Friday, September 9, 2011

Napa

After attending the wedding in Livermore, we made the drive up to Napa. We started our day with brunch at Redd. After browsing their online brunch menu, we had predetermined that we would probably order three appetizers instead of two entrees. We had difficulty deciding, and with our server's recommendations we went with the steamed pork belly buns, breakfast pizza, and tuna tartare. The steamed buns were light and pillowy. the pork belly was deliciously prepared but overly sauced with hoisin. I let some of the hoisin sauce drip out of the bun, and added some slaw for contrast. The tartare was prepared using yellowfin tuna, Asian pear, avocado, chili oil, and crisped rice. The Asian pear was bright, and the rice was a fun, crispy crunch. The breakfast pizza was topped with scrambled eggs, prosciutto, creme fraiche and chives. The eggs were light and fluffy, but creamy from the creme fraiche. Since this was the last to arrive, we were only able to eat half, and took the rest with us.

For dinner, I was able to score last minute reservations at ad hoc. I was really looking forward to trying one of Thomas Keller's restaurants. ad hoc started out as a temporary restaurant space for Keller and his team, but it was so wildly popular, that they made it a permanent fixture.
 On that menu that evening was a Summer Vegetable Salad  using ingredients from the French Laundry Garden down the street. Our salad included patty pan and zucchini squash, eggplant confit, red bell peppers, cherry tomato vinaigrette. For an optional add on that evening were fish and chips, which are only offered twice a year. That rare treat easily convinced us to order it, and our server assured us that our main can easily be reheated as delicious leftovers. The fish that evening was a Northern California halibut that was lightly battered. The main entree were Grilled Beef Short Ribs served with white beech mushrooms, sweet carrot stew, siparello kale, buttered pearl barley, and glazed cippolini onions. The cheese course was Humboldt Fog: k & j orchard peaches, wildflower honey, toasted mixed nuts. This was a goat milk cheese that had a a vegetable ash layer. It reminded us of a mild blue cheese. Finally, dessert was a Banana’s Foster with candied hazelnuts, vanilla ice cream, and rum caramel sauce. It was a lovely meal that really felt like comfort food that you would enjoy with your family on a Sunday night.

 Before departing Napa, we stopped at the Oxbow Market for breakfast. My second cousin is a pastry chef who worked at the Model Bakery in St. Helena while studying at the CIA. We arrived at the St. Helena location just as they closed the day before, so it worked out well for us to have breakfast at the Oxbow location instead. Their english muffin is famed, and rightfully so. It doesn't have the nooks and crannies as advertised by a certain mass producer. However, these were so much better - so light, fresh, and perfect crust.

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