Napa Valley

Family Reunion in Napa Valley

by Kelly on September 11, 2011 · 0 comments

This year our annual family reunion took place over Labor Day weekend.  And as always, it was filled with amazing wine, delicious food, and fun activities.  I’m still going through all the photos, but here’s a peak at what’s to follow.

~Thursday, September 1st~
Tour of the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science
Lamb & Large Format Cab Dinner

~Friday, September 2nd~
Family Tennis Clinic at Meadowood
Tour, Tasting, & Lunch at Lynmar Estate

~Saturday, September 3rd~
Release Party at Fisher Vineyards
Tour & Tasting at Chateau Boswell
Pork & Pinot Night

~Sunday, September 4th~
Family Croquet “Tournament” at Meadowood
Tour & Tasting at Jarvis Winery
Burgers & Shiraz Dinner

~Vineyard 511~
My parents’ house and vineyard in Calistoga


Farmstead by Long Meadow Ranch

by Kelly on July 23, 2010 · 1 comment

I’m still catching up on our July 4th trip to Napa!  For dinner on the 4th, we headed to Farmstead in St. Helena for good food, good wine, and good fireworks.

Good Food - Farmstead is part of Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead - a tasting-room, restaurant, seasonal farm stand, and nursery in St. Helena.  The restaurant, actually a restored barn, features a farm-to-table menu where almost every ingredient comes from the LMR farm and the dishes are meant to showcase the ingredients at their seasonal peak – and as a result, the food tastes…like food, really delicious food.  Everything produced at LMR is either sustainable or organic.

Good Wine - Farmstead has the best corkage fee I’ve come across – it’s $2 per bottle and gets donated to a non-profit…and you get proper glasses.  Thanks again to my dad’s cellar, we enjoyed a great selection of reds:

2002 Gralyn Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Rudd Oakville Estate Red
2004 Shafer One Point Five
2005 Vineyard 29 CRU

Good Fireworks - Last year we attended Louis Martini’s July 4th celebration – the fireworks were great, but the wine was….not good.  Farmstead is only about a mile north of Louis Martini and from our outdoor table, we were able to enjoy all the same fireworks – but with better food and wine!

Caramelized Beets with Goat Cheese and Greens
This salad was amazing!  So flavorful!  I would definitely order this again next time.~

Grass-fed beef cut of the day - 14 oz. New York Strip Steak
with corn and asparagus
~This steak was full of flavor…delicious.~

Creamy Macaroni and Broccoli with Garlic and Grana
~The broccoli had a bit too much garlic for me.  But the Mac and Cheese was delicious – not sure about what cheeses were used for the sauce, but the combination had just the right hint of tanginess.~

“Brick Cooked” Chicken with Flageolet Beans, Bloomsdale Spinach and Pistou
~Moist and flavorful – this is some of the best roast chicken we’ve had.~

Strawberries, Blueberries, Mascarpone, and some kind of Crumble
This unassuming dessert was incredible – honestly, one of the best desserts I’ve had in a while.~

And fireworks courtesy of Louis M Martini.

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Taylor’s Automatic Refresher

by Kelly on July 12, 2010 · 2 comments

….or I guess I should say Gott’s Roadside.  Taylor’s has a new name, but the owners insist everything else – i.e. their delicious food – is still the same.  Jeff and I make it a point to stop at Taylor’s every time we visit Napa and even though the sign says Gott’s now, the food is still fantastic!  This St. Helena establishment is well known for its amazing burgers and all-around good food.

After placing our order at the walk-up window,
we wondered back to the picnic tables and waited eagerly…

Fish Tacos
~Fresh Mahi Mahi in spicy taco marinade griddled & served in corn tortillas with Mexican slaw, salsa & jalapeño cilantro sour cream.~

Bacon Cheeseburger
~American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles & secret sauce on a toasted egg bun.~

Sweet Potato Fries
~Chili spice-dusted & served with house-made ranch.~

These are the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had!
I wish I had the recipe for the house-made ranch, it’s unreal!


Pork & Pinot

by Kelly on July 11, 2010 · 1 comment

On Saturday of our July 4th weekend, Jeff was inspired to cook up some fantastic food for all of us – 10 people!  We decided on grilled pork tenderloin along with Jeff’s roasted corn salad.  Thanks to Jeff’s hard work in the outdoor kitchen and a wonderful selection of Pinots from my dad’s cellar, our Pork & Pinot night was a hit!

