The stars aligned, the babysitting Gods bestowed upon us and I had the opportunity to tour Napa Valley with my husband and a great group of friends. I am not the most organized traveler, so I am thankful to have responsible girlfriends who took on the role to make sure we hit the best wineries and local restaurants. Napa, and the surrounding valleys, must be one of the most sustainable areas I have traveled to and this resonated in every restaurant and farmer's market.....May and not a tomato in sight. It was also interesting to learn how they have managed to churn out a steady crop with the current record drought.....hello, dry irrigation. See! I did more than just taste wine and eat. For anyone who really appreciates local agriculture (wasn’t everyone's first field trip to a working farm?), beautiful scenery and farm to fork fare, Napa is a must. I have decided to pay it forward to my fellow itinerary-challenged readers and compile a list of my fav food stops along the way.
Farmstead: By far, my most favorite restaurant of the trip. I felt right at home with the cozy barn house-chic decor....like I fell right into an Anthropologie catalog....the dream!!!! The lunch menu rocked so went wild and ordered one of everything. The warm burrata cheese with LMR estate olive oil might be the best thing that has ever happen to me....and my life was already pretty awesome. Bonus: They have a super cute shop with wine tastings in the front.
Oxbow Public Market: For the philly folks, this will remind you of Reading Terminal Market. Lots of little specialty food and spice shops, a few casual restaurants, cafes (tried some old school drip coffee) and desserts galore. I am always in the mood for Mexican cuisine, and based off of the plates and smiles walking away from C CASA, we made a beeline for it. Served open faced on a perfectly portioned (sorry, its the dietitian in me) corn tortilla were the fixins’ for the freshest chicken taco you will have...outside of Mexico. The homemade guac rounded out the meal....extra charge and all....totally worth it.
Oakville Grocery: We got so caught up in making sure we made our reservations at each winery, we almost forgot to stop for lunch....I am sure you could guess how that would end. We cruised by Oakville Grocery and made a pit stop. I was only in there for a hot second (again, we had major reservations to keep) but was there long enough to capture the adorable essence of a country corner store.....but with swagger. " Oakville Grocery - founded in 1881 - is the oldest continually operating grocery store in California. Since Its opening, Oakville Grocery has been a destination for locals and visitors alike. With our renovation, we have reconnected to our California roots, offering a highly curated selection of the best products from farmers, artisans and purveyors in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys". The fried chicken sandwich with "brined petaluma chicken, smoked bacon remoulade, oakville dills, shredded lettuce on an acme torpedo toll" may have been the best chicken sandwich I have ever stuffed in my face. The fact that I was the hungriest I have ever been may have made me a bit biased, but I don't think so.
Of course there were the fancy pants restaurants like Ad Lib and Mustards for dinner throughout the trip, but these places never really do it for me the way a bright and casual lunch with local produce and a glass of rosé does. Maybe they are trying too hard? Or, maybe I just have a trashy palate.
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