Saturday, October 15, 2016

Weekend Cooking- A Napa Trip- Part 1- The Food

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

My husband and I made our first visit to Napa Valley wine country last month, and it was a wonderful time. On our first night, we walked from our hotel to the downtown area, stopping at a local bookstore Napa Bookmine first. (Where else would I go?)

Oenotri dessert
We asked the young woman working there for a restaurant suggestion, and she recommended an Italian restaurant, Oenotri, nearby. The place was lovely, with a bar tucked into the corner and wooden tables between the bar and the open kitchen. Scott had a Bistecca Alla Pizzaiola that he raved about, and I thoroughly enjoyed my pasta dish. My favorite though was the cannoli dessert with fig and pistachio- so tasty! It was our favorite dinner of the trip.

The next morning we looked for some breakfast before we started out on our winery tours, and a woman at the Oxbow Market told us about Model Bakery. They are famous for their homemade English muffins, which are a cross between an English muffin and a doughnut. We ordered their egg sandwich on the muffin and it was terrific. We went back again the next morning for pastries and muffins and everything there
was great.
The English muffins are in the center top

Model Bakery's cinnamon rolls

We had a lunch lined up at The Farmstead at Longmeadow Ranch. The Chef's Table was a special lunch for six people, a true farm-to-table meal. While we toured the farm, we saw a cook picking herbs from the garden for our lunch.

The company was fantastic, a younger couple celebrating her graduation from medical school and the other couple was our age, celebrating his birthday. We all had a blast and laughed and drank wine and talked for over two hours.

The food was wonderful too- a melon and tomato salad, grass-fed beef tenderloin and a strawberry and merlot sorbet over a financier.
Melon and Tomato Salad

Beef Tenderloin

Strawberry Merlot Sorbet over Fanancier

By the time dinner rolled around, we had had a lot of wine and food and so we decided to forego our dinner reservation at Cole's Chop House and we hailed an Uber to go eat at In-N-Out Burger. The Uber driver thought we were a little crazy, but we enjoyed our cheeseburger, fries and shared milkshake for dessert.

Our last evening in Napa we had reservations for Bottega, chef Michael Chiarello's upscale Southern Italian restaurant in Yountville. Maybe it was because we had just had too much wine or were too tired, but neither of us enjoyed Bottega.

The decor struck me as too industrial, and the service was rushed. (We were in and out in 45 minutes.) My husband had the meatball appetizer and one of his meatballs was nearly raw. He told the waiter, who took the meatball away and came back after conferring with the kitchen. He told us that the meatballs were meant to be served "medium rare" which is odd enough, but doesn't explain why two of the three were cooked and one wasn't. They did offer to take the item off the bill.

We both found our entrees to be lacking, and it didn't compare to our first evening's enjoyable Southern Italian meal at Oenotri. We skipped dessert and headed back to the hotel. I can't recommend Bottega.

We wanted a hearty breakfast on our last morning, so I found a diner- Jax White Mule Diner located in downtown Napa. We split an order of beignets, which were so sinfully delicious and my husband had the short rib hash, which was fantastic. I even watched the cook shredding the short rib to put in the dish. I highly recommend Jax White Mule Diner if you ever visit Napa.

Short Rib Hash

Next week's post will cover the wineries we visited. Have any of you ever visited Napa or Sonoma?


  1. I haven't been to Napa, but it's on our list. Looks like you had a mix of dining experiences. I know what you mean about wanting something simple like a burger after a lot of food and wine tasting.

    Bummer on the Bottega meal.

  2. What a great trip, I love the photos. The Napa valley is a destination we have on the short list, I would love to see some of the vineyards out there.

    Pity about the restaurant and raw meatballs but overall your trip sounds like fun, great food too.

  3. Sad to say, especially for someone born in Calif., never visited Napa. Going on my short list as well. Sounds like you're having a blast.

  4. Wow, all of this looks wonderful. Yes too bad about Bottega, loved the return comment that the meatballs were meant to be medium rare.....I lived in California oh so many years ago, we use to drive to Napa for fun, but it was not as developed with cafes and such like now.

  5. I've only been to Napa once - many years ago - we had a fabulous lunch at a winery - Deutz - I think it was - so sparkling wine was had .... Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  6. Looks like a great trip other than the meatballs. I can't wait to read about your winery visits. I don't drink, but do like visiting wineries.

  7. Oh my goodness, what a fun trip! The presentation of that food is marvelous.

  8.'re making me hungry! The farm-to-table place sounds especially good to me. Sounds like it was a wonderful trip! My husband and I love sampling new restaurants when we travel. We've never been to the Napa area, but I would love to go.


    Book By Book

  9. A few girlfriends and I went to Fairplay, CA in the El Dorado Valley. I highly recommed for an area less traveled and all independently owned wineries that were fabulous. Usually the owners were the ones pouring the wine, retirees or people who left the tech industry or big city life. It was so much fun and yes the food was amazing too. Thanks for stopping by.