No visit to the Napa Valley area would be complete without visiting at least one of the famous local wineries.
After having a wonderful Balloon flight and champagne brunch, we were in the mood for MORE CHAMPAGNE!
Directly across the road from the Napa Valley Grille is the famous Domaine Chandon. One of the most elegant wineries/restaurants in the Valley in my opinion.
Here we took a tour and learned everything about the famous "sparkling wine."
So what's with the SPARKLING WINE versus CHAMPAGNE?
Our very knowledgeable and animated tour guide gave us the whole history on this age old battle on "What's in the name?"
Champagne versus Sparkling
"Champagne" is sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France according to the traditional champagne method. The term "champagne" in the U.S. is often used as a generic term to describe all sparkling wines and does not relate to the specific region of origin, as it does in France. Out of respect and to avoid confusion most producers in the United States call their bubbly "sparkling wine" even when it is made in the traditional method. Vins Mousseux is the term for French sparkling wines produced outside France's Champagne region. Spumante is the Italian term for sparkling wine. Sekt is the German designation for sparkling wine. Cava is the Spanish term for sparkling wines made using the traditional champagne method.
THE TASTE TEST
The level of sweetness, or added "dosage" (sugar), in a sparkling wine is indicated by its name.
There's no denying it's a little confusing that "Extra Dry" isn't in fact the driest (or least sweet) of sparkling wines. But read the following historical tidbit and you'll easily remember the rationale on the tiers of dryness, or dosage levels.
Levels of Sweetness = (Dosage Levels)
Doux = Extremely sweet
Demi-Sec, Dry = Very sweet
Sec = Noticeable sweetness
Extra Dry = Slight sweetness
Brut = No perceptible sweetness
Brut Nature = Bone dry
Old building, wooden floors, pot bellied stove and pretty good grub and service.
Oh, and a great array of blues music playing in the background as you dine.
Favorite Dish: The Skillet Special. Especially the any one made with chicken sausage. Great flapjacks with orange zest butter.
This was an excellent dining experience. There are two dining areas, one is a covered outdoor area and the other is indoor. We ate indoors. This place is very difficult to get a reservation. When we were waiting for our table I heard the hostess on the phone with someone trying to make a reservation for October. They only start taking reservations three months out.
All the wait staff are friendly and attentive and of course very knowledgeable with wine and what goes with each dish. We started with the Yellow fin Tuna Tartar with Asian pear and avocado. Our main courses were the Spiced pork tenderloin and the Sonoma duck breast. All dishes were cooked perfectly and very delicious. We ended with the warm chocolate cake and white chocolate ice cream. This was a little disappointing because the portion size was extremely small.
Overall a great experience!
Favorite Dish: All the food was great but the Yellow fin Tuna was outstanding. Wish that was a main course!
A small bakery with great pastries. They also have breakfast sandwiches as well as lunches. There is a busy to go line in the mornings. They have outdoor seating only.
Favorite Dish: The chocolate filled croissant was amazing. I went here two days in a row and also got some for the road when we left.
Bobby and staff do it all so well.
Favorite Dish: The steak and the big chop.
Great wine list and very capable and friendly service.
Calamari appie is very interesting!
Our door dining on the patio so you can watch the world go by on Yountville's little main drag.
Probably one of the most diverse oyster bars not located on a body of water we've ever found.
Co-Owned by by Fr Laundry's Thomas Keller.
Good place to stop for an afternoon pick me up of beer and 'sters!
PJ Steak is located in the "historic" part of Yountville on Washington Street. The menu is wonderful with choices from vegetarian, chicken, fish, and meat. Something for most everyone. I can't wait to go back again to try something different.
Favorite Dish: We started with a pear, walnut, endive salad that was incredible. This was followed by a (Maine) Lobster pasta dish that was equally wonderful. There was almost as much lobster as there was pasta.
Treat these restaurants as "must-see destinations" when you come to this City.
$$$$$ - expensive
$$$ - moderate
$ - inexpensive
Bistro Jeanty $$$
* ideal bistro across the highway from Domain Chandon
* open all day
* favorites: just about everything
* favorites: wood-fire rotisserie (chicken, rabbit) and pizza oven
* ask waiter for suggestions
Dry Creek Kitchen
* check out their website!
* favorites: sand dabs, halibut
French Laundry $$$$$
* 6640 Washington Street, at Creek
* internationally-known, reservations must be made months in advance!
Our lunch at REDD was amazing a couple of weeks ago. The dining room is very pretty with hardwood floors and very nicely appointed tables. I started with a Yellowfish Tuna & Hamachi Tartare appetizer that was very good. My husband and I shared the Shrimp Salad with Butter Lettuces, Avocado and Bacon this was served warm and very, very good. My entree was the Carmalized Diver Sea Scallops with Cauliflower puree, almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. Some of the best Sea Scallops I have had, ever. Presentation of the food is very pretty and for dessert we shared a Chocolate Peanut Butter parfait that was the perfect ending to a wonderful lunch at REDD in the quaint, upscale town of Yountville, a Foodie's heaven! :)
Favorite Dish: Yellowfish Tuna & Hamachi Tartare, Carmalized Diver Sea Scallops, Shrimp Salad, Peanut Butter Parfait for dessert
Get ready to open your wallet. This is not your average restaurant. The service can be compared to no other. (Not that you would, but intentionally bump into a waiter and they blame themselves.) The winelist is filled with the finest wines imaginable. (But, if you bring your own, there is a bottling charge.) The tables are quaint and dressed with heavy linen and superior silver. The meal is prix-fixe ($240), differentiated by vegetarian or non with few options. In all, it was an endless journey of food and wine, continually peaking your sense of smell and taste.
We went on a Saturday night, a tough night for reservations in just about any restaurant. However, the people at the French Laundry made it fairly painless. I guess, I can't say enough about the service.
Favorite Dish: I loved the foie gras (and, to my belief, well worth the additional charge on the prix fixe menu) and my boyfriend couldn't stop raving about the steak.
This is Thomas Keller's latest venue in Yountville and it's here to stay, now accepting reservations also, which you will need here. The concept is one menu for everyone, which includes 4 yummy courses. Here's what I had:
White Bean & Escarole Soup with sausage, capay leeks and del monaco extra virgin olive oil, this dish was very hearty and came in a large tureen.
Pan Roasted Liberty Farms Duck Breast with sauteed ***ake mushrooms, pea shoots and confit marble potatoes. Very good and nice portions of thinly sliced duck breast.
Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam wtih Marshall's farm honey and Fuji apples, a very nice course and we enjoyed the cheese very much
Banana Upside Down Cake with Brown Sugar ice cream, a perfect ending to the meal.
We loved the "buzz" going on in here, very fun and we chatted with a very nice young man from New York City who was visiting Yountville on business, attending the award's banquet for Robert Mondavi, a very well-known winemaker in the area.
Loved Ad Hoc and hope to return soon!
Favorite Dish: Liberty Duck Breast, the Cheese Course and the Banana Upside Down Cake
Located just across from the YountVille "shopping barn" that has been recreated this is a welcome respite. The drinks area great, the food, just ok.
Favorite Dish: hmmmmm..no favorites really. Food is adequate but not outstanding.
Located just across the street from Yountville's 1870 shopping "mall" on Washington Street, Hurley's provides either formal or casual dining (inside or out). It may look small, but there are a number of rooms which make the size deceiving.
Favorite Dish: I had chicken while my wife went for the steak. Both were prepared exactly as ordered and tasted wonderful