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Jul 14, 2011 06:33 PM

A little help needed to fill in some gaps on my Napa trip

I've done my homework and studied this board and here is what I've come up with for my September trip. I'm looking for suggestions to fill in the gaps -- or reprimands if something looks poorly planned or just plain silly.

Dinner considerations: We've decided not to do French Laundry this time and save it for next March when we're going to come back for the Napa Valley Marathon. We've done Morimoto in Philly and loved it, but would like to try something new. We're open to anything, no dietary or taste restrictions.

Also we're staying in Napa and would like to be able to walk back to the River Terrace Inn, a mile or two at the most, but a restaurant being within walking distance is not a deal breaker.

As for wines, although we consume quite a bit of it, we're rather unsophisticated. Right now we're stuck in a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc/Willamette Valley Pinot Noir rut, so we're looking to expand our repertoire.


Yoga class at Ubuntu
Lunch somewhere between Napa and Rubicon tour in Rutherford
Quick stop at Peju if time permits
Late dinner back at Ubuntu


Breakfast somewhere Napa
Platypus Tour (which will take the whole day.) No idea which wineries they'll include.
Late date dinner at Oentori


Looking for restaurants and a wine stop to fit in this plan:

Couples Mudslide at Solage in Calistoga
Dinner back in Napa. Wine & Rotisserie maybe? I'm a huge fan of Tyler Florence's recipes, but have never been to one of his restaurants.


Bike ride and kayaking on the Russian River.
Pick up at 10:30 a.m. in Healdsburg, drop off at 3:30. According to the brochure, here are some wineries they may visit on the tour: Robert Young deLorimier and Stryker among others.

Lunch is included on the tour. Need quickie breakfast and a dinner suggestion.

I'd like to fit the di Rosa Preserve in somewhere I think. Worth the effort?

Thanks in advance for the help.

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

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Tyler Florence Shop
59 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley, CA

610 Main Street, Napa, CA

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  1. DiRosa Preserve thumbs up also relatively near the Hess Collection with modern art and wine tasting.

    5 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      I love DiRosa, although I haven't been since Rene died. Definitely book ahead and do one of the tours that lets you go outside on the back lawn. Domaine Chandon is across the road for a glass of sparkling.

      Saturday morning you could go to the farmer's market in Healdsburg. Flying Goat Coffee is nearby (and maybe at the market too).

      Flying Goat Coffee
      419 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      1. re: Windy

        Windy, would you recommend Domaine Chandon over Schramsberg?

        1. re: Rosedale

          We haven't given you many food recommendations, have we? Tyler Florence doesn't live here and isn't from the area, so there should be a better option for dinner in Napa.

          I've never been to Schramsberg (I think you have to make an appointment), so no help there. Domaine Chandon is owned by Taittenger; it's a little sterile faux French chateau, but very convenient if you're at DiRosa.

          Also close to DiRosa is Cline Cellars, which has a broad range of reds and, as susancinsf has mentioned, a small museum in the back devoted to the California missions.

          By contrast Mumm's is a gorgeous place to sit and sip sparkling wine if you're over by Silverado, which it sounds like you will be.

          Peju used to have a very cheap party wine that was equal parts red and wine. I liked it better than their high-end bottles. But the main reason I've been there is they stay open until 6 (or did).

          Vincent Arroyo Winery is a good stop near Calistoga; small, personal, not too expensive, and delicious wines.

          And I don't see anything wrong with being stuck on Oregon wine. Although you might branch out to Jacksonville/Rogue Valley.

          Cline Cellars
          24737 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA

          1. re: Windy

            I highly recommend Schramsberg. It's by appt only and kind of pricey but worth it for an unique experience.

            I also agree with Windy on Vincent Arroyo. It's a small family winery with excellent wines, especially their petit syrah.

            Have a great time!

      2. re: wolfe

        Two thumbs up for di Rosa Preserve and I also love Artesa for the view - very close by. Agree with Wolfe - if you like modern art, a trip up Redwood road to Hess collection is beautiful and fun.

