Date 36: Calistoga by night
After our day of food in Napa, littlestar and I drove on, continuing north to the little town of Calistoga. There, we planned on hitting a hot springs and, well, more eating.
It seemed like a good way to spend the evening.
Click through to the extended for more.
The drive from Napa to Calistoga was a little busier, as people seemed to have finally made it out into the world by the late afternoon. We drove from the minor urban center that is the actual city of Napa up a road that is blessed by an abundance of adjacent trees and vineyards, until we finally made our way into Calistoga.
One thing we'd noticed ahead of our trip was that literally every single address we'd noted ahead of time for Calistoga, be it a restaurant we might eat at or the place we at which we planned to stay for the night, was that it was on Lincoln Avenue. This suggested that we would be okay, even without a map of the area.
We chose to stay at Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort, which is as 50s charming as it sounds like it should be (indeed, it was founded in 1952).
It could be from no other decade
littlestar has a lot of hot springs experience in Southern California, whereas I am a hot springs neophyte, having gone all of twice in my life, and that much of my life ago. She'd been wanting to go for a while, so I thought it would be fun to see what the Napa area could offer. Dr. Wilkinson's looked both charming and good, and seemed like a fine place to start our Calistoga exploration.
On checking in, we decided to go for a post-drive, pre-dinner soak. With the evening cool settling in, we eschewed the outdoor "warm" pool and went for the indoor "hot pool." littlestar tells me it doesn't hold a candle to the scorching heat of a SoCal Korean hot pool, but it was plenty warm for us, and quite relaxing. We just hung out for a while, enjoying warm water, and discussing the cause of skin pruning.
I prune up a lot faster than she does.
After the soak, we both felt pleasantly wobbly, our muscles relaxed by the heat. It's a little bit like exercising without the actual exercise.
But littlestar and I were hungry now, so it was time to dress up and head out on the town. Or on Lincoln Avenue, more or less.
Dressed up for a night on the town
We strolled down Lincoln Avenue, secure in the knowledge that all our restaurant choices were somewhere between our hotel room and the state road we'd come in on. On our way there, we ran into this:
A charmingly static train station
Intrigued by the parked train collective, we wandered in and found a bunch of cute little shops. Especially at night, the faux station was kind of magical, as if we might be able to step onto one of the trains and be whisked away somewhere, perhaps coming back just before dawn.
We looked around the train for a little while and then moved on, with Christine snapping pictures of historical typewriters (in a storefront office) and street lights (for, she tells me, reference).
This time around, our first choice restaurant was open, so we ended up sharing dinner at All Seasons Bistro. As we came in, the place was nearly full -- but just the right amount of nearly, with a table left for us. We settled in, spent some time going over the menu, and then ordered this:
Lobster Bisque with Truffle Oil
Ahi Tuna Tartare with Mango and Avocado
Pan-Seared Salmon, Meyer Lemon Buerre Blanc, Purple Mashed Potatoes, Yellow Wax Beans
Smoked and Grilled New York Striploin Steak, Celery Root and Blue Cheese Potato Gratin, Swiss Chard, Red Wine Sauce
After the perfect amount of food earlier in the day in Napa, this ended up being a little too much, but it was still very, very good. littlestar was so in love with the bisque and tartare that she ended up ordering them again not a day later, as we'll see on the following date.
I really enjoyed the ambiance of All Seasons, with bistro-appropriate (if there is such a thing) music in the background. littlestar noted their stained glass windows with different seasonal (naturally) scenes, and said that they'd look pretty good during the daytime.
We ended our meal with a sorbet, figuring that was a light, clean finish to the meal. It was a combination triple sorbet, featuring pear riesling, blood orange, and pomegranate.
After that meal, we went back outside and realized it was now actually cold. A hurried walk home followed, where we kicked on the heater and settled in to just relax for the evening, following the mandate of our trip.
Warm, cozy, and well-fed.