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Fish Story Napa

FRIED CLAMS

The dude behind BarBersQ is now the chef at Fish Story which is located in the snazzy new Napa Riverfront area. As soon as I heard lobster was on the menu I made a reservation. The first thing our waitress told us upon being seated was that their seafood is all sourced in accordance with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, which is cool. Mike decided to go with the HOOK, LINE & SINKER 3 course meal (which was a steal at $27). It included a cup of chowder, shrimp & grits and butterscotch pudding. I chose the fried clams appetizer and the Maine lobster roll. The clams were my favorite thing of the night… plump with a light salty batter and a zingy cocktail sauce (wish it was a larger portion!). The lobster roll with kettle chips was very good, especially the super buttery bun, but I have come to the realization that I am a lobster purist. Lobster boiled or grilled and drenched in butter with a squeeze of lemon is heaven. Mike was happy with his dishes but felt the grits could have been a little creamier. We shared the pudding which was delish. If you’re looking for a seafood meal in Napa that won’t break the bank (especially if you order the prix fixe menu) check it out.

LOBSTER ROLL

SHRIMP & GRITS

Note: after drinking wine all day I wanted something non-alcoholic and the Mixed Berry Cooler was yummy!

Rating:

Website: http://fishstorynapa.com/

Fish Story on Urbanspoon

Dim Sum Charlie’s Napa


I don’t know if I have mentioned this but we are making wine at Crushpad which means we spent most of the month of October in Napa sorting, punching and pressing our Pinot Noir grapes. I will tell you more about that experience in another post. On one of our many weekends we decided to check out Dim Sum Charlie’s dim sum truck for lunch. I had read about it on twitter. The airstream is located right around the corner from Oxbow market, basically in the backyard of someone’s home (I assume Charlie :smile:)

When we arrived we grabbed a pen and the menu and marked the items we wanted to order as you would in any typical dim sum establishment. We opted for the honey baked bbq pork buns, white fluffy pork buns, stiiiicky rice, pork sui mai dumplings and the ten dolla make you holla dumpling combo (7 different items). The staff was friendly and happy to serve and everything tasted as it should. My only gripe would be the price. It is really expensive. The average price is $6.85 for 4 dumplings. I thought Sino at Santana Row was the most high-end dim sum at $3.25-4.25 but it’s dirt cheap in comparison. You would think they would be able to keep the cost down since they have no real overhead.

Verdict: You gotta give it a try. It’s something different in Napa.

Note: all seating is outside so if it’s raining and cold dress accordingly. It is also surrounded by construction so beware of loud noises even on the weekend.

Website: http://www.dimsumcharlies.com/

CADE Winery


Guest post by Mike (my wine guy)

On one of our recent trips to Napa, Nicole and I decided to visit Cade Winery (a PlumpJack property) because we had tasted their wine at Pebble Beach Food & Wine and were impressed. The winery is located at the top of Howell Mountain which takes a bit of time to get to but it’s worth every mile.

When you first arrive it almost seems like you’re in the Sierras. The building is Gold LEED certified which means is was built in the most environmentally conscious way. The tasting room is more like a living room than a business and we got to sit on comfortable couches while tasting four outstanding wines. It costs $20 per person but the “pours” are huge and you get personal attention – there was only one other couple that joined us. The winery-rep spent an entire hour explaining the wines and the production process. We were told they only have about 6-8 people max per tasting session.

We tasted the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Cuvee, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain and the 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. All were amazing. The Sauvignon Blanc was refreshing and the 7% Semillon blended in made it that much more complex. All three Cabs were out of this world but I particularly loved the Howell Mountain for it’s smokey aroma and herbal/black cherry finish.

After the tasting the winery rep took Nicole and I on a quick tour of the wine caves and barrel room – very impressive. If you’re looking for a unique tasting experience you can’t find a better, more inviting place than Cade.

Website: http://www.cadewinery.com/cade/

Tastings offered Monday-Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm by appointment only.

I have to say this is one of my favorite spots now (I almost didn’t post this so it stays a secret…Nicole)

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BarBersQ


If you’re looking for Memphis style BBQ in Napa look no further than BarBersQ. The place is rockin’  — literally. Mike couldn’t stop shimmying his shoulders as classic R&B and Neo Soul tunes piped through the restaurant.

You’d think this being a barbecue joint I would order ribs or pulled pork but I had heard they had fried chicken and I NEVER pass up fried chicken. Mike chose the Caesar salad (very nice) and the Q combo with brisket and chicken. My 4 pieces of Southern fried chicken arrived with a side of collard greens and mashed potatoes. The chicken was hot with a light crispy skin that had a hint of sweetness. Compared to competing fowl I’d put it above Ad Hoc but just below Boon Fly’s versions. It comes with a vinegar hot sauce that looks more intimidating than it is. It actually could be hotter.


