Chinatown
The Road to Napa

Farm to Table

I think the thing I'll miss most about San Francisco and Napa is the food. More specifically, the beautiful, fresh produce they have there, which makes its way onto amazing seasonal menus. Here's a sampling of the restaurants we visited on our trip:

409nopa, San Francisco - nopa stands for "north of the Panhandle." It serves "urban rustic" food made from seasonal ingredients sourced from local purveyors. I had a roasted squash salad, with balsamic, walnuts, pomegranite, croutons and ricotta (pictured) followed by roasted autumn vegetables with sage. And a glass of wine, of course!

 

513Market, St. Helena - A hip, Main Street bistro which also relies heavily on local, organic farms. I had an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad with burrata cheese, spicy toasted almonds and tempura figs, followed by salmon over chanterelle mushroom risotto with pea shoots.  And of course...wine! We brought a bottle that we'd purchased at a vineyard earlier, a common practice in these parts (and this spot doesn't charge a corkage fee). We shared the yummy butterscotch cup pictured here.

587The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena - One of only two restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area to receive 3 Michelen Stars (the other being The French Laundry), this one is fine dining at its best. Nestled on the grounds of the exclusive Meadowood Inn & Resort, it has a contemporary - and stuffy - dining room, but the menu boasts the same local ingredients - this time elevated to works of art. We spent an insane amount on a multi-course meal and it was quite an experience. Completely inappropriate to snap photos in this particular dining room, but I captured our dessert amuse bouche at the end (that would be a variety of sweets on top of real grass!).

Interestingly enough, we had placed our names on the wait list for The French Laundry and got a call mid-week that they had an opening for us due to a cancellation. But we had already made a reservation at The Restaurant (which comes with a $75 per person cancellation fee) and were were, quite frankly, stuffed to the gills! While we regretted the missed opportunity, our stomachs and our wallets were better off for it :)

California October 2011 455

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, St. Helena - We stumbled upon this neighborhood spot after a morning of manicures and shopping in St. Helena and enjoyed a great lunch on their patio. Mine was a sweet corn & mushroom risotto and a side of honey-glazed cornbread. Carbs, carbs, carbs!

 

 

 

California October 2011 249Angele Restaurant + Bar, Napa - We canceled our reservation at All Season's Bistro to stay closer to home one night (same day as the aforementioned carb overload; that plus wine tastings meant we couldn't handle another big meal!). Instead, we walked around the corner to this French restaurant and enjoyed some lighter fare at the bar. I had a cup of French Onion Soup paired with an heirloom tomato salad with Burrata cheese, and a yummy ginger cocktail. No wine tonight!

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Farm, Napa - This lovely spot is at the Carneros Inn has an amazing outdoor living room, complete with couches and fireplace. But it was chilly the night we were there, and we sat indoors in their dining room, where I enjoyed Fauro Ranch marinated beets with lemon cucumber, Poulet egg, purslane, buttermilk and almonds, followed by Liberty Farms duck breast with Dwelley Farm cranberry beans, rocket, pistachios, and nectarine agrodolce. And if that wasn't enough - dessert: caramel fennel pollen with olive oil financier, honeycomb candy, and crème fraîche sherbet.

And a couple we didn't visit but I would if I ever go back:

  • All Season's Bistro, Calistoga - another farm-to-table gem. We just couldn't handle another big meal that night!
  • Farmstead, St. Helena - We drove by this charming roadside restaurant several times and it caught out eye; we also saw their fresh produce stand at a farmer's market we visited one morning. We just couldn't fit it in!

Now back to Greek yogurt and oatmeal for awhile...

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