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7 Days in Napa Early October--Need Dining/Winery Suggestions

i
Im4Wine May 6, 2011 06:40 AM

Husband and I honeymooned in Napa in 2007 and have decided on a return trip in October. Back then we dined at Press, Bistro Don Giovanni, Bistro Jeanty (more that I can't remember). We visited Cakebread, Opus One, Shafer, Long Meadow Ranch, Hess, Darioush, Kuleto, Del Dotto, Frank Family, Sterling Vineyards, Castello Di Amorosa, Domaine Chandon, Domaine Carneros....

This trip we are renting a house about 5 minutes from downtown Napa. We are starting the vacation with the Bounty Harvest Dinner at Kuleto Estate and ending the trip with a Day on the Bay with Cakebread.

We need to fill our schedule in between these events!

Here is a list of restaurants I've been seeing on the board that interest us:

French Laundry (providing we get in; went to Per Se last year in NY and loved it!)
Solbar
Oenotri
Press (dinner in 2007 was excellent; havn't seen many great reviews lately)
Bouchon
Meadowood
Redd
Bottega
Bounty Hunter Wine Bar

Please tell me if there are any "musts" or "skips" on the list and feel free to add other suggestions. We love French, Italian, Mexican, Tapas; do not like sushi. Not too worried about breakfast as we will probably make something at the house before we hit the road each day. Lunches will be on the go in between wine tastings, possibly a picnic or two.

Here is a preliminary list of wineries:

Cakebread
Shafer
Domaine Carneros
Duckhorn
Mumm
Cliff Lede
Barnett
Flora Springs

Cakebread and Shafer are the only ones we definitely want to do. The others are ones that seem interesting from reading the boards. We are pretty open on wineries...we love a great view, interesting architecture, anything fun surrounding the tasting (hike, horseback ride, etc), in addition to great wine of course!

Also, we will probably take one day off from wine tasting and do a nice long hike. We might try to have that day be the same as The French Laundry so we're good and hungry! I've done Mount St. Helena but if anyone has other suggestions we are open.

Other activities we are interested in are Oxbow Public Market, massage/mud bath, Round Pond (olive oil tasting). More suggestions appreciated.

We are the type of travelers who love a schedule, knowing that we will throw the schedule out the window if something more interesting catches our eye.

Thanks in advance!

-----
The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Sterling Vineyards
1111 Dunaweal Ln, Calistoga, CA 94515

Bistro Jeanty
6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Oxbow Public Market
610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

Domaine Carneros
1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA

Kuleto's
221 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102

Bistro Don Giovanni
4110 Howard Ln, Napa, CA

Bottega
6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

Bouchon
6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Oenotri
1425 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

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  1. wolfe May 6, 2011 08:49 AM

    Try a di Rosa Preserve and after day.
    http://www.dirosaart.org/
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/711749

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe
      i
      Im4Wine May 6, 2011 10:00 AM

      Thanks Wolfe! This looks great!

    2. CarrieWas218 May 6, 2011 07:49 PM

      As a Napa resident and frequent hiker, be forewarned that early October can be really HOT. That said, I would recommend some of the many trails around Lake Berryessa or the more Napa-convenient Skyline trail: http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail....

      I second Wolfe's suggestion of the diRosa Preserve - amazing place... If you like art, add Hess, Ma(i)sonry and St. Supery as necessary stops for great art collections AND wine.

      Honestly, considering the number of chefs that are working on new restaurants right now, I wouldn't ink in your choices this early; there are at least three high-profile restaurants working on getting opened in the next few months and with your trip almost six months away, the playing field may be entirely different.

      Even with that, I would recommend Meadowood, at least for an evening sunset Champagne toast and perhaps dinner. Etoile is highly recommended as is JoLe.

      -----
      JoLe
      1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515

      3 Replies
      1. re: CarrieWas218
        i
        Im4Wine May 8, 2011 03:16 PM

        Thank you for the hiking recommendation...will definitely check this one out. Good call on not inking in the restaurant choices as so much can change in 6 months. Meadowood is definitely on the list. Will add Etoile and JoLe. It looks like all 3 use OpenTable for reservations--do you know if there are issues getting in? We are prepared to dial and re-dial for The French Laundry, just want to know if we need to do that other places?

        diRosa Preserve, Ma(i)sonry, St. Supery and Hess now on our radar.

