Happy 21st everyone! I'm so excited to share my newest single with you, 'Heights Like These'. This is the second installation of my current project where I release a new song every month on the 21st (until the end of time). I actually wrote a completely different song called 'Heights Like These' a few years ago and never released, it but I always loved the title. I wrote this new one last March while I was alone in my room and recorded it acapella. Christoph and I probably made 6 or 7 different versions of the track before (several bottles of wine later) we landed on this one, so I really really hope you like it. Thank you so much for all your support I LOVE YALL
Calistoga is a tiny town that almost no one knows about, just a little bit north of the Napa Valley that everyone knows about. It has hot springs and geysers, was named by a drunken millionaire, and makes some of the best wine in California…and somehow I had no idea it existed until Stephanie and I got to spend a few days there on a “work” adventure. And by work I mean wine tastings, spa treatments, a hot air balloon ride, and of course lots of eating…life is so hard. We were there courtesy of Visit Calistoga, who put us up in the historic Mount View Hotel & Spa. Each suite there is named after a local vineyard or winemaker and decorated accordingly. It felt like we were at summer camp for winos—dreams do come true.
Our first tasting was at Chateau Montelena (if you’ve ever seen the movie, Bottle Shock, it’s that place). It’s one of the oldest wineries in Napa, and the grounds are breathtakingly beautiful…the chateau is truly a chateau, with ivy-covered walls, apartments dripping in ornate tapestries, balconies overlooking the willow-lined moat (yes, really). And the wine was phenomenal - to be expected from the first California winery to win a French wine competition.
By the time we checked into our hotel, we were sufficiently buzzed and poised for an impromptu photoshoot in Stephanie’s room aka the Charles Krug room (cause duh...it was decked out like a porn film set in Versailles). We then proceeded to stuff our faces with some locally made toffee from Regina's Heavenly Treats (and trust me, Regina really knows what she's doing). before walking/stumbling over to our next tasting at August Briggs, where we happened to meet the owner of one of our favorite San Francisco brunch destinations: Zazie’s.
We went to bed early that night in preparation for a 6 am hot air balloon ride with Calistoga Balloons, which unfortunately didn’t come to fruition due to bad weather and had to be rescheduled for the next day…so obviously, we brunched instead.
We returned to Calistoga just in time for our first tasting of the day that we were extremely curious about: the Picayune Cellars Music & Wine Tasting. Each of the three wines was paired with a song in a genre of our choosing. It was a wonderfully unique way to experience wine tasting —in the company of Phoenix, Johnny Cash, and The Roots. Rather than feeling pressured to state my opinion on the wine I just tasted and listened and thought about two of my favorite things at the same time: music and wine. After our tasting, the owner, Claire, offered us some cheese, bread, and of course more wine—we obliged her (aka said 'fuck yeah we want some cheese'). Claire’s tasting room also has a mercantile that sells wine scented candles (um, yes) and different items from her native France like cheese knives, bowls, and gorgeous woven dish towels. Shopping while tipsy is usually not a great idea, but Claire’s French taste is so curated that I had zero buyers remorse.
Next we walked down the block to Tank Garage Winery, a gas station turned tasting room and speakeasy fittingly owned by a New Orleans native and decked out like the 1930’s. With a pleasant (growing) wine buzz, we made our way to Dutch Henry Winery, where two wonderfully affectionate and fat cats (Floyd who likes to sit on shoulders, and Maybelline who likes having her armpits scratched) accompanied our tasting and probably would have followed us into the wine caves if they’d been allowed. Inside, we did a barrel tasting in a room that might as well have been where ‘The Red Wedding’ episode of Game of Thrones was shot—except luckily we made it out alive.
By the time we arrived for dinner at Sam’s Social Club, the restaurant at Indian Springs Resort & Spa, we were temporarily burned out on wine (yes, it does happen) so we promptly ordered cocktails. As we slowly - okay not that slowly - became increasingly drunk, we were delightfully bombarded with a parade of starters: grilled octopus, ceviche, country pâté, and ricotta crostini. For dessert, we ordered an olive oil thyme cake that came with fresh strawberries and Straus vanilla soft serve (bomb dot com) and we also discovered our love for Madeira—a Portuguese dessert wine reminiscent of cognac that is fucking awesome. After eating we sat outside by the enormous fire pit and talked to some rather drunk and rather strange locals before heading home and passing the fuck out.
