The menus of St. Helena and the surrounding area are inspired by seasonal ingredients and local organic produce. Heirloom tomatos with burrata and basil…”brick cooked” chicken with salsa verde…bohemian creamery cheeses with fresh pears, candied walnuts, napa honey….cucumber soup with watermelon, fennel, pickled ginger…the choices were endless. To choose only a couple items from the menu was difficult, since every dish tantalized our tastebuds.
We visited Napa early September during harvest time to select the Global Adventuress 2014 “Top 10” Wineries. Along the way, we tasted some culinary delights, dipped into mud & mineral baths, surrendered to heavenly spas, went to some local markets, and discovered some new places we want to stay at on our next visit.
Here’s our list of recommendations where to dine, stay, what to do in St. Helena, Calistoga, and other areas of Napa Valley.
http://lcnapa.com/ Looking for some Oaxacan dishes in Napa? Head to St. Helena’s La Condesa where Chef Mortenson blends rich flavors in moles, and uses wood-fire for slow roasting of meats. Drawing upon his travels in Central Mexico and gathering fresh produce from Napa, you’ll delight in dishes like the Cohinita Pibil – achiote braised pork, fried plantains, quesadillas and pickled onions, or the Chicken Enchiladas dressed with mole sauce and oaxacan cheese. Start with the Guacamole Flight of homemade guacamole variations – chipotle puree with toasted almond, pickled strawberry with queso fresco, or shrimp pastor, then be sure to order the grilled corn with cotija and Aleppo chile – a favorite!
http://gotts.com Stop by Gott’s Roadside drive-in for breakfast & lunch & dinner! This classic burger joint is popular with locals and tourists. We shared a Cheeseburger and their famous Ahi Tuna Burger – all made-to-order from top-notch, locally sourced ingredients. The sweet potato fries were a especially yummy. Located on the main street of St. Helena, and enjoy dining outside at picnic tables.
http://www.brix.com/ South of St. Helena, and just north of Yountville is Brix Restaurant where you can dine next to16 acres of vineyards and gardens with views of the Mayacamas mountains. Brix Restaurant provides a farm-to-table dining experience where Executive Chef Robert Hohmann gathers fresh produce from the restaurant’s extensive gardens of 20 raised beds, fruit and citrus orchards. General Manager Michael Cope greeted us and shared that “More than two acres of gardens and orchards provide ingredients for a new menu inspired by the culinary traditions of the winegrowing regions in Southern France and Northern Italy. Owned by the Kelleher family, the restaurant’s name reflects the measurement of sugar levels at which the grapes for the Kelleher Family Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon are harvested.”
The Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
http://www.longmeadowranch.com/ The Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch offers an authentic farm-to-table menu. This American farmhouse is housed in a former nursery barn, and the large interior space has high ceilings and long tables for community dining, centered around an open kitchen. Executive Chef Stephen Barber dishes are influenced by his Southern cooking background, and he uses a plancha, a cast-iron grill for searing, adding a wood-burning element to some dishes. The ingredients are foraged from local sources and feature Long Meadow Ranch’s all natural grass-fed beef, organic and sustainably produced eggs, fruits, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and honey.
https://www.solagecalistoga.com/ North of St. Helena, along the Silverado Trail, stop by the Michelin-starred Sol Bar for lunch or dinner. Request an outdoor table where you can relax on the spacious patio, and take in the views nearby mountain ranges. The upscale yet casual wine country setting is a fabulous spot to dine and enjoy the locally-sourced, seasonal, ingredient-driven menu.
Chef Sharp integrates fresh organic ingredients from local farms. We ordered the seasonal salad of heirloom tomatoes that were full of flavor, and enjoyed a plate of Mexican fish tacos presented beautifully on a dark slate platter.
http://archetypenapa.com/ Formerly known as (fka) French Blue, today ARCHETYPE has been named as one of the “10 Most Beautifully Designed” restaurants by Architectural Digest, described with a “distinctive wine country style with a relaxed, comfortable sophistication.” General Manager Kelly Sherman calls this “Simple and Elegant” style designed by Archetype’s founder, renowned architect Howard Backen. Executive Chef Ryder Zetts creates iconic Americana cuisine with a contemporary twist, and adds the signature char from a wood-burning grill or an infusion of smoke from the wood-burning oven to almost every dish.
We delighted in a sampling of Fried Green Tomatoes with burrata cheese, gypsy peppers, summer squash, walnuts, and the Peanut Crusted Gulf Shrimp with sesame paste, rice noodles, grilled cabbage, hearts of palm, pickled veggies for starters. Then our server Alexis introduced us to a couple entrees the Open Faced B.L.T. with meyer lemon boule, crescenza cheese, avocado, and the Baby-Back Rib Sandwich with poppy seed coleslaw, spicy pickles, and sweet potato fries! We were pleasantly full and didn’t have room for dessert. We can’t wait to go back one day for dessert, and for brunch. We heard from several locals that Archetype has one of the best brunches in Napa Valley.
Meadowood (a Relais & Châteaux property)
http://www.meadowood.com/dining/the-grill We didn’t have an opportunity to dine at the formal Restaurant at Meadowood, but enjoyed lunch at the Meadowood Grill. We sat on the outside deck that overlooks the golf course and shared a light lunch – seared Halibut on bed of greens and cheesecake slivers with wildberries.
http://travignerestaurant.com/ Vine covered Tra Vigne Restaurant celebrates 25 years in Napa, and is located in the heart of St. Helena. Whether you dine outside “al fresco” in the Tuscan Courtyard under a canopy of lights at night, or inside for formal dining, you’ll discover Old World Italy meets Napa.
Pizzeria Tra Vigne
offers a more relaxed atmosphere and is located next door and is one of Napa Valley’s favorite, local casual dining restaurant. This pizzeria serves a large variety of classic and specialty brick oven baked pizzas, authentic pasta dishes, fresh salads and delicious gelato.
We didn’t have an opportunity to dine at this upscale restaurant, but hear the food is fabulous! On our list to try next visit to Napa…
Where to stay?
Note: We’ve visited these locations, but have yet to stay at these recommended hotels in Napa Valley.
https://www.solagecalistoga.com/ Surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges and steps from downtown Calistoga, Solage Calistoga offers a relaxing wine country experience. With sophisticated private accommodations, the award-winning Spa Solage, and Michelin Star-rated Solbar.
http://calistogaranch.aubergeresorts.com/ If you love nature and luxury, you’ll want to stay here! Calistoga Ranch is considered to be a Napa luxury resort located in the secluded Upper Napa Valley canyon on 157 lush, oak-lined acres. Hikes, spa treatments, and a dedicated staff to detail await you.
Auberge du Soleil
http://www.aubergedusoleil.com/ Here guests can escape for an intimate stay on a Napa Valley hillside that opens up to valley views, yet still be only minutes away from the Silverado Trail. Since 1985, Auberge du Soleil luxury inn welcomes visitors to earth toned rooms with French doors, private terraces, cozy fireplaces, private soaking tubs.
http://www.meadowood.com/ A Relais et Chateaux property, this resort includes a golf course, tennis courts, and the Restaurant at Meadowood.
The mud was up to my neck and I could feel the hot mineral water seep through the clay, volcanic ash, and peat moss mixture. When in Calistoga, a mud bath is a “must-try” experience! Calistoga Spa offers mud baths with volcanic ash mud that’s harvested locally. It’s healing properties will soothe sore muscles, aches, pains, and relieve stress.
Once you finish a mud bath, mineral bath with whirlpool, steam bath, and blanket wrap, you can choose from a variety of spa treatments including deep tissue and reflexology. We