Posted tagged ‘Napa’

So we might’ve cheated a little…

February 2, 2011

I was most excited about trying out the english muffins at The Model Bakery in Napa.  Chef Michael Chiarello chose it for “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” so of course, I wanted to try it too.    Our hotel was a few blocks away from the bakery so we (the english muffin and I) were destined to meet!  I had heard they sell out quickly so I knew we needed head over as soon as we could.

Apparently 9:30 AM is not early enough so TM ended up with a cinnamon roll.  It was pretty dense and had raisins in it.  Not exactly my cup of tea.  Plus, I was pouty disappointed that they were sold out of english muffins!

I ended up with my usual cheese danish.  This cheese danish was quite good.  Light and fluffy and cheesy in the middle… but it was still no english muffin.

I got over the missing english muffin after while.  We stopped for lunch at V. Sattui (a must when we are in Napa) and decided to venture across the street to Dean & Deluca.  I was wandering around looking at the overpriced bags of rice (5 pounds for $6, really?!?) when I noticed their bakery counter off to the side.  It was like a light shining down from the heavens.  In the corner of the glass case I saw the english muffins with a sign that read “English Muffins from Model Bakery.” So we might’ve cheated a little.  We really DID try to get these from The Model Bakery!

I immediately bought four and took them home to eat.  They were light, airy, buttery and fluffy.  It looked nothing like a Thomas’ english muffins you buy in the store and tasted nothing like it as well!  These were so buttery, we didn’t need any extra butter and it tasted PERFECT toasted with some strawberry jam.

Oxbow Public Market   644 First Street    Napa, CA

Sorry, everything is delicious

January 25, 2011

TM and I took a little drive to Napa a couple of weekends ago and saw this gorgeous landscape.  We’re so spoiled in California with January temperatures in the high 60’s while other parts of the country are battling blizzards!

This was our first time going up to Sterling Vineyards.  You take the tram up to the top and do a self guided tour with five wine tastings.  It was the perfect day for some wine and relaxation.

We had 11:30 reservations at Mustards Grill and I am so glad we did.  It was amazing to see how quickly every single table filled up around us before we even got our food!  We started out with the crab cake appetizers.  One order comes with two crab cakes and salad and the restaurant was nice enough to split it onto two dishes.  Little did they know I didn’t want to share… TM hates crab usually!  It’s edible for him when it is fresh and fried.  This was no exception.  It was a great crab cake – fresh and meaty, not heavy.  I loved the vinaigrette on the side salad too.

We ordered not only one but TWO appetizers.  TM loves thin onion rings when they are thin like this and he quickly gobbled up most of the plate.  I liked these hot but once they cooled down, they tasted like an oily mess.  I needed to save room for the main entrée.  These were served with a side of their homemade tomato-apple ketchup.  Every single table we saw had an order of these onion rings going out to them!

I ordered an ahi tuna sandwich with the pickled ginger on the side.  It was probably my mistake because the sandwich missed a little extra zing – but I don’t like pickled ginger so I gave it all to TM.  The sandwich was good but the fries were quite excellent.

The thing I wanted to try most was the grilled pork chop.  It was Bobby Flay’s recommendation on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  The sweet and sour red cabbage turned me off so I had TM order it.  I just wanted a bite of the pork chop to say I tried it.  One bite turned into two, then three, then four… this Mongolian Pork Chop was moist on the inside with perfect flavors and the housemade mustard only enhanced the grilled meat.

We parked next to their garden which produces about twenty percent of the restaurant’s produce.  I love this!  It must be beautiful in the summertime with lots of colorful veggies growing on the two acres by the restaurant.

Sorry, everything is delicious.  I overheard the people at the table next to us telling their server that they stop at Mustards every time they come to Napa.  They order different main dishes but those onion rings are a must every visit!  We had to fight our way out of the restaurant.  It was packed with people who had not made reservations and were waiting for a table.

How cute is this sign?!?  Why, I’d love to!

7399 Saint Helena Highway   Napa, CA

ad hoc: for temporary relief from hunger

April 14, 2010

Aaah, my first Thomas Keller restaurant.  I have gone to his bakery numerous times but never dined in his restaurant.  We went with a bunch of friends to Ad Hoc in Yountville.  Ad Hoc has a prix fixe menu every night (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and the food is served family style.   Since we went in a group of eight, we had plates for four at each end of our tables.

The first course was our salad of baby mixed greens.  It had snap peas, shaved fennel, and carrots with a cabernet vinaigrette dressing.  It was scrumptious except Katie found a hair on her plate that wasn’t hers.  (dot dot dot)  They replaced the family share plate but by that time, I had already consumed most of my share.

Our next course was the Sonoma County Liberty Duck Breast.  This isn’t something I would normally order if I had a choice off the menu but it was definitely tasty and I’m glad we had it.  The duck was served on top of toasted farro that was a little salty from the kalamata olives mixed in but with little bursts of sweetness from the minneola tangelos.  It sounded weird on the menu but it worked!  I think Horace really wanted to take the all-clad serving pan home with him but we convinced him not to.

Our next course was a cheese platter with brioche bread from the Bouchon Bakery and homemade apple butter.  I wasn’t a fan of the cheese so much but loved the sweet apple butter on the soft bread.  Boyfriend ate my share of cheese as I usually ask him to do.

Our dessert for the night was a tres leches cake with a mango pineapple salad on the side.  It was absolutely scrumptious and each bite was creamy, smooth sweetness.  What a great way to end the meal!

We also got talked into ordering a bottle of wine which was the special for the night.  We assumed it’d be about a $40 or $50 bottle but it turned out to be significantly more…  I guess that’s Yountville for you.  It was a great day of wining and dining, that’s for sure!

6476 Washington Street   Yountville, CA

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