after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

[Another] Napa Adventure

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t says:  So you knew this was coming: a trip to Napa.  I’m actually surprised it took about a month for us to make the trip on out to wine country (while we’ve managed to visit wine country on pretty much every California visit we’ve had thus far, including ones that lasted only for a few days).  This time, because kp was coming all the way from Hot-lanta, we knew we had to do it right.

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We started off with a visit to Model Bakery near Oxbow, where we were promised “the best English muffins ever”.  And holy cow they were awesome, quite possibly worthy of that accolade!  We did breakfast sandwiches that were out of this world (egg+cheese+meat fare), but truth be told, every single item in there looked amazing.  It was no surprise that the line stretched out the door (we were lucky we even got in!) and that they were completely sold out of nearly everything by noon.  We’re totally making this a “tradition” for future Napa trips; sorry Bouchon Bakery – it’s time to step aside for Model Bakery.  Who needs French macaroons, when you can have sticky buns and bacon bread?

 

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Now, there was some serious tasting on that day (we met up with MacDonald brothers, visited Matthiasson, and had a large group at Clos Du Val), but I didn’t pull out my camera at each one.  Matthiasson provided us with an extraordinary setting, as our travel required a super-secret, super-fast departure from suburbia-Napa, arriving at vineyard-Napa within a mere 30 seconds.  Clos Du Val put on a great tasting for us as well, pulling out a barrel sample and library bottling that were truly excellent.  (As much press as the 2013 CdV Cab is getting, I’m more excited for the 2014).  I’m glossing over the tasting notes here (just know that there was something worthy of purchase from each of our stops), and will instead leave you with one of our friend’s tasting notes … he/she shall remain nameless to protect the innocent[ly drunk].

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Dinner was had at Bar Terra in Calistoga.  With a quirky menu, including a lot of Asian influences (I believe the chef is Japanese), I was attracted to the ramen, and it was pretty damn good!  It got some pretty harsh reviews online, and I’m not sure I understand why.  While not over-the-top, in-your-face like the super-hip ramen joints opening up now in SF, and not necessarily strictly traditional-Japanese, it had a wonderful palette of flavors, was well-executed, was plentiful, and was reasonably priced (for anywhere – not just for Napa).  For the money, I can’t think of a more satisfying dinner entree in Napa.  Maybe people need to have foie and steak and gold leaf, and that’s why they don’t like ramen?

 

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Now this was “the” dish on Terra’s menu – supposedly the one item of which they are the most proud: broiled sake marinated black cod.  The cod was delicious, and the dumplings were delicious, but it was that broth that was other-worldly.  I’m pretty sure no one left a drop of that broth on the table.  As far as dinner entrees go, Bar Terra did an excellent job.  And with the casual atmosphere, it was definitely a great place to bring a group of people.  While the tasting-menu-only Terra was next door, the gang was pleased enough with Bar Terra that we still would have chosen it over a more formal affair.  Sure there were some throw-away items on Bar Terra’s menu (like the grown-up version of a popcorn shrimp appetizer), but the entrees made us forget those sins.  End result: Bar Terra was a great deal for Calistoga, and if you enjoy the Asian influences on food, but don’t want to pay an arm or leg for Redd, this is the place to go.  Sure, it won’t have the super-pristine ambience of Redd, but aren’t we getting too old for that?  Oh – and the wine list, while being small for Napa, is VERY reasonably priced (a lot of their bottles were essentially retail + $25 – and even those that were more came in at FAR underneath the usual 2.5-4x markup of Yountville).  OH – and they also have a $25 corkage fee per bottle (which is pretty incredible) … which they then waive bottle-for-bottle with any bottles you buy from their list.  This and Bistro Jeanty will be our go-to for reasonable-eats in the valley.

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The following morning, we hit up Kitchen Door.  Full of mostly savory items, their items definitely over-delivered in both size and flavor.  Above, you see the banh mi …

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… and here is the breakfast pizza, with eggs and mushrooms and more!  It made us want to visit for dinner for sure!

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

28 February 2016 at 10:21pm

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