        Thanks again for all the suggestions!

        -----
        The French Laundry
        6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

        JoLe
        1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515

        1. re: Im4Wine
          CarrieWas218 May 8, 2011 06:48 PM

          You should have no problems getting reservations 10-14 days in advance at most places (other than TFL). You need reservations for diRosa also.

          1. re: Im4Wine
            m
            melee Aug 8, 2011 07:23 PM

            Just got back from a too-brief trip to Napa. I'm so envious that you have a whole week to eat & drink! We had a fabulous dinner at Oenotri, which is in downtown Napa and probably close to where you're staying. It has a fun, hip vibe and the sausage pizza, mixed lettuces salad, halibut & house made pasta w/lamb ragu were all very tasty and perfectly prepared. Our other meal was a lunch at Redd - don't miss the peanut butter & chocolate beignets - and would be a great spot for lunch before strolling up the street to Ma(i)sonry for a wine tasting, Be sure to call ahead for a reservation at this little gem. The building itself is a work of art and tasting their featured wines in their back garden is really a treat. Weather in October should be perfect for you. Enjoy!

            -----
            Oenotri
            1425 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

        2. zuriga1 May 7, 2011 10:53 PM

          We recently enjoyed Mustards Grill a lot. They had the best broccoli I've ever tasted, and I hate broccoli. We also enjoyed Don Giovanni, but I see you've been there.

          -----
          Mustards Grill
          7399 St Helena Hwy, Napa, CA 94558

          1. s
            Savory_Girl May 8, 2011 10:07 PM

            We frequent Napa quite often and have LOTS of favorites...here are a few of ours:

            Wineries:
            Frog's Leap - fabulous back porch wine tasting, strolls in their organic garden, etc... We've been wine club members here for years and never get sick of bringing friends and enjoying their wine

            Swanson - you'll need an advance reservation with this one, but it's always fun having the high-end pairings with their fabulous wines

            Round Pond - you mentioned this one...I would concur

            Newton - you may need advanced reservations here too, but they have great unfiltered Chards and beautiful English gardens with amazing views

            Artesa - a bit off the beaten path, but nice bubbly and Spanish varietals. Wonderful views of the Bay area and an artist in residence making the winery feel like a modern museum.

            Robert Sinsky - we love this winery and they have nice picnic tables that you can use for lunch. If they have any Vin Gris left make sure to grab a bottle, it's fantastic!

            Restaurants
            Bottega is fabulous...especially if you can sit out on the patio on a warm evening. We've never been disappointed here (and often see Michael Chiarello hard at work!)

            ZuZu is a nice change of pace with Spanish tapas and Paella...lovely atmosphere as well

            Oxbow is a must along with the fabulous butcher and bakery around the corner. You could spend a whole day eating in this area!

            Auberge du Soleil is lovely for pre-dinner cocktails and a snack, especially on the balcony

            While I know you said breakfast wasn't a priority, the Boon Fly is a fun place to start the day. Their mini doughnuts are fantastic :)

            Oh, and if you don't make it into TFL, ad hoc is a nice, more casual way to get some of Keller's goods!

            Spa:
            Solage spa is pretty amazing...they have a trio package where you get a body masque, then soak in an herbal hot tub and then finish off with relaxing time in an anti-gravity chair. You can of course enjoy the rest of your day at their pool as well

            Have a great time! And if your into biking at all, cycling up and down the Silverado trail on a nice day is a fantastic way to explore the valley.

            -----
            Boon Fly Cafe
            4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

            ZuZu
            829 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

            Bottega
            6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: Savory_Girl
              m
              Mariana in Baja May 9, 2011 04:29 PM

              second and maybe third vote for Hess Collection and DiRosa. It is possible to visit a small part of DiRosa without a reservation but I urge you to see the entire collection if you can - an amazing place. Another beautiful winery very close to DiRosa is Artesa - architecturally stunning.

