My Fabulous Gluten Free Birthday


The Big Man and Me |
Shhhh. Don’t tell the Big Man that I put a picture of him on here.

Well, it came. No matter how much we all wish it wouldn’t. It finally came for me. And it wasn’t so bad. Especially because I made sure it came with style. And fun. And lots of great food and wine. That’s right, folks. I turned the big 4-0.

I am, officially, no longer in my 30s, and that’s ok. I don’t really feel any different. I am actually doing really, really good. I have an amazing husband and a fabulous little boy (although he is sick right now thanks to the stupid MMR shot.) I am the healthiest I have ever been. I still want to lose a few pounds, but I’m no where near the heaviest I have ever been. We live in a nice house in a great neighborhood in a cute town just north of San Francisco. Life is great. In fact, I wouldn’t go back in time if I could. I like it right where I am.

And to top everything off, we hopped over the hill to Napa Valley to ring in the new decade for me. The Big Man and I had a great time, celebrating my gluten free birthday and I want to tell you all about the places we went in case you want to travel there yourselves. Everyone was gluten-free-friendly, and I think you should give these places a visit if you are planning a trip to wine country.

First, we have… where we stayed. A wonderful little Bed & Breakfast called The Inn on First. Amazing! That’s probably the best word to describe it, although I could think of many more like fabulous, scrumptious, unbelievable, beautiful, heavenly, and delicious. That’s right. Delicious! This place is run by Jamie and Jim.

Jim and Jamie from The Inn on First
Jim and Jamie from The Inn on First

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet Jim because he was at his niece’s wedding. I guess we will just have to go back. But, Jim did make sure I was taken care of, food wise. He is the chef. Jamie told us that Jim’s (I hope I remember this right) sister-in-law has Celiac Disease, so he has been making gluten free creations for a while. Jamie said they get a lot of people who are gluten free staying there. But, they cater to any food intolerance/allergy. (Unfortunately, I was enjoying my mini vacation that I forgot to take pictures. Sorry. Everything was so beautiful, I really wish I had. Please click-through to the websites. All of them have wonderful pictures. And I snagged a couple from The Inn on First’s website, with permission.)

Anyway, we had gluten free chocolate chip cookies waiting for us in our room when we arrived. Yum! For breakfast, I had gluten free scones waiting for me each morning. Three all for me. OK. I shared with the Big Man because I wouldn’t have had room for the Breakfast Potatoes Au Gratin with Arugula side salad (first morning) or Breakfast Quesadilla with Homemade Chorizo and Arugula side salad (second morning). By the way, the tortilla was a homemade (gluten free) flour tortilla, not corn. No shortcuts, here.


Gluten Free Breakfast Quesadilla

The room was beautiful. From looking at the pictures, I think all of them are. Antiques that I really wanted to take home with me were the furniture. Gorgeous. A large double tub that I used to relax in on our last night. Slept like a baby an adult who sleeps great through the night. I think that “baby” term is so misleading and started by someone who obviously hasn’t had a baby. There is no TV, but that shouldn’t be an issue. If you are in Napa, you should be out enjoying wine country.

There was also a nice, thick folder of options to try and information for around the area. We checked out the list of recommended dining places and decided on a cute, newer Indian restaurant called “Neela’s.” What a great choice. They were really helpful. Our server was obviously new to serving because she still didn’t have her little spiel down, yet. But she was so enthusiastic about everything, it was nice. She was very helpful when I explained how I couldn’t eat gluten. She checked with another waitress to see what options I could have. Since it was Indian food, there was a lot. They weren’t too busy, but it was a weekday night. And, the food was great. Definitely a place to try if you go there.

During breakfast the first morning (my actual birthday) I eavesdropped on a conversation between a lovely couple and Jamie. He stated that he had opinions and was glad to share them. So, I beckoned him over and asked for his opinions.