Mike enjoyed his BBQ but preferred the chicken over the beef.


We finished off our meal with a hefty slice of chocolate bundt cake from our favorite ABC Bakery.


We were beyond stuffed…it took days to digest.

Although it’s not located in the most prime location (in a strip mall sandwiched between a Target and a Whole Foods) I’d go back in a heartbeat. The large portions, tasty eats, reasonable prices, casually chic decor and jazzy music make up for the lackluster outdoor setting.

Rating:

Website: http://www.barbersq.com/

BarBers Q on Urbanspoon

Ad Hoc Brunch

Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc serves up Brunch every Sunday from 10-1pm and it’s become supremely popular. We arrived at 10:10 and the placed was full by 10:30. It’s a 3 course meal for $34.  I had heard from others that the Brunch menu included Bouchon pastries, yogurt and then a choice of a breakfasty main dish (waffles, pancakes, eggs) but on our visit the format had changed. This is the menu we received on May 16, 2010 (no choices available).

Ice berg lettuce with buttermilk dressing, red onions, apples and walnuts

Steak & scrambled eggs with creme fraiche, wild mushroom ragu and fava beans

Oven roasted potatoes

Beignets covered in sugar with strawberry, vanilla and chocolate dipping sauces

The salad was good but nothing special. The steak and eggs on the other hand was a masterpiece. It still amazes me how every single bite is perfectly seasoned. The man knows how to use salt! The beignets were divine even though they were more like donuts; dipped in a combo of vanilla-strawberry sauce was delish. We left satisfied but not stuffed (which is always a good thing).

Next visit I would make my reservation for a later time. It definitely is more of an early lunch menu than a breakfast. I don’t usually wake up and have a salad with my french press.

See our past Ad Hoc adventures:
Fried Chicken night
Pork dinner

Bottega


Mike and I took my sister and her husband to Napa for a weekend before they moved from the Bay Area to Hawaii. We decided we would dine at Bottega, Michael Chiarello’s newest creation. On the night we arrived he was actually in the house. While waiting for our table he walked through the bar and mingled with guests. As he was making his way back to the kitchen he made a comment to my sister and brother-in-law. The waiting area is small and the place was packed so my sister was sitting on her husband’s lap. Chef Chiarello said something like  “You guys look comfortable… I’m gonna bring you a menu, actually maybe just dessert.”  (at lease that’s what I think I heard — it was noisy so I could be a little off but that was the jist).

Soon after we were seated at a large round table in the side dining area. We started our meal with a raw fish appetizer and fresh mozzarella. For mains, I chose the seafood stew, Mike had the Quail and my sister and hubby shared a giant porterhouse steak and fries. For dessert we had a yummy cookie plate and a tart. The food and service was very good definitely worthy of a Top Chef Master but we didn’t expect anything less. For years Mike & I have been fans of the NapaStyle empire Chiarello created. If you haven’t heard about his wine club check it out. We have been members for over 2 years and we love it.

Pictured: Mozzarella (top left), Fish app served on a salt rock (top right), Stew (bottom left), Quail (bottom right)

Rating: drumstick rating drumstick rating drumstick rating halfdrumstick

Website: http://www.botteganapavalley.com/

Note: This dinner occurred in May 2009.
Bottega on Urbanspoon

Boon Fly Cafe

Boon Fly is a cozy cafe located in a bright red barn facade at the Carneros Inn (a Plumpjack resort) in Napa. It is a casual set up with a homey menu. The night we went I ordered the Fried Chicken and Mike had the Meatloaf special. Mike’s meal came with a large carafe of wine, salad AND dessert for $29. Great deal! It took some time for our meal to arrive. We found out it was due to the chicken being made to order. I was surprised by the huge serving size. The chicken was amazing. Just like I make it at home…it had a crispy light batter without any fancy herbs and spices but to give it a little kick they added a hint of hot sauce to the batter. Brilliant! It is the polar opposite of Ad Hoc’s famous thick buttermilk battered herby creation. To all those folks who think Ad Hoc’s got the best fried chicken in Napa, think again…they’ve got some serious competition! Mike gobbled down his meatloaf within minutes without any complaints. We finished things off with an awesome slice of banana creme pie.

Boon Fly is a great place to grab a tasty bite for a reasonable price. We look forward to coming back to try the breakfast. We hear it is out- of- sight.

Note: This meal took place in May 09.

meatloaf

Rating: drumstick ratingdrumstick ratingdrumstick ratingdrumstick rating

Website: http://www.thecarnerosinn.com/

Boon Fly Cafe on Urbanspoon

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