24 Hours of Food and Drinks in Napa Valley

24 Hours of Food and Drinks in Napa Valley


Sometimes all you need is an overnight jaunt to wine country to shake off any fog-induced seasonal affective disorder and enjoy some beautiful scenery—and do some quality eating and drinking, of course. I headed up for a 24-hour stint this past weekend, and here are a few newer spots I checked out.

Redd Wood
This was my second visit to Richard Reddington’s most recent project (and casual offshoot) in Yountville. While it has a chic look and bar scene that’s fun in the evening, I’m a fan of the patio for an alfresco lunch (the all-day service is handy). The salads are particularly good (like the shaved summer vegetables with Green Goddess dressing and little gems), while heartier appetites should dig into the meatballs, a wood-fired pizza, or the housemade pastas. The wine list is mostly Italian, or you can revive with the Italian Greyhound (vodka, Campari, grapefruit juice, lime wheel).

Kollar Chocolates

Tucked away in the V Marketplace in Yountville is this artisan chocolate maker that is just a year old—you can watch the husband (Chris Kollar) make his exquisite chocolates behind a glass window while his sweet Swiss wife rings you up. Be sure to try the fennel pollen.

Goose & Gander
Open in the former (and fabled) Martini House space, the restaurant now brings a tavern-y vibe to St. Helena. While the food isn’t exactly destination worthy, if you’re in the mood for a casual or approachable meal, you’ll find it here. The well-priced menu has a variety of appetizer-sized plates, like the excellent smoked corn croquettes (a must) and seasonal dishes like San Marzano tomato soup. Of course there’s also a hearty burger. Downstairs is where you’ll find the ever-popular bar, helmed by the incomparable Scott Beattie (the Mellivoa Capensis, AKA the honey badger, is a delicious place to start).

French Blue
After a filling dinner at Goose & Gander, we took an amble over to French Blue for a nightcap. There’s a fireplace on the comfortable patio, while the interior feels like a cross between Nantucket (wicker chairs) and Miami (at night, the lighting has a cool, grey tone to it). Love the zinc bar that overlooks the kitchen. While Goose & Gander’s bar definitely wins out for a nighttime scene, I’d like to return to French Blue for lunch.

The Thomas
I’m definitely saving the best for last here. This brand-new Napa project from AvroKO (the New York design and concept firm) is in the former Fagiani’s space, which has been dormant since 1974 after a tragic (and still unsolved) murder occurred. The firm has paid proper homage to the wonderful 100-year-old property, full of so many clever design details. The building has multiple levels, with a retro bar downstairs, a dining room one floor up, and then on the top floor is a fantastic terrace that looks out on the Napa River. Yes, this is where you want to have your brunch (well, it’s where I did). Stars on the brunch menu included the corn pancake, the black pudding with maple-glazed apples (seriously, do it), and the much-discussed and massive BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato)—and you have to get the custardy fried egg on it. Cocktails still need a little tuning, but otherwise this place has all the makings of a hit. Am already plotting my return.

Marcia Gagliardi is the contributing food editor for 7x7 and author of the weekly Tablehopper e-column and book The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco. Email her at marcia@7x7.com, and read more at tablehopper.com.

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