Harvest season is wrapping up in California, and soon the region's winemakers will finally get to catch up on some sleep. But before that happens, we wanted to check in with one of our local favorites: Dan Petroski of Massican, an upstart winery focused on making Italian-inspired white wines in Napa Valley.
'Napa' on Serious Eats
Jessica Entzel, pastry chef at Morimoto Napa (and nominee for Food & Wine magazine's "The People's Best New Pastry Chef"), fills us in on her favorite sweets and desserts in the Napa Valley, with a list of treats that run the gamut from a bucket of freshly baked doughnuts to a classic root beer float.
There's more to the story of Ribolla Gialla, particularly in the Napa Valley.
A day of sun, great music and better food at the inauguration of a new Napa festival.
"Semillon is not a fashionable variety," announces Wine Grapes. "Nowhere outside Sauternes," the book continues, "does there seem to be a groundswell of enthusiasm for this noble variety." Time for a re-write, Wine Grapes.
We are really freaking excited for the first annual Bottle Rock Festival, coming to Napa Valley this week. Featuring an absolutely stellar lineup of musical acts (have I mentioned that The Black Keys are one of my favorite things?) and an equally kick-ass roster of food and drink, Bottle Rock is bringing together the best of the music and Bay Area food worlds. For this special edition of Ask a Chef, we asked some chefs who will be at the festival what tunes get them going in the kitchen.
If you've been tasting wine all day in Napa or Sonoma, by sunset you might be ready for a change of pace. Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's family-style restaurant in Yountville, recently got its liquor license, and the team, including Bar Manager Christian Schnurr, Sommelier and Assistant GM Jessica Pinzon, and GM Josh Blackman, has been busy perfecting a Keller-approved 6-item cocktail list that just made its debut. We took the launch as an excuse to head up to wine country to check it out.
There's plenty of fine dining in California's Napa Valley, in what must have the nation's highest rate of Michelin stars per capita. But even those of you down to spend can't do every meal as a tasting menu. Luckily, there are plenty of places in Napa Valley to eat on the cheap (or comparatively cheap). Here's our guide.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a wine-loving young woman in Napa on Saturday morning must be in want of a breakfast sandwich. And luckily, there's a fantastic one at Model Bakery in St. Helena, CA.
Despite its unappealingly mysterious jet-black color and origin as a fungal infection on a corn cob, it's delicious. Vaguely mushroom-y (but not in a truffle-y way), a little tart, and extremely savory, huitlacoche makes one of the greatest taco/sope/huarache fillings around and I very rarely get my fill of it.
"People don't necessarily expect great cocktails in Napa Valley," Michael Pazdon said. He runs the bar program at the newly opened Goose & Gander in St. Helena, together with partner Scott Beattie. "They'll come in and be like, 'Anything but another glass of wine, please!' And I've got your back."
There are only so many vineyards even the hardiest drinker can visit before they need to stop and pad their stomach. Many of those wine-tasters end up at Genova Delicatessen, which means perennial long lines at this Italian-style deli. If you have the patience to wade through the crowds of semi-drunk people who seem to have particular difficulty with the deli's number system, then Genova is worth a stop.
Every growing season—every vintage—is different, and while some are good and others not so good, 2011 is shaping up to be one of the worst in Napa's recent history. It's a popular adage that a good winemaker can make good wine even in a poor year, but sometimes it's just bad. Grapes struggle every year with the whims of nature and the weather she doles out, and disease can be a problem at any time. Some vineyards have gotten away without too much pain, but this year there has been a major problem with rot.
As small city food markets go, Oxbow Market in Napa, California, couldn't be more impressive. Opened in 2007, it feels like a scaled-down version of San Francisco's Ferry Building—little coincidence, as Oxbow's founder, Steve Carlin, was the Ferry Building project manager, behind the launch of that incredible marketplace. At Oxbow, you've got the same careful selection of stores, the same open-air feel, and the same variety, but on a scale appropriate to a smaller town. Here are seven great bites to try there.
I'm a big fan of dinners that require some assembly at the table: give me some lettuce and pancakes for wrapping, sauces to smear, and free rein to create my own masterpiece, and I'm happy to roll up my sleeves. The classy patio at Solbar in Calistoga may not seem the most obvious place for freeform finger food, but their Lucky Pig is as delicious as it is fun.
According to the New York Times, Copia, the food, wine, and art museum in Napa, California, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Julia Moskin is too polite to state the obvious, that Copia was clearly overly ambitious, to say the least, and never quite found its footing or place in the food world. Even 35 million dollars of Robert Mondavi's money wasn't enough to see it through. It's hard to imagine a reorganizational scheme that can work for Copia, particularly in these times. Everyone in the food world rooted from near and far for Copia to succeed, but to me it seemed doomed from the outset. I take no pleasure in saying that, believe me....
Because a majority of my food comes from the farmers market, I am often tied to the schedule of farmers markets around the Bay Area. I missed my home market twice in a row due to scheduling conflicts in recent weeks, but I made up for it by visiting the brand-new Divisadero Farmers Market and the Napa Farmers Market. I was in Napa for the unbelievably great Taste3 Conference and snuck out between speakers to visit the small, but extremely friendly and adequate, downtown market. Cruising the markets, I noticed a proliferation of plum and apricot-like stone fruits: pluots, plumcots, apriums, plums, and apricots. It wasn't until I came home and perused the Internet that I figured out the...
Michael Bauer, food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, continues his Pizza Friday series on his blog Between Meals with a trip to Pizza Azzurro in Napa, California. Azzurro makes thin-crust Roman-style pizza: Bauer says: Crust: One of the thinnest crusts I've encountered, with a chewiness at the center and a blackened edge whose rim shatters into a half dozen bites. It takes about five minutes to achieve this texture.Pizza tried: The Margherita has a judicious slather of acidic tomato sauce, with seeds, stringy mozzarella and thick shards of fresh basil. It was a perfect complement that didn't overpower the...
Mimi Sheraton had an update on Napa dining a couple of months ago in the Times. She mentioned the obvious choices, Bouchon French Laundry, but I wished she had focuses on more casual dining: Here are my choices for eating in Napa: Terra: 1345 Railroad Ave., St. Helena, Ca. 707-963-8931 Intelligent, graceful, and very tasty California cooking with Asian influences served in a relaxed, low-key setting by chef Hiro Sone and his pastry chef wife Lissa Doumani. Taylor's Refresher: An institution that features excellent burgers (including a very fine Tuna version), shakes, and fries. Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, 1327 Railroad Avenue, St. Helena, 707-963-1200....