Tuesday Travels: Borgo Argenina

Welcome to Borgo Argenina, a truly magical stone estate in the hills of Chianti. IMG_2414.JPGIMG_2419.JPG

Visiting Borgo Argentina was an experience like no other and my absolute favorite part of our Newly Newlywed Italian Adventure. The 998 AD Peasant Farmer home had been abandoned for years when, now owner, Elena Nappa, discovered the property while on a holiday from Milan. A former fashion designer, Elena quickly fell in love with the estate. She knew in her heart it was a calling for her to restore the hamlet into a stunning seven room Bed & Breakfast and that is exactly what she did. Her story of how she transformed this property without electricity and running water into a fully functioning Bed and Breakfast is really remarkable. IMG_2416.JPG

Adam and I drove from Florence to the Chianti hamlet. Passing thousands of grape vines and olive trees, around curvy bends, narrowingly escaping head on collisions with Italian drivers and through the rolling hills to get to Elena’s. Upon arrival at Borgo Argenina we were greeted by Elena’s four-legged friends, Giuseppina and Pasqualina along with other guests who were sitting on the grand stone patio, enjoying a glass of vino taking in the sunset over Chianti. IMG_2420.JPG

“Welcome! You must be new! Elena is upstairs in the Kitchen.” one guest said. Instantly we were family.

Our journey at Borgo Argenina began as we passed the bell to ring for Elena if you arrive after hours and opened the original wooden double doors adorned with iron locks and handles. IMG_2415.JPG

Once inside the main house, up the narrow stone stairway with one tiny window over looking the garden, we found Elena, tooting around her kitchen. IMG_2433.JPG

“Ah! Bella! Benvenuto! I’ve been expecting you! Fett, si?” Elena asked.

She grabbed the keys and escorted us to the Piccola Suite, our home for the next four days. We had a quaint sitting room adjacent to our bedroom, an attached private bath and views of the rolling Chianti Hills and Elena’s garden. PicTapGo-Image-5.jpg

Each room is equip with a mini bar and tea kettle that is refreshed daily, wifi and a hairdryer. (Yay! One less thing to pack!) There is no air conditioning at Borgo Argenina, thankfully, even during the Summer months the nights were cool and a flowing breeze filled our room. Elena took us downstairs, showed us the Parlor and Breakfast Room before heading outside.PicTapGo-Image-2.jpgIMG_2434.JPGIMG_2423.JPGIMG_2422.JPG

After a tour of our suite and parts of the property we sat down with Elena on the stone patio outside. She shared some of her favorite places in Tuscany with us over a glass of wine. PicTapGo-Image.jpg

We chatted for what felt like hours of friends catching up before we realized the time and that we were late for a supper reservation she made for us at Giorgio’s. We will share that experience with y’all a little later. Delizioso!

Every morning, Borgo Argenina guests are greeting to a beautiful breakfast spread prepared by two of Elena’s three employees. On the daily menu: Fresh Coffee, homemade Yogurt, local meats, cheeses and honey, fresh fruit, and varieties of Elena’s Coffee Cake.  PicTapGo-Image-3.jpgPicTapGo-Image-1.jpgPicTapGo-Image-4.jpg

Elena also invites her guests to a nightly Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina. If you’re staying with her, this is a MUST! It was by far the best food we had during our time in Italy and if she had extra room we would have taken the class a second time! Each guest is gifted with her Borgo Argenina Cookbook-filled with Elena’s family recipes and traditional Italian dishes. The time we spent in the kitchen with Elena and other guests was a highlight of our trip. Pop over next Monday to see what was on our Menu! IMG_1196.JPG

Y’all, I really can not express how much HeliHubby and I enjoyed our time at Borgo Argenina. It is in a perfect location to be a “home base” for Montepulciano, Volterra, Siena and more little Tuscan Wine towns. It’s truly an enchanting, one of a kind Italian escape. Elena is absolutely wonderful. She is warm, welcoming and lovely. We felt like we had known her for years and yet we just met. Leaving we all three got a bit teary eyed as we said our “goodbyes.” I don’t know when the Newly Newlyweds will get to return to Chianti to visit Elena, but I do know HeliHubby and I both left a piece of our hearts in Tuscany at Borgo Argenina. It is just magical.

