Recently in Chef & Restaurant Spotlights Category

FOOD & WINE PAIRING: Sauteed Diver Scallops & Viognier

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Submitted by: Lucy's Restaurant & Bar at Bardessono

Recipe: Sautéed Diver Scallops with Celery Root and Citrus
Chef: Executive Chef Victor Scargle, Lucy Restaurant & Bar

recipe_Scallops_LucysRestaurantBardessono.jpg
Wine Pairing: Storybook Mountain Vineyard, Viognier, Napa Valley, 2012
This is a very lively Viognier: it has all the classic aromatics/ suggestions of white flowers and stone fruits. This particularly wine possesses an impressive lively and crisp acidity.
The texture is rich enough to carry the creamy and fleshy scallops and the acidity here has a perfect affinity with the citrus component that chef Victor uses both in the garnish as well as in the sauce itself.

Tomatoes - Recipes and Wine Pairings

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Whether growing in your garden (lucky you!) or on the menu at your favorite restaurant, it's tomato season! Particularly tasty are heirloom tomatoes which are already in full bloom and in season. See some of our favorite recipes for using this lovely red fruit.

Kendall-Jackson celebrates the tomato season every year with their annual Heirloom Tomato Festival. This year the festival is on September 28, 2013 and will showcase more than 175 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, a chef competition, and of course, tomato-inspired dishes.

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French Blue Restaurant in St. Helena, CA Opens Today

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St. Helena, CA - French Blue, a beautiful and warm neighborhood restaurant located in the heart of Napa Valley from renowned architect Howard Backen, his wife interior designer Lori Backen and vintner Leslie Rudd (also owner of PRESS restaurant), opened its doors today.

Set in the old Vanderbilt building on the north end of downtown St. Helena, the restaurant's name comes from the blue doors, which graced its entrance for over 50 years. The space features a large open kitchen with a wood burning oven and grill, two fireplaces, a communal table in the center and outdoor seating. The menu, from Executive Chef Philip Wang, features rustic, wood-fired Napa cooking, seasonally inspired from the local gardens of Rudd Farms, located on Mt. Vedeer and at Edge Hill Vineyards - the best ingredients, simply prepared. The food is matched by a carefully edited selection of Northern California wines and handcrafted cocktails. View menus online!
 
French Blue currently serves dinner only, with opening hours from 5pm - 11pm, seven days a week. Beginning June 4th, the all-day restaurant will also offer lunch, with breakfast to follow on June 13th. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not accepted.

Sonoma's Kenwood Inn and Spa Adds a Celebrity Connection to the Kitchen

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Steven Snook, Executive Chef

wcPersonality_KenwoodSpa_snook1.jpgAfter six years in the Michelin Star-rated kitchens of the esteemed, charismatic and outspoken British chef Gordon Ramsay, Steven Snook has traded in the big city, pressure cooker life working in such critically acclaimed, high profile restaurants for the Executive Chef position at the much slower-paced, award-winning, guests-only Restaurant at the Kenwood Inn and Spa. Opened in 1989 as a luxury hideaway in Sonoma's Valley of the Moon, the Kenwood Inn and Spa offers 29 Mediterranean-styled guest rooms flanked by courtyards, three saline pools, and vineyard views. The Spa at Kenwood features cutting edge, results-oriented skincare treatments and body treatments utilizing vinotherapy -engaging the exceptional rejuvenating and protective powers of the grape. 

What Chef Snook brings with him from those priceless years under such a talented and exacting chef is expertly sharpened culinary chops, exceedingly high standards and a profound respect and connection to the bounty provided by local artisan food growers and producers.

During his tenure as Sous Chef at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, both in London, Chef Snook stood out to Chef Ramsay's team for his impeccable standards and discriminating palate, which allowed him some very interesting experiences not afforded to most chefs.

Heirloom Tomato Soup

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Submitted by: Chef Brandon Sharp of Solbar - Solage Calistoga

recipe_Solbar_HeirloomTomatoSoup.jpgChef's Note:
We've gone vegan with several of our seasonal soups--tomato, corn, carrot--and ended up with a tomato soup that tastes more like tomato than tomatoes do. (Make up the difference with a grilled cheese).

Ingredients:

  • 1 Yellow Onion, medium dice
  • 1/4C Blended Olive Oil
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil, tied with 4 sprigs Thyme and
  • 4 of Marjoram
  • 2 Clove Garlic, micro-planed
  • 5 Overripe Heirloom Tomatoes, cored and cut in large chunks
  • 1/2 T Salt
  • 1 t Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Method:
In a large sauce pot, sweat onions with herbs in oil over medium low heat until tender. Stir in garlic and quickly add tomatoes and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10 -15 minutes or until tomatoes are broken down. Drizzle in balsamic vinegar, remove herbs and blend soup, pouring in extra virgin olive oil.

