Friday, May 20, 2011


Bottega in Yountville, California, has a lovely outdoor deck and surrounded by flowers and the mountains in the distance it makes for a perfect, and surprisingly light (for Italian) dinner. We started with the roasted baby golden and chiogga beets with Point Reyes blue cheese spuma and pistachio vinaigrette.

The shaved artichoke was filled with amazing chunks of lemon olive oil braised artichoke, fried artichokes and parmigiano reggiano.

A shaved brussel sprout salad was a study in simplicity with only five ingredients including marcona almonds, sieved egg and pecorino. So light and fresh.

The green egg and ham was delicious and beautiful with a crispy fried egg with a runny center over olive oil poached asparagus and prosciutto bits.

The black pepper bucatini alla carbonara had a soft cooked hen egg over thick noodles and shaves asparagus in a creamy sauce.

The linguini bolognese had a rich, meaty sauce with veal, pork, rosemary and a porcini mushroom sugo.

The whole fish was roasted in a wood oven with meyer lemon, coal cooked fennel and roasted asparagus.

Finally, the grass fed lamb was tender and had amazing compliments of honey roasted pears, tarragon dressing and thick, creamy polenta.

Monday, May 16, 2011

La Cremeria

The newly opened La Cremeria has fantastic gelato. It's beyond creamy - and accented with perfect flavors, like tangy cherries and chocolate drizzle, mascarpone, or tiramisu. Insanely good.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Morimoto feels more meatpacking district than Napa valley, but the food is incredible and I’d be happy to have it in the city! It was a cool day, and a start of chicken ramen in a rich, meaty broth with perfectly tender noodles was great to warm up with.

The foie gras balls were unexpected and amazing – small, rich croquettes that reminded me of a decadent version of thanksgiving stuffing.

Slices of yellowtail with pastrami spices were unbelievably and flew off my plate. The purple beet powder, candied olives, gin crème fraiche, and breadsticks were perfect compliments.

The tempura soft shell crab rolls were beautiful with asparagus, avocado and spicy sauce.

I was expecting little dumplings when I ordered the pork gyoza; they arrived covered in a thin, crispy skin with bacon foam, tomato chutney and scallions.

I couldn’t help but order the beef curry bread – a panko breaded and fried ball of beef in sweet Japanese curry.

The fried rice came with a beautifully runny egg on top and was a great additional to the rest of the plates.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gott's Roadside

Gott's may be the hippest roadside stand I’ve been to, starting with the mango-tangerine smoothie blended with house-made lemonade. So refreshing on a hot day.

The fish tacos were loaded with griddled mahi mahi, salsa, slaw and a spicy jalapeno cilantro sour cream.

Sweet potato fries were salty and crunchy; the special sandwich, a Korean style tender pulled pork shoulder, was on a toasted egg bun with kimchi, hoisin mayo and cilantro. For the healthier option, a thick patty of seared tuna with ginger wasabi mayo and asian slaw.

The classic bacon burger was juicy, topped with secret sauce and perfectly complimented with crunchy onion rings.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The French Laundry

Dinner at The French Laundry is a special experience, with a very formal atmosphere and excitingly beautiful food.

It started with amuse bouche of a delicate, beyond creamy gougere, and a lovely miniature cone of salmon sashimi.

The first of the official 9 courses was the well known "oysters and pearls", with two tiny treasure cove oysters, white sturgeon caviar and buttery sabayon of tapioca pearls.

One of my favorite parts of dinner wasn't a course - it was this lovely presentation of 3 salts in antiqued silver cups.

Back to the menu - next was a choice of the moulard duck foie gras with rosewater, pink lady apple, red walnuts and a black truffle gastrique or the gnome sized carrots (below) from the French Laundry garden across the street with medjool dates, cilantro and madras curry.

The Columbia River sturgeon was light and served with a smear of baby beets, and my favorite - cucumber dill gelee cubes, with a scoop of mild horseradish cream.

The butter poached main lobster tail was incredible; but most interesting with the ramp covered "subric", a spongy cake, topped with English peas, Tokyo turnips and Perigord truffle.

The Liberty Farm pekin duck stole the show for me - incredibly crispy on top, completely tender inside, with rich flavor; crispy beech mushrooms and savoy cabbage.

The tete de cochon was molded into a lovely cylinder and was as tender and flavorful as it should be with a hen egg, asparagus, cornichons, frisee and Dijon mustard.

The "calotte de boeuf grille" was beyond belief - a juicy, tender slice of beef with a red butter, melted green garlic, spring onions, and potatoes.

The mousse au chocolat blanc was a deliciously smooth dessert, with morello cherris and marcona almonds.

To finish off, there were small sugar doughnuts and a trayful of chocolates.