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attempting to chow thru the napa valley - long

Rochelle | Jul 17, 200109:44 PM

it's taken me a while to find the time to post about our culinary misadventures thru the napa valley over independance day but here goes:

began with the Large visit to Angelo's to get jerky and sausages to grill for the festivities. we ended up with 4 different kinds of jerky: bbq, cajun, black pepper and plain, and two kinds of sausages, linguisa (sp) and one other, andouille? turkey? ah!so much food to remember...

we dove directly into the jerky and the taste took me right back to camping trips north of jenner when i was in college and their jerky was a mainstay of such adventures.

for lunch we enjoyed? a semi-traditional picnic with friends of pasta salad, potato chips, turkey and tofu dogs and sandwiches and sliced watermelon.

this meal was fine once, but when we were seeing it for the second time that night, well think of it. napa valley, delicious food everywhere and here we are eating turkey dogs again...

the next day for lunch we proposed travigne so we all piled into the car and set off. our driver, however, had other ideas and we ended up instead at greystone. so there we ate.

our entrees were all passible, and one of the desserts was good, but overall, for $170 for lunch for 5 i expected more.

this is what we ate:

roast chicken with dandelion greens, sweet garlic sauce and wild shrooms, grilled wild king salmon with asparagus salad, yukon gold potato puree and bueree rose, field greens and herbs with a mustard vin., warm potato and leek galette with goats leap goat cheese, herb salad and hazelnut vin, endive, cress and radicchio salad with gogonzola dolce, walnuts and lemon vin, rotisserie duck breast with fava beans, polenta and red onion jam.

for dessert: strauss creamery panna cotta with strawverry and rhubarb, reblochon cheese plate, creme brulee.

the things i found the most interesting were the polenta and the compote with the panna cotta. the polenta was a crisp disc that had been sauteed but was very creamy inside, the contrast very nice. the compote was chunky and flavorful, a nice counterpoint to the creaminess of the panna cotta.

all in all a disappointing and expensive lunch. we sat at the end of service, just before 3:00 so i'm sure that had something to do with the less than high level of service we had. it also makes me uncomfy when the kitchen and floor staff are dishing up their off-shift meals and bringing them into the same dining room we're spending a pretty penny to sit in. i definately would not hurry back again.

on a positive note, the dining room is quite great, rock walls, bright colors, heavy wood, a castle-y kind of feel (or maybe that's just the movie i watched last night...)

after this less than thrilling lunch we were really on the prowl for some chow so come evening we headed out to calistoga with the thought that with such a high latino population finding a good taqueria would be a cinch and i had a hankering for a fish taco something fierce.

after a beer and a game of pool at susie's- a great dive-we found a likely spot called sr restaurant (santa rosa). it was getting late and the place was empty, but both spanish music and television were blasting so we went in.

the owner said after all the excitement of the holiday no one was out so we heartily dug in to the two fresh and delicious salsas (salsa fresca and roasted salsa with peppers) while we perused the menu.

steve, being the ever adventurous one, ordered tongue tacos "oh, they are so tender..." and i ordered fish tacos with taquitos to start.

and yes, tongue is tender. i did taste them, but it's not something i needed to eat. and my fish tacos weren't either. rather fishy for my taste. we asked and it was mahi mahi, but it wasn't as fresh as it should have been. i dug into the taquitos only to find the tortillas overcooked and thus the beef dry. thank god for the delicious chips and salsas.

wait, there's more! another taqueria in napa the next day (yes i had read the posts about the taco trucks, no my companions wouldn't go to a "roach coach") which was equally dismal. i'll spare the details.

How Can This Be? Three days in napa valley without a single decent meal? could it be the company? or was it just a miserable trick of the gods?-- i have ever so much more to say now the next time there's a thread about how do you get a family member to become a hound. i never realized before how much is at stake...

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