More than Grapes: Exploring Napa Valley’s Culinary Credentials
All photos by Lauren Yochum
Napa Valley is known for its cabernets, acclaimed wineries and laid-back lifestyle, but it’s also a culinary oasis. With more Michelin stars awarded per capita than any other wine region in the world, both renowned and up-and-coming chefs have an abundance of competition. And after a long day (or morning) of exploring varietals and vintages, a memorable meal is in order. So grab an Uber, your favorite foodie friends and feast on more than fermented grapes while in wine country.
Carpe Diem Wine Bar
With over forty wines by the glass, shareable plates and countless wine flights, this spot is made for exploring cuisine and vino. Located in Downtown Napa, Carpe Diem offers a variety of flavors from Moroccan Fries that are loaded with shaved Parmesan, to a mountain of five-year aged Gouda and a chef’s selection of rotating tacos. Small plates and wines by the glass are nothing new, but they sure are fun when a restaurant serves them to perfection.
After a few too many glasses (or bottles, who’s counting in Napa?) head to this quaint shop for true farm-to-table fare. Rudd Farms, which exists solely to provide for PRESS restaurant and Oakville Grocery, is nestled high above Napa Valley and provides some exceptional ingredients for this spot. Order a breakfast sandwich and coffee for under $10 and enjoy the flavors of perfectly salted ham mixed with a velvety egg and local vegetables. It’s sure to cure any lingering headaches caused by yesterday’s wine exploration.
Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen
Recommend by locals and praised by critics, this charming spot is located in the heart of downtown St. Helena. There’s a refined, yet casual atmosphere here mirrored in everything from the décor to the dishes. Do not skip dessert, the Campfire Pie with toasted marshmallow fluff and an Oreo cookie crust is in a word, divine.
Created by Tomas Keller, one of the few remaining “celebrity” chefs with culinary street credit. Bouchon offers authentic French bistro fare with unfailing attention to detail in both ingredients and presentation. Skip the Bouchon Bakery line next door and grab a table to enjoy their Chicken & Waffles alongside a mimosa, or two.
Woodhouse Chocolate: The most delectable and delicate confections, this St. Helena shop lives up to all of its accolades. Their rich delicacies are finely crafted by three generations of the Wood family and use local, sustainable ingredients as often as possible. Try the dark caramels sprinkled with Fleur de Sel and you’ll experience the new standard for chocolate.
As you plan your wine country excursions, make sure you leave time to explore all that Napa has to offer in their world of culinary credentials.
More by Lauren Yochum
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