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6 days in SF/Napa - suggestions?

My wife is attending a conference in SF in early October, and I'm flying out to meet her afterward for a few days of relaxing and eating. A little about us: My wife is a vegetarian and also doesn't drink, but I eat everything and love wine. That said we're both fairly adventurous diners. We're from Boston (where our favorite places include Craigie on Main, T.W. Food, La Laiterie in Providence - seasonal, farm-to-table style dining). We are particularly interested in things we can't easily get at home. Our budget is flexible.

Our plans so far:

Monday (SF)
Arrive in the afternoon
Dinner: Aziza

Tuesday (SF -> Napa)
Lunch:
My wife is at her conference, so I'm on my own. I'd love to do dim sum.
Is there a decent dim sum place for a dim sum newbie on his own?

Tuesday night we arrive @ Hotel Luca in Yountville, where we are staying til Friday.
Dinner:
Not sure yet. I'd love to find a casual(ish) place in Yountville (so we didn't have to drive), low-key, with a great wines-by-the-glass list, and less than $40/pp (before drinks). Cantinetta Piero, in our hotel, looks promising. How is the food?
Alternatively, maybe we'll stop in Napa itself on the way from SF. Any particular stand-outs
(other than Ubuntu?)

Wednesday
We'll eat a late breakfast at the hotel, and then skip lunch, because ...
Dinner: 5:30 reservations @ The French Laundry.

Thursday
Lunch:
We are thinking of a picnic. Oxbow Public Market has come up as a good place to get food, as has Sunshine Market. Any other suggestions? We're likely to decide where to get supplies based on what we end up doing that day and what is nearby, so some geographically scattered ideas would be helpful.
Dinner: Ubuntu

Friday
Lunch:
We are still looking for a nice lunch spot for Friday. We'll be heading back to SF but are completely undecided about the route, so location doesn't matter (much). A few years ago we went to Tra Vinge and really enjoyed it. Is there somewhere similar? The ideal place would have outside tables in a country setting and a certain amount of elegance. Places that looked promising: Brix or bistro at Auberge du Soleil. Something else in that vein that we should consider?

Dinner back in SF:
No ideas yet. Something casual, as we'll have had a big lunch. SE Asian or Mexican would be interesting.

Saturday:
Brunch: Ferry Market Building
Dinner:
Both Delfina and Incanto looked interesting, but we aren't sure we'll want Italian.
Any thoughts on Range in Mission?
Coi is very tempting, but another big tasting menu isn't what we are looking for (after French Laundry).

Sunday:
Brunch: Canteen
Then to the airport.

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Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Delfina Restaurant
3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Oxbow Public Market
610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

Brix
7377 St. Helena Highway, Napa, CA 94558

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  1. Since we've enjoyed the sister restaurant in Carmel I have been waiting to try Piero and have noted generally positive reviews.
    Cantinetta Piero at the Hotel Luca.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6749...

    3 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      At Piero, we've had truly terrible service twice in a row (obviously whoever is managing does not know how to train servers).
      A longer review at the Wolfe's link just above.

      Food has been OK with some strangeness and inconsistency. Mussels were not altogether fresh, good funghi pizza, calzone, wonderful salads one evening that were prepared differently on the next visit. Great risotto. I'd say it's iffy.

      Not a fan of Bottega either because of inconsistently prepared food (sometimes good,sometimes not), and slow service. But I love the burrata. Elsewhere in Yountville, I do like Bistro Jeanty, especially on the patio. Bouchon for moules frites and cool bar dinners but only, only, only sit at the bar because the regular dining area is a nightmare. I'd snare reservations at Ad Hoc now if you can.

      -----
      Ad Hoc
      6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

      Bistro Jeanty
      6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

      Bouchon
      6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

      1. re: maria lorraine

        I looked at Ad Hoc but my impression was that it is basically impossible for a vegetarian, given the set menu. Is that not true? Bistro Jeanty also looked interesting to me, but very French places tend to be difficult for vegetarians as well unless they have veggie entrees on the menu.

        Maybe we'll keep the bar at Bouchon as a back up if the vibe at Piero isn't what we want. Do we need reservations to sit at the bar?

        1. re: msackton

          Though I'm not certain, I vaguely recall this coming up before in reference to Ad Hoc, and everything worked out. See if you can find the thread or threads that mention this.

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          Ad Hoc
          6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

    2. Have only had lunch at Piero and it was very good. You won't have trouble finding a casual place to dine in Yountville. I think I like Bottega, just down the street, better than Piero but others might disagree. Bistro Jeanty, despite a bad review several months ago, is still good in my opinion--at least for the things I like to order. Bouchon is also good and you could also give Ad Hoc a try.

      -----
      Ad Hoc
      6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

      Bistro Jeanty
      6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

      Bottega
      6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

      Bouchon
      6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

      1 Reply
      1. re: bobpantzer

        Gastrotourist like you here, msackton. If you're undecided about your Sat eve meal in SF and are going for "Californian" (you mentioned Range), why not nab resos for Canteen that night?

        I am a Leary lover and count a trip to the Bay Area wasted that doesn't include dinner there. I have eaten at Range once and had their chicken which was excellent but I'd say go for Canteen and find another brunch spot for Sunday. Or go to Canteen for brunch too (we actually did that one trip, sigh).

