Don't Forget To Eat: Where To Line Your Stomach Without Breaking The Bank

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By Deirdre Bourdet

Most visitors to wine country have experienced at least once the painful desperation of not having enough food in their stomach to carry them through the day's wine tasting agenda.  For people who don't live locally, filling that ravening hole can be an exercise in frustration and financial dismay.  Many restaurants are expensive, and many smaller less expensive eating establishments have strange hours or slow service that don't jibe with a tasting party's urgent need to feed.

Here are a few locals' suggestions for places to fuel up in Napa Valley without breaking the bank:

1. Ranch Market Too (Yountville).  In a town of five star restaurants with prices to match, duck into this humble little store to pick up deli sandwiches to go, chips, veggies, and hydrating beverages.  One of the best ways to score a cheap, filling, fast, portable, and convenient meal in this town.  Bouchon Bakery is another way, though less cheap... but their baguette sandwiches are fantastic sponges for local wines.)

2. Sunshine Market (St. Helena).  Sunshine Market is like a local, independent Whole Foods with a ridiculously fun cheese counter, deli department, bread options, and great catering (if you're planning to return on a larger scale). Great produce options mean you may even squeeze in a few fruits and veggies on this trip, and make your mom proud.  Everything you could possibly want to eat is here.  Just ask.

mexican-food2.jpg3. Don Perico (Downtown Napa).  For years Don Perico has welcomed hungry locals and visitors alike with its friendly service, quick kitchen, and eminently reasonable prices. With the new-Napa tasting rooms down the street and their underfed clientele swarming desperately about at odd hours, the restaurant and its all day, every day hours has a new purpose.  Don Perico is the go-to spot for huge hangover brunches at 2:30pm on a Sunday, or early dinners on Saturday night before facing that long ride home.  The utterly unpretentious scene makes it perfect for tired wine road warriors, families, or anyone who's craving basic and fresh Mexican favorites.  Don't skip the addictive (and free) chips and salsa, or the fabulous marinated chicken fajitas.  

Ranch Market Too

6498 Washington Street, Yountville 707.944.2662

Sunshine Market,

1115 Main Street, St Helena 707.963.7070

Don Perico,
1025 First Street, Napa  (near Main Street) 707.252.4707

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