Archive for category California
FARM, just like the name suggests, serves organic, local, farm-to-table cuisine. FARM is located in the Carneros Inn in Napa – a beautiful resort surrounded in grape vines, apple orchards, and miles of picturesque views of the valley. When I say farm to table I don’t mean any old farm in Northern Cal. The chef de cuisine, Andrew Budnyj, partners with the inn’s culinary gardener to serve truly sustainable ingredients from the garden and then showcases them on the menu. I recommend arriving early and having a drink outside. They’ve got a nice set up with plush couches, chairs, candles, and heat lamps making it a comfortable atmosphere for a pre meal cocktail or glass of wine. FARM offers both a tasting menu or a la carte options. I enjoyed the baby beet salad composed of market fresh beets, crispy little fried balls of goat cheese, with pistachios and avocado mouse. I also got to try the lobster risotto which was the perfect blend of risotto and a flavorful, butter, lemon, parmesan sauce. The potato crusted sole was cooked to perfection and served over a bed of ramps and black trumpet mushrooms. I love that the chef chose trumpet mushrooms over any ordinary mushroom as it complemented the sole quite well. The sole, while it was crusted, was not heavily coated or deep fried. It still retained the natural fresh flavor. To round everything out, I tried an interesting combination of “Bananas and Bacon” for dessert. Basically, banana three ways.. think a little whiskey, a dash of sour cream, brown butter ICE CREAM, and a bacon crumble…
A Pizzeria in Napa? Yes, you’re reading this correctly! You won’t get “half pepperoni half plain” pies at this pizza joint though. Richard Reddington, infamous for his Michelin star restaurant, REDD, located down the road, opened this casual pizza centric restaurant just three months ago. It’s located in the charming North Block hotel off the main drag in Yountville. There’s an open kitchen and a wood burning oven where you can watch the magic happen. You’ll find authentic Italian dishes from suppli (fried rice/risotto balls with mozzarella – a staple in Rome) in a lamb bolognese sauce to proper Neapolitan style pizza (thick deliciously thick crust and a thin center). The apps range from spring vegetable salad (pictured below with fresh bibb lettuce, beans, carrot, zucchini, radish) to different types of charcuterie and cheeses. Pizza choices include a classic Margherita and more decadent options such as lardo with mushroom, spinach, and fontina, to even a clam chowder- esque pizza consisting of clams potatoes, leeks, and garlic.
Calling all foodies!! I had the pleasure of dining at At Hoc, Thomas Keller’s most recent addition to his restaurant row in Yountville, California. Thomas Keller, famous for his Michelin star restaurants Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, and The French Laundry, (all within a few blocks of each other) created Ad Hoc as a temporary project in 2006. This “project” turned into a massive hit and a totally different dining experience than one would get at the French Laundry. It’s hearty, comfort food, served family style, but surely better than any family style restaurant you’ve ever frequented before. To set your expectations up front – There is one price fixed menu every day based on what ingredients are fresh and what the chef decides to serve up. We started off with a mixed greens salad dressed perfectly in a champagne vinaigrette. Our main course featured succulent pork medallions served over pan fried broccoli rabe. Next, for the “refresher” course, we enjoyed Landaff – a creamy, buttery, earthy cheese melted on a piece of toast topped with a roasted tomato “jam”. Lastly, for dessert, the chef made individual carrot cake trifles in little mason jars with a side of sweet coconut macaroons. Those macaroons were not just a little after meal sweet. They were probably one of the best macaroons I’ve ever tasted. Irresistible.. certainly a meal I will not soon forget.