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Aug 9, 2009 12:56 PM

Here's the final lineup (leaving tomorrow!!)

We are less than 24 hours out! Here's what we've got planned thus far! Any last minute suggestions? The reasoning for the vineyards are because i'm a wine director and these are wineries for which we carry in the restaurant and I've got appointments set up with them, our restaurant choices were made based on our likings & reviews from the board and elsewhere.

We're still exploring the option of renting bikes and maybe adding another vineyard on Wednesday. Oxbow market? Oakville grocery? picnic?

Monday @ The French Laundry 5:30 reservation.

Tuesday - Vine Cliff Winery, Miner Family Vineyards, Chappellet Winery. Lunch @ Taylor's Refresher. Dinner @ Ubuntu

Wednesday - Opus One, Lunch @ Bouchon (or Mustards), Dinner @ Redd's. Afternoon free.

Thursday - Morning departure to San Francisco. Tartine Bakery for lunch, explore the Mission. Afternoon roaming, light dinner @ Ame then Clock Bar or Fifth Floor and off to Bourbon & Branch for late evening cocktails.

Friday - Dim sum for Lunch, explore some in the Haight Ashbury area. Gary Danko for dinner.

Saturday - Ferry building farmer's market and then it's off to the airport @ 11:45.

any thing i'm missing?

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  1. Note there was another negative report on Bouchon in the last couple of days. Currently, the only recommendation if you choose Bouchon is to sit at the bar and enjoy the raw bar. Really, with so many wonderful, California restaurants, I can't see Bouchon, which has been described as a "Disneyland" French restaurant, being a good choice for a visitor.

    For lunch fixin's it really depends on where you are. If you're in Napa itself, then I would definitely stop by Oxbow, but if you're halfway up the valley I wouldn't make a special stop. My favorite places for picking up picnic lunch stuff are Dean and Delucca and Sunshine Market, both in St. Helena. Actually, you might want to set aside some time just to stroll around St. Helena, which is the most charming of the valley towns and has plenty to offer a foodie (don't miss Woodhouse Chocolates).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Agree with Ruth was my report on Bouchon. I don't really see the need to eat there especially since you already have a reso at FL. There are so many great places to try. You can read my report here:

      Another place that disappointed was Danko. Some dishes were poorly executed and overall pretty boring. I really loved La Folie, Chez Panisse and Ubuntu all for very different reasons but each to me represented (at least in my mind) different "forms" of Californian cuisine, with La Folie being true to French methode/technique.

      I also enjoyed St Helena. We had these delicious sandwiches one day right downtown which were made to order with different kinds of bread to choose from but I can't remember what the name was...can any one help me? It was on the west side of the main street and it was a busy deli.


      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

        It is Giuli's - spelling may not be exactly correct but if you ask anyone where "Julie's" is you'll get there. On the same side of the street as Model Bakery, further south. It has been there for 20 years that I know of. The sandwiches are old-fashioned deli style and large - nothing innovative but good if you after after a big sandwich made-to-order.

    2. I don't know which Taylor's Refresher you are going to, but if it is the Napa one, then really any of the Oxbow restauarants are so superior to it. The hamburger at Taylor's is not recommended by me, overpriced and under tasty. I guess the Ahi tuna is the thing to order, but I was so underwhelmed it is unlikey I'd go there again.

      Instead of Bouchon or Mustards, I'd go to Brix ... even better if you can go at happy hour when everything is marked down.

      1. Oxbow Market's way out of your way for Wednesday. You cold stop by on your way back Thursday, but you'll see Fatted Calf at the Ferry Plaza on Saturday, and that's Oxbow's main draw.

        You're pretty much missing anything that's not French or Frenchy.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          The rotissarie place has some wonderful sandwiches that include their famous porchetta. Hog Island Oyster has their cheese sandwich which has had a ton of positive mentions on this board ... not to mention the oysters and the clam chowder which some rave about. The Cheese Merchant has some very nice dishes along with better wine selections than what is being offered at Taylor's. Even the cheese sandwich at Pica Pica would be preferable to me. All of these Oxbow places far outshine Taylor's, IMO. Even Model Bakery has better sandwiches. Oxbow is not a one trick pony of Fatted Calf.

          1. re: rworange

            There's more to Oxbow than Fatted Calf, but not enough to justify a detour out of the lovely wine country to the city of Napa. Hog Island's also at Ferry Plaza.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              The OP asked about Oxbow market. The poster will be in that area when going to Ubuntu. I hope the OP poster doesn't make the unfortunate choice of Taylors if that's they location they were planning to visit .... there's a Taylor's at Ferry Plaza too ... what's that have to do with the price of hamburger if it tastes meh?

              1. re: rworange

                I didn't recommend Taylor's. I recommend spending all day in the Napa Valley wine country rather than making a lunch detour to the city of Napa.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  The OP mentioned Taylors but not which location.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Chappellet and Miner Family are near St. Helena, so presumably the original Taylor's. Here's a long discussion of lunch alternatives nearby:


        2. You have enough comments on the restaurant choices so I will leave that area to those better suited to responding, but I wanted to comment on the winery choices. Haven't been to Vine Cliff but I have been to Miner and Chappellet and both are good solid choices. Can't say the same for Opus One. If you are only going to do a handful of wineries in Napa there are so many better ones to choose from. Opus One has only one wine to taste and it is not the best Cab or blend that Napa has to offer and the tasting fee is $35. Skip that tasting and get a glass of it at a restaurant. If you like Cabs I would recommend someplace like Shafer where you will have a much better experience and get more than just one wine to taste.

          1. I would definitely have one of your lunches as a picnic. There are great places for picnic supplies in wine country, and great picnic spots; instead of lunching at Bouchon, I'd grab some great bread and cheese and whatever else, and find a great spot for your picnic to relax and enjoy wine country.