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Sep 16, 2012 12:16 PM

Napa area wine pairing dinner rec?

I am traveling to Napa with some friends this November (we live in Alaska). There will be five of us, and I have somehow been designated as the trip coordinator. We will be attending several events that are occurring the week of Nov 13. Several interactive lunches and dinners with some of the Iron Chefs and other well known cooking and wine experts. (you can see these events at Flavor Napa:


We had intended to splurge one night on a multi-course wine paring meal, but I am not having much luck. The only night we have available for this meal is Thursday, the 15th. We have a winery visit at Peter Michael that day from 2PM - 4PM, so we can't really eat dinner prior to 7-8 that night.

I was unable to get reservations at TFL. I have no idea how anyone gets reservations at that restaurant, as I waiting to the minute after midnight at Open Table, two months out to secure reservations, but was still unsuccessful. My second choice was Cyrus. (I had the best meal of my life at Cyrus about four years ago). Cyrus is closing their doors the first of November. I then figured we'd try the restaurant at Meadowood. They only have two openings, one at 6PM and one at 9:30PM. 6 is too early, 9:30 too late as the dinner they serve is 9 course and takes 3 hours or so..... Next place I tried was Redd.They are closed on this day for a private event...

I have eaten at Brix before and it was outstanding, but I'm not sure if they offer really good wine pairing meals. I have also eaten at Bottega, and thought it was excellent as well, but that's not the type of meal we are looking for.

Might there be other places to try that would serve a really good, multi course wine pairing meal I should look at?

We will be eating at Morimotos and Grace's Table two other evenings.


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  1. Brix is far from outstanding, IMHO and I don't think they do any high-end wine pairings...

    I would heartily recommend the Farm at Carneros for a tasting or consider JoLe, although I don't know if they do extensive tastings.

    I'm sorry you consider 6:00 too early to eat - that is my ideal time for what would be a 3+ hour meal. But knowing what is going on in the valley at that time, there are lots more "dignitaries" in the valley during this time. The CIA World of Flavors conference is a week before....

    If you could get into Meadowood at 6:00, I'd grab that!

    11 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      You don't like Brix?? Dang....I thought it was terrific, and I've gone twice. When did you go?

      Six isn't too early to eat dinner, but it is on this particular day due to the winery visit at Peter Michael.

      Thanks for the recs on the Farm and JoLe, I'll check them out.

      1. re: akmike

        I was at Brix on Thursday evening... I go for their Happy Hour because it is a great deal, but otherwise the food is mostly forgettable.

        On Thursday, for example, I had the Mussels which are a bargain at $7.50 for Happy Hour, as well as a crab/melon/avocado salad which just tasted mushy. It was a circle of diced Charentais melon and avocado topped with the melon and the flavors were all too muted and the textures too similar to work together.

        I'm confused about the timing. You are done at Peter Michael at 4:00 and Meadowood is only thirty minutes away. You still have an hour-and-a-half to hit your hotel room to change, if you wanted to...

        1. re: CarrieWas218

          We are staying at the South side of Napa at the Vino Bello. I don't think we could make it to the hotel, then back to Meadowood in two hours. The girls will definitely want to freshen up and change. Unless I'm miscalculating drive time, isn't is about a 45 minute drive from PM to the hotel we are staying?

          I just checked out The Farm, and it looks pretty good. Great reviews and the menu sample looks very tasty.

          Too bad to hear about Brix. After reflecting a bit, it was probably four years ago that I ate there last. I had a tomato and lobster soup that night that I still day dream about. We ate a Gary Danko's a few nights later that trip and all of us thought the meal we had at Brix was better.

          1. re: akmike

            Yes, you are looking at a 45-minute drive thereabouts...

            I guess, being a girl, I would want the food more than looking good but I know I'm an anomaly...

            And The Farm is more en route for you then since you've got to head back south. It tends to be off-radar for most folks but I've had some lovely meals there.

            1. re: akmike

              Peter Michael is at the very north end of the valley, at the north end of Calistoga, and about 1.5 hours during rush hour to the corporate/industrial park south of the city of Napa where your hotel Vino Bello is. I know the drive well.

              Doesn't make good sense to spend three extra hours of driving -- yes, that long -- so that you can freshen up. Sorry to put it to you so straight.

              Bring a change of clothes in the car and freshen up at Meadowood in their nice bathrooms. Meadowood is about a half-hour from Peter Michael. Stop in Calistoga for a short spa treatment of some sort, or wander into St. Helena and stroll Main Street.

              1. re: maria lorraine

                No, a three hour round trip for a meal doesn't make sense. I like the idea of bringing some clothes, but not sure if the others will like it. I have not been to Meadowood. I suspect they have a dress code of sorts? I don't generally wander around wearing slacks and a jacket and the girls don't wander around in even dresses....

                What about Auberge du Soleil? Their prices seam quite high, even more than TFL. Are they as good as Meadowood, Cyrus or the French Laundry?

              2. re: akmike

                Staying at the south end of Napa is a problem, the "freshen up" thing doesn't work. I'm assuming you can't change your hotel due to price or lock-in, but you'll need to break to your party that you made a compromise when you booked your hotel. Doing some kind of spa thing will leave you fresh for dinner without sweating through 3 hours in the car.

                1. re: bbulkow

                  Yes, price.... I have never dumped a ton of money on a hotel that I do not spend much time in. I'd rather put that extra couple grand towards food and / or wine. Hopefully, this hotel isn't too much of a compromise. They claim it's four star.

                  I went ahead and booked dinner at the Farm. $450 per plate (with wine pairing) at the Meadowood was simply too much anyway. I had thought it was $250'ish.

                  Booked Sunday brunch at Aubergge du Soleil, and a lunch at JoLe too.

                  1. re: akmike

                    It used to be -- maybe still is -- that the one meal that Brix did well was Sunday brunch.
                    Auberge has a great view but is overpriced. I'd have a cocktail on the outside terrace, but not a meal there.

                  2. re: bbulkow

                    "Staying at the south end of Napa is a problem, the "freshen up" thing doesn't work. I'm assuming you can't change your hotel due to price or lock-in, but you'll need to break to your party that you made a compromise when you booked your hotel. "

                    +1. You do realize that the hotel is in a corporate-industrial park and that Napa Valley's restaurants, vineyards and green landscapes are quite a bit to the north, right? Were it me, I'd change locations to be closer to your activities and the beauty of the valley. It's no bargain if you have to spend so much of your time driving hither and yon.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      I knew it was on the South side, but not quite as far as you describe. Several reasons went into the choice though..... I was given a budget for the other travelers (please don't exceed), I am booking three rooms, cars, winery visits, Flavor Napa events, dinners, etc... It's been a challenge to say the least. This is also a weird Napa trip for me. Usually we just pick an area to spend a day or two at (Howell mtn / Spring Mnt / Sonoma) then work from that. This time a couple is going with us that has not been before, so we are hitting several areas... One day in Santa Rosa, one day in Sonoma, five days in Napa. So considering this, the location seamed like a good compromise. I did however initially attempt to book rooms at the Hyatt, but the scoundrels raised the room prices $220 a night between the time I selected a room and started the on-line booking process. Pissed me off, so I just got the next one on the list. Two of us are avid weight lifters, so a place with a good gym is mandatory. That cuts down options a bit too.