        Dim sum on your own could be a bit challenging -- I find it so with fewer than 3 diners. There are so many places, and so many reccos on multiple threads. If I was on my own and near Chinatown, I think I'd mosey into Dol Ho for old school yum cha. It is so inexpensive that you might not mind wasting a few dumplings when you overorder as you inevitably will!

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        Dol Ho
        808 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

      2. msackton's DC here...Wondering whether it would be crazy to try to go to the cafe at Chez Panisse on Friday for lunch on the way back to SF. If we decided to do this, it would limit the amount of time we had in Napa on Friday. Is it good enough to be worth it-particularly given all the other amazing places we'll be going?

        Reading greyelf's trip reports, I'm tempted by Chilango or Mandalay for dinner on Friday night. They both look very veggie friendly.

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        Chez Panisse
        1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

        Chilango
        235 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

        3 Replies
        1. re: dsackton

          If you're a vegetarian, Chez Panisse cafe is a great place to go. If you get an early start in Napa and stop at a few wineries in the morning, you could make a late lunch at CP with no problem. Though there are great places to go for lunch in Napa, it just depends on what appeals to you more.

          -----
          Chez Panisse
          1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

          1. re: dsackton

            Greetings, Sackton Consort! Thanks for taking the time to slog through my various ramblings. I have not yet had the pleasure of dining at either Panisse resto, mostly because despite half a dozen recent trips to the Bay Area we still haven't made it to Berkeley (hangs head in shame).

            Though we did enjoy our visits to both Chilango and Mandalay and would happily return to either, I think I'd want to try the more iconic lunch option, especially if you won't need to make a special trip for it. There are many positive reports from Hounds I trust in reading this board assiduously about both the cafe and the restaurant. And you know, you could still stop into either Chilango or Mandalay for a snack later that evening :-).

            1. re: grayelf

              I was thinking of Mandalay or Chilango for dinner of Friday. Chez Panisse would be for lunch. I think we'll probably stay in Napa for lunch after all though, because msackton is more excited about going somewhere in Napa with a really nice setting then going to Chez Panisse, and I don't feel strongly about making it there on this trip.

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              Chez Panisse
              1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

              Chilango
              235 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

          2. We had a little bit of an underwhelming experience at Ad Hoc last night. You're definitely in their hands when it comes to the set menu, so be prepared for that. I've heard it can be amazing, so maybe we just had an off night. Everything was just uninspired and overly salted. Beef short ribs and a tiny carrot buttermilk salad, which was the highlight of the meal. And a side dish of grits with giant bland shrimp. I know comfort food and this really wasn't. For the price, you could do better I think.

            Tonight we're going to try Bottega. Wish us luck....

            1 Reply
            1. re: allisonc

              Thanks for the feedback... Ad Hoc is closed Tuesday night anyway, so I don't think we're going to make it there. Probably one Keller place is enough anyway :)

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              Ad Hoc
              6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

            2. I think we've made some decisions. Here is our updated itinerary. Any thoughts?

              Monday (SF)
              Arrive in the afternoon
              Dinner: Aziza

              Tuesday (SF -> Napa)

              Tuesday night we arrive @ Hotel Luca in Yountville, where we are staying til Friday.
              Dinner:
              Cantinetta Piero, in our hotel, unless we are inspired to do something different at the last minute. Anyone know if we change our mind and decide to eat at the bar at Bouchon whether we need reservations?

              Wednesday
              We'll eat a late breakfast at the hotel and dinner at TFL

              Thursday
              Lunch:
              Picnic lunch, maybe from Oxbow Market...still up for other suggestions
              Dinner: Ubuntu

              Friday
              Lunch:
              Probably Brix or Auberge du Soleil. Any opinions?

              Dinner back in SF:
              Chilango

              Saturday:
              Brunch: Ferry Market Building
              Dinner:
              Made a reservation at Canteen. Turns out we have friends who we haven't seen in a while who will be in SF at the same time as us. Is this still a good choice of a place to catch up with friends?

              Sunday:
              Brunch: Out the Door
              Then to the airport.

              -----
              Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
              1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

              Out the Door
              845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              Brix
              7377 St. Helena Highway, Napa, CA 94558

              Bouchon
              6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

              Soleil Restaurant
              625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

              Chilango
              235 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

              3 Replies
              1. re: dsackton

                I love dinner at Canteen, but I don't think it's a good place to catch up with old friends -- because of the size of the restaurant, each reservation is for an hour and a half, so it's not a place where you can linger and chat. From your initial thoughts, Delfina would work, as would Nopa. Or if you want to switch your schedule around a little, Aziza would work well for that night, and you could do Canteen on another night.

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                Delfina Restaurant
                3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Nopa
                560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                1. re: JasmineG

                  Nopa is considered a bit on the loud side, yes? Delfina's normal, regarding noise.

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                  Delfina Restaurant
                  3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  Nopa
                  560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                2. re: dsackton

                  Picnic supplies:
                  Oakville Grocery
                  Dean and DeLuca
                  Cal Mart (in Calistoga)

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                  Oakville Grocery
                  124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                3. When in Napa, go to Aubierge De Soule for lunch! It has a stunning outdoor deck view. Very good atmosphere and relaxing.