We had purchased tickets for 10¢ wine tastings in a few wine bars in downtown Napa. Well, after eavesdropping on the conversation about how much fun the other couple had going to the wineries, I wanted to go. Wine bars downtown? I could do that back home. I want tours. I want to see how it’s done. I want to smell the grapes. I want squish grapes with my feet like Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy! OK, I was wearing white, so no squishing of anything near my clothes. But, you get the idea.

So, Jamie told us that there are three kinds of wineries: Big Corporate, Mom & Pop, and Pottery Barn. The Big Man had a confused look on his face with Pottery Barn, and Jamie said the “really pretty” ones. We both said we leaned more to the Mop & Pop because we really don’t like crowds. The Big Corporate ones might be interesting, but we would rather have a more intimate experience.

Jamie grabbed a map for us and started to circle. Circle places on the map. Not circle around us like a vulture. Just want to make that clear. He said to start at the top of the valley and make our way down the back side (Silverado Trail instead of the 29). He said traffic is bad through St. Helena. He gave us a lot of choices. A few needed appointments, but since it was a weekday, we could probably call and get in right away. We had an interesting day, not really planned, but laid out before us. Almost literally. Get it. The map was laid out before us… OK. Sorry. Sometimes I amuse myself too much.

Well, once again, I looked at the word count, and I am blabbing away. Since I don’t think you want to have to read a novel, I will say so long for now and put up the rest of my journey in a day or two. More stuff to tell.

Until later, here’s to…Living better, easily!™

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14 Responses to “My Fabulous Gluten Free Birthday”

  1. Happy Birthday Tia! Sounds like you had a wonderful getaway with your hubby! Mike and I loved Napa (before my CD diagnosis) and have always wanted to go back, now I am armed with the best gluten-free info, thanks to you!

    I wonder if the wine train is GF-friendly?

    • Thank you, Heidi. We didn’t go on the wine train. We saw it from the road. But everywhere we did go was so helpful and friendly. Never had an issue with food. Even the deli. I did have the usual try-to-hand-me-bread-out-of-habit things happen. I’d look at them and then see the light bulb go on. But that’s even with my family, sometimes. All of the restaurants want to make sure you are happy. It’s great. I want to go back soon.

  2. Can I just say that when I saw your pic and that you had a big birthday coming up, I thought it must be your 30th because you really don’t look a day over that!

    • Awww. Aren’t you the sweetest? Thanks, Iris. I really appreciate that. It’s nice to hear when I just see all of the wrinkles I didn’t have a couple of years ago. 😉

  3. Iron Rich Foods

    Gluten free living may actually increase iron absorption and lead to better health.

    Life only gets better after 40 when you know what to eat!

  4. Celiacs In The House

    BC(Before Children) hubby and I had a lovely trip to the wine country and a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards. That was back in the 80s. I’m thinking we should get out more. Thanks for the armchair travel-GF style.

    • Well, it’s the first outing we have had since BC. We felt it was time for us and for him. Plus, Grandma loved babysitting. But it helps that we were only 45 minutes away. Any farther, I think I would have gone crazy. I definitely want to do it more, but we will see.

      Do you have any wine country close to you or something equivalent? Maybe a trip is in order.


  5. What a wonderful report, Tia! I loved reading every bit and visualizing it all. 🙂 What a beautiful couple you guys are, too. I agree with Iris … you don’t look a day over 30 (either of you)–mere babes (pun intended!). Now I want to head out to Napa Valley and go to the B&B and visit all the wineries!

    Thanks so much … I love travelogues!


    • Thank you, Shirley. You are so sweet. It was a wonderful time. I recommend a trip for everyone. Just watch how much you “taste.” There were a few folks that we came across that “tasted” a bit much. 🙂 I hope they weren’t driving. I still have more to tell, if you are interested. I will try to get it up tonight.


  6. Thanks for sharing your trip as part of Gluten-Free Wednesdays. It sounds like a great experience. Happy Birthday!

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes. I was just happy to have something to post. I have been a little slack on my posting since my birthday trip.