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Napa Valley - California - Dining Guide to Wine Country

Napa Valley - California - Dining Guide to Wine Country

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Published by Brainwines.com
Dining. A Palette of Many Golden Hues
By Keith B. Hoffman
Man can’t live on wine alone, and no tour to California’s Napa Valley is complete without experiencing the fine dining rooms caught twixt the cool, oaky tasting rooms. After all, you can’t serve some of the greatest varietals with slapped-up stodge. It’s all...
Dining. A Palette of Many Golden Hues
By Keith B. Hoffman
Man can’t live on wine alone, and no tour to California’s Napa Valley is complete without experiencing the fine dining rooms caught twixt the cool, oaky tasting rooms. After all, you can’t serve some of the greatest varietals with slapped-up stodge. It’s all...

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Published by: Brainwines.com on Jan 28, 2010
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Part 2: Dining.A Palette of Many Golden Hues
an can’t live on wine alone, andno tour to Caliornia’s Napa Valleyis complete without experiencingthe fne dining rooms caught twixt the cool,oaky tasting rooms. Ater all, you can’t servesome o the greatest varietals with slapped-upstodge. It’s all about fnding the right balanceand ater long, arduous days o tasting wines,the evenings were reserved or dining.Now in the US, we have a phenomenoncalled the Miracle Mile, which you comeacross seemingly every other mile. It’sbasically a stretch o highway devoted tothe upper echelon o remarkably awul ood.The list o choices is too long to go intohere—yes, quadruple chilli cheeseburgers—butcompletely extracting every drop o irony outo the term, the true Miracle Mile (spread overa ew miles here, i you want to get technical)is in Napa Valley. And below is a
GOM 
melier’sguide to the best I came across. But believeme, there are plenty more out there. And notrip to Napa is complete without a strongyearning to go back, no matter how ullyour belly is.
 
Rutherford Grill
. Highway 29 at Yountvillecrossing. I you’ve been to a Houston’s orGulstream you will be in amiliar watershere. Great outside, ambiance, steaks andfsh. Key point—no corkage ee. An incredibleflet mignon and a side can be enguled or just £20.
Don’t miss: 
bringing your own wineyou picked up a ew hours beore at a Napawinery. And the grilled ostrich. Just do it.
 
Market Restaurant.
Downtown St. Helena.Lodge-type eel. A smallish, fne-diningrestaurant with an attractive bar and excellenteats. We had great service, until right at theend, when we elt rushed to leave with veryobvious and pointed signals rom one o ourservers. Full disclosure, we were the lastgroup in the restaurant ater all, hence, it maynot be a great spot or un-rushed, late-nightdiners. Some o my local riends assure methis must have just been an isolated incident,
M
Last month,Keith Hoffmantook us on an extensive tour of Napa’s wine country.But despite all the wonderful bottles he uncovered, and uncorked, he stilhad to sink his teeth into something.
as they adore the place, as do I now. Excellentbeet salad with a goat-cheese ball that waslightly ried; antastic fsh; and simply preparedday scallops, resh and perectly cooked witha decadent sauce. Market also has a three-course dinner choice which changes eachnight. It’s usually extremely good and quiteaordable.
Don’t miss: 
the s’mores dessert.It’s huge and includes sel roasting/charringmarshmallows right at the table, providing aunique treat and fre hazard all in one. Marketis now a must-stop or me.
 
Martini House
. Fine-dining in St. Helena.Two words: mushroom bliss. Large place withgreat outside seating. So i the weather issuitable, be sure to request the patio or a verylively, cozy atmosphere. This che specialisesin mushrooms. The kind that might just blow
È
 
Enjoy Napa dining to the fullest: outside at the Rutherford Grill, and without a corking fee.
È
At
Martini House, it’s all about the mushrooms.
 
away your current conceptions about musty,ungal sprouts. 1st course: Hen o the Woodmushrooms—incomparable. The cold lobstersalad sounded tempting and looked great, butdid not deliver. 2nd course: lamb two ways,solid, but not unorgettable. The duck, however,was bursting with avour and cooked perectly.Dessert: Strawberry mint milkshake, againanother mind-changing eort here, abulouslyresh and distinctive. We paired our mealwith a Pine Ridge 1999 Rutherord Cabernet(reminiscent o a spectacular Bordeaux likeLafte), a Malk Family Vineyard Cabernet 2005(Malk produces one o the best pure Cabernetsyou may ever have, which are only available onlineat malkamilyvineyards.com), and a nice choiceo Tokajis—sweet Hungarian wines—or dessert(selection o three).
Don’t miss: 
the shrooms!
 
Ad Hoc
. This joint rounds out celebrity cheThomas Keller’s total domination o Yountvillewith an aordable and thoroughly charismaticeort to complement his French Laundrymasterpiece. Make reservations in advance, anddo note that this is a set menu nightly. The entireplace eats the same our courses. I you suerrom allergies, are a vegan, have a reactionagainst emale Aghani boar reductions, etc.this might not be the place or you. They will tryto accommodate such, but you will defnitelybring the mood down some, and miss out onthe star ood perormances. A our-coursedinner will set you back around £25. A trulyunbelievable price or what is delivered. 1stcourse: A very simple but perect butter-lealettuce salad with plump, super-resh shrimp,pickled onion and goddess dressing. 2ndcourse: Skirt steak with sautéed Napa cabbageand an apple puree and pistachios, cookedlike Keller was personally applying the heat.Startling taste and texture treat. Asking orextra cabbage was a frst or me. The cheesecourse was varied and deep, accompanied bysome o the best honey I’ve ever had. Dessertwas an adult-sized ice cream cookie sandwich.Every sweet spot in my piehole was flled. Wepaired it with a viognier rom Kunin and, onboth o two nights, chose Chaos. Just ask orit. Chaos. Bob Dylan did once and then boughtinto the winery. Dinner here is more aboutsimplicity than extravagance. The avours areawesome and direct. Most o the vegetablescome rom The French Laundry’s gardena ew blocks away. The wine list is simple,but spot-on. Note to wine bus: they serveeverything in nice stout glasses which willwork airly well with many o their wines, butdon’t be araid to ask or some proper vinoglasses. Great riendly service, unpretentious,unassuming, accommodating and flled withsta who truly look like they love workingthere.
Don’t miss: 
the whole place.
È
File
Ad Hoc under ‘Vegetarian’s worst nightmare’. Meat, in so many variations, is the basis for its success.
È
 
No reason to see a menu at Ad Hoc. Each night is a set menu, so no poaching (or sharing) with others.
È
 
Go ‘budget’ dining at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc.

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