Olive Oil Tasting in Napa’s Round Pond Estate

Round Pond Estate Olive Mill
886 Rutherford Road
Rutherford, CA 94573

Rated: ♣♣♣♣♣

Napa Valley is a premier destination for wine tasting in Northern California, but the warm Mediterranean climate has attracted another burgeoning industry—olive oil.

Olive oil tasting in Napa is perfect for the non-drinkers in wine country or those who just need a break between wineries. Round Pond Estate in Rutherford offers an intimate hour long tour of their olive mill with a very generous tasting meal for only $30. The tastings are appointment only, so call ahead to book.

The tour through their mill is short and sweet, giving you just enough information to be interesting at a dinner party. The rest of the time is spent at a communal table tasting the different oils with soft and hard cheeses and organic fruits and vegetables from their garden. Also on the tasting menu are a two of their vinegars and their citrus syrups. One piece of advice—plan to eat lunch or dinner here. There’s enough food here to get you stuffed!

Round Pond Communal Table

Round Pond Olive Oil Tasting

Side note: We also took a trip across the street to their winery. Both scenes seem to be under the radar and the architecture at both estates are amazing – modern, industrial and luxurious.

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The Daily Double Shot – June 1, 2012

It’s Friday!  Today, I’m going to try something new.  Well, everything is still new for me at this point.  I’m going to turn on some Kenny G while I pull some shots.  Oh, and remember when I mentioned  S’ coworkers that love coffee?  Well, one of them, I will call him “The Coffee Enabler”, gave us a tip on minimizing big bubbles while frothing the milk.  Well, I’m going to give it a shot.  It can’t get any worse for me in the frothing department, I’d say.

I woke up this morning, with that old Folger’s jingle, “The best part of waking up…”, but it finished with “is communist coffee in your cup.” Yeh, left a bad taste in my mouth, so let’s put a good espresso taste there!

It started like any old Man vs. Food challenge.  I take my first “bite”: grind, tamp, pull.  That first bite was easy, my inner narrative would say. Take a look at it today.

This is when it gets a little more difficult.  So, the new tip that The Coffee Enabler gave us was to try releasing the initial pressure in the milk frothing valve for 5 seconds.  I had initially done it for a second to release any excess water that was trapped in there, but I guess that’s not enough time.  The idea is that the initial pressure in the valve will be very high, which is likely to be the cause of the huge bubbles.

Yeh, I know, what a man, right?  Turning on that pressure with a towel.  I’m not going to mention that I burned myself 3 times, oh, wait… I guess I did. But, I won’t mention that I let out an ‘eek’ the first time.  This is when Adam Richman says, “And then the wall…”

Yes, it did minimize the larger bubbles, but I didn’t froth enough of the milk.  I usually see the milk double in size, this time it was only 50%.  Going to have to try this a few more times to get the hang of it.  Also, a thermometer is becoming more and more of a necessity for this frothing business.

I call this one, “The One that Defeated Me.”  Tip for myself tomorrow morning: Get in your frothing zone.  I noticed that I was keeping the wand deep in the milk rather than placing it near the top.  Tomorrow is another day!

Happy Friday everyone!

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The Daily Double Shot – May 31, 2012

This weekend, I noticed that we were running out of Blue Bottle’s Roman Espresso. That small bag only yielded us ~15 double shots, which is close to the proper amount from an 8 ounce bag. (I’ll show you the math down below in the mini-Appendix.) So, while we were running our weekend errands, we picked up some Ritual beans from the Ritual Roasters stand over in Hayes Valley.  The barista’s description of their normal espresso sounded really delicious: sweet, caramal-y, peach-y.  And then, she started talking about the seasonal espresso, “Nine Darling Road” : sweet, light, caramal-y, apple, brown sugar.  S’s eyes lit up, and I knew which one we needed to get.

I went about my new morning ritual (see what I did there?).  Wake up at 7am, turn on the machine, grind the coffee, pour the milk in the stand-in glass pitcher, put the glass pitcher in the fridge, Navy shower.  At this point (~10 minutes from turning on the machine) the sight glass should be around the green zone, which I’ve read is a good time to start frothing milk.  So, this morning, I tried that.  The froth looked more or less the same as before, except with more foam.   I did notice that I was frothing for a longer period.  After I have the froth ready, pour the grinds into the filter, tamp, turn, tap out excess grinds, tamp, turn again.  Now we’re ready for the pull.

There’s the good stuff.

See?  More foam!

For the taste, I didn’t taste apples, but now that it’s in my head, I tasted the brown sugar.  Not sure if that was what I really tasted or if that’s what I wanted to taste.  Anyway, the way I would describe the taste of this one, it’s like you are sixteen, it’s a morning where you wake up from camping, and you can smell the fire from the night before, still having that taste of burnt marshmallows in your mind.  Hard to explain, but that’s what I’m experiencing right now.


How many cups of lattes should I be able to make with my 8 ounce bag of espresso beans?

Let’s do some lazy man math.  One Double shot should hold from 14-16 grams of coffee.  So I’m going to say on average 15 grams.  One ounce is roughly 28 grams. So, 8 ounces should be about 228 grams.  Divide that by 15, and we get 14.93.  Eh, close enough.




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Dad’s Kitchen – Red Snapper in Szechuan Hot Sauce

Everyone always asks me, “You own a home, but you still live with your parents?” And every time, I answer with, “Well, I get a ride to work every day from my mom and my dad has a gourmet meal on the table when I come home.” I know it sounds awfully spoiled, but that’s how it is in the Lee family household. To be fair, I’m living at my home part-time. But seriously, would you leave if you had food like this, this and this?

Last week, my dad got a whole fresh red snapper from Costco. And now that he’s discovered the internet, he just loves scouring the web for new recipes. Most of the recipes he found were boring to him because they use the same ol’ ingredients – lemon, dill, olive oil, etc. He decided to search for “red snapper Chinese style” and came across this recipe. It was different and spicy, so he decided to give it a shot.

And, it’s a keeper! Just take a look at the ingredients:

2 (8 ounce) red snapper fillets (or whole red snapper)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry white wine
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili bean sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)


  1. Rub the fish with soy sauce and dry wine mixture.
  2. Let the fish fillets marinated in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet, saute the fish fillets for about 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Remove the fillets, add garlic, green onion, ginger, chili bean sauce, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar and water.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil before adding the fish fillets back to the skillet.
  6. Braise the fish in the sauce for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tsp of water, stir in the sauce and cook for another minute.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame oil (optional) and serve immediately with steamed rice and your favorite steamed vegetables.

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The Daily Double Shot – May 29, 2012

Good morning! Here’s a shot of the latest milk-based coffee drink I made.  At this point in my career in amateur professional coffee making, it’s hard to tell what I made, I’m leaning towards a latte.  Critical point from the image: too many gosh darn large bubbles.  As for latte art… erm… uhh… it’s becoming more and more like finding familiar shapes in the clouds.  (Cow face above a koala in this one, see it?).

Lessons learned today. The drip was leaking too early this time. Which means I need to either grind a bit more fine or tamper harder.  Another factor may be the amount of grinds I’m using. I’m using a 14g double shot filter, but I’m kind of eyeballing it. To get a scale or not. That is the question.  Still too many bubbles in the milk, which can mean that i’m not frothing in the best zone and/or I’m not watching the temperatures right.  I will get this!



Man… so many splatters.  Who is going to clean it up? Oh.. me.



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