I have been lucky enough to be temporally assigned to a new property (within my company) in Napa Valley, CA. at the Silverado Resort. If you have ever been part of transition team at a large property you know how demanding it can be. Long days for multiple weeks combined with living out of a hotel room can be a rough and sometimes an overwhelming experience. Being away from loved ones and breaking your normal routine can take its toll if you don’t have a little fun.
That being said I have pushed myself to have a little adventure whenever the opportunity arises. Last Sunday I rode a bike 11 miles up and down winding roads to Yountville in search of the French Laundry. My friend Bill talked me into this and I followed with the thought that you only live once. After an hour or so of peddling in 90 degree heat, past miles and miles of wineries and endless vineyards we came upon route 29, the road to Yountville. When we finally arrived both Bill and I were pretty sweaty and quite disheveled. I was wearing gym shorts and Bill a YMCA shirt that looked like he had just finished cleaning his garage. I am not sure what we were thinking, but in the front door we went.
The maitre de was puzzled; he was either thinking that we were pan handlers or a pair of Tommy tourist that lacked any class or good sense. Bill having the gift of gab explained we were actually F&B people and that we had just made the before mentioned journey. He seemed amused but was still not clear what we wanted. Bill then went on to say that we were Chefs and would it be possible to look at the kitchen. To our surprise he said yes and began to lead us through the DR until his good sense kicked in. After a brief pause he said maybe we should go around the back, so we entered through the rear door and into a small service hall, walls adorned with menus, awards, wine lists and assorted celebrity signed posters and memorabilia, I could not get a real good look as service was actively being executed and I tried as hard as I could to be thin and stay clear of the organized frenzy. Square footage is at a premium in this very small, heavily equipped and heavily staffed kitchen. As servers moved quickly in and out of the kitchen, efficiently relaying instructions on the progress of courses within their stations all I could do was offer my apologies for being in their way. During the 15 or 20 minutes that we intruded on their space, not one person appeared to be anything but polite, professional and patient with us. I have to say that I wouldn’t have let me in my kitchen looking like we did never mind during service at one of America’s top restaurants. As I stared, eyes wide open like a kid in a candy store, the sous vide butter poached lobster circulator, the plates silently moving down one of the four prep lines staffed by a team of about 25 cooks and chefs, I had to remind myself this was lunch. The Chef de Cuisine, Tim Hollingsworth a nine year veteran of the restaurant did not say much, but was very polite and cordial. As we watched multiple courses slid forward in each station waiting for Chef Tim’s final approval, complete with almost surgical like placement of the final garnish and a wipe of the plate we began to salivate. We dropped a few hints about being open to tasting a thing or two. Chef smiled and went back to his work, it wasn’t going to happen, we counted our blessing for what we experienced, shook a few hands, thanked all concerned and politely excused ourselves. We vowed to return, but unfortunately did not have the opportunity.
Uva Downtown Napa-A Local Place
A great place with live music, awesome service and pretty good food. We shared several appetizers that were pretty standard fare, but good quality and cooked properly.
Brunch at Ad Hoc
It was OK, nothing to write home about, I was somewhat disappointed. We were told the menu was geared towards the Holiday weekend tourist. At about $40 a head I expected more.
Course One: Potato pancake, duck trap smoked salmon, crème fresh and a nice fennel-greens salad.
Course Two: Sliced Omelet, 2 Slices Each of Braised Nuske Bacon and a Snap Pea Salad
Course Three: An Oreo Cookie and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich that was off the charts!
Waiting For A Table Chef David Course One
Chefs Market Napa
Every Thursday from 6 - 9 pm a Chefs Market a.ka. Street festival takes place. I didn’t see any Chefs, but I did enjoy the offerings of many stalls. Roasted Oysters with the choice of 4 sauces at $2 a piece were really good. The local favorite called Malfatti was pretty good.
Dinner at Whitehall Lane Winery
The Chefs from the Silverado Resort catered this amazing meal. The food, the ambiance, the wine and the company were the best.
Zuzu Tapas- Great place, great food with big flavors.