            2. i
              Im4Wine Aug 8, 2011 10:33 AM

              I've done some resarch and have a tentative itinerary, but have some open spots for restaurants:

              Monday:
              Duckhorn @ 10
              Lunch @ Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen or Tra Vigne? (looking for something not too out of the way)
              Swanson @ 1:30
              Flora Springs
              Dinner @ Press (open to suggestions)

              Tuesday:
              Bothe-Napa Hike (approx 2 hours)
              Couples Mudslide & Massage @ Solage Spa @ 10
              Lunch @ Solbar at 12:30
              Barnett @ 2:00 p.m. (may have to rush through lunch...looks to be about a 30 minute drive)
              Dinner @ Bottega

              Wednesday:
              Elizabeth Spencer @ 10:30
              Lunch @ Rutherford Grill ?
              Shafer @ 1:00-2:30
              Dinner @ The French Laundry (yay!)

              Thursday:
              Skyline Wilderness Park
              Cakebread @ 11:00-12:30 (includes lunch)
              Cliff Lede
              Ma(i)sonry @ 2:00
              Mumm @ 3:30
              Dinner @ Bistro Don Giovanni ? (open to suggestions)

              Friday:
              Domaine Carneros @ 10ish
              Lunch @ Boon Fly @ 11:30
              di Rosa Preserve @ 1:00-3:00
              Round Pond Olive Oil Tasting (looks like they do walk-ins from 3-5?)
              Dinner @ Cuvee ? (open to suggestions)

              I'm a bit stumped on restaurants. Should we try Meadowood? Is that overload after The French Laundry? I'm afraid we will be fooded-out by Friday :) Suggestions appreciated!

              Appointments have been made wherever required, activities without times are on a drop-in basis. We are the type of travelers who love a schedule, knowing that we will throw the schedule out the window if something more interesting catches our eye.

              Each day we will be going back to the house to change for dinner, so I'm not too worried about there being a lot of time in between the last activity and mealtime.

              Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

              -----
              The French Laundry
              6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

              Boon Fly Cafe
              4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

              Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
              1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena, CA 94574

              Domaine Carneros
              1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA

              Tra Vigne Restaurant
              1050 Charter Oak, St. Helena, CA 94574

              Rutherford Grill
              1180 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA 94558

              Bistro Don Giovanni
              4110 Howard Ln, Napa, CA

              Bottega
              6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

              Cuvee Restaurant
              1650 Soscol Ave, Napa, CA 94559

              5 Replies
              1. re: Im4Wine
                CarrieWas218 Aug 8, 2011 10:58 AM

                A few quick notes:

                Cindy's over Tra Vigne.
                Press is fine, but it is just a big grilled meat place that is a bit pricey; I would recommend Redd or Terra instead.

                Rutherford Grill is part of the Houston's chain is large, heavy food -- way too much before a meal at The Laundry. Consider a lighter alternative like a picnic (Oakville Grocery or Dean & Deluca would suffice).

                Bistro Don Giovanni and Bottega are going to be very similar in their Italian-esque menus. I wouldn't go to both and would take BDG over Bottega.

                Cuvee has a new chef with a new menu and is a bit untried. Other downtown Napa suggestions would be Angele, Grace's Table, Zuzu, or Morimoto.

                -----
                Tra Vigne Restaurant
                1050 Charter Oak, St. Helena, CA 94574

                Rutherford Grill
                1180 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA 94558

                Bistro Don Giovanni
                4110 Howard Ln, Napa, CA

                Bottega
                6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                Cuvee Restaurant
                1650 Soscol Ave, Napa, CA 94559

                Morimoto
                610 Main Street, Napa, CA

                Grace's Table
                1400 2nd St, Napa, CA 94559

                1. re: CarrieWas218
                  i
                  Im4Wine Aug 9, 2011 06:17 AM

                  Thanks Carrie for the suggestions. Will definitely do Cindy's over Tra Vigne. Ditto for the picnic suggestion instead of Rutherford Grille.

