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Aug 8, 2006 12:45 AM

Long Napa Weekend

Philly Hound and wife coming to Napa. We're staying at Meadowood in St. Helena for 4 days, first weekend in September. On my radar right now are Cyrus and Zin for dinner, Taylor's Refresher for lunch. How about Bouchon? A previous post mentioned Cheese Shop in Healdsburg for creating a picnic.

Am I heading down a good path?

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  1. You are a pretty good drive from Healdsburg for dinners, it will be a long drive back to Meadowood so you'll have to be careful about wine consumption. We had friends who ate at Cyrus and thought it was outstanding. Have only had lunch at Zin but enjoyed it. Still, you might want to check it out on the map. Remember, there are no turnpikes, just roads with lots of curves between there and your lodging.

    Taylor's is great, especially this time of the year when it's so pretty outside. We always enjoy lunch at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. Bouchon is also very good especially if you like raw oysters. They have a great raw bar and excellent pomme frites. I'm sure someone will mention the fois gras also.

    You might want to have dinner one night at Meadowood. They just reopened their dining room after being closed for 3 years. We ate there before it was closed, sat on the porch and had a delightful evening.

    If you deciide to not go to dinner in Healdsburg, there are a number of excellent places in Napa Valley.

    Do you have wineries picked out? If not, I'll be glad to give some fun, not touristy recommendations in Napa.

    Have a wonderful time. You picked an outstanding place to stay in Meadowood.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rtmonty

      I don't have any wineries picked out yet. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated!

      1. re: rtmonty

        Good news that the dining room at Meadowood is open again. What was the food like? I'm a big fan of the chef.

        I wouldn't drive to from Meadowood to Healdsburg when there are lots of great restaurants in the Napa Valley. Napa proper, Yountville and St. Helena all have a plethora of choices.

      2. I agree with being careful on the drive home from Healdsburg --Highway 128 is full of curves.

        Bouchon is a wonderful brasserie with an excellent raw bar
        and French country food. It's in Yountville, as is Bistro Jeanty -- very French and lovely, intimate, with one of the greatest tarte tatins I've ever had.

        The green pastoral Napa Valley doesn't really begin till Yountville, so you may want to concentrate on Yountville and north.

        Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen is very good in St. Helena, where
        Meadowood is, and I can't say enough good things about Terra -- probably my favorite all-time restaurant in Napa Valley.

        Sad to say, Market is not such a good idea anymore, though it used to be quite good. Ditto for Tra Vigne.

        Don Giovanni, the Italian restaurant at the north end of the city of Napa, is really good -- I've eaten there 30 times and have never had a bad meal.

        I don't know how good the new Meadowood restaurant will be -- they've always had problems with their food there -- surprising for a relais et chateau calibre of hotel.

        There are many posts about Napa Valley on Chowhound...check those out. Also, Meadowood can help you with your wine visits,
        and it has excellent hiking trails on the property to burn up some of those calories!

        have a lovely visit...

        1. Yes, it would be pretty ambitious, and perhaps not wise, to drive to Healdsburg for dinner from Meadowood, assuming you don't know the roads and are coming to enjoy the wine.

          Good Napa Co. recommendations from others and I'd add Martini House in St. Helena. Taylor's is fun - if overpriced - for lunch but also consider it for dinner on a warm night if you've had a long tiring day of wine tasting and can't bring yourselves to dress and eat a fancy meal. Try the sweet potato fries.

          For a picnic, you could get prepared food or sandwiches at Bouchon Bakery (warning - the pastries can be unacceptably inconsistant), or put together a marvelous picnic at Sunshine Market in St Helena. We had a great "picnic" a while back at Hall winery, which is on 29 near Press and Dean & Deluca. I think you'd have to call ahead to request it, maybe not - would have to buy a bottle. Popular with tourists, but they have a really pleasant gravel terrace/patio where you picnic at tables in the shade of plane trees.

          Edited to add: Oops, I'm sure Meadowood has a gazillion gorgeous spots to picnic. Enjoy your trip and please report back!

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. We like the following: Cliff Lede Winery, Miner Family, Robert Sinskey, Frank Family, Rutherford Grove, Laird Family.

              If you go north of Calistoga, there is Benett Family, Calistoga Cellars, Summers and Vincent Arroy, all of which are very good producers, small, not big tourist attractions. Head back down the Silverado Trail and you'll run into August Briggs, excellent small producer.

              Other good ones are Elyse, Haven's, Arger-Martucchi and Stelzner.

              That should get you started. Have a great time.

              1. re: rtmonty

                Just a quick correction: It's Vincent Arroyo - this is a small winery on Silverado Trail right outside of Calistoga - if you're a big red fan, this is THE place.

            2. There's an intriguing thread in another food forum about Pilar in Napa. The restaurant website is I've never been, but I'd love to hear some chowhound opinions on it. I love tiny, chef-driven restaurants and Pilar sounds like the real deal.

              Edited to add that I heartily second the recommendations for Bouchon and Bistro Jeanty.

              2 Replies
              1. re: urseberry

                It is the real deal. Every visit we've made to Pilar has been excellent. The dining room is crowded, but once you settle in it feels comfortable. Only complaint is the service can be a bit cold. I still fondly remember the rabbit with spaetzle I had there over a year ago. Most recently, a week or so ago, we walked in around 8 on a Saturday night for a light, late dinner and were seated immediately. I had grilled radicchio salad which is just the perfect warm combination of bitter radicchio, sour balsamic, and sweet dried figs (other times it is dried cherries). I followed that with the sardine appetizer - two rich lemony fish with a side of refreshing shaved fennel with mint. Highly recommended.

                1. re: urseberry

                  Had a faultless grilled quail salad at Pilar in June, here's my post with a photo -