You drink really well in Napa, obviously. But the food is a close second. Before I went, I asked a bunch of people where to eat and got some awesome recommendations, so I thought I’d share the things I loved the most so you’ll know where to head if you go.
The Thomas: beet gnudi
This place is new and so, so good. I had the beet gnudi (like gnocchi, but with cheese instead of potatoes) with smoked almond-celery pesto and Cowgirl creamery cottage cheese (Cowgirl cheese is awesome, btw). Everyone else loved their dinner too (I’m a sucker for a good bone marrow appetizer) and we all shared the monkey bread dessert (which I’m also a sucker for). That was a lot of parentheses.
Gott’s Roadside is an institution. Created by winemaker Joel Gott whose speciality is big spicy reds like Grenache, it’s no wonder his food pairs well with those wines. The burger is a must, but the sweet potato fries and milkshakes are killer too.
Hog Island Oysters: oysters, duh
Oxbow Market has a ton of gourmet food stands, and Hog Island Oysters is a great choice. The oysters are really good and you can sit outside at right on the creek. Plus they have half-price oyster happy hours on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
Oakville Grocery: sandwiches and picnic food
YUM. They have awesome unique sandwiches and tons of little salads and sides you can get for picnic pickings. I had the Petaluma chicken salad with cider slaw and grapes. Grab a baguette and some meat and cheese and wash it all down with a bottle of rose or any of the other great wines they have to choose from.
Grace’s Table: onion rings
We almost didn’t get these, but threw them on last minute. Thank god! We each had one bite and immediately said they might be the best onion rings we’ve ever eaten. They’re sprinkled with some paprika and parmesan (lightly, just a perfect little amount), but the real key is the thick, crucnhy texture of the onions. No flimsy little slivers that slip out of the batter as you bite into it. Fantastic. The burger and pan-roasted chicken were really good too.
Rutherford Grill: meat. more meat. then some meat.
This place is popping. Basically you go here to eat meat, and big portions of it – prime rib, short rib, French dip. (Leave it to me to order the sashimi salad, hence no pic, but everyone else got the meat.) The devilled eggs are really yummy too, though the mixture has something sweetish in it, so beware that they’re not totally traditional. Anyway, the other really cool thing about this place is that you can bring your own wine! So after a few days of winery hopping, you can take some of your new fave Cabs to go with all that meat. Here’s what we brought:
Andaz: bakery breakfast and coffee
Look at this killer bakery spread. I was going to go to Napa Valley Roasters for coffee one morning, but the coffee at the coffee bar in my hotel was so good that I lazed it up and just got it there all the time. Also, they have free, fresh-squeezed juice and then later cucumber water and lemon-lime water all day long.