Todays lunch was a late one seated outside on Celadons lovely patio. We were marking the end of this years MW exam. While I did not take the test myself this year, my hopes and prayers had been with my study partner this week and we needed a glass of wine to blow off steam. Id been to Celadons original location before, this was my first visit to its new site adjoining the Napa River Inn.
Our waiter gushed over the daily specials. With recent discussions on this board in mind, I almost ordered the grilled Kobe tri-tip sandwich special until I spotted the Kobe burger with fries on the regular menu for $10. The waiter asked if I wanted the extras of blue cheese or avocado, but I declined. After the Fringale Kobe extravaganza, Id learned that this quality of meat deserves stage front and center, unadorned. I ordered it rare.
Presented open-face, just the plain grilled burger patty was a thing of beauty. Very dark in color all-round, almost looking burnt, but inside it really was rare and unset in the center. The toasted bun dusted with cornmeal had a light smear of remoulade sauce, plus arugula, ripe tomato slices and thin rings of sweet red onion. The flavor of the meat was incredible, so deep and rich. With each bite, a new rivulet of melted beef fat and red meaty juices was released and encircled my wrists. The tarragon fries were skinny, extra crisp golden brown and tossed with fresh chopped tarragon. Nine-month old Molly had her first ever taste of French fries today from my plate, her mom deciding that Celadons version was not junk food, and found them quite palatable.
We shared a half bottle of 2001 Selene Hyde Carneros Sauvignon Blanc. Made in a confected style with lots of tropical, tutti-frutti aromas and flavors and some oak shadings, the dark straw color and phenolic etch in the finish made us wonder whether it had some gewürztraminer in it, might have had some skin contact, or had a high percentage of Musqué clone. It made a big impression on the first taste, but I soon tired of it.
The bill for my burger, Olivers crab cakes, one glass of bubbly, half bottle of wine, and a liter of gassy Italian water was $65. Thats getting up there for lunch for two. Yet, it was so pleasant on the patio, really the perfect setting for our ritual, I didnt mind. While not something I can afford to do every week, Ill be back for the next special occasion.
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