                  I forgot to mention that our Sunday plans involve checking out the Oxbow Public Market and maybe stocking up on some breakfast provisions for the house. Any thoughts on Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & BBQ for a casual dinner?

                  -----
                  Oxbow Public Market
                  610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                  Tra Vigne Restaurant
                  1050 Charter Oak, St. Helena, CA 94574

                  1. re: Im4Wine
                    CarrieWas218 Aug 9, 2011 08:08 AM

                    Bounty Hunter is fine for a casual dinner although a little on the heavy side - although I much prefer Grace's or Zuzus, but I like lighter fare. It really depends on what you are hungry for at that point.

                    Oxbow won't take you very long but is a great place to provision from Fatted Calf. I like Sweetie Pies pastries over Model Bakery's.

                    -----
                    Fatted Calf
                    644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                    Model Bakery
                    610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                    Sweetie Pies
                    520 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

                    1. re: Im4Wine
                      c
                      cortez Aug 21, 2011 04:13 AM

                      Im4,

                      Wonderful trip you have planned. Looking forward to your trip report.

                      At Oxbow Market, the Fatted Calf has spectacular pork products, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. for your breakfast provisions. Next door is the Model Bakery for breads and muffins.

                      For wine, try Backroom Wines on First and Main, across from Bounty Hunter. Well edited selection of local and international wines with very knowledgeable staff.

                      For lighter fare, Morimoto and Ubuntu are walkable from this central part of Napa as well. Both have beautiful spaces and seats at the bar for less elaborate meals. Very fun.

                      Have a great trip.

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

                      Fatted Calf
                      644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                      Model Bakery
                      610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                      Backroom Wines
                      1000 Main Street, Shop 120, Napa, CA 94559

                      Morimoto
                      610 Main Street, Napa, CA

                      1. re: cortez
                        Eugene Park Aug 21, 2011 07:30 AM

                        If you do make it to Ubuntu, less than a block away is Vintners Collective. They represent 17 different smaller wineries in a nice facility with knowledgeable staff. I'm a club member, but it's worth it IMO for non-members to venture in.

                2. ChefJune Aug 8, 2011 12:28 PM

                  I suggest appointments for all the tastings you plan. You can always cancel them if you have scheduled too closely or change your mind. You do get better attention for the tasting and if you want a tour, you need an appointment, for sure.

                  I'd suggest not to miss Trefethen in the Oak Knoll District. A family owned and run winery, they bottle only estate grown wines, and have been doing so for more than 30 years. imho, their chardonnays are spectacular, as are their Cabs, and their dry Riesling. They have beautiful gardens on their premises.

                  As far as restaurants, we loved Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. It's very casual and very tasty.

                  For hiking, did you know the Petrified Forest links Napa and Sonoma at Calistoga?

                  1. i
                    IdSkr Aug 20, 2011 07:39 AM

                    We got married married @the Aubierge 20 years ago. Go back annually. We are going to try the cooking class, cookingwithjulie.com

                    Looks like fun!

                    1. i
                      Im4Wine Aug 31, 2011 02:15 PM

                      Okay, I've tweaked the itinerary a bit more, still updating and deciding on a few things:

                      Saturday:
                      Flight arrives in SF @ 2ish
                      Drive to Yountville
                      Check in to Maison Fleurie
                      Attend Bounty of Harvest Dinner at Kuleto Estate
                      (we booked a house for the week beginning on Sunday, then decided to attend the Kuleto event and had to find a room for the night)

                      Sunday:
                      Breakfast at hotel (noon checkout; maybe we'll sleep a bit &try to adjust to the time zone change)
                      Drive around, maybe do a wine tasting
                      Check into house
                      Oxbow Public Market to stock up on breafast provisions for the house
                      Oxbow has jazz from 3-6 p.m. (Every other Sunday through October 2 guests will be entertained with live jazz while enjoying fresh oysters and sipping crisp wines from Hog Island Oyster Co. and enjoying wine and cheese from Oxbow Wine and Cheese Merchant and a variety of delicious tastes from The Kitchen Door. This week enjoy the tunes of the Isaac Carter Trio.)
                      Dinner at ? leaning towards Grace's Table unless we get our fill while listening to the jazz

