Thursday, 16 August 2012
After a great night in San Francisco, my parents and I drove to the Napa Valley-- our main reason for traveling out to NorCal. A couple of years ago, I requested that for my 21st birthday we go wine tasting in Napa. My birthday passed this spring and so we finally made it out here. The full day we spent was probably one of the best foodie experiences I've had yet; Napa is foodie heaven.
First, we went to Domaine Carneros, which was a gorgeous property, with the intention of tasting some white wine. As it turned out, they don't specialize in what we prefer (sauvignon blanc, unoaked chardonnay, riesling, and pinot gris), but the man who we spoke to insisted we at least taste several of their sparkling whites. They were all excellent, and since it was his suggestion we didn't have to pay for the tasting. We did buy the middle grade sparkling that we tried, so I guess for him it wasn't a total loss!
Afterwards, we headed into town for lunch. Downtown Napa was adorable and there were tons of restaurants to choose from, but we'd been pretty well convinced to try Gott's Roadside. As we walked from our car to Gott's, we spotted Mason Cellars. My dad had recalled that he used to buy a Mason sauvignon blanc back home, so we stopped in to check it out. The woman working was nice enough to give us our tastings there for free, too! We tried four of her whites: Pomelo sauvignon blanc, Three Pears pinot gris, Mason sauvignon blanc and the Mason Reserve sauvignon blanc. We loved them all and bought one bottle each. The first three are pretty easy to find in your local wine store, but they bottle a much smaller amount of the Mason Reserve and they don't sell it outside of the Napa area.
The woman at Mason Cellars recommended that we dine for lunch at the Oxbow Public Market instead of Gott's, so we did. The market was gorgeous-- an absolute foodie dream. There were tons of little restaurants and bars to choose from: a juice and salad bar, an oyster bar, a panini and brick oven pizza place, a Venezuelan place and a few others I can't recall. The market also had a produce section that was something of a farmer's market, a spices store, and a French charcuterie.
We ate at the Venezuelan place, Pica Pica, where I had black beans, avocado, grilled tofu, sweet plantains and spicy cream on corn bread. It was easily the best sandwich I've ever eaten. The three of us also shared some delicious yucca fries with some mystery pepper sauce.
We also went to Mumm's Vineyard and purchased a couple more bottles of white.
For dinner, we dined at Morimoto-- a Japanese restaurant, which was also fabulous.
What we ate:
- I drank a French Smash (cognac, St. Germain, fresh strawberries and lemon) which was great
- Morimoto sashimi (seared toro, salmon, eel, tuna, hamachi and five sauces)
- Tempura calamari salad with quinoa two ways and a white miso dressing under a bed of mixed greens
- Rock shrimp tempura two ways: one in a spicy kochujan sauce and one in wasabi aïoli
- Lobster wonton and short rib in Vietnamese pho broth
- California roll (which we ordinarily wouldn't order, but out here it has Dungeness crab instead of imitation crab)
- Spicy salmon roll
That being said, I will definitely be returning to Napa. Have you ever been?