Makes 6 portions.

See MORE RECIPES by Chef Brandon Sharp.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Napa Valley

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Restaurants That Will Be Open in 2012!
CLICK HERE to also see Napa Valley wineries open for tasting!

Spend more time with family this year. There's no need to slave all day in the kitchen cooking up everyone's Thanksgiving favorites. Leave the cooking and dishes to the chefs of Napa Valley! See what some restaurants have planned for the big Turkey Day!


Grill at Silverado Resort & Spa
Enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day Buffet in the resort's elegant Grand Ballroom, featuring an array of traditional holiday dishes such as Butternut Squash Soup; Marshall Farm Honey Brined Petaluma Turkey Breast; Herb Roasted Prime Rib; Lock Duarte Salmon; Roasted Sweet Potato Gratin; and Wild Mushroom Stuffing. MORE DETAILS

Meadwood Napa Valley

Sit down to an elegant feast prepared at Meadowood Napa Valley featuring two preparations of Free Range Turkey (Brined & Roaste Breast, Crisp Skin Leg Confit), Duo of Housemade Bread Stuffing (Chestnut and Sage, Italian Sausage), several other sides and a decadent dessert buffet that include favorites pumpkin pie, chocolate cream pie, apple crumble, and an assortment of other treats. First seating is at 12pm. MORE DETAILS.

Napa Valley Wine Train
Thanksgiving on the Napa Valley Wine Train is a traditional Thanksgiving feast in a non-traditional (yet extremely memorable) atmosphere. We'll have all of the customary Thanksgiving fixings, and of course, a perfectly cooked turkey. Many guests have made Thanksgiving on the wine train their family tradition, returning year after year. Lunch Train is already sold out! So make sure to call and make reservations for the Dinner Train.
MORE DETAILS

Siena Restaurant at the Meritage Resort
Keep calm and gobble on this Thanksgiving at The Meritage Resort. Leave the cooking to our award-winning restaurant and enjoy this time of thanks with your family and friends.
Savor a prefixed menu by our Executive Chef Michael Collins that includes turkey carving at your table, choice of an appetizer, a dessert bar, and much more. Turkey leftovers will even be wrapped to take home for a turkey sandwich the next day! MORE DETAILS



Feasting in Sonoma This Thanksgiving

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By Deirdre Bourdet

If you find yourself in Sonoma on November 25th this year, skip the stressful prep and aftermath of the Thanksgiving holiday, and focus on the feasting at one of these great local restaurants. From the rugged coast to the inland valleys, Sonoma has a wealth of delicious ways to give thanks.

Alexander's is perched right on the dramatic Sonoma Coast in the Timber Cove Inn, and enjoys panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean from the dining room. Their four course, $60 "Celebration of Cultural Heritage" menu begins with a wild mushroom soup paired with foraged local acorns. Next, a punchy salad of apple and watercress with guanciale, blood orange oil, walnuts, and marigolds freshens the palate before the bird of the hour arrives at the table. The turkey here comes in two parts--herb roasted breast and cocoa-confit leg--accompanied by an Okinawa sweet potato gratin, wild mushroom stuffing, brussel sprouts, and a house-made cranberry sauce. The meal ends on a sweet and shiny note with "laminated" pastry and a poached Suckle pear. Since the Timber Cove Inn is right there on site, dinner here is the perfect spot for an impromptu romantic getaway.

Where to Watch the World Series

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By Deirdre Bourdet

giantsBaseball.jpgNAPA VALLEY, CA - The Giants are in the World Series! Join fellow fan-atics at these wine country spots to cheer on San Francisco's own orange and black.


Calistoga Inn & Brewery. Beer and baseball are a classic pairing, and this downtown Calistoga bar/restaurant/inn also boasts an award-winning microbrewery, which sells 100% of its beers on the premises. Crispy calamari and buffalo wings rub shoulders with steamed mussels, oysters, shrimp cocktail and Dungeness crab cakes on the appetizer menu, and bring a taste of the bay to northern Napa Valley.

With a pint of local brew and bowl full of seafood, you will be more than set for game time. 1250 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga.

