Sorry for the length!
Just home from a wonderful trip to Napa. We didn't have one bad bite thanks to the advice of all you generous Chowhounders! Here is my very long recap:
First off, on our way to Peju (lovely winery) we stopped for a little caffeine at the Oakville Grocery. We ordered espressos and would have loved to shop at this adorable gourmet store, but a tour bus full of seniors pulled up right behind us and the store was soon filled to capacity.
After Peju, we went on to Rubicon (meh). Then we had lunch at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. We tried two entrees, the Grilled Ahi Tuna Salad and a pasta special consisting of spaghetti in a turnip cream sauce with pancetta. For dessert we split a slice of fig cake because, believe it or not, I'd never eaten a fig in my life, unless you count Fig Newtons.
I had written myself a note to order duck fat fries at Cindy's. The waitress said they didn't have any and she'd never heard of them. Did I mix that up? Must have. Anyway, we saw Cindy herself on the way out. I'm a huge Top Chef fan, so that was a little thrill. We let stuffed and happy.
After a semi-challenging yoga class upstairs, we ate dinner downstairs at Ubuntu and it was spectacular!! We each had the tasting menu, ordering a different dish in each category, with the exception of the heirloom tomato salad because we both had to have that. That was probably the best thing I ate all weekend. My husband didn't love the Silverado Trail strawberry pudding with rhubarb jam and pickles, cucumber granita, but I did. I also loved my chocolaty dessert with carrot ice cream.
On day two before we went on the Platypus Wine Tour (a lot of fun), we had English muffin sandwiches and iced coffee from the Model Bakery at the Oxbow Market. A far cry from the McMuffin for sure. They were so good, we tried to go back on Sunday on our way out of town, but the line was 50 people long, so we ate at C Casa at the Oxbow Market. I got the potato taco and my husband got the scrambled egg taco. We both had Mexican coffees. Perfect portions for a light breakfast and it was pretty spicy, which we loved. With those spices, no need for the caffeine.
We took a late night snack from Sweetie Pie's back to our room. I got a chocolate Whoopie Pie. My husband got a Moon Pie. They were good, but nothing special. In fairness to Sweetie Pie's, we did have them in our hotel fridge overnight before we ate them. Maybe they'd have been better fresh.
On the Platypus tour we first stopped at Elkhorn Ridge, got a great education and took home some Pinot Noir. Next we went to Hopper Creek where we helped with the crush, bought some Zinfandel and had a nice lunch provided by Platypus sitting on Hopper Creek's deck overlooking the vineyard. Our tasting host at Hopper Creek was a blast with a great sense of humor. Next we went to Hagafen Vineyards, nothing special. Finally we ended our day at Razi Winery where we brought home some Razi Red, a fruity blend. The winery was really beautiful, but I'm afraid our tour-mates by that time had had a lot to drink, were a bit rambunctious and didn't let the owner get a word in.
Dinner at was at Oneotri. We got a bottle of wine and the chef's selection of six salumi. I originally ordered the muscles until waiter pointed out it was muscles, not mussels. Big difference. We also got a Wills Farm pork pastrami pizza (which I dumped my glass of wine on and we still ate every bite) and the daily special pasta. Magnifico!
The next morning we had breakfast at Boon Fly Cafe. What a gem! My husband had the Bacon Bloody Mary, we split a bucket of freshly made donuts and the Boon Fly Benedict, at the waiter's suggestion. I can't say how much I wish the Boon Fly was close to my house. I'd go every morning.
After visiting the DiRosa Preserve, we took the Oakville Grade ( and survived!) back to the Oakville Grocery where we had time to load up on gourmet goodies to take home.
We visited Schramsberg, where there were beautiful grounds and nice sparkling wines, but our guide seemed to be in an awful hurry and a bit impatient. Kinda spoiled the visit.
After Schramsberg we ate lunch at Solbar. Even though I accidentally ordered a $98 HALF bottle of wine making the largest lunch bill of our lives, it was well worth. The setting outside is beautiful. We had chilled corn soup and the heirloom salad. We couldn't resist the Lucky Pig and I'm so glad we didn't. (Quoting the menu: Islow-roasted shoulder of long and Bailey Duroc pork, black sesame crepes,
pickled pineapple, Mongolian peanuts, lettuce cups and more. serves two; some assembly required $36) We didn't talk all through lunch. We just stuffed our faces and thumbs-upped each other. Everyone should eat this at least once. We followed lunch by the couple's mudslide (mud bath at the salon) way overpriced for the experience.
We were too stuffed for dinner and canceled our reservations at Cuvee.
We overslept and didn't have time to try Butter Cream. Bummer, it looked good. We had to hustle to Sebastopol to catch our day of biking/kayaking with Get Away Adventures. We rode bikes to Taft Street, which was nice and the tasting was inexpensive, free with purchase. Then we rode to Cahill Winery. The pours were beyond generous and the wines ranging from okay to really, really good. The tour guides really put on a big spread for lunch fresh, simply prepared foods and fresh fruits before taking off on our kayaking trip.
For our final dinner in Napa, we walked to dinner at Grace's Table. The cornbread with lavender honey butter was yummy as was the heirloom tomato salad. I had the Alaskan Halibut and my husband had the risotto with Diver scallops, both great entrees. We took home two chocolate mousse desserts with brandied cherries. Perfecting ending to a perfect trip.
Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558
Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena, CA 94574