Did the holidays leave your wallet a bit light? You can still afford the delicious comfort of dining out this month, thanks to January 2016 restaurant weeks in more than 30 cities.
When you tell your foodie friends you’re spending a weekend in California’s Wine Country, you’re going to get countless suggestions for wining and dining your way around the area – and with good reason. There are almost 200 restaurants alone in the area on OpenTable and more than 400 wineries. Unless you’re a local, there’s no way to tackle them all even in a year (or 10!), let alone a couple of days. But, the good news is that it’s really hard to take a wrong turn. This was my stealthy and delicious agenda in Napa and Sonoma earlier this month.
1PM: Cakebread Cellars
One of our very helpful Uber drivers cautioned us that the Napa winery scene was becoming quite corporate, with many requiring appointments. Having gone the non-appointment route several years back, I preferred the intimacy of scheduled tastings, particularly at Cakebread Cellars. For $40 per person, we opted for the Reserve tasting, which included a private tour of the winery’s operations and a very gently paced, thoughtful tasting in a grand room overlooking the vineyard, where we sipped wines that we’d never sampled, despite being longtime Cakebread fans.
3PM: Gott’s Roadside (FKA Taylor’s Refresher)
My last visit to Gott’s was a bust as the Saturday lines were obscenely long, but this time out, the weekday timing played to our favor. At this local classic, we were eating juicy cheeseburgers and sharing crispy fries with each other (and a few brave birds) within a few minutes of parking. Bonus for my fellow gluten-free diners: You can get any burger animal-style, wrapped in lettuce, and it’s still supremely satisfying.
Chef Richard Reddington’s Redd remains as fresh as when its doors first opened in 2005. The restaurant is warm and elegant all at once, as is the food. The little gem salad was the best my husband ever had (which is quite a statement, as he’s not a salad lover). Other standouts include the generously portioned foie gras trio, caramelized diver scallops, skate wing, and petrale sole. The wine list is deep yet accessible, and, despite being surrounded by California Chardonnay, we opted for a French Bourgogne. Tip: Be sure to arrive early and grab a signature craft cocktail at the stylish bar.
1PM: St. Francis Winery & Vineyard
The food and wine pairing experience at St. Francis is apparently the best kept secret in Sonoma, shocking considering that it has the distinction of being an OpenTable Top 100 Restaurant in America for two years running, earning the #1 spot in 2013 and the #5 spot in 2014. At $60 for five seasonal courses and generous pours of carefully paired wines, plus a cheese selection, I understood why one reviewer called it “The French Laundry for $60.” And, yet, many folks we encountered in our travels weren’t aware of it. So, here it is; I’m blowing the lid off: the pairings are a sublime steal.Continue Reading
Less than two weeks ago, a 6.1 earthquake struck the Napa Valley. Buildings were damaged and power was lost, and, as a result, the restaurant community was hit hard. According to an Eater article, damages to the area are estimated in excess of $1 billion, along with $100 million in economic losses. Fortunately, most eateries were back up and running within a day or two, and diners have come out to show their support, leaving gushing reviews from their experiences in the days since the quake. Because of the daunting (and continuing) losses, we hope you’ll visit Napa and wine country restaurants this weekend — and in the coming weeks — to help buoy one of the nation’s most important culinary destinations. Read some reviews Napa diners left this week, and book a table today!
* 1313 Main: “Napa has a new star: 1313. Outstanding food, service, and one of the best wine programs in the US. These guys know food, wine, and service, but, most importantly, hospitality. From the minute you walk in the door, you’re greeted by people that genuinely care about your dining experience. On top of that, the food looks, tastes, and is presented with care and respect.”
* Angèle Restaurant & Bar: “We went for our 26th anniversary dinner and were so pleasantly surprised when they brought us each a glass of Champagne to toast. So sweet, and we loved our table by the window in the small intimate back room. The meal was wonderful, from the ahi appetizer to the duck confit and the scallops. Left feeling satisfied and happy. Thank you again and we will be back soon!”
* Bistro Don Giovanni: “This was the best Italian I have had in Napa. Had fritto misto — fresh and not one hint of oil. Shrimp risotto was cooked perfectly, just like in Florence. Ravioli was heaven.”
* Bistro Jeanty: “Anyone wanting to experience classic French cuisine without leaving the USA should go to Bistro Jeanty. It is as though somebody uprooted a French bistro in Paris and set it down in Yountville.”
* Ca Momi’: “Since discovering Ca’ Momi last fall, it has quickly become our go-to spot when visiting Napa. Not only do you get to spend time at the lovely Oxbow Market, but the food and service at Ca’ Momi are always flawless! Definitely don’t miss their pizzas; their Margherita is a masterpiece, and I will forever dream of the ‘Bianco, Rosso & Verde’ pie. Divine.”
* Celadon: “Only a week after the earthquake, Celadon made our visit to the Napa Valley a memorable experience! The food was tasty, the service amazing, and we will be back to dine again on our next visit to the Napa Valley!”
* Cordeiros Bar & Grill: “With the earthquake, all of us in Napa have been a bit dazed, and more than amply confused. It is hard to determine in these early stages where restaurants are in the recovery process. I have seen Cordeiros Bar & Grill show up more than once on OpenTable; however, you get so used to your local haunts that you don’t venture out. Well, I am writing to say…venture out. Cordeiros was a huge surprise; everything from that atmosphere to the food was grand, and the service was outstanding.”
The holidays were fun, but they probably left all our wallets feeling a little bit lighter. Never fear, however, because winter restaurant week season is here. Get ready for three months of discounted dining madness, during which you can enjoy big savings on delicious dishes! As always, we recommend you book your tables early and often as prime reservations fill up early. Happy restaurant weeking, diners!
* Napa Valley Restaurant Month is on! Don’t miss a month of dining deals in Wine Country in the new year.
* Eat Well Week Santa Monica starts Sunday. Reserve today for discounted prix-fixe menus and new healthy menu options, January 5-12.
* Get charmed by Charleston Restaurant Week. Order up $20, $30 + $40 three-course dinners, January 8-19.
* Baltimore County Restaurant Week begins in one week. Book now for $15.14, $25.14, $35.14 lunches and dinners, January 10-26.
* Indian Festive Food Week comes to the Big Apple this weekend. $15 + $25 lunches and $25 + $40 dinners, January 11-19.
* Baltimore’s Howard County Savor It! Restaurant Week kicks off on January 13. Make a reservation for special prix-fixe menus from $10.14 to $40.14 through January 27.
* Restaurant Week Baton Rouge begins soon. Take a bite out of $15 to $35 three-course meals, January 13-18.
* Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is heading your way. Enjoy $20.14 to $35.14 lunches + dinners at Steel Town’s best restaurants, January 13-19.
* Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week arrives in mid-January. Book your tables for $20.14 lunches and $35.14 dinners, January 13-19.
* Get ready to Dine About Town in San Francisco. Make a booking for two- or three-course lunches for $18.95 and $36.95 three-course dinners, January 15-31.