Yeah, my blog was a little sparse on the nerd front this weekend: Carmen and I were off for a short anniversary getaway in Napa, sampling some of the local food and wine and generally trying to relax. We give a hearty thumbs up to Julia’s restaurant in the Copia center in Napa. We began with salads: I ordered a beet salad which was very delicate, Carmen had an assortment of fresh vegetables including peas and beans. Both were perhaps a bit subtle for us, but delicious. I ordered a pork chop, and was pleased when the waiter said that the pork chop was brined and assured me despite its juice texture, it was fully cooked. Bravo! People fear undercooked pork to the extent of ruining perfectly delicious chops by cooking them to 180 or higher. The best pork chops are cooked until they are slightly pink on the first cut, but turn opaque white after a couple of seconds, more like 165 or so. And brining helps. But I digress. The pork chop was excellent quality, large, delicious, flavorful and tender. It came with a tart made from cream, onions, and bacon and a side of purple potato chips. Delicious. Carmen had the rib eye steak, which I sampled and gave it my seal of approval. Also delicious. Dessert for me was a sampler of three cherry desserts, while Carmen went with a sampler of three chocolate pot de creme with small cinnamon churros. Each chocolate was infused with a different aromatic herb. Delicious again, but perhaps a bit too refined for our more rustic tastes. Still, a great meal for our anniversary.
The next morning we decided to ride the Napa Wine Train from NAPA to Calistoga, and sample their gourmet breakfast/luncheon service. I am a huge fan of Eggs Benedict (which I sample very rarely now that I am trying to lose weight, but it was our anniversary), so I went with their variation which substituted beef tenderloin for ham. Carmen had a stuffed French Toast, filled with creme cheese, craberries and grapes. Both were good, but not likely to be classic recipes. The tartness of the cranberries tended to overwhelm all the other qualities of the French Toast, and I don’t really think that Eggs Benedict is improved by the expensive beef tenderloin. Give me the classic any day.
For dinner that evening, we went to Tuscany in downtown Napa. I had an interesting pasta dish which had chunks of stewed wild boar. It was a very rustic dish, with hand made pasta served al dente. I suspect that it is a dish which originally would have been made with venison, and I enjoyed it a great deal. Carmen had a roasted half chicken, which while competently done, was nothing very exciting. The ambience of the restaurant was nice though, with an open fireplace and lots of roasting chickens. We had fun.
The following morning: a picnic at the Clos du Val winery consisting of a loaf of bread and two kinds of cheese: one, a rustic Irish cheese and a softer mild cheese. Good stuff, and a beautiful setting.
A fun time. Happy fifth anniversary honey, and I’m looking to the next five, even as I rue the scale this morning (back on weight watchers for the rest of the week).