We are traveling to Calistoga the last weekend of February with another couple for 3 nights. We got a good Jetsetter deal at Solage, where we've stayed once before. This will be our 2nd trip to Napa Valley. We stayed in Sonoma once as well. In the past (in NV), we've been to Robert Sinskey (favorite), Pine Ridge, Silverado, Larkmead (favorite), Vincent Arroyo (favorite), Chateau Montelena (twice), Summers, Bennett Lane, Schramsberg (favorite) and Dutch Henry (but I'm afraid this was a last stop one day and I was too gone to remember anything about it). We've eaten at the French Laundry, Ad Hoc, Redd, Terra, Tra Vigne (back when it was good). I'm sure there must be other places, but they don't stand out in my memory. This time, I am traveling with 3 others, each of whom have some type of travel/food issue. The husband of the other couple is mostly a meat and potatoes kind of guy (plus Italian food). He does not like fussy food, and the restaurant MUST have a full bar. His wife does not eat red meat, but is at least fairly adventurous with other foods. My husband, lastly, doesn't have any food issues. His issue is that he is afraid of heights - in particular, driving on mountain roads.
We arrive SFO at 1:00 pm on Friday. I'm assuming we would get to Napa around 3:00 pm. Any suggestions for a late, quick lunch in Napa? For the rest of the weekend, I'd like to stay in the general vicinity of Calistoga or St. Helena. We have Sat. and Sun. for wine tasting, though I'd like to take one of those afternoons to do a spa treatment at Solage. I'd very much like to do something different and try a couple of the mountain wineries. Can someone please tell me which mountain road is the least scary (windy and steep). I looked on google maps and both Pride and Smith Madrona look like they are pretty far up there. Howell Mountain seems even more steep. Any suggestions?
We prefer the more informal types of wineries, where we can really spend some time talking to people about the wines, etc. We might try Dutch Henry again since it's a blur. I'd especially also like to try to find some good chardonnay, if possible.
For lunches, I was looking at the Farm Table at Meadowood for one (or possibly dinner), and I'm hoping for a casual suggestions for the 2nd lunch, depending where we end up for tastings. For dinners, again, I'd like to stick to Calistoga or St. Helena. I think we may eat a late dinner at Solbar the first night (though that may be our night to venture further since we won't have been drinking all day). I looked at PRESS and it looks perfect for our meat eater, but it's too pricey. I like JoLe (and loved Matyson when we traveled to Phila.,) but I'm not sure it works for our non-fussy meat eater. How is Brannan's? What about Cook and Market in St. Helena? They both have no/reasonable corkage, which could lower the cost of dinner.
By the way, we've never traveled to Napa Valley in the winter before. What can we expect at the end of Feb.?
Sorry for the lengthy post, but I wanted to provide as much info as possible. Thanks for your help in advance. I've always relied on generous CHounders in the past and have been so successful.