For those who think Yountville dining is reserved for the elite, here's a little holiday treat: The Michelin-starred town is gifting us with its Moveable Feast program, a tour de force of deals on food, wine and hotels through February 28. The initiative includes 11 food-and-wine hotel packages and 12 restaurant deals (from killer three-course prix fixe offers to $1 oyster specials to 50 percent off VIP wine tastings).
There are countless offers and combinations on tap, so we took the liberty of throwing together a sample weekend itinerary of some of our favorites. So get your fancy on and take advantage!
4pm Check into the enchanting Cottages of Napa Valley just south of Yountville off of Highway 29. Each of the 10 stand-alone rooms is a house in itself, outfitted with a luxurious king-sized bed, fireplace, seersucker robes and plush slippers, fully-equipped kitchens, a bathroom with soaking tub and shower (not to mention, Gilchrist & Soames products), and a cozy sitting area. The Moveable Feast exclusive includes a two-night stay, breakfast basket from Bouchon Bakery, private winery tour and tasting with Bart O’Brien of O’Brien Estate and an early dinner at Ad Hoc restaurant. (Be warned: Once you arrive at the Cottages, it will be tough to pry yourself away--even for a fancy feast.)
5pm Indulge in dinner at Ad Hoc, which offers a family-style, three-course dinner for just $39 a person from 5pm to 6pm daily (or included in your stay at the Cottages if you choose that route).
7pm Pay a visit to Ma(i)sonry, an intriguing wine-and-art collective down the way where the worlds of style and vino collide. Sip on a flight of varieties from popular local vineyards, such as Blackbird, while you contemplate the meaning of art.
8pm Return to your cottage, strike up a fire--whether in the fireplace inside your home away from home, or the firepit outside--and toast some marshmallows on the flames. A full s'mores kit awaits you in your room.
9am Feast on a leisurely breakfast in bed, courtesy of Bouchon Bakery, before heading into downtown Yountville for a private tasting in the Club Room at Girard Winery. Hear about the winery's signature cabarnet-based Artistry wine, as you also test out four other kinds of reds and whites. (Reservations required.)
1pm Mosey on down the street to Hurley's, passing through the French Laundry gardens along the way, where two- and three-course lunches are just $18 and $25, respectively. If you want to veer away from the Moveable Feast menu entirely, order our favorite combination: the sugar pie pumpkin rissoto (even served in a wee pumpkin) with chanterelle mushrooms and smoked applewood bacon to start, followed by the restaurant's signature dish, braised wild boar with truffle oil polenta, vegetables and crispy onion rings. Not ordering the ice cream sandwich--with vanilla gelato, hazelnut praline and raspberry coulis--to top it all off is pretty much a sin.
3pm Don't drink and drive (obviously). Instead, drink and ride. Rent a set of cycles from Napa Valley Bike Tours (20 percent off throughout the duration of Moveable Feast) and bike through the wineries of your choice on a self-guided tour. NVBT will supply you with bikes, helmets, maps, water, Clif bars and a suggested itinerary if you like. They even provide van service to pick up your wine purchases along the way.
7pm For dinner, head over to uber-chic Bardessono, a new luxury inn not more than a year old, allowing extra time to explore the grounds and glimpse the rooftop pool. While the dining room is big on seafood--like Atlantic cod and Maine diver scallops--the Devil's Gulch pork and the game, like the guinea hen, are very tasty, as well. Opt for the wine pairings, and finish the evening right with a cappucino and the peach melba. This may sound a bit odd, but be sure and check out the lavaratories on the way out; they boast automatic controls, including a washer and dryer for your bum.
9pm Return to your cottage, borrow a DVD from the library in the reception area, and relax with the complimentary bottle of wine that stocks your fridge.
9am After another morning of filling your belly with Bouchon's baked goods, venture up the road to the posh tasting room at Domaine Chandon. For just $10 (normally $18), you can sample a flight of three sparklings and one still wine, including the Chandon Classic, Reserve Pinot Noir Brut, Etoile Brut and Carneros Pinot Noir. Before you go, be sure and nab a bottle or two of the limited edition sparkling red, which is not only hard to come by and affordable (at $26 a pop), but also so in demand there's a two-bottle cap per patron. Word on the street is Domaine Chandon might implement the same policy with its recently-released Etoir Tete a Cuvee, so get that, too, while you still can. (Walk-ins OK.)
1pm Grab a bite at Bottega, a restaurant whose three-course Italian meal is just $24 a head. Nosh on Chef Michael Chiarello's scrumptious bruschetta trio or sip down the velvet-y cauliflower soup to start; chase it with the tortelli di zucca blue (hubbard squash filling, sage-browned butter, robiola fresca and amaretto gremolata) or seafood medley (monkfish, mussels, rock cod and calamari); and top it all off with the white chocolate panna cotta and limoncello poached figs or the chocolate and caramel stracciatella gelato with milk chocolate peanut butter bar. It's never too early for cocktails (besides, you need something to balance out all that wine you've consumed), so take a gander at the mixology menu and be sure and order our favorite concoction, the huckleberry basil gimlet.
3pm Explore the V Marketplace, which not only boasts a repertoire of high-end shops (including the Williams Sonoma-esque NapaStyle), but also has a well-stocked cellar and tasting room should you not want your wine follies to end just yet.
6pm Have an early dinner at Thomas Keller's Bouchon restaurant, alongside the bakery of the same name, well-known for its exquisite French fare. Order a sampling of appetizers to start from the extensive menu, sweetly wrapped around the napkin, taking special care to include the escargot, which is doused in butter and topped off with a decadent puff pastry. While there may be more interesting-sounding things on the menu, the roasted chicken (poulet roti) is cooked to near perfection and garnished with red wine poached pears, mustard greens, fingerling potatoes and whole grain mustard jus. The fletan poele, pan-seared Alaskan halibut accompanied by garden squash, heirloom tomatoes, arugula and sungold tomato vinaigrette is another popular dish. Desserts should be consumed liberally and include no less than the profiteroles and the lemon tart. If you prefer to stick around for another night, Bouchon also offers a special late-night menu as part of Moveable Feast, which includes a half dozen freshly shucked oysters or soupe a l’oignon and Croque Madam for just $20 a person.
**In order to enjoy the Moveable Feast deals, you must present the free passport, which is available via download at www.yountville.com or through the Yountville Chamber of Commerce (6484 Washington Street, Yountville, 707-944-4465).