                      Monday:
                      Duckhorn @ 10
                      Lunch @ Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
                      Swanson @ 1:30
                      Flora Springs
                      Dinner @ Press (went there on our honeymoon; hubby wants to revisit)

                      Tuesday:
                      Bothe-Napa Hike (approx 2 hours)
                      Couples Mudslide & Massage @ Solage Spa @ 10
                      Lunch @ Solbar at 12:30
                      Barnett @ 2:00 p.m. (may have to rush through lunch...looks to be about a 30 minute drive)
                      Dinner @ Bottega

                      Wednesday:
                      Elizabeth Spencer @ 10:30
                      Lunch @ Mustards
                      Shafer @ 1:00-2:30
                      Dinner @ The French Laundry (yay!)

                      Thursday:
                      Skyline Wilderness Park
                      Cakebread @ 11:00-12:30 (includes lunch)
                      Cliff Lede
                      Ma(i)sonry @ 2:00
                      Mumm @ 3:30
                      Dinner @ Bouchon

                      Friday:
                      Domaine Carneros @ 10ish
                      Lunch @ Boon Fly @ 11:30
                      di Rosa Preserve @ 1:00-3:00
                      Round Pond Olive Oil Tasting (looks like they do walk-ins from 3-5?)
                      Dinner @ Auberge Bistro

                      Saturday:
                      Drive to Berkeley
                      Attend Day on the Bay--Fleet Week with Cakebread Winery 12:30 - ?
                      Stay at The Doubletree Berkeley Marina (wanted something really close; not sure we want to travel far after the event)
                      Dinner ? not even sure how long the event lasts; any dining suggestions in case we need it?

                      Sunday:
                      Flight leaves for Michigan at 12:55 p.m. so we have time for breakfast or brunch someplace....suggestions?

                      Appointments have been made wherever required, activities without times are on a drop-in basis. We are the type of travelers who love a schedule, knowing that we will throw the schedule out the window if something more interesting catches our eye.
                      Each day we will be going back to the house to change for dinner, so I'm not too worried about there being a lot of time in between the last activity and mealtime.

                      Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

                      -----
                      The French Laundry
                      6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                      Boon Fly Cafe
                      4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

                      Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
                      1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena, CA 94574

                      Oxbow Public Market
                      610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                      Domaine Carneros
                      1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA

                      Hog Island Oyster Co
                      610 1st St, Napa, CA

                      Bottega
                      6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                      Bouchon
                      6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                      Grace's Table
                      1400 2nd St, Napa, CA 94559

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Im4Wine
                        c
                        cortez Sep 1, 2011 06:44 AM

                        Wow! Very impressive itinerary.

                        Two brunch choices as well: Bette's Oceanview Diner on 4th St Berkeley (diner style for breakfast) or Viks Chaat for casual and renowned Indian food, also in Berkeley.

                        1. re: Im4Wine
                          Junie D Sep 2, 2011 07:21 AM

                          Have a wonderful week - how could you not?

                          For Monday lunch, I suggest Cook in St. Helena rather than Cindy's. It is smaller, less touristy (okay everywhere is touristy!) and the food is simple and excellent.

                          Skyline is nice, but (again) smaller and less crowded is Westwood Hills. Perfect for a 1 to 2 hour hike, which is all you have time for. Exit 29 South at 1st St and head west on Browns Valley Road.
                          http://www.yelp.com/biz/westwood-hills-park-napa

                          Sunday breakfast on your way out of town at Fremont Diner

                          http://www.cooksthelena.com/index.html

                          -----
                          Fremont Diner
                          2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA

                          1. re: Junie D
                            CarrieWas218 Sep 2, 2011 09:14 AM

                            Concur with Junie on Cooks vs. Cindy's....

                            1. re: CarrieWas218
                              i
                              Im4Wine Sep 15, 2011 01:11 PM

                              Thanks Junie for the hiking recommendation and both of you for the Cook vs Cindys suggestion--will do Cook!

                              Still not sure what to do in Berkeley or SF the last night or morning before our flight...we may be worn out by then!

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