If you’re considering a Tuscan Vacation I highly reccomened you consider Borgo Argenina as your home. Have questions about the hamlet or want help planning your vacation? Feel free to message us- I am happy to help! PicTapGo-Image-7.jpg

Fino all prossima volta, we hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts!

Monday’s Menu: Yak&Yeti Dining Night

Adam and I just returned from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. If you know me and follow along our Social Media outlets you’ve probably caught on that I LOVE Disney. This week on the Newly Newlywed Blog, we wanted to share all things DISNEY….starting with our menu today!IMG_7998.jpeg

We literally park hopped ’til we dropped on Saturday. Fourteen plus hours of Park Hopping fun.Before we ended our Disney day we had a fantastic meal (and service) at Yak&Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a park that is quickly becoming a favorite! FullSizeRender-1.jpeg

Yak&Yeti is a favorite in the park spot of mine, especially for lunch. It is a perfect spot for a casual, great tasting meal. They are one of the few in the park restaurants that actually have a bar- which is so nice for those of us that travel alone- especially if you can’t or didn’t make reservations. At the base of Expedition Everest sits Yak & Yeti Restaurant, a table-service eatery serving delicious pan-Asian cuisine. Reservations are encouraged, but if you are unable to score them on your trip, pop by and add your name to the wait list or see if you can grab a seat or two at the bar. If you’re an Annual Pass Holder you are able to use your discount, but sadly they do not accept Tables Cards. Yak&Yeti is a Landry’s Inc Restaurant, meaning if you’re a Landry’s card holder and you don’t have reservations you can get the next open table and you can score dining points! Such a great perk to being a card holder!

{Note: You do have to have a park ticket to dine at this restaurant.}

So what was on our menu for the night? Just a few of my most favorite dishes of course! We did a wide range of sampling, since it was Adam’s first visit after all!

We started with their Dim Sum Basket, a new dish for me! It was filled with Pork pot stickers, shrimp siu mai, cha su bao and pork siu mai steamed on a banana leaf, soy lime dipping sauce. So tasty! The Pork Siu Mai was definitely my favorite part of the basket. IMG_8181.jpeg

After the Dim Sum Basket we snacked on their Ahi Tuna Nachos. This dish is MASSIVE. I often order it as my lunch and can never finish it all. It is Sushi grade Ahi, Asian slaw, crispy fried wontons, wasabi aioli, sweet soy glaze. So delicious! IMG_8261.jpeg

We ended our meal with my FAVORITE dish Yak&Yeti offers, their Chicken Tikka Masala. It is some of the best I’ve ever had and yes, Adam loved it too! It is a Boneless chicken breast dish, marinated in yogurt and freshly ground herbs cooked in a traditional Masala sauce with jasmine rice and garlic naan bread. It’s a bit spicy which is nice. The Naan was tasty, but if I am being honest, not the best we’ve ever had- it was a bit soggy. Our neighbors Neil and Kokil have spoiled us with our Naan! IMG_8255.jpeg

All and all we had a fantastic dining experience. The food was so good, the service was great (Mike the Manager visited our table multiple times) and we left stuffed! This was clearly not a Whole30 day for me, but a day at Disney and 15+ miles of walking, it was a well deserved and enjoyed meal! I am getting hungry thinking back to this amazing meal, aren’t you?

Have you tried Yak& Yeti? What’s your favorite dish? Do you have another favorite restaurant at Animal Kingdom? We’d love to hear about it and it to our list to try!

