My rating system consists of five categories on a ten point scale: Taste, Presentation, Ambience, Service, and Value.
These are the places that I ate at during a recent trip to San Francisco and Napa
1919 Bridgeway Blvd
This little hideaway bistro in quiet Sausalito is a great value (with the early bird prix fixe menu.) The flavors are not as intense as we hoped but the bread pudding with coffee sauce was surprisingly pleasing.
Me: Tarte a l'oignon (homemade onion tart), medaillons de porc a l'orange (sauteed pork tenderloin medallions served over an orange sauce), pain perdu (homemade raisin bread pudding with Bourbon and coffee/raspberry sauce) - $15
My girlfiend: Mousse de foie de canard au porto (duck liver mousse with port aspic), croustillant de saumon (baked salmon in phylo with an orange-ginger sauce), marquise au cafe (homemade coffee mousse cake) - $22
Hog Island Oyster Company
Marshall, CA 94940
Out of the way oyster purveyor and farm provides the freshest shellfish experience. The oysters were juicy but a little briny.
Me: 14 small oysters - $10
My girlfriend: Sadly watched and drooled
Cowgirl Creamery at Tomales Bay Foods
80 4th Street
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
Cheese purchase: Mount Tam and Point Reyes Original Blue
We especially enjoyed the Mount Tam which is a soft cheese made at the creamery.
The Girl and the Fig
110 West Spain Street
Sonoma, CA 95476
This over-rated restaurant was uninspiring. When a nice restaurant has a simple dish such as a grilled cheese sandwich, I hope that it would be worthy of a place on the menu, but sadly it was not. The ice cream was not flavorful and thyme-fig crisp was too dense, albiet tasty. Because of the disapointing food and service, we would not recommend this Sonoma eatery. It was perhaps the most disappointing meal on our Napa trip.
Me: Fig salad (arugula, pecans, Laura Chenel chevre, pancetta, and fig port vinaigrette), goat cheese sampler, grilled cheese sandwich (tomato confit and matchstick fries), and syrah flight.
My girlfriend: Liberty duck confit (french green lentils with mustard vinaigrette served over savoy cabbage), warm fig and thyme crisp with port wine ice cream (Sonoma Portwork's Maduro).
115 4th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
This Santa Rosa Italian restaurant served medicore food. The spinach salad would have been better had fresher and younger spinach leaves been used. The ciopinni was not as flavorful as the one that I had at Marcello's in Thousand Oaks. The pesto sauce was good but the overcooked gnocchi ruined the dish.
Me: Spinach salad with cantelope and proscuitto, ciopinni
My girlfriend: Gnocchi with pesto
140 Bohemian Hwy
Freestone, CA 95472
Excellent bread in the middle of nowhere! Monsterous biscotti with large chunks of candied ginger.
Chocolate chip biscotti, almond and ginger biscotti, French boule (available at 10am), and hot chai with soy.
Julia's Kitchen at Copia
500 First Street
Napa, CA 94559
This large, open, and brightly lit restaurant does not yield an intimate environment. The decor was lacking and sterile. However, what the place lacked in ambience, it made up in food. Overall, this was the best food that we dined on during our trip. The starter course of Tuna tartare could have used more seasoning, the Halibut course was excellent and the flakes melted in your mouth. The rabbit ravioli made the entire meal worthwile with intense flavors. This dish was both succulent and tender. The skirt steak was not well seasoned but I enjoyed the Chanterelles immensely. The best glass of wine tasted this entire trip was the 2001 Staglin Family Cabernet. My girlfriend had an amazing French onion soup that perhaps may rival that served in Paris bistros in the fall. The Julia Childs inspired duck breast was good but not perfect. The skin of the duck was not crispy enough and the bed of lentils dry. The amuse bouche of vanilla sorbet with orange sauce and pomegranite seeds delighted us with very intense flavors. The dessert was excellent, reminding me of a peanut butter cup. When flavors can evoke or create memories, the chef has done a supurb job.
Me: Ahi tuna tartare (carrots, toasted cumin, and Meyer lemon), halibut with wild mushrooms, rabbit ravioli with dried fruit and lavender sauce, skirt steak with chanterelles, red wine flight (2001 Staglin Family).
My girlfriend: French onion soup with parmesean cheese crisp, liberty duck breast (sauce a l'orange, fingerling potatoes, garden mustard), peanut giandija with honey ice cream and peanut brittle, hazlenut chocolate milk, chocolate truffle, chocolate powdered pecans, and orange chocolate square.
Amuse bouche: Brushetta with pesto cheese and sundried tomatoes, fig with honey and blue cheese, vanilla sorbet with orange sauce and pomegranite seeds.
Cow milk cheese, honeyed pecans, quince paste, toasted raisin and nut bread.
1140 Rutherford Road
Rutherford, CA 94573
This highly recommended restaurant lacked "wok atmosphere." The food was not presented at the proper temperature. Overall the dishes were good but not spectacular, the best was the ravioli with duck confit and foie gras which was delightful. In general, flavors were not brought out, a little disapointing for a restaurant of this caliber and price.
Me: Chestnut Bisque with Chanterelles
North Coast Matsutakes Baked in Parchment
Ravioli with Duck Confit, Foie Gras, and Madeira
Jamison Farms Lab Saddle wiht Slow-cooked Cannellini Beans Don and Sally's Golden Delicious Apple Crepes with Caramel Ice Cream
My girlfriend: Broiled Littleneck Clams with Brandade de Morue
New England Spotted Skate Wing with Artichoke Grenbloise
Niman Ranch Short Rib Braised All Day in Rutherford Red Wine
Hawaiin Onaga Seared with Orzo with Garlic Risotto
Warm Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cake with Coconut Ice Cream
Amuse bouche: Toast cracker with pork paste and
caramelized onions with raisins and mushrooms.
Price ~$250 for food