Yountville's Moveable Feast

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hemmingway.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Adding to the list of delicious off-season promotions, Yountville continues to buzz with the excitement of the first annual Moveable Feast--a self-styled "Seasonal Gastronomic Gallop" through the town's luxurious lodging, spas, and eateries.  Eleven hotels and ten restaurants have put together value-focused packages and prix fixes to lure visitors into the charming little foodie mecca.

Most participating restaurants offer either a massively discounted prix fixe menu (about $24-25 per person for lunch, $28-55 for dinner) or a special price on some of their greatest hits.  Bouchon Bakery hands away free chocolate bouchons with the purchase of any coffee, while Bouchon Bistro next door promotes its late-night scene after 10:00p.m.with a $20 two-course supper of oysters or French onion soup, and croque madame sandwich.  Bistro Jeanty offers one dollar oysters and foie blond paté during happy hour Monday through Thursday (3:30-6:30pm).
movablefeast2.jpegI was delighted to find that unlike many other specially discounted promotions, the Moveable Feast does not "dumb down" the products on offer.  At Bottega, for example, the $24 three-course weekday lunch offers you several options for each course that are taken straight off the actual current menu items.  Chef Chiarello's perfect sauteed sole with rosemary brown butter, grapes, and luscious fingerling potato puree would cost at least $24 on its own at any other time, so consider the decadent burrata in brown butter sauce with butternut squash, caramelized mushrooms and balsamic pearls, and your molten chocolate cake with hazelnut crème anglaise to be just happy freebies from the kitchen.  The prix fixe also let you order the famous polenta under glass with wild mushrooms and balsamic game sauce, the unlikely but oh-so-addictive brussel sprout salad with almonds, egg mimosa, citrus, and pecorino, and the tortelli di zucca with amaretto gremolata and sage.

Portions have been scaled back slightly, which I actually consider a welcome change--you will feel compelled to clean your plate no matter what the size--but they are otherwise unchanged, and just as delicious as usual.  

The Moveable Feast continues through the end of February, calling out to you to book those romantic getaways and sexy meals à deux.  Check the details of all the participating businesses, and print yourself a Moveable Feast Passport at: http://www.yountville.com/winter2009.php .

Bottega, http://www.botteganapavalley.com/
6525 Washington Street, Yountville 707.945.1050.

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