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4th of July at Spoonbar Restaurant in Healdsburg, CA

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Spoonbar Restaurant ~ 219 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448 ~ 
707.433.7222 ~ spoonbar.com

Stop by Spoonbar in Healdsburg this 4th of July to celebrate life, liberty and the American picnic! Enjoy the day with family, friends and community while grooving to the sounds of the Easy Leaves Duo. Chef Louis Maldonado, recent 2014 Top Chef Finalist and Last Chance Kitchen Winner, is bringing you a family-style menu fit for the 4th festivities. We've got cocktails to match, too!  (Space is limited, so make sure to reserve your spot - call us or see more details online; $47pp)

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The menu offering will be served family-style. Guests will start off with a generous First course consisting of Scallion biscuits + honey, Iceberg chop salad, with avocado, goddess dressing, hen egg, bacon, tomatoes, pickled onions + cucumber, as well as a side of Charred corn with aioli, lime, chili + popcorn.

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Bar Manager, Tara Heffernon, has put together a cocktail offering that is reminiscent of days with grass stained jeans and campfires. The House Fireball will warm your belly with Weller 7 Year Bourbon, cinnamon syrup + red jalapeño shrub (learn how to make your own jalapeno shrub here) Looking for something more mellow? Try The Field of Dreams - we built it so you'd come - with New Amsterdam Vodka, midori, honeydew melon, lime + genepy. If you'd really like to take a trip, go for The PB and J. For those of you who preferred Mom to cut the crust, we're sure this will take the edge off. This adult version consists of Mixed Nut Infused Brandy, frangelico, raspberry liqueur + bitters

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We'll be opening up ALL of our doors so you can enjoy the summer breeze while you listen to the sounds of The Easy Leaves Duo. They'll be supplying country folk tunes to set the tone. Their Americana sound will be vibrating from guitar and upright bass--trap kit and pedal steel, "the whipped cream  and cherry". Feel free to get up and get down! 


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The Second Course will be classic picnic fare with Beef sliders, white bread rolls + flavor marmalade. And what is a picnic without some ribs and chicken? Chef Louis will be sending out Smoked Pork Riblets with BBQ sauce and Fried Chicken Legs, with Aleppo chili. Luckily, you won't have to worry about bringing potato salad, because we're serving it up Spoonbar style with grain mustard, shallots + herbs. To round out the mid-course, there will be Shelling beans cooked in smoked tomato + onion with corn meal crumbs.

Cool things down for the Third Course with fresh chilled berries, assorted popsicles + stone fruit cobbler! Then sit back, relax and we'll take care of the clean-up. Raise a glass in honor of life, liberty and the pursuit of savory fare + specialty cocktail! 

July 4, 2014. 5-10pm. $47pp Space is limited, so make sure to reserve your spot! For more info on Spoonbar, visit our site http://spoonbar.com, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter + Instagram!

Good BBQ Eats in Napa Valley

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Some days you just don't want to slave over the barbecue pit or grill for hours perfecting those, succulent, smoky, fall off the bone, perfectly marinated and spiced barbecue ribs. And let's not forget the almighty sauce that makes you want to lick your fingers and the plate! Mmmmm mmmm good! 

So, now that your mouth is watering for some ribs, where are you going to get them in Napa Valley? See a few of the restaurants we've identified as having good barbecue in Napa. (in no particular order)

bountyHunterWineBar_barbecueRibs.jpgBounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ, 975 First Street Napa, CA 94559

While they are known for their famous beer can chicken, but it's the ribs and briskets that keep locals and visitors alike visiting this downtown Napa restaurant on a regular basis. (Okay, and the chicken too....) Order a slab of ribs, or share the Smokin' BBQ Platter with friends. Doing double duty as a wine bar, each menu selection also suggests the perfect pairing. We recommend you indulge in both!

Mustard's Grill, 7399 St Helena Hwy, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 944-2424
If you're looking for some down home comfort food with a twist of Napa sophistication, look no further than chef Cindy Pawlcyn's restaurant "Mustard's Grill" also affectionately known as a "fancy rib joint with way too many wines". Order the Niman Ranch Barbecued Baby Back Ribs - perfectly cooked and tender rack of ribs with a sweet tangy barbecue sauce (ask for extra!) Not to go unnoticed are the sides - apple-golden raisin slaw and cheddar-jalapeno corn stix. Priced at $26.50, indulge to heart's content or take some home!

Tip: Don't forget about Fido. Ask to take the bones home and they'll doggie bag for you! Also, we hear the Mongolian Pork Chop is amazing!!!

Q Restaurant & Bar, 3900 D Bel Aire Plaza. Napa California 94558. 707 224 6600
Whether it's the ribs, pulled pork sandwich or brisket, take your pick and you'll be thanking us we pointed you in the right direction. It's located in a strip mall of sorts, but don't let the front facade fool you. Between the barbecue (if you're in the mood, fried chicken too) and a host of delicious sides (try the mac n cheese and collard greens) you'll wonder why you didn't know about this place before! View menu here.

smoakhouseGrill.jpgSmoakhouse Grill & BBQ,  
1755 Industrial Way, Suite 28 Napa, California 94559

This small outfit located off the main drag in Napa's Industrial Park specializes in classic Southern BBQ. We've got a special place in our heart, as do many others, for their St. Louis ribs and the out of this world "bacon chop" - a huge pork chop with the pork belly still attached.  Only open Wednesday - Saturday (11:30am - 8pm), it's best to get your orders in early before popular items sell out for the day. While they recently started a lunch menu, it is extremely limited, best bets would be their take-out, groups and catering menus. Recent article on them here.