We started off with some cheese and Chardonnay and a beautiful view of Vineyard 511 -
pretty much how we started every evening!

Aged Gouda…

…and La Tur, one of our favorite cheeses.  This creamy goat, sheep, and cow’s milk cheese from Piemonte becomes a runny piece of heaven as it warms up.

Jeff’s Roasted Corn Salad – always a crowd favorite!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
marinated in mustard, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, and olive oil

Grilled to perfection…caramelized marinade on the outside and moist on the inside.

And the Pinots…

2004 Alfieri San Germano Pinot Noir
2007 Chasseur Freestone Station Pinot Noir
2008 Kesner Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
2007 Michel-Schlumberger Le Fou Pinot Noir
2006 Michel-Schlumberger Le Fou Pinot Noir

All of these Pinots were great, but the Chasseur was our favorite.

I think Pork & Pinot night should become a permanent addition to our July 4th family reunion.

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Buster’s Southern BBQ in Calistoga

by Kelly on July 10, 2010 · 1 comment

Still catching up on all the great eating and drinking we did in Napa over July 4th….

After a hard day of wine tasting (Vineyard 511 and Kenzo Estate), we decided to pick up some Buster’s BBQ for dinner.  Buster’s is a little unassuming BBQ stand at the bottom of the hill where my dad’s house is in Calistoga.  But the meat here is no joke – definitely a must-have if you’re in Calistoga – and the perfect addition to your summer BBQ if you don’t want to actually BBQ!

Buster’s Pork Ribs

Buster’s BBQ Sauce

Butter Crunch Lettuce Salad (from our garden!)
~cranberries, pistachios, cucumbers, goat cheese, rice wine vinegar, olive oil~

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Kenzo Estate

by Kelly on July 8, 2010 · 1 comment

$100 million…
4,000 acres…
and 20 years in the making…

Last Friday we visited Kenzo Estate, Kenzo Tsujimoto’s newly debuted winery in Napa Valley.  You may recognize Tsujimoto as the CEO of Japanese video-game publisher Capcom Co. (Street Fighter and Resident Evil).  Tsujimoto has teamed up with winemaker Heidi Barrett (responsible for some of California’s most notable cult wines such as Screaming Eagle), esteemed vineyard manager David Abreu, as well as chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry.  In fact, Kenzo Estate wines will be available in the U.S. exclusively at Thomas Keller restaurants.

Upon arrival at the Kenzo Estate tasting room, we were given a glass of the 2008 Asatsuyu, a Bordeaux style Sauvignon Blanc, to taste as we toured the wine caves and fermenting rooms.  While I’m not a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc, I thought this one was quite good, especially on a hot summer day – though I’m not sure it’s worth the $60 price tag.

Along with the usual stainless-steel fermenting tanks, Kenzo Estate also has a room full of  experimental concrete vats which have not yet been used.

After the tour, we headed to the patio to continue our tasting and enjoy lunch catered by Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery.

We started with a cheese plate to accompany the wine…
Selection of local farm-fresh cheese with dried fruits, wildflower honey, and candied walnuts

Our overall opinion of the reds – we could tell that the vines were young (not much evidence of the fruit itself) which was offset with really good wine making.  We think the vintages will be better in a few years – and we look forward to trying these wines again later.

2006 Ai, Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Murasaki, Proprietary Red Wine
2006 Rindo, Red Wine

Next came our sandwiches which did not disappoint.  Bouchon Bakery is one of my favorite restaurants – Jeff and I can often be seen at the Columbus Circle location for brunch on the weekends.  Our only complaints have been the location (basically in a mall) and that they don’t serve chips with the sandwiches – both were remedied at Kenzo Estate…

Location – beautiful vineyard in the hills of Napa Valley
Chips – fried in duck fat (yes, duck fat) – so good!

Tuna Nicoise on Palladin
Tuna salad, Bibb lettuce, red onions, black olive tapenade and aioli

Beef Brisket on Pretzel Brioche
Horseradish and Dijon aioli, red mustard greens, Fontina, house pickles and pickled red onions

And a beautiful view.

Definitely a great way to spend the afternoon.

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