For those of you still having problems with the sock bun link, I also couldn’t get it to work on my iPad….but when I hopped onto my desktop computer, it worked just fine. Might be an issue of compatibility with that channel on YouTube and mobile devices?? Not sure why that would be, but that was the situation for me.

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