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Dinner at JoLe and Brunch at Brix

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I thought these could be combined into one entry. (only one more after this... whew!) Both of these recommendations were specific changes I made in response to feedback to my thread asking for advice.

JoLe, Calistoga CA

The first night we were in Napa, we rolled down the road to JoLe. (downtown Calistoga is super cute, BTW.) This was the night after our awesome dinner at Ame so there was a bit of letdown which certainly is not fair to JoLe, but that was the reality of the context.

We both chose the 4 course tasting portion menu, and I opted for the wine pairing. My husband had chicken livers with blue cheese and mission figs (of course), branzino with tapenade, fennel, and zucchini in a smoked paprika(??) broth, 5-spice rubbed duck with spaetzel and huckleberries, and pecan caramel tart with butternut bourbon ice cream. He thought the food was OK- the zucchini and broth in the branzino dish was good, but he thought the duck dish was a weird plate of food.

I had: Octopus with chorizo and fingerling potatoes (served with a dry white Riax, Orballo Alborino), potato crusted halibut with ham, Brussels sprouts, and chanterelles (paired with a Greenhough New Zealand Riesling), crispy pork belly with avacado, serrano, and a soy mustard vinaigrette (with Robert Foley "The Griffin" red wine blend), and finished with a bittersweet chocolate toffee torte with espresso caramel center, served with a muscado from Israel. The octopus was a revelation to me- excellent flavors, tender, and really beautifully composed on the plate. The halibut was good, but there was a lot going on there that didn't seem to really blend together seamlessly. Pork belly was good, as was the torte. The pairings were OK- the bartender who served me the wine at first was really nice and let me hang onto a bottle so I could copy the info down, and gave me a cheat sheet as well. The waiter was kind of grumpy and annoyed. I heard him recommend the same muscado to everyone who asked for a dessert pairing, regardless of the dessert, which made me think that maybe the wine pairings weren't as well thought out as they could be. That sort of bugged, but c'est la vie. Food was fine.

Brix, Napa CA

On our way out of town, we hit the brunch buffet at Brix. It was nice. We chose not to sit outside because it was a little raw that morning. The different tables were: seafood (raw oysters, baked cherrystone clams, smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail), cheese and bread (my personal favorite), the hot main dish area (fancy salads, pizzas, roast beef tenderloin, eggs, potatoes, ) and a dessert table. Everything was delicious. I wasn't feeling great, so it wasn't my best morning, but we enjoyed our brunch. Mimosas and bloody marys are $6.

A sampling in addition to what was listed above:

Bread and cheese bar:
banana chocolate bread, ginger scone, chive biscuit, foccacia, sourdough bread, picnic ham, Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk cheese, Marin Fields Cheese Co triple creme, Capricorn goats milk cheese.

Entree bar:
Waldorf chicken salad, beet cherry salad with chevre, smashed potato with chive, tostada with chorizo and poached eggs, filet mignon with thyme jus, bolognese pasta

Dessert bar:
homemade Oreos, chocolate cupcakes, carrotcake cupcakes, and a dozen other things I didn't seem to write down.

We wandered the garden afterward, which was very nice.

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JoLe
1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515

Brix
7377 St. Helena Highway, Napa, CA 94558

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  1. OOH, You and your DH are obviously on a wonderful adventure mission. Although I live in NYC where good food abounds, thee's nothing like reading about what's going on in Northern California. The figs!
    In my next life...
    You deserve a big, long rest now.

    1. Very nice report, and lots and lots of good specifics.
      Thank you very much.

      1. I went to Brix today-- the beet salad was awesome and the fatted calf breakfast sausage, and charcuterie. Loved the scone and the berry jam. The warm apple crisp, oh, so yummy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: peppatty

          Yeah, that beet salad goes on my top ten tastes of 2009.

          Glad Brix worked out for you noradeirdre. I love all your reports. Thank you so mch.