Auberge du Soleil, Terrace des Délices

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aubergeOutsideDining.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The terrace seating at Auberge du Soleil is an institution. Not simply for the people-watching possibilities, or for the ultra-romantic setting, or for the impeccable Relais & Chateaux service, or even for the perfectly executed and perfectly delicious cuisine from chef Robert Curry.  Dining on the Auberge terrace is special because it offers all of these in one spectacular place--and that's the reason it belongs on the bucket list of everyone who loves the wine country.

Another Yountville Star

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michelin_star02.jpgÉtoile's wunderkind chef, Perry Hoffman, has joined the Michelin ranks.

By LeeAnne Jones (Napa Sonoma Magazine)

In 2009, at the age of 25, Perry Hoffman of Domaine Chandon's Étoile Restaurant became the youngest U.S. chef to be awarded a Michelin star. Knowing his story, it's obvious why: Hoffman has restaurants in his blood.

His grandparents, Sally and Don Schmitt, were the original owners of the French Laundry, and Hoffman spent his formative years helping in the kitchen. "I grew up on French Laundry leftovers," he says. "We'd have family meals at a picnic table in the herb garden. It was a lot of fun." Continuing his family's legacy of cooking was an easy decision. Hoffman worked in the kitchens of the Boonville Hotel, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, and Auberge du Soleil before landing at Étoile in 2007, where he was quickly promoted from sous chef to chef de cuisine to executive chef.

Dining in Santa Ynez

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Salmon special at Trattoria Grappolo

Image by greenlagirl via Flickr

By Robert P. Farmer

Trattoria Grappolo
Typically bustling with locals, this lively hotspot was opened by an inspired chef transplanted from the Calabria region of Italy. The roast fish and chicken specialties suit nicely after a day of wine tasting in the area. The pizzas from the wood-fired oven are also a popular draw. The wine list features greatest hits from the surrounding valley vineyards as well as selections from the chef's home country. When dinner's done, slip next door to the Maverick Saloon for some true local flavor.

Open for lunch:
Tues-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm;
Open for dinner:  Mon-Sun 5-10pm
3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez
(805) 688-6899

Tavern of Burgery Delights

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burger1.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The much-anticipated Norman Rose Tavern opened with a bang at the end of December, with crowds out the door and throngs around the bar.  No one expected any less for a new restaurant from the folks behind the deservedly and wildly popular Pizzeria Azzurro just a few blocks away.

The Tavern is the first restaurant open for business in the new Napa Square Building, in a quickly upscaling section of First Street in downtown Napa. It bills itself as offering "elevated American classics" like big chopped salads, fried chicken sandwiches, all-beef hot dogs from Fatted Calf, mashed potatoes, french fries, and of course... cheeseburgers.

Mini Bistro, Mega Delicious

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mini mango kitchen shot.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Mini Mango Thai Bistro opened this month in the downtown space last occupied by Bleaux Magnolia, and judging by the packed house and fifteen minute wait last Friday night, Napa's Asian food fans have already heard about it.  The place is indeed mini, as the majority of the seating at that location is outside on the fabulous (seasonal) patio.  But in a commendable show of restraint, the new tenants have not festooned the tiny indoor space with diminutive mangoes as you might expect from the name.  The look, like the cuisine, is minimalist and contemporary, with nary a mango in sight.

VIDEO: The Classic Holiday Roast Recipe

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Learn to cook like the pros for the holidays! Chef Charlie Palmer (of Dry Creek Kitchen at Hotel Healdsburg) shows Harry Smith and Debbye Turner Bell how to cook a holiday rib roast and some unique side dishes with winter vegetables on the CBS Early Show.

 

Watch CBS News Videos Online

The Locals Know Where To Dine in Monterey

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Marie Galbo

Business brought me to Monterey; my stomach brought me to the Monterey Fish House.

I have only been to Monterey a couple of times so I stopped a few places and asked some locals for recommendations on where to eat with the remark "I don't need fluff & puff, just want good food".   Nearly every person mentioned Monterey Fish House.  I set out to find the location and turns out the fish house was right around the corner from where I was staying at Lone Oak Lodge.   

Wine Country Personality: Jon Mortimer

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jopnb.jpgEarth Meets Ocean:
Modern comfort food from the Sonoma Coast


Foreword
My life long journey with food began on the east coast. Charles Mortimer, my grandfather, was a true pioneer in the food manufacturing industry, but my food adventure has always followed a different map. At a young age I learned to love a great meal and the process by which it was attained. While enjoying the dining aspect, service and trying new flavors my thoughts would always wander to where the ingredients came from. What we were enjoying at the table never had as much an impact as picking and shelling peas with my grandmother earlier that afternoon.