      3. Wednesday: Rutherford Grill for lunch if you like baby back ribs that fall off the bone:-) or you could stop at Brix and lunch on their amazingly beautiful patio
        Thursday: try Grace's Table for Breakfast - excellent/popular with the locals who love good food; or Boon Fly Cafe at the Carneros Inn not too far away.
        Friday: If you're at Solage - go for lunch there. They also have a beautiful pool - hopefully this is included in your spa treatment? You can stroll through the main street in Calistoga for fun. Come down the Silverado Trail and you can stop for drinks at the deck at Auberge du SoleiI on your drive back to Napa- nice view of the valley. I was not impressed with my one meal at Wine and Rotisserie - may return if coaxed, but so many good places I doubt it. Cole's Chop house for upscale steaks, Celadon, Angele are all excellent. Also, Grace's Table for dinner if you didn't get there for breakfast on Thursday. All are very walkable from your hotel.
        Saturday: Quickie breakfast at Sweetie Pies bakery in the same complex as your hotel. They have both sweet and savory goodies. Barndiva for dinner in Healdsburg and a stroll around the downtown Plaza.
        Sounds like a great trip - hope you have a good time!

        Boon Fly Cafe
        4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

        231 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

        Sweetie Pies
        520 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

        Rutherford Grill
        1180 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA 94558

        7377 St. Helena Highway, Napa, CA 94558

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

        6 Replies
        1. re: vday

          I really appreciate the help.

          I got a recommendation from a co-worker for Fish Story. Any thoughts? Of if I'm going for seafood, shouldn't I just go to Morimoto (even if I've already been to his other restaurants)?

          1. re: Rosedale

            I just got back from 3 nights at Solage in Calistoga and 3 nights at Hotel Healdsburg. I agree with having lunch at Solage prior to the Mudslides. Great pool area, too. If you get the chance, consider making an appointment at Hendry Wines in Napa, which has a variety of great and fairly priced wines and is a very fun and interesting tour. In Healdsburg, SpoonBar at the H2Hotel is great, or you may want to stop at someplace like J Winery (great wine/food pairing). You should expect at least 1 hour to drive from Healdsburg to Napa (probably less in the morning leaving Napa).

            Hotel Healdsburg
            25 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA

            1. re: Rosedale

              The chef at Fish Story *just* left to go to Farmstead and the entire menu is being re-done so there are no reports yet on how it is changing.

              However, if you have already been to a Morimoto restaurant, I don't know if I would waste a trip here when there are so many other great restaurants to consider: Grace's Table, Angele, Zuzu, Ubuntu...

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

              610 Main Street, Napa, CA

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

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                I'm going to skip Fish Story and Morimoto and make reservations at Grace's Table.

                Thinking about maybe going to Greystone @ CIA for dinner on the way back from Calistoga. Any thoughts or suggestions for a better option?

                Greystone Restaurant
                2555 Main St St, Helena, CA

                610 Main Street, Napa, CA

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

                1. re: Rosedale

                  I enjoyed the miniclass I took at the CIA (on pasta) but have not seen their restaurant recommended recently.

                  Has anyone eaten there lately?

                  1. re: Rosedale

                    CIA is okay, but I have had lots of better dinners elsewhere. Bouchon? Mustard's Grill? Bistro Don Giovanni? These are all classic Napa eateries....I used to live there, and we never got sick of these restaurants, even though they are also popular with tourists.

                    DEFINITELY check out the di Rosa. Call them to find out when tours are available - this is the way to really see the wonderful collection. Maybe a morning visit?

                    Have a wonderful time!

                    Bistro Don Giovanni
                    4110 Howard Ln, Napa, CA

                    6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                    Mustard's Grill
                    7399 Saint Helena Hwy, Napa, CA 94558

            2. Any breakfast suggestions between Napa and Healdsburg, preferably closer to Healdsburg. We'll do Boon Fly for sure another day.

              Boon Fly Cafe
              4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559