Napa: September 2010 Archives

Family-Style Dinners at Farmstead

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Photo by Kristen Loken
By Deirdre Bourdet

While some say the recession has officially ended, the focus on back-to-basics, close to home recession specials continues, unabated.  Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena recently launched a series of moderately priced, family-style dinners aimed at starting some new monthly traditions for this fall.   Whether you're a fan of fish fries, intimate winemaker dinners, or whole hog roasts, Farmstead has a dinner for you.  And as always at Farmstead, the ingredients for these dinners are entirely local, sourced from nearby purveyors and from Long Meadow Ranch itself.  

Where to Lunch in the City of Napa

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By Deirdre Bourdet

For many, fall means back to school, back to work, and a brutal reality check to the hedonism and decadence of summertime.  In wine country, though, autumn ushers in harvest party season and every excuse you need to keep on keeping on with that summertime spirit--even if only for a day.  

The City of Napa's location at the southernmost portion of the valley makes it an ideal destination for busy folks on a shorter leash.  With about 20 tasting rooms and one working winery (Twenty Rows) within city limits, visitors no longer need to rely solely on Carneros wineries for their wine tasting needs.  And with a slew of excellent restaurants serving lunch on the weekends, Napa is fully equipped for an afternoon of deliciousness.

French Laundry Alum Does Takeout

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tunasalad.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The French Laundry stands for many things... culinary perfectionism, wine country elegance, technical rigor, epicurean prestige, pristine ingredients, and the elusiveness of dinner reservations.  This August, a former French Laundry chef launched a more accessible form of culinary talent in the Oxbow Public Market.  

Graham Zanow and his wife Andrea are both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.  Andrea hails from Napa originally, so after several years of private chef-ing and other cooking jobs in various places, they settled in Napa and started Graham's Catering, an elite full service catering company with a passion for local and sustainable products. Last year the company catered meals for the Top Chef crew of celebrity judges, contestants, and crew members during the season 6 finale in Napa Valley, and this year, they opened a take-out storefront at the Oxbow Public Market.

Best Bets For Brunch in Napa

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By Deirdre Bourdet

I'm a firm believer in the classic mom maxim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day--particularly if your day begins in Napa.  Lining the stomach against all-day wine tasting, and feeding the brain in order to remember what you've experienced are both essential for optimal enjoyment of this food and wine paradise. Here are some of the best places in Napa proper to begin your taste adventure.

Domo Arigato, Mister Morimoto

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morimoto1.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

To the collective delight of sushi lovers in wine country (and really, the entire state of California), Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto opened the doors of his first west coast restaurant in downtown Napa this July.  From what I can tell the place has been packed every night since it opened... including the random Wednesday evening I finally made it there to sample some of the Iron Chef's creations.

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