We hope your enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed {Disney Magic} moments as much as we are! Stay tuned for a Tuesday Travels Disney Edition tomorrow!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

Tuesday Travels: West Coast Wanders {Part One}

After weeks of researching and following other travel blogs it was finally time for @Helihubby and I to head to the West Coast!  Our bags were overpacked and we were off to start Adam’s 30th Birthday Celebration!

Plane

We flew Delta– Lord knows that is another story! Thanks to Delta’s little mess up, I almost didn’t make it through TSA Screeners! With a little Southern Charm and persuading them with my Stella&Dot Business Cards (with my maiden name) they let me through! WHEW! We flew into SFO, picked up our rental car and our first stop? A very late night supper stop at IN-N-OUT Burger. YUMMMMM!!!!

           In-N-Out 2 In-N-Out

{In-N-Out Burger is the Fast Food joint of the stars. Know for their “secret menu” it’s the Waffle House of the West!}

The first two days of our trip were spent in Napa. If you have not been and like wine-or don’t like wine- it is a must do trip! We absolutely loved this portion of our vacation! The only thing we wish we had done differently was allowed more time to just relax at our hotel, The Meritage Resort.They welcomed us with a bottle of wine and a view of a vineyard outside our backdoor. We could have spent a week in Napa alone.

Meritage Resort Wine

Thursday: 

We started the day about 7am. First stop, Oakville Grocery. We heard time and time again from friends about this “cute little grocery store” we just had to stop at on our way into Napa Valley. Boy were they right! It was darling!

Oakville Grocery 1

Oakville is a great stop to start {or end} your day. They have a reasonably priced and unique sandwich menu with picnic tables in a vineyard to dine. Adam and I each had a Breakfast Sandwich…wish I could remember what it was, but oh so tasty!

Oakville Grocery 4

 We did a little shopping- picked up a loaf of bread, a selection of local cheeses and meats for us to snack on throughout the day.

Oakville Grocery 2

{This is the way to go! If you’re  planning a day of tastings stop and grab some snacks. There are not many places to stop for lunch between vineyards.}

Oakville is full of local products and has so much character. During their recent renovation they discovered a well (pictured below) that was originally made when Oakville began in the 1800’s.

Oakville Grocery 6 Oakville 3 Oakville Grocery 5

From Oakville Grocery we continued into Napa Valley for our 10am tour at Castello di Amorosa. 

Castle 1

Apparently Napa is a small world! I ran into one of my best friends from Middle/High School, Brianna and her fiancé Darryl at The Castle! They were recently engaged at Frog’s Leap Winery and were back visiting. They have a great engagement story, if you have some time give it a read!

Touring The Castle was one of our favorite things we did on our trip.

Castle 6 Castle 5 Castle 4

I will say, the tour is fantastic, you learn a lot about the property. Did you know it was used for a Rose Ceremony for the Bachelor during Jake Pavelka’s season? (See the atrium picture below) If you are interested in learning more about the wine and the wine making process, the general tour is probably not for you.  That was the only disappointment we left with- wish we had learned more about wine rather than the facility. 

Castle 7

Out of all the wineries we visited and tastings we did, we left The Castle with the most bottles of wine! We had heard mixed reviews on their selection and really didn’t know what to expect going into the tour. They ended up having two fantastic, sweet wines that both Adam and I enjoyed. We were able to taste 5 wines each accompanied with Sea Salted Chocolate- to die for! Best part of the tasting!

Castle Wine

During our Castle Tour we also got to sample a Cabernet right out of the barrel- pretty cool! Cheers to our first tasting!

Castle Wine2

Next stop, Sterling Vineyards.

Sterling 1

Sterling is the only vineyard with an arial tram- spectacular views!  We really enjoyed the pace of this winery. They had 5 or 6 different tasting stations for us to visit. We were able to go at our pace touring the vineyard and tasting the variations they offered. Definitely worth visiting for the views alone! (Part of your entrance fee includes a Sterling Wine glass to take home.) Cheers!

