Sunday, November 1, 2009


Oh, Napa. How I love thee. With your warm sunshine, rolling hills, gorgeous vineyards full of wine, and your yummy yummy food, it's amazing that I ever leave you to come back to the city. After yet another fantastic weekend up north, I am reminded (again) of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful area. Don't think I take it for granted for a minute. I know this place is special and I'm very grateful to be able to call the Bay Area my home.

Even though this was a quick jaunt (one day and night), we hit up all the old favorites. This, of course, meant stopping at the Oakville Grocery for lunch. That's my delicious hummus and roasted veggie sandwich above. The herbed foccacia really takes this baby to another level, and I pretty much always have one when in Napa. I suggest you do the same. Plus OG is only like half a mile from Cakebread Cellars, which we went to for the first time on this trip. It was suggested by a friend and Napa veteran, and their Chardonnays are very tasty. That means a lot coming from me since I'm not a Chardonnay fan at all. I was happy to have found one or two that I like.

After that we made our way to our favorite winery, Robert Sinskey, where we got the royal treatment since we're members of their wine club. That meant that we enjoyed the above red flight and vegan treats (delicious butternut squash, carmelized onions and mushrooms, plus some marcona almonds and olives) for free. Pretty sweet. It was the perfect little bite of food to keep us going, which was great since Frog's Leap was next.

The Sauvignon Blanc from FL is one of my faves, but being able to wander through the gardens picking strawberries while you sip really heightens the winery experience. The Frog's Leap grounds really are something special, and I highly recommend taking the tour if you haven't already. Super fun and down to earth wine tasting at its best.

We finished up at Frog's Leap and headed back to the hotel to rest up for dinner at (where else?) Ubuntu. This place has been handed accolade upon accolade since it opened a little over 2 years ago, and was even recently featured big time in O (as in Oprah) Magazine. This was my 3rd visit here and it really is something special. Just look at this food:

Castelvetrano olives in carrot top pesto? Amazing, fleshy, perfectly seasoned poppers. Sardinian flatbread? Crisp as can be and topped with a garden full of arugula, herbs, and edible flowers. So good. And that was just the beginning.

The corn grits with fig jam was astounding. Fresh, sweet (but not overly) and hearty, it was just soul-nourishing yumness. Still, my favorite would have to be the deconstructed bean soup. The beans are cooked in a flavorful broth and then removed, baked into a cake, and topped with herbs. Then the broth is added back in tableside. This dish proves that food need not be heavy to be comforting.

Speaking of comfort food, how about some rice pudding for dessert? Oh yeah. In this beautiful vessel was saffron rice pudding with pomegranate seeds and a citrus granita just to cool it down a bit. It was light as a cloud with a sweetness that just danced across the tongue. A wonderful end to one of the best meals I've had in a while. If you haven't been to Ubuntu, you really should try it. They also opened an annex next door where they sell things like their lavender sugar and sea salt almonds and a dry mix for a "make at home" version of their infamously delicious chickpea fries.

I'm back home now and enjoying some relaxation and wine detox on the couch. Here's hoping you had a great weekend, too! Stay tuned for some good stuff this week, like Ethiopian eats and high-end vegan dining at one of SF's best omnivorous restaurants. See ya soon!

1 comment:

Gary said...

All my favorite places too! We'll have to go to Cakebread Cellars next time I'm around!