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The Napa Valley: Where Meadowood Meets Mixteca

I took a trip up to Napa this last weekend. My boyfriend Joe and I stayed at Meadowood. Despite its location off the Silverado Trail, there’s not a vineyard in sight. It's kind of a wine country getaway in the heart of the wine country. I like that.

Although it now functions as a resort too, Meadowood was originally founded in the sixties as a private club. Two nights in a king-sized bed outfitted with an overwhelming number of fluffy white pillows, set in one of Meadowood’s newly refurbished treetop cottages that look out through a thicket of oaks onto the plush green golf course—plus a margarita at the pool, a porch-front rocking-chair magazine-read (glass of icy cold Pinot Grigio in hand) and a requisite golfcart ride to dinner at Meadowood’s intimate restaurant—and I was ready to reclaim my blue-blood status. It’s gotta be around here somewhere.


Chef Chris Kostow of Meadowood (photo courtesy of Meadowood).

Of course, I was there for hard work: to dine at Meadowood Restaurant. Chris Kostow, formerly of Chez TJ (where he received two Michelin stars) is the new chef and Michael Bauer sang his praises recently, giving Meadowood 3 ½ stars (as many stars as Bauer gave, yes, SPQR). I dined at Meadowood last summer when chef Joseph Humphrey was there—another talent who has a really light touch. And although Humphrey left to go to Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Kostow has made the transition for Meadowood a seamless one. I'm thinking Meadowood is the new Campton Place.

Kostow has some real talent—and not with Heath bowls full of rustic pasta. We started out with an eclectic little grouping of amuse bouche, all obsessively dollhouse-sized, including a deviled quail egg with Artic Char roe; a little square of chickpea panise topped with celery salad, a speck of octopus and a bit of chili; a tiny fried oyster encrusted in rye bread crumbs and two delicate unadorned radishes. (Bauer was served the exact same thing, but hey, if it’s not broken …) The rest of the sophisticated meal continued to be just as well-executed. Joe and I spent the evening very well taken care of and very happy. If if you have the $$, I'd highly recommend it.


Goat tacos at La Mixteca in Napa.

If you know me though (see my bio), you know that I’m not the most crazed fine diner. So, although we dined at numerous other spots—including the more casual 25° Brix (David Gingrass’s new spot)—the pleasure I felt at Meadowood was only matched by the pleasure I felt while eating tacos at a modest little spot called La Mixteca (2580 Jefferson St., 707-815-2781) in a very Latin part of the town of Napa. I had goat. Joe had chicken. And they were flawless, really (especially the chicken). I’d venture to say those tacos were 3 ½ stars good.