Our second attempt at a hot air balloon ride was infinitely more successful. By 7am we were 2,000 ft. in the air and loving life. Our pilot pretended to crash land into a small pond, Stephanie was appropriately alarmed but I was too tired to be phased, so luckily there was no such crash water landing. After an hour or so of gliding over Napa Valley we made a peaceful landing in a field—but not before scaring the living daylights out of some cows and horses. We were then driven to the post-flight brunch at Solbar and gleefully started drinking Champagne at 9:30am (when in wine country…).
Once we returned to our hotel we headed straight to the sauna to get warmed up (it was 40° when we woke up…and we’re just some little California girls). The sauna was equipped with Himalayan salt blocks to rest your feet that are apparently detoxifying—and after 2 days straight of wine, cheese, and bread we were up for any and all detoxing we could get.
We were pretty exhausted when we arrived at Lava Vine for our last scheduled tasting, but it turned out to be so much fun and the wine was so good that by the time we left we’d happily tasted and purchased several bottles (including an amazing Port), and were ready to head home and sleep off our wine comas.
All in all our trip to Calistoga was hugely successful—not to mention fun as fuck.
Stephanie and I totally made this up as we went along but they turned out pretty damn good—including the improvised homemade simple syrup that we made after realizing we didn’t have enough honey for two cocktails.
- Bulleit Bourbon
- 3 Figs
- Fresh basil (3 leaves)
- Honey water (I know—wtf...I’ll explain.)
- Lemon juice
Upon realizing that I had used all of my honey for an exorbitant amount of Hot Toddies, we poured about 2 tablespoons of hot water into the jar hoping the remaining honey would sweeten the water just enough to make a simple syrup—and it worked! We then cut the figs into quarters and muddled them with fresh basil and lemon juice in a mortar and pestle. Once we’d created a sort of barf-like viscous liquid (yum?), we added 1 tablespoon of the honey water and 3 shots of bourbon, and muddled for another minute or so. At this point we were skeptical—it looked pretty gross tbh, but we poured it through a sieve and into two tumblers anyway, we had to stir it within the sieve to get the liquid through because it was so thick! We added a few ice cubes, and a quarter slice of fig and basil leaf for decoration and daringly took our first sips…so fucking good. It was kind of like drinking a whiskey flower (if that existed lol)—the basil and lemon cut the sweetness of the fig and honey water perfectly to augment the whiskey without overpowering it. These were unlike anything we'd had in a restaurant let alone made ourselves. Success.
Outfit Details: Helmut Lang coat, LAmade tank, COS jeans, VLTA necklace
Sometimes when you wake up hungover you just need two breakfasts, and since of course my #1 is always bacon, eggs and avo, my second is usually this oatmeal. And I promise there is actually oatmeal underneath it all (cue: No Doubt circa 2001), but I like to cover my grey colored mush with other things to make it look a little more appetizing.
- 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Coconut oil (optional)
- Plain or greek whole fat yogurt
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
Over medium heat bring the water to a boil in a small pot, pour in the oats, and lower to a simmer. I like to add a small spoonful of coconut oil as well for some flavor and to keep the oatmeal from sticking. Add the chia seeds to the oats and stir occasionally until the water cooks out. Pour the oatmeal into your most photogenic bowl and painstakingly attempt to arrange the fruit, yogurt, and pecans in an aesthetically pleasing way, or say fuck it and just plop it all on there. Sprinkle a few more chia seeds on top, drizzle some honey to taste and consume.
When in Venice [Beach], do as the Romans do—all kale Caesar. (I know, that was a stretch, but I couldn’t not). ANYWAY today I took a break from recording with my music and wine parters in crime, Stoph and Steph, to make a kale caesar salad. We accompanied our salad prep with a bottle of Saint-Aubin 1er Cru (I don’t know what it means either) and a few snapchat filters, and even managed to make croutons from scratch without burning them. Give this salad a try if you feel so inclined cause it’s fuckin good.
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 anchovy fillets
- Juice from half a lemon
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano reggiano
- Stale bread
- Dino kale
- Herbes de Provence
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mince the garlic and anchovies together, then use the flat part of the knife to crush it into a paste. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and anchovy paste with lemon juice, mustard, and parmesan. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the stale piece of bread into crouton-sized chunks (cause duh). On a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, toss with herbes de Provence and salt and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until they’ve crisped and are a golden brown color.
Wash and de-rib the kale and cut into bite-sized pieces. Gently massage the kale with your hands (seriously this makes it way easier to eat). Toss with the dressing, add the croutons, and top with more parmesan and pepper to taste.