Sterling 2 Sterling 3

 From Sterling we hopped over to Beringer. Beringer was not originally on our schedule, but just happens to be the producer of a White Zin that my Aunt Tina’s loves. Soooo we just had to stop by!

Beringer 2

Do you Beringer fans recognize this house? If not, grab a bottle of their White Zin and it may come to you!

Beringer 1 Beringer 3

We continued our planned tastings to Sutter Home Winery. Sutter Home is the only winery in the Valley that still offers FREE, yes, you read correctly, FREE tastings! You are offered a variety of 5 samplings- some of the wines are sold nationally in your local grocery store and others are specific to only being sold at the winery.

Sutter Homes 1

Sutter Home was my favorite stop along our route. Our server, Jennifer, was so friendly and knowledgable…and not to mention she is a huge BRAVES fan! While at our tasting we ran into another couple from Atlanta and just had the best time tasting and getting tips of things to see and do in San Francisco! It was the most fun we’d had at a tasting all day! Thanks Jennifer!

Sutter Homes 2

{Then again, maybe we just liked it so much because they gave us these bottles of wine!}

On the way to our final winery we ended up taking a detour to Freemark Abbey’s tasting room. They are currently going through renovations, but we had a great time at our impromptu tasting. They had a wide selection of red wines to taste- Adam and I shared one tasting flight. It’s a small venue right now- standing room only, but a nice little spot to stop if you want to avoid the crowds. Freemark Abbey Freemark Abbey 2

Whew! Are you tired yet? Five wineries in the books on Day 1 and just one more to go! Our last Vineyard for the day was Mumm.

Mumm 1

Mumm is known for their Bubbly- what a fun way to end our first day!

Mumm 2

All their tastings are table service in an open atrium setting and have spectacular views! It was a great place to end our tasting tour for the day. (Side note- we did visit near closing time and traffic leaving was horrible! Keep that in mind for future plans)

Mumm 4

Our final stop on the way back to the resort was the V Marketplace in Yountville. You’ve got to stop by while you are in the Napa area. The vintage 1870 building is the home to Napa’s original hot air balloon company. The building has been restored and is now home to multiple shops, art galleries and restaurants. We browsed around Napa Style- a cafe style shop with all sorts of locally made cooking spices and sauces. (Stay tuned to our Friday Favorites Blog for a details on one of our favorite souvenirs!)

We grabbed a few appetizers and cocktails at Bottega. Oh-My-Gosh! If you can get in, definitely make a stop! Food Network Chef, Michael Chiarello, created a farm to table Italian style menu. It was fantastic! We ordered Polpette alla Griglia-Grilled short rib meatballs, Chiarello Family Vineyard Zinfandel conserva, Cipollini agrodolce, kumqats, sunchoke passata-so delicious! We could have ordered more! We also tried their Calamari Fritti a Monterey Calamari crisped with Arborio rice flour and aioli nero. Each table is served a bread loaf with an absolutely amazing Asiago and Reggiano cheeses dip with fresh garlic, chili and fresh herbs. It is to die for y’all! Oh so yummy! I’m craving it now!

V Marketplace 1

Can’t forget to mention our favorite part…cocktails! I had some sort of Spiked Lemonade with Rosemary…cheers!

V Market Place 2

What a busy and exciting first day of visiting Napa! Six wineries in one day! Stay tuned for {Part 2} of our West Coast Wanders later this week!

All of the Vineyards we visited on Day 1 can be found on @Twitter. Look into  following them, send them a tweet them prior to your visit, especially if you are celebrating something. Each Winery we visited went out of their way to say “Happy Birthday” to Adam or give him an extra tasting because of a tweet I previously mentioned. LOVE LOVE LOVE Twitter…you should too!

@Meritageresort

@OakvilleGrocery 

@TheCastello

@Sterlingwines

@Beringervyds

@SutterHome

@FreemarkAbbey

@MummNapaWinery

We hope you are enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds not experts!