Tip: Sign up up to be on their email list too, they send a newsletter announcing weekly specials!


Zagat Rated - 12 Essential Napa Restaurants

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In case you're in a quandary as to what restaurant to eat at in Napa Valley, Zagat has compiled a list of what they feel are the "essential" 12 Napa restaurants that are "unique, only-in-Napa setting, and have an outstanding food and a compelling drink program".  And, not surprisingly, 3 out of the 12 restaurants are located in the wine and food epicurean culinary capital of Napa Valley - Yountville, CA. Read full article here.

See what the WineCountry Staff picked out as their favorites on the list:

2. The Restaurant at Meadowood

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3. Bistro Jeanty
, 6510 Washington Street, Yountville CA 94599

bistroJeanty_coqauvin.jpg6. La Toque, 1314 McKinstry Street, Napa CA 94559

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New Napa Valley Restaurant: Empire Napa Grand Opening - May 18th

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empireNapa_Logo.jpgDowntown Napa continues to add sizzle to it's list of hot restaurants and wine lounges. Joining the ranks of Morimoto Napa, Carpe Diem Wine Bar, 1313 Main, Oenotri, and the Thomas and Fagiani's Bar is Empire Napa having it's grand opening this Saturday, May 18th.

Empire hopes to showcase the trademark Napa charm with a cosmopolitan sophistication as a new contemporary small plates restaurant and lounge. The menu will focus on high quality, fresh  ingredients with a host of influences including Asian, Mediterranean, Italian, French, and nostalgic Americana. Plates range from $5-$20 where an individual can easily enjoy a bite and something to drink in as little as 20 minutes or savor as many as 12 courses over three hours with cocktails and wines.

empireNapa_cocktail.jpgA sneak peek at some of the dishes on the menu:

  • Lemongrass Chicken Wraps, Peanut Sambal and Cilantro
  • Mushrooms, Crispy Sage Polenta, Spinach and Preserved Lemon
  • Lamb Belly, Moroccan BBQ Sauce and Pickled Cabbage
  • Mango Kulfi Popsicle with Peanut Caramel
Signature Cocktails ($12-$16):

  • French 75: Linie Aquavit, Lemon, Chardonnay
  • Daiquiri: Lemon Hart 151, Demerara Sugar, Lime Juice, Orange Bitters
  • Ukiah Sour: Mi Casa Blanco Tequila, Lavender Syrup, Lime, Bergamont Bitters

Perhaps even more exciting to those looking for more nightlife options in Napa is that Empire Napa will will be open Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 5pm-12am, and Friday/Saturday, 5pm-2am which will showcase some of the best DJs in the Bay Area.

Empire Napa, 1400 First Street, Napa, CA; (707) 687.1234

Thanksgiving Dinner in Sonoma

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2012 Update!

turkeyDinner.jpgRestaurants That Will Be Open

It's not too late to have a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner with family and friends where you can leave the dishes and clean up to someone else. See below for which restaurants in Sonoma this year will be open to serve you a grand Thanksgiving feast.

CLICK HERE for a list of all the Sonoma wineries that will be open Thanksgiving Day as well.

Depot Hotel
Bring your family and friends and join Chefs Antonio and Michael Ghilarducci for Thanksgiving Dinner. Open for dinner 12 noon through 7pm with seatings every half hour. Call for reservations if you have a party of 6 or more. MORE DETAILS

Inn at the Tides - Bay View Restaurant
Join The Bay View Restaurant for a festive Thanksgiving Day feast.  Entree choices include traditional Roasted Turkey (children under 12, half price), Lobster Fettuccine, Poached Salmon, Pork Tenderloin, Rack of Lamb and Filet Mignon.  Full menu available on our website. Reservations strongly suggested. MORE DETAILS


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.

PRESS - Largest Restaurant Collection of Napa Valley Wines Debuts

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pressRestaurant_NewWineCellar.jpgSt. Helena, CA - PRESS Restaurant, one of Napa Valley's most acclaimed fine dining experiences, celebrates the debut of its newly constructed wine cellar with over 25 of the valley's pioneering vintners and the best of their older vintages. The cellar, designed by renowned architect Howard Backen, can house up to 10,000 bottles and is stocked with a groundbreaking collection of rare and older wines exclusively from Napa Valley. PRESS sommeliers Kelli White and Scott Brenner have been scouring the valley to find the best wines from as far back as the early 1960s, and are proud to announce that the restaurant now has the largest all-Napa collection of wines in the country.
 
Joining PRESS and Rudd winery owner Leslie Rudd for the private opening event, which celebrates the new space and collection, are several of Napa's most legendary vintners. These vintners include Peter Mondavi Sr., Robin Lail, Bill Phelps, Paul Draper, Warren Winiarski, Boots Brounstein, Kathleen Heitz, Carl Doumani, David Ramey, and John Kongsgaard among others.
 
In addition to showcasing the new cellar, PRESS will also debut an interactive wine list hosted on iPads. Uncorked Apps has developed custom second generation iPad software to allow PRESS customers to engage more easily with the extensive wine list, and for improved inventory management. The restaurant will soon offer an iPad for every table - 30 in total - with the ability to sort the wine list by price, varietal, and winery.

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