EATING CALIFORNIA

Just returned from a week in Wine Country! Three appointments per day seems easy, but these are not winery visits, these are long-winded affairs with lots of new wine, unfinished in many cases, and food. Lots of food. It seems food holds an equal billing at these affairs, and as they can last two, three hours or more sometimes, they seem to pick up right where the previous one left off. Which gives the impression (well actually the reality) that tasting and eating all day long can be exhausting!

The wines we tried, or at least the ones we purchased, will be the topic of an upcoming blog. So I am free to write about the food. I love food, as you all probably know. California does it well, with quality and style. Freshness of ingredients, simple preparations. Everything is so good and we ate three or four times a day, so since I cannot cover everything here, I will highlight the week’s special meals!

restaurant

Ca’ Momi Enoteca is located in the Oxbow Market in Napa, and we stopped by for Sunday lunch. Lovely mixed green salad, a couple of pizzas and a glass of Rosso di Napa. Rosemary, sea salt and speck… just melts in your mouth!

Mussels

Dinner Monday was also lovely, but the appetizer was perfect. A half artichoke with stem, grilled and served with aïoli and Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc from St. Ynez Valley.

main course

Tuesday, after a fabulous lunch with Clay Shannon, we met with the gang from Ca’ Momi for a tasting, then followed them back into Napa village for dinner with Dario de Conti (he owns the wine facility, and the Enoteca and the Osteria) at his newly opened Osteria Ca’ Momi just a few hundred yards from the Oxbow Market. Dinner was simply stunning. Most of the courses were things you don’t often see or would never order, but we did! Tripe, Cuttlefish, sweetbreads, stinko, all perfectly prepared, and the famous VPN pizza, a certified authentic pizza following the traditional methods and ingredients! Is your stomach full yet? Ours were!

Wednesday evening, after tasting through the Foley wines, including a personal favorite of mine, Chalone Vineyards, which Bill Foley recently purchased, they treated us to the most elegant dinner of the week, at Chalk Hill Winery. The salad alone was breathtaking! The potato and leek soup, cold, was equal and the braised spare ribs were just perfect!soup

Thursday was our last dinner in Napa, and it turned out to be one of the best I have had. After a long tasting, the group arrived at Morimoto Napa with a few bottles in hand. Champagne Jacques Selosses, Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru and a 1955 Ch. Siran Margaux were killer, but we added a Costa-Browne 2014 Russain River Pinot Noir to the mix… and the food? We all did the eight course Chef’s Tasting Menu, which I usually don’t do because I can eat but I couldn’t take another bite! Beautiful presentation, intense flavors, great company. Man, I could eat [in] California any day!

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