Saturday, December 8, 2012

Where to eat in Napa Valley

Recently, we visited the beautiful Napa Valley. It is not only a great wine producing region, but also heaven for food lovers. These are the restaurants we tried, but trust me, all of the places there are great!

1. Auberge du Soleil (Rutherford) : What to order --- The terrace has the best view of Napa Valley. Seriously. We went there on a Friday for a lunch. The portions are very small and the prices are very high, but it is nice to sit there and enjoy the nature with a glass of wine.

I ordered the Sweet Potato Ravioli with Bellwether Farms Ricotta, Spinach, Brown Butter Vinaigrette, and Fried Sage. It was very tiny for my big appetite, but it was outstanding! I had a glass of Auberge du Soleil "Reserve" Chardonnay 2011 (local!). Crisp and refreshing.

My husband got the Mushroom Mille Feuille, Slow Cooked Farm Egg, Snap Peas, and Watercress Puree. He said that it was extremely small portion, but we had many slice of bread, so we didn't leave with empty stomach.

The dessert was delicious: Mascarpone New York Cheesecake with Santa Cruz Mountains Huckleberries, Lemon Chiffon, and Douglas Fir Cream. Amazing!
Auberge Du Soleil Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Mushroom Mille Feuille, Farm Egg, Snap Peas, Watercress Puree

Sweet Potato Ravioli, Bellwether Farms Ricotta, Spinach

Mascarpone Cheesecake, Santa Cruz Mountains Huckleberries, Lemon Chiffon

2. Bottega by Michael Chiarello (Yountville) : What to order --- This is the best restaurant in Napa. The food is served just like in Italy, the prices are affordable, and the service is outstanding. Great open kitchen concept, busy bar, and outdoor seating.

We started with Burrata Autunnale (Kambocha squash, caramelized mushrooms and shallots, and brown butter vinaigrette). The pesto complemented very nicely the sweetness of the winter squash. The burrata was so creamy and fresh, mouthwatering!

My husband got the Goat Milk Braised Pork Orecchiette, served with chanterelles, cavalo nero pesto, pine nut gremolata, crispy savoy spinach, and pecorino. It was a pretty big serving, so if you want, you can share it with your partner.

I got the Forno Roasted Whole Branzino: Calabrian grilled eggplant, fermented garlic sauce, and honey. It was so tasty and different. The sweet and aromatic honey balanced perfectly the strong garlic flavor. Very well served (great for sharing as well).

The best part was the dessert: Crostata d'Inverno (persimmon and quince tart with hazelnut frangipane, candied hazelnuts and nutmeg gelato). No words can describe it. Sweet, rich, seasonal, and festive!!! You must try Bottega!!!

Bottega on Urbanspoon

Burrata Autunnale (Kabocha squash, caramelized mushrooms and shallots, pesto)

Forno Roasted Whole Branzino (Calabrian grilled eggplant, fermented garlic)

Goat Milk Braised Pork Orecchiette (chanterelles, cavalo nero pesto)

Crostata d'Inverno (persimmon and quince tart with candied hazelnuts)

3. REDD by Richard Reddington (Yountville) : What to order --- We went there for a lunch and I was very disappointed. I ordered a local glass of wine and they poured me a miserable 3-ounce tasting. I think their wines are very expensive. Located in Napa Valley and not being able to offer moderate priced wine is a shame. The food was good, but the feeling is bad. THEY NEED TO CHANGE THE WINE LIST.

I ordered the Caramelized diver scallops with cauliflower puree, almonds, raisins, and balsamic reduction. The taste was delicious, but the portion very small. It is only 2 scallops and a small amount of puree. I had to eat two slices of bread!

My husband got the Crispy Calamari with cayenne salt, tamarind sauce, and a beer. It was better serving, but more like a bar food. For dessert we ordered the Chocolate pecan tart with vanilla bean ice cream. It was made with bourbon and tasted too alcoholic. Overall, I prefer going to Bottega or Bouchon for a better value and better attention!

Redd on Urbanspoon

Crispy calamari, cayenne salt, tamarind sauce

Caramelized diver scallops, cauliflower puree, almonds

Chocolate pecan tart, vanilla bean ice cream

4. Bouchon by Thomas Keller (Yountville) : What to order --- Start with a 3-cheese course. We tried Mimolette (cow's milk) - hard, tangy, and rich; Cavatina (goat's milk) - creamy, with a crust, like blue cheese; Tourmalet (sheep's milk) - delicious! They were served with bread, honeycomb, walnut and cranberries bread.
My husband got the Boudin Blanc: a white sausage, served with potato puree and French prunes. Very satisfying and bistro-like. I got the Truite aux Topinambours: pan-roasted Idaho trout, roasted sunchokes, marinated beech mushrooms, and beurre noisette (brown butter). It was served medium-rare, so the head was almost raw. But the falvors were delicious.

Our dessert was very seasonal: Bouchons! Three brownies, served with pumpkin ice-cream, caramel sauce, vanilla whipped cream, and cinnamon straw. It was so tasty, moist and tender!

Bouchon on Urbanspoon

Bouchon style butter & pistachios

Mimolette, Cavatina, and Tourmalet cheeses

Truite aux Topinambours (Idaho trout, roasted sunchokes, beech mushrooms)

Boudin Blanc with Potato Puree and French Prunes

Bouchons (3 brownies, pumpkin ice-cream, caramel sauce, vanilla cream)

5. REDD WOOD by Richard Reddington (Yountville) : What to order --- This is THE place for a pizza in Napa Valley. We started with a chpped salad (romaine, radicchio, salami, ceci beans, black olives, caciocavallo, and red wine vinaigrette). It was a very good portion, but a little bit too salty. The salami was house-cured and it also had some pepperoncini peppers.

We shared a four cheese pizza: oregano, shaved garlic, arugula, provolone, fontina, gorgonzola, and mozzarella. The CRUST was THE BEST. Chewy outside, thin, savory, and perfectly cooked in the wood burning oven.

The dessert was also outstanding: Chocolate Caramel Tart, praline, whipped cream, and sea salt. They gave us two thin slices. Very nice touch. The food and the service were amazing!

Redd Wood on Urbanspoon

Chopped Salad with radicchio, salami, ceci beans, and caciocavallo

Four Cheese Pizza with oregano, shaved garlic, and arugula

Chocolate Caramel Tart, praline, whipped cream, sea salt

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