Reporting back on Calistoga stay. Schats is under new ownership and just OK. Palisades (one of my very favorite places) is gone. Stomp is closing and their bar Little feet has been replaced with a wine bar called Barvino. Lots of fun with great local wines to taste and "small plate food."
Very hip decor and style for Calistoga.
Breakfast not the best meal to find in town. Cafe Sarafornia was again, OK but better to pick up something at one of the local bakeries and wait for lunch. Cal-Mart has lots of good stuff in their deli area.
Had some decent BBQ at Busters and was very happy with burger and onion rings (great) at Flatiron Grill. Wappo good but not as good as I remembered.
Wonderful salads and Pizza at Checkers and great beer at Calistoga Inn.
Did not eat at Brannans but did have cocktails and dessert. Friday night excellent jazz and the place was packed.
Lots of places have changed but it is still a fun town.
Also... I have not been to Brannan's recently... but a few years ago I thought the food was quite good & the atmosphere decent (if you can ignore the ketchup bottle at your table).
I remember having a Lamb Shank with Couscous & thought it was very nice. I also recall dessert being quite good.
Pacifico.... don't waste your money!
As a native of Mexico City, when I used to live in Los Angeles I would rate the Mexican restaurants by the "would this place survive in a typical Mexico City neighborhood" and to my dismay, there were only a dozen or so places that could stand up to that standard.
Now I have moved up to Sonoma County...and have found that the Mexican offering is below even L.A. standards... so I am quite disappointed & starved of decent Mexican cuisine.
But, let me set aside my usual lambasting of Mexican restaurants that serve up Burritos, Tex-Mex Combinations & things of that nature. Most Mexican places, even if they don't serve good Vegetable Soups, Nopal Cactus, Homeade Tortillas, Mexican Zucchini, Real Mexican Cheeses... they usually have what we call "sazon"... that hearty - yet careful - blend of chiles, herbs & spices that makes our food taste... yummy.
Pacifico is not even in the same galaxy as "sazon"! The food was so incredibly bland... I could not believe it.
> The "fresh" Tomtato-Jalapeno salsa had ketchup in it!
> The Tortilla Soup lacked salt & chile
> The Parillada (Mixed Grill) lacked seasoning & a good Roasted-Tomatillo Salsa
> The grilled vegetables were burnt & bitter
> The tortillas were not homemade
The few good things:
> The guacamole & beans were tasty
> The Mariachi Ensemble was surprisingly good
If I were to go back... I would just have Tequila at the bar... and I would challenge the Mariachis to play my favorite Mexican Instrumentals
We really like Schaat's Bakery for breakfast and if its a day we're going to be wine tasting, we pick up a loaf or two of their yummy bread to snack on (and stablize us so we don't get too loopy).
Palisades Deli & Cafe in the depot is quite nice for lunch.
Pacifico is NOT good, its expensive and unbelievably bland.
Hwy 29 Cafe just south of Calistoga has a very nice brunch/lunch menu and a wonderful patio. We haven't been for dinner but hear its just as good.
Other - Wine Garage on Hwy 29 for nice, inexpensive wines. Dutch Henry & Vincent Arroyo are our favorite wineries in the area not only because the wines are good but the people are so nice and welcoming.
Schaat's is fine, but if you're wine tasting, really, truly
have breakfast, at your B&B or someplace like Sarafornia.
Palisades is no more. Hwy 29 Cafe perhaps as well (think so).
The Wine Garage has sold me odd lots of improperly stored wine and I've returned it because it was bad...This has also happened to a few friends who were also shoppers. I can't recommend it...
Instead, go to St. Helena Wine Merchants, the Wine Stop in the Railroad Cars in Calistoga, buy wine from a winery, or go to (best prices of all) JV Warehouse in Napa next door to Copia.
Can't recommend Dutch Henry, but I can praise to the high heavens Vincent Arroyo. He crafts his wine. It's a small operation, but his wines are outstanding. Lots of single vineyard wines, especially SV Petite Sirah.
re: maria lorraine
Wow! Things change up there even faster than SF.
We were in Calistoga in June and had a filling breakfast at Schaats, a wonderful lunch at the deli, a very nice brunch at Hwy 29 and bought 2 cases of wine at the Wine Garage (none of which were bad). That's really sad to hear those places have closed, changed their offerings or gone downhill that quickly.
After 2 years I just moved out of Calistoga...
Breakfast at Sarafornia is standard all American breakfast and there is nothing better for brekkers IMHO. Cal-Mart is a fine locally run grocery store. Across the street the deli in the depot is fine.
There are far more tempting options in St. Helena. Also Healdsburg is only 35 minutes from Calistoga and lots of fun w/great food.
Wappo Grill is great...lovely patio too, but the service may be a tad slow. The best chile rellenos I've ever had, plus great
duck carnitas and excellent Brazilian seafood chowder.
The mushroom pizza at Bosko's is terrific.
Brannan's has some terrific food (I loved the steak
and rabbit bolognese) and a stylish interior.
Flatiron has a great 10 oz. sirloin burger.
Pacifico (Mexican) has good carnitas and fajitas, but the Mexican quasi-dive next to Cal-Mart,the grocery store, called Puerto Vallarta is also good.
Not crazy about All Seasons.
The Cal-Mart grocery store has a great deli for wonderful picnics and I highly suggest finding a winery to have a picnic, buying a bottle of wine and enjoying yourselves.
Calistoga Inn and Microbrewery has OK food, but a great atmosphere and almost nightly music.
There's a fairly good coffee shop in town --Calistoga Roastery.
Really good breakfasts/brunch dishes at Cafe Sarafornia.
I think that's all there is in dear little Calistoga...
Have a lovely time in that sweet little 4-block town...