Date 35: Napa is food
With the (final!) semester looming, littlestar's recurring request was to "get out of town."
Not for the whole semester, you understand, but as a final break ahead of it.
Consequently, the discussion focused on North versus South. A friend had drawn a lovely picture of the unsampled joys of the central coast region, which made it tempting, but at the end of the day Napa won out with the promise of pampering. This just seemed right for littlestar ahead of the final semester's sprint.
So, as early as was reasonable on a Saturday morning, we got in the car and drove north.
Click through to read the rest in the extended entry.
Wanting to give veteran commuter littlestar a rest, I handled the driving from home to the Napa area. Other than a little slow moving stuff on 880, it turned out to be a nice drive. It probably helped that we left home around 9:30 in the morning, when most people aren't planning on trucking up to wine country just yet.
Heading to Napa, we had a few goals. One of them was going to be lunch at Greystone, but that was stymied right out of the gates by dint of Greystone being closed through the bulk of January. Oops. Fortunately, we'd checked on this the evening before leaving, so we weren't stuck out in Saint Helena wondering why no one else was around.
Clearly taken on the way to Napa
Our first goal that was open was Anette's in downtown Napa. Just a week before this trip, we'd had some of Anette's Firey Brittle, which is pretty much what it sounds like and, we agreed, excellent. So we were at least resolved to pick up some more of that.
We parked in downtown Napa and made our way onto conspicuously silent streets -- again, we were there pretty early, apparently, at the cusp of 11am and most of the shops opening. Fortunately, Anette's was open, and the nice ladies inside offered us chocolate as we came in, and then chatted with us about who they wholesale to ("lots of people") while we eventually decided to pick up a bunch of different kinds of brittle.
Then we left the store, walked about a block away, and littlestar decided we should pick some up as gifts, too. So we went right back.
We bought no antiques, but littlestar was fascinated
After our double tap at Anette's, it was looking pretty good for lunchtime, so we headed out west (just a little bit) to hit our Greystone backup plan, Farm, at the Carneros Inn.
I should clarify that Farm was a backup solely in that we'd expected to go to Greystone, and not as an indicator of quality, since we'd never been there before.
After parking and trying to figure out where to walk into the restaurant, we were seated outside near a fountain and two neat little "lawn" bowling areas. The quotes are there because they were more properly "fine gravel" bowling, probably because an actual lawn would be unsound in terms of water use during a Napa summer.
This is a good moment to take a break and point out that we lucked into a completely, utterly, nonseasonally warm off-season weekend. It was sunny and fine the entire weekend -- but there's no reason to expect early January Napa to be like that, so there were no crowds. As evidence of this, consider our rapid seating at this fine restaurant.
littlestar almost giggled with glee (but not really, she doesn't giggle) when she saw the menu. Here's what we ended up ordering:
Sonoma Duck Foie Gras Torchon (Quince compote, pistachios, frisee salad)
littlestar followed the menu's suggestion and ordered the Sauternes Chateau d'Arche Bordeaux France 2003 to go with the foie gras
Wild Mushroom Risotto (White truffle oil, parmesan cheese, mushroom broth)
We ordered this as the full plate
George's Bank Maine Dayboat Scallops (Piquilo peppers, flageolet beans, creamy meyer lemon broth)
Dessert was a peach panna cotta which isn't on their menu at the moment, so I don't know what it was called exactly.
Everything was amazing.
littlestar and I shared the food and chatted, taking our time and enjoying it all. I was impressed with the risotto, and littlestar was in awe of the scallops. We both liked our waiter, who was a nice gentleman whose good mood matched the sunny day.
We both recommend it, perhaps needless to say.
After lunch, we wandered back to the car, ready to head onto the second half of our day (and, as described here, the next date).
Napa is food, and good food at that.