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.
'napa valley' on Serious Eats
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.
When we editors are out on eating tours, like we did with Ford Escape in Napa a few weeks ago, we tend to map out our own itineraries. But Serious Eats overlord Ed Levine does chime in with opinions from time to time—and when he does, they tend to be pretty spot-on. "Redd Wood is Richard Reddington's new pizzeria," he emailed us. "I just met him [in Los Angeles] tonight. I had apps at his other restaurant in Yountville, Redd, and they were really good. I bet his pizza is pretty damn good. You should try it."
Duck meat, perhaps the most profoundly meaty of all fowl, makes a fine stand-in for a traditional beef patty in this burger at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. Ginger, scallions, hoisin, and soy sauce along with braised shiitake mushrooms give the burger its "Chinatown" moniker.
This week we bring you something a little bit different from our typical Meet Your Farmers profiles. Avia Hawksworth isn't a farmer. She's the forager for the newly-opened Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena, California. That means she sources local ingredients for the always-rotating menu and educates diners on where they're food is coming. Chez Panisse was first to start a "forager" position back in the 1970s.
The natural wine movement is growing, spurred by winemakers' concerns about the long-term viability of their land, the quality of their wine, and the protection of the environment. In honor of Earth Day on April 22, we chatted with Michael Honig about his efforts toward sustainability at Honig Vineyard and Winery in California, and taste-tested a few great natural wines to recommend.
[Photographs: Carey Jones] Grilled turkey sandwich, or beef cheek tacos? Drive along California's Route 29, through the heart of Napa Valley, and you'll pass by any number of superb restaurants—fertile soil, world-class wine, and the people who love said wine create an excellent climate for fine dining. But when you're looking for a quick lunch, not a Michelin adventure, options can seem a bit slim. Here are two of my favorite, under-$10 eats in wine country, after the jump....