Deirdre Bourdet: January 2011 Archives

Rotisserie & Wine: So Much More Than the Name

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r_and_w.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Historically, the City of Napa--not to be confused with the Napa Valley in which it's located--has not been known for its wine tasting options, tourist attractions, or epicurean sophistication.  In the last three years, however, the city has welcomed the Oxbow Public Market, a remarkable community of over 20 tasting rooms, and a critical mass of excellent restaurants all within an eminently walkable downtown district.  The arrival last year of nationally renowned chefs like Tyler Florence and Masaharu Morimoto marked the end of Napa's status as the culinary ugly step-child of the Napa Valley, and a huge leap forward for all the other entrepreneurs fighting to put Napa on the food and wine map.

The Year of the Rabbit Joins The Food Truck Frenzy

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foodtruck.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

February 3, 2011 marks the first day of the Chinese zodiac's Year of the Rabbit.  People born in years of the Rabbit (1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011) are supposed to enjoy the good things of life, and have excellent taste.  In honor of this particularly noble year, Napa's Food Truck Friday will be featuring New Year's specials themed around the animal of the year.

Food Truck Fridays started in Napa last October as the semi-guerilla "Circle the Wagons" event, which gathered the first gourmet food trucks of Napa Valley all in one place, for one night only.  Phat Salads & Wraps, Crossroad Chicken, and Mark's the Spot all convened at Dim Sum Charlie's shiny silver Airstream trailer to support the fledgling food truck movement in wine country.  The night was such a success, they wound up making it a monthly occurrence on the first Friday of each month. 

Chocolate + Wine = Excellent February Weekend

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wine_chocolate_034.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away, but the folks at Rodney Strong Vineyards are starting the lovefest early.  The 22nd annual Wine & Chocolate Event is scheduled for Saturday February 5, 2011, from 1:00 to 4:00pm.  This event's raison d'etre has always been to savor the delicious union of two much-beloved aphrodisiacs, and in furtherance of this lofty goal the winery's Healdsburg barrel room will be bursting with delectable variations on the chocolate + wine theme.

Five Great Burgers in Napa Valley

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burger1.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Who doesn't love a great burger?  (Other than vegetarians, of course.)  People have their own particular preferences about type of bun, cooking temperature, and toppings, but there is a burger out there for every individual palate.  Check out these gems from the Napa Valley, and see which style will become your favorite.
By Deirdre Bourdet

Wine country's dramatic beauty and sensual delights make it an ideal destination for romance at any time of year, but I tend to think winter is one of its finest seasons.  Chilly temperatures seem to amplify our enjoyment of food and wine, and also encourage the wintry inclination to cuddle up closer with our person of choice (plus, there's also that holiday in the middle of February that tends to prompt some romantic gestures).  Here are some suggestions for dining à deux in wine country when the barometer runs low, but passions run high.

Cozy Up By the Fire. Everyone knows one of the best ways to fan the flames between you is to cozy up by a fireplace.Start the evening off right (or just make a night of it) in the lounge at Cuvée in Napa, which offers great happy hour discounts on drinks and globally inspired appetizers during the week.The fireside tables at Brix tucked away in a discreet corner of the restaurant behind the bar, also make a great place for shameless flirting over dinner.   In Sonoma County, the low lighting, plush textures, and dramatic stone fireplace of John Ash's front lounge provide the perfect ambience to make your move.

Napa Valley Restaurant Month Deals and Steals

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boonFlyCafe_donuts.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Now is the time to dine in Napa Valley. The region's first ever Restaurant Month kicked off this January to complement Yountville's second annual Moveable Feast, offering sweet specials all over the valley. With over 30 participating restaurants--nearly all of which have different fine print on their deals--assessing the options can seem overwhelming. To save you time and headaches, I offer you my top picks for the most incredible, can't miss values on offer during this month only.