after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Napa/SF Recap: Day 3

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t says: Our last full day in Napa.  What to do, what to do!  We started off the morning right with a trip to Boon Fly Cafe with k and cm.  We had their trademark delicious doughnuts – they were pretty good.  I think they were especially good because they were fresh, but, having had some fresh doughnuts from Mary Anne’s in Sea Isle City, I have had better.  I had their chocolate chip pancakes, which were also quite tasty, but they reminded me a lot of something I could have made at home.  Don’t get me wrong – the food at Boon Fly was good, it was inexpensive, and it was filling.  But coming off of such great food the night before, I was kind of expecting to have my mind blown.  Alas, my mind remained intact.  Bummer.

We drove off to di Rosa Preserve, and, after a detour through Sonoma (we missed an important turn), we finally arrived … only to find that most of it was closed due to renovations.  Double-bummer.  We did see their car they had on exhibit:

Pretty wild, right?

We could have reserved a spot to tour their grounds, but we kind of didn’t really want a tour.  We wanted to chillax.  So we left.  But at least we saw their sheep!

In any case, we journeyed across the street to make an unscheduled visit at Domaine Carneros!  They seemed like they had patio umbrellas, which sounded like the perfect way to chillax on a beautiful day.  First … we parked next to an inferior rental convertible …

Yea, their faux cheateau was a little … faux … but it got the job done.  We sat on the balcony and peered over all that is wine country.  It was beautiful.  We enjoyed a cheese plate and g had a glass of … surprise … bubbly!

After an hour or so, we took their tour.  And wow … Domaine Carneros was totally geared for tourists.  They had big windows to look through, and a well-appointed tasting area.  They did discuss the making of bubblies, which was fun, but it wasn’t really down-and-dirty – it was kind of like “look – we do it there – see?”.

Sorry for the blur – I was trying to be nonchalant!

These are their huge mechanized riddlers!

Touche.

So … where to next?  Another bubbly winery!!  We hit up Domaine Chandon for a slightly different experience.  I won’t lie – Domaine Chandon was also geared for tourists, but there was more walking through the winery involved, which I appreciated.  Also, our tour guide was fantastic.  Yes, he was on auto-pilot mode (he must have given that tour a billion times), but he was still energetic enough to keep our attention.  He also had a huge black eye, which I originally thought was a birthmark of some sort, but turned out to be the result of too much wine and “acting stupid” (his words).

They did tell us something interesting: when the winery was built, the surrounding area protested.  They did not want a big ugly massive structure from LVMH.  And so … they made a winery that you really cannot see from the road whatsoever.  It was pretty well concealed.  Here’s the front door.  I’ll spare you the other photos of inside the winery … you’ve seen enough for this post …

We did a “mixed drink” tasting at Domaine Chandon.  It was … interesting.  Our tour guide hammed it up, and we have now learned the beauty of the ginger-mint mojito (with bubbly!) … but I think it was the people around us that made it most fun.  cm sat at a table with some Turkish people who were involved “in textiles”.  They apparently did not want to discuss their involvement.  At the table with k, g, and me was a couple approximately our parents’ age who turned out to also be from the South Jersey area!  When the woman found out we were from Philly, the first question she asked was, “So … do you go clubbing in Old City?”  “Nooo … we just live there.”  Throughout the course of the tasting, as she came to know more about us, she kept referring to us as “such good kids”.  I guess the four of us are goody-two-shoes.

That night, we had dinner at Ad Hoc.  We pre-gamed by hanging out at our hotel with a bottle of white from Castello di Amorosa, a loaf of bread from Bouchon, and a deck of cards.  We had to get ourselves mentally prepared for Ad Hoc.  It was going to be our only TK-inspired meal.  We had high hopes …

When we arrived, I was impressed with how bright and open it was.  Bistro Jeanty was a little dim, and Tra Vigne was dim as well.  Not Ad Hoc – they wanted you to see everything that was about to go down.  It was also a little loud – it reminded me of a crazed BYO in Philly.  I felt at home …  Let the feast begin …

Things started off with a salad.  With bleu cheese.  And Bacon.  And Beets.  You know – I will confess that I was disappointed with “salad” when I read the menu, but I was thinking of some sissy, summery salad.  No, this salad is the salad that beats up other salads and takes their lunch money.  It would have made kp proud.

Then we moved on to the main course, which was chateaubriand.  Cooked beautifully.  It was some of the best steak that I had had in a long, long time.  I think what made it so noteworthy was that I had grown used to tougher cuts of meat like hanger steak and the like – but no – this was tenderloin … and it was tender.  We added on two servings of the “optional” bone marrow and our jaws dropped when we saw the size of those suckers – they were huge!  Normally the marrow is barely more than how much butter you’d use on a dinner roll.  But I swear there was enough per bone to adequately cover the entire blade of a butter knife.

There was so much that cm couldn’t handle the richness past a single half-bone.  It took some real arm-twisting, but I had no choice but to man up and enjoy three half-femurs of bone marrow.  It was awesome.  My blood probably flowed yellow with the amount of fat I ingested that night, but it was worth it.  Vegetables?  Yeah, there were some vegetables, too.  There was a baked-then-fried potato with bacon, and there was some ?squash? – I really can’t remember, because by the time it mixed with the jus, steak, and bone marrow, it might as well have been meat.

The cheese course was fantastic.  I remember thinking to myself, “you know – if this was the last thing I eat tonight, I’d be happy”.  And that says a lot – because when it comes to dessert, I always have to have something sweet.  But no – not this time – I was fine with cheese … until I saw the dessert:

Now, don’t be fooled by this picture.  Sure, it seems like it’s one haphazardly arranged, normal-sized sundae.  No – it’s a MASSIVE sundae (as everything served at Ad Hoc is served family style).  And it’s not just a normal massive sundae, it’s a massive sundae inspired by s’mores.  Graham cracker cookies, vanilla ice cream, marshmallow creme, and rich, luscious chocolate (the kind that puts meat on your bones and sticks to your ribs).

Really, in my opinion, as far as the food goes, Ad Hoc presented us with the most decadent food we ate the entire time we were on vacation.  I’m not sure if that made it “better” than the food we had any other night, but it was executed perfectly – I had zero complaints (rare for me), and there was a lot of food.  I think it was definitely worth the $50 price of admission.

And you know what … if you wanted more of any course, you were able to order more!!  It was all you can eat!  Holy crap!  Who in their right mind could possibly eat any more than they had served?  Afterwards, I actually thought to myself “darn, maybe we should hit up saladworks tomorrow or something for dinner instead of going out”.  I snapped out of it, but you get the idea!

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 October 2010 at 12:30am

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