    In the subsequent decades to those early food memories I found myself perpetually moving west. Across the fertile plains of the Rocky Mountains I learned of the fruitful bounties of the rich, irrigated soils. I found great respect for the majestic animals that roamed the monochromatic hills and boned many trout from the cool, clear streams. All wonderful, yet still there existed an incognizant limit to my culinary dreams and I always longed for a place where you didn't have to perpetually out-think the food as a cook. 

    In what amounted to an almost unexplainable fervor in a breathless week's time as if irresistibly pulled by a cosmic magnet my family headed west to lands end in the greatest food continent on the blue planet. It was the blue I'd been missing, teaming with life and crying out to be married with the fruits of the farmer's labors. The sense of place with which the wine epitomizes the food on the Sonoma Coast is a combination rarely experienced with such seamlessness. It is all so clear sitting on the coast at Timber Cove with the fertile, mineral rich soils behind me and ocean stirring before me...it's time to capture Earth and ocean in a pan and use all the respect of a lifetime with food and capture it on a plate.

Killer Bread

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recipe_KillerBreadSilos.jpgThis food item is the absolute best; cheesy, tasty, and makes your mouth water. The tomatoes are awesome with the sour dough bread and the cheese. Everyone orders and loves this item at Silo's Wine Bar and Jazz Club.

Recipe: Killer Bread

Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio (favorite is by Luna Vineyards)

Chef Name: Linda Whitted

Ingredients:
butter, mayo, Parmesan cheese, garlic, mozzarella cheese, sour dough bread

Directions:
I cant tell you anything more or give details . . . its a SECRET!

Readers: Looks pretty good from the picture and easy to make.  Probably perfect as a snack or along with dinner. Would love to get some readers thoughts on how to make this since we aren't given any directions...

Silo's Wine Bar and Jazz Club
"Pairing Great Wines with Great Music"
530 Main Street
Napa, CA 94558
(707) 251.5833
www.silosjazzclub.com

Coup de Coeur à Bordeaux

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La Tupina cepes and Fronsac.jpgby Deirdre Bourdet

What, who, or where is a must-see on a trip to Bordeaux? According to a former colleague of mine, a cozy little restaurant called La Tupina. A quick perusal of their website revealed that this 30 year old + establishment prides itself on simple, classic bordelais specialties, prepared with the finest local ingredients and a hefty dose of nostalgic passion. When I read that French president Nicolas Sarkozy had also lunched there on his recent visit to the city, I figured there really was something to this place, and cut out early from Vinexpo's lunacy to see for myself.

Incredibly, on a day when 50,000 wine industry members had overtaken the city, I walked in without a reservation at the height of the lunch hour and scored a prime table on their terrace. Even more incredibly, I also scored a very amiable and helpful waiter... yes, they do exist in France.

Indulgence Within Reach

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bounty_hunter_winebar.jpegby Deirdre Bourdet

Far more could be said about the positive aspects of the recession than would fit on this blog, so I'll limit this discussion to some of the incredible discounts available these days on Napan indulgences.

One of my personal favorites is the all-day Monday happy hour at Bounty Hunter, where the entire stable of "house" brands is two-for-one by the glass... including the Waypoint Vineyards Beckstoffer/To Kalon wines, normally $20 a pop.  If you can make it in between 3 and 6 p.m.  on the other weekdays, the same deal applies.  Consider adding a "mini" barbecue sampler plate heaped with pulled pork, brisket, ribs, and coleslaw to your tab, and you've basically got dinner and two glasses of killer wine for $35.

Deirdre's Top 5 Oxbow Market Snacks

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cupcake.jpgby Deirdre Bourdet

For those of you who love food emporiums as much as I do, here is my list of the top five things to hit on an eating romp through Napa's Oxbow Public Market.  Warning: may be habit forming.

Dungeness Crab

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chandonRecipe.jpgSubmitted by: Perry Hoffman, Chef de Cuisine
                          étoile at Domaine Chandon

Dungeness Crab has everything a chef loves - sweet, salty, rich, but also light - all at the same time. An incredibly versatile ingredient, crab has the enviable ability to work well with many other components. Chef Hoffman prefers to pair this dish with étoile Brut.

Pigs & Pinot: The Perfect Pairing

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***Find 2010 info HERE. Event is March 19-20, 2010!***

HEALDSBURG, CA - Don't miss this year's Fourth Annual Celebration of Pigs & Pinot 2009 event, March 20-21, 2009 at Hotel Healdsburg. The weekend will include a series of intimate dining and educational events hosted by renowned Chef Palmer.

Tickets can be purchased directly online and there are several lodging packages available at Hotel Healdsburg which include access to all Pigs & Pinot events, including exclusive access to the Gala Dinner. But space is limited; so make sure you make advance reservations now!

