Kitten Hits the Town: The W, Oceanaire & Miner Chardonnay

A kitten needs to play. Studies have resoundingly confirmed that play time, frivolity and laughter are good for your health. Wouldn’t you love to be a volunteer for that study? OK, to be honest, I don’t know if any such research exists, but it should. It’s just common sense. Fun makes life better.

On this premise, we two at The Thirsty Kitten booked ourselves for a night at The W Minneapolis. Actually, I booked the hotel while my charming other-half made a dinner reservation at The Oceanaire Seafood Room. We are finally at a point where we can leave the kids at home with College Age Daughter in charge for the night, and we still feel giddy with the freedom. This past Christmas our gift to ourselves was a similar overnight “stay-cation.” We had so much fun we vowed to do it again. We take our vows seriously.

Our first stop after checking in was the hotel’s 27th floor bar, Prohibition, where happy hour was in full swing. Housed at the top of the historic Foshay Tower, Minneapolis’ first skyscraper and now home to The W, the bar’s mahogany, marble and chandeliers speak of the opulence of 1929. The building opened just six weeks before the stock market crashed. Naked dancers and John Philip Sousa were at the opening ceremonies (seriously!). We each ordered a glass of the Astoria Lounge Prosecco, a lovely, light straw colored bubbly with ripe pear and apple flavors– a bargain at the $5 happy hour price, especially given the generous pour.

From Prohibition, we moved on to Oceanaire. I dream about their crab cakes often and hadn’t had them in far too long. Though the wine list was extensive, we settled quickly on the Miner Family Winery Chardonnay. Miner was top of mind for several reasons. First, it’s a winery with a Minnesota connection, which we always find fun. Second, and very sadly, I had recently learned from a friend that Emily Miner, co-founder & co-owner of the winery with her husband Dave, died at the end of last year at the age of 41 of lung cancer. Like so many with lung cancer, she never smoked a day in her life. Emily was a Minneapolis native who found her niche in California and the wine business. Ordering a bottle of the Miner wine felt like a small way to pay homage to her memory. We had been touched by the stories of her efforts to raise awareness and funds a cure for lung cancer, even as she was in the midst of fighting the disease herself.

The Miner 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay did not disappoint. We noticed aromas of citrus and melon right away.  Cantaloupe and honeydew were prevalent. The wine had a luscious, smooth feel on the tongue and flavors of toasted vanilla, melon and tart apple, with a hint of citrus. There was just enough oak to complement the wine beautifully, but not be overbearing. It paired well with everything from oysters on the half shell, to crab cakes with a creamy mustard mayonnaise, to Barramundi topped with blue crab and a Thai chili butter sauce. Oh, and it was great with the Banana Cream Pie, as well.

We relished the short walk back to the hotel and adored settling in to our sleek and modern, yet cozily luxurious room. We especially appreciated the feeling of getting away from it all while only being a few short miles from home. And we adored the complimentary room upgrade (thank you, The W). Having gotten a bargain price for our room on The W’s website, we felt a bit guilty, but rather gleeful, as well. We love scoring a good deal. Perhaps most importantly, the service at The W is so impeccable that it makes us feel pampered and special, which is a joyful indulgence.

So this week at The Kitten, we toast to allowing time for a little pampering, to pausing for fun just for the sake of fun, and to remembering that the moment in front of us is the most important moment we have.

8 replies »

  1. Sounds like a lovely evening and a great way to kick off the holiday weekend. Cheers to the one in charge at home and to the charges too.

  2. We just made another trip to Napa for Mothers Day with Nick and Katashas and discovered a little gem on the Silverado trail. Will have to share the information and the Chardonnay with you. Have been sharing The Thisty Kitten with some Austin friends. They are so impressed!

  3. Hi, Guess Who! Lovely to see you here! Your Mother’s Day trip sounds awesome. Would love to hear about the hidden gem on the Silverado Trail. Your very good taste buds have steered us to some wonderful wines over the years (too numerous to list here)–can’t wait to learn about your newest discovery. Thanks for sharing The Kitten in Austin. Cheers! And do stop back in your old stomping grounds sometime soon.


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