Wappo Bar & Grill (Calistoga): Very nice lunch from their eclectic menu. Grubs shared mezze plate & steak sandwich. Nice selection of usual suspects on mezze plate, cautiously prepared. Steak sandwich perfectly cooked skirt steak (I do believe). Quaffed a robust & friendly priced ($30) Eagle Point Ranch Syrah with. Enjoyed all, but not truly memorable. Lovely patio setting & chop-house interior room. Safe as safe can be. (Trying very hard not to damn w faint praise. Wappo is a bit better than that.)
Bistro Jeanty (Yountville): Winner, winner, winner. Screams bistro décor, menu, upbeat ambiance, service. Starters: pigs feet (him) & artichoke (her). Pigs feet an adventure as usual. Lots o work for those delectable morsels. Artichoke as good as it gets hits the spot.
Mme Grubbe, having failed to achieve her cassoulet at Le Central in SF, delights in BJs version. Thick, robust, meat-laden, beautifully seasoned. She cant give it a 10, but darned close. Le Grand Grubbe opts for hanger steak. Cooked nicely medium-rare (French-style, they didnt ask how to cook it. It comes as rare as they can keep it.) Spot-on. Would return to BJ in a heartbeat.
Auberge du Soleil (Rutherford): Scored an A table at the window overlooking the sunset over the valley. Simply beautiful location & lovely room to boot. Ordered the $79 prix fixe. For Mme, foie gras, halibut, veal loin, strawberry dessert. For M., scallops, quail, lamb, choc dumpling.
Almost wo exception, dishes were beautifully prepared & presented, but overly cute. This is a place where the chef is clearly guilty of tricking up recipes w odd ingredients, thus making the whole far less than the sum of its parts. As La Grubbe observed, Lamb w carmelized sweetbreads is like steak w a barbecued pork chop.
Service restrained & impeccable. W overpriced $74 btl of Ravenswood Zin, 1 cocktail, 1 coffee, tab was $265 before tip. Lovely experience once.
Screwing on our Deere ball caps, the Grubs boarded the wine train for a gourmet run up the valley. Cool concept for a hot day. Surprisingly good food nicely presented & reasonable wine choices makes for a pleasant 3+ hrs. We tried most everything, paired our own wines (not terribly successfully, I might add), & finished the tour happy w our decision to give it a shot. We opted for the dome car, which cost $95 pp, inc. one glass of sparkling.