PRESS Restaurant - Spring Specials

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pressRestaurantSteak.jpgST. HELENA, CA - Dine at PRESS Restaurant this Spring and enjoy their featured specials and limited time offers.

*MONDAY NIGHT DINNERS

Four course dinner served family style
See website on Sundays for menu
$55 per person

*Visit online to view weekly Monday Night Dinner Menu*

WINE LIST WEDNESDAYS
Free corkage and 50% off entire Napa Valley featured wine list until May 1, 2009

SUNDAY-THURSDAY BLUE PLATE BAR SPECIAL
Only at the PRESS bar
$10 Blue Plate Special that changes daily Call daily for chef's special selections

PRESS Restaurant
587 St. Helena Highway South
Call 707-967-0550 for reservations
www.presssthelena.com

Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery - Chocolate Bouchon Mix!

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bouchon.jpgIf you've ever been to Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery in Napa Valley Wine Country, then most likely you have tried their signature chocolate treat called "Bouchon".  It is chocolaty, brownie, cake-like goodness that no person should be without! If you have yet to go, definitely make this as a must visit, see, and taste for yourself stop next time you are in town*.  But what will you do until then???

Apparently, Bouchon Bakery has partnered  exclusively with Williams-Sonoma who are now selling the Chocolate Bouchon Mix directly to consumers.  "The mix combines Guittard cocoa powder, Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla and a generous helping of Callebaut chocolate chips".

It's only $18.00 and yields 18 bouchons.  Of course, you also have to buy the "bouchon mold pan".  Sigh...just looking at the picture is making me salivate all over again. I may have to order my mix tonight or since I live local, maybe just pop over to the bakery itself.

If there are any readers out there that have already tried the mix and have tasted the original, let us know if it tastes the same!

*Note: Bouchon Bakery is also located in New York and Las Vegas.

And the Ivy Goes to Dry Creek Kitchen

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drycreekKitchen.jpg

In the culinary world, the term "award-winning" is tossed around like so many mushrooms sautéed in a skillet. But sometimes the term actually means something, and some restaurants and chefs just seem to rack up the awards faster than others. Especially in Wine Country, where the competition is fierce, the awards and accolades a particular place earns can mean the difference between good and great.

Sondra Bernstein

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Sondra Bernstein:

Signature Restaurant, Gourmet Picnics, Private Cottages and Catering- The Exclusive Experience on WineCountry.com combines it all.

Just like a plump ripe fig, the girl & the fig food is fresh, healthy, and bursting with flavor. With a seasonal menu featuring garden vegetables, herbs, and an abundance of creativity, the rustic Provençal-inspired cuisine allows earth's true and natural flavors to shine.

Janine Falvo :The Fresh Face of Wine Country Cuisine

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Janine Falvo's passion for food stems from a family deeply rooted in culinary tradition. Today she enjoys being the Chef de Cuisine of Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar for The Lodge at Sonoma. Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her childhood years were filled with memories of berry picking, seasonal harvest canning and celebratory holiday feasts. After years of showcasing her culinary prowess to her family and friends at such gatherings, she decided to hone her skills and make a career out of her life long passion.


The Stars of Wine Country

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The Stars of Wine Country: Chef Douglas Keane and Maître d'Hôtel and Owner Nick Peyton, Cyrus restaurant:

 

For about 5 years now, Cyrus restaurant has been the talk of foodies and wine lovers as the most refreshing and truly flawless dining experience in wine country. In 2002, Nick Peyton and Chef Douglas Keane came together to begin collaboration on a fine cuisine restaurant project for Sonoma County, soon to become the 4-star dining destination called Cyrus.

 

Peter Pahk

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Peter Pahk:

Inspiration through Sustainable Cuisine 

According to Peter Pahk, Silverado Resort's Executive Chef, about 95% of the inspiration for his menus comes from the fresh products he procures for the resort's food service operations. Chef Pahk is committed to local, artisanal, and sustainable cuisine. Every item on his new menu for The Grill at Silverado as well as the Royal Oak Restaurant, the property's established fine dining restaurant, has a story behind it. 

Chef Eric C. Maczko

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Chef Eric C. Maczko:

Pine Ridge Winery Chef
 

From "Appellations and Appetizers" to "Creative Culinary Combinations", Pine Ridge Winery, located in the historic Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, boasts an active culinary program to compliment their award-winning wines. Led by Chef Eric Maczko, the winery's food-focused events include a variety of cooking demonstrations, cave dinners and extensive wine tastings.

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