A Night To Remember – Sometimes Fate Is Simply On Your Side!

A Night To Remember – Sometimes Fate Is Simply On Your Side!
03 Dec

If you read yesterday’s update, (Day 85 – Michael Chiarello’s Bottega) you know we were excited to have dinner at the chef’s restaurant in Napa – but little did we know it would turn into an amazing night to remember!

His love of cooking, sustainable gardening and easy entertaining has always been a huge personal inspiration.

But to finally be close enough to dine in one of his restaurants was an experience we couldn’t pass up.

Bottega book
The cover of Michael Chiarello’s book about his Bottega restaurant and its famed dishes.

Of course, there was also the slight hope we might even get lucky enough to meet him. And, as fate would have it, we actually did.

But perhaps how it all occurred is really the best part of the entire story!

A Night To Remember – A Chance Meeting With Chef Michael Chiarello

Even before dinner, our day had already been one to remember. Napa Valley is simply stunning to behold.

a night to remember at Bottega
The Bottega Ristorante in Yountville, California.

The rolling hills filled with gorgeous vines. And all of that crisp, clean air. It is breathtaking to see it all in full color.

But as magnificent as it is to behold, we were even more excited to finally be making our way to the Bottega restaurant. And, as it played out, it was that over-excitement that ended up paying off in a big way.

Bottega is located in the town of Yountville, just a few miles from Napa. The town itself is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Picturesque, quaint, and perfectly decorated at every turn.

The Gnocchi was out of this world. In fact, the entire dinner was!

A Little Early For Dinner…

Being a little on the excited side, we arrived about 50 minutes before our scheduled reservation.

The restaurant itself is located within the historic Vintage Estates, one of the oldest wineries in the Napa Valley. So to kill a bit of time, we decided to walk around and take it all in.

And then we finally caved to the excitement, and decided to head in a little early. It turned out to be one of the best decisions ever!

As we walked up to Bottega, there was a small restroom near the entrance. Mary went in for a second, and as I waited, I noticed two people talking in the covered patio area outside of the restaurant.

Michael Chiarello graciously gave us one of his books, and signed it as well.

By this point, it was dark outside, so it was fairly hard to make out any faces.

Before I knew it, the two started walking down the steps to go by me to leave. We exchanged hello’s as they passed, and the gentleman asked how my day was going.

I Know You!

As he came out of the light, I knew it instantly. It was Michael Chiarello. All I could think is “Mary is never going to believe me if she doesn’t come out of that restroom!”

While we stood there talking, I told him of our trip, and of the inspiration he had been. And that if at all possible, could he at least stick around until my wife re-appeared!

A night to remember
The lighting was a bit dark, so it turned out a bit blurry, but this will remain one of our favorite pics of the trip!

It was right then that Mary walked out, and I somehow managed to calmly introduce her to my new “friend” Michael. She burst out loud “NO WAY!” And, without any prompting, the Chef gave her a big hug, and asked us to follow him inside.

Within a few minutes, he had a bottle of his own vineyard’s old-vine Petite Sirah opened. As he swirled the glass to prepare it, he explained how the wine was produced from 160 year old vines.

As we sat there enjoying a glass of wine with him, and talking about wine & gardening, I couldn’t help but think how timing really is everything!

He was so very gracious to both of us. We ended up exchanging signed copies of our books, and he even took time to take a photo with us.

Oh, and ,the dinner? Yes it was unbelievable! The staff was so incredible to us, and I don’t think we have ever had better conversation in a restaurant.

One thing is for sure, it was certainly a night to remember!


  • Day 86 of 365
  • States : 11 / 50
  • National Parks / Monuments : 11
  • Stayed In : Napa Valley, California
  • Miles Driven : 42.8
  • Total Trip Miles To Date : 8773.4
  • Total Gallons Used : 657.43
  • Biking Miles : 0.0
  • Biking Miles To Date : 142.5
  • Hiking Miles : 1.5
  • Hiking Miles To Date : 184.8

About Our Living Simple Tour

On September 9th, 2019, we set out in our NuCamp T@B 400 Teardrop Camper to travel to every state. You can check out all of our dates here : Dates for the States

You can follow along by signing up for our twice weekly email updates at the bottom of the page. You can also follow us on Facebook : Live Simple Tour Facebook and Instagram : Live Simple Now Instagram Page.

4 thoughts on “A Night To Remember – Sometimes Fate Is Simply On Your Side!

  1. Awesome story Mary and Jim. I bet your hearts were racing with excitement. I know you will cherish that signed book and the memory. It has been so fun to be following your adventure. I loved the glass beach story. Continue having amazing adventures.

    1. Thank you so much Tricia! I think it took us about 8 hours to finally realize that we had a glass of wine with him and exchanged books. Thank you for following our journey! There are so many beautiful things that our country has to offer and we are enjoying the adventures!

  2. How I envy you. I’ve followed you and Facebook and your emails for years. And now I get to “follow” you on your trip. You are both such an inspiration for this day and age. You stripped off all the extras and got back to basics on your farm and are now still young enough to take and truly enjoy this trip. Thank you so much for ALL that you share with us. I am 77 and in declining health as well as my husband. By the time we were in a financial position to travel we have become too ill. You are so smart to enjoy the life you do.

    1. I can’t tell you how much that we appreciate your comment Irene. I think we both teared up a little reading what you wrote. You put into words what we have been trying to accomplish over the past several years, in hopes to inspire others as well. Thank you for taking the time to send that to us. And I hope you can enjoy riding along with us in our journey across the country. Your friends, Mary and Jim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *