2 Days in Napa - need recs
Please help! I know you'll be there for me SF. I'm visiting Napa for 2 days next weekend, where do I have lunch and dinner besides the obvious French Laundry, etc..? Has anyone eaten at CIA? Thanks!
Two days are not enough for the choices available. In St Helena there is Martini House and Tra Vigne. Yountville has Brix, Mustards, and a new spot, Redds'.
For breakfast you might try Pearl's in Sonoma or the Basque Bakery to the east of the square.
Lunch. We enjoy Bistro Jeanty in Yountville or perhaps Taylor's Refresher just south of St. Helena, an old fashion drive in with upscale offereings. If you are an oyster fan, Bouchan in Yountville has a great raw bar and excellent pomme frites to have with them. Just sit at the bar and enjoy.
Dinner, really like Terra in St. Helena also Martini House. Ad Hoc in Yountville has been getting some pretty good press and it's owned by Thomas Keller of the French Laundry.
Have a great time. If you are going to wineries, and why wouldn't you, be sure to hit Cliff Lede, Robert Sinskey, Miner, August Briggs.
I strongly recommend a casual lunch at Mustard's. Everytime I go up to the Wine Country, I have to stop by there. Like every restaurant in the Wine Country, they have a very extensive wine list. But I go there for their amazing onion rings, pulled pork sandwich or their ever changing daily fish tostada! DEEE-LISH!
For dinner, I recommend Redd. It has received some wonderful reviews since it's opened. The food is so fresh and the dining room is simple, yet contemporary. I also recommend Ad Hoc (Thomas Keller's new "temporary" joint). The food is served family supper-style. The only drawback is that they don't take reservations for small parties.
In regards to Terra, if you're going to be in San Francisco too, I would visit their sister restaurant, Ame, instead. I've found the food at Ame to be a bit more sophisticated and complex. Plus, the dining room is georgeous.
I have eaten at CIA several times. I actually prefer many of the other places people already mentioned for a full meal. But CIA is great to sit at the bar for an appetizer and a glass of wine. You can watch the cooks work, sample the food and take in the ambience of this amazing building. If it's nice out, sit on their deck and enjoy a second glass of wine overlooking the vineyards, it's a nice spot. For a full sit-down meal, I think CIA is good but the other places are better for the price.
Definitely walk around the building though. Check out the cooking store and if you have time it's worth sitting in on one of the cooking demonstrations.
A couple of my favorites:
Breakfast: Boon Fly Cafe at The Carneros Inn
Lunch: * Mustard's (see above posts): pork chop, duck and onion rings are great. Try them with Etude rose
* Taylor's Refresher: ahi burger, sweet potato fries with draft beer (Sierra Nevada or Anchor Steam) or milkshake.
* Redd in Yountville: outside table on nice day. Less formal than dinner. Outstanding.
Dinner: I like assembling a takeout spread from Dean & DeLuca -- it's fun and less hectic than going out for dinner after touring/wine tasting during the day. Choose from their many prepared foods and outstanding wine selection. Great way to end a great day.
I forgot to mention the wineries. I hate the big tours (40-50 people) and prefer the small groups with reservations. They cost $ but make for a much better time. Three to recommend, each with a different focus:
* Pride Mountain: in the hills above St. Helena. Tour includes a walk in the vineyard and extensive discussion of vineyard management issues and strategies. Excellent, inventive wines.
* Kuleto Estate: near Lake Hennessey, the estate of architect/restaurateur/winemaker Pat Kuleto. It's more a visit to his vision of a Napa lifestyle than a winery tour. Worth it.
* Schramsberg: top sparkling wine producer on historic property just south of Calistoga. Tour of 19th century caves is a real treat.
Have a great time!
Of the many choices in Napa, I would put the CIA out of the top ten. Celadon in downtown Napa is excellent as is Bouchon and Brix. A picnic lunch put together at the Oakville grocery is hard to beat. Have a great time !
Ad Hoc, definately! Michael Bauer had good things to say about the food:
They are only open for dinner, and are closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Don't let the no-reservation thing keep you from going. If you go right when they open you shouldn't have a wait. Also, due to popular demand, I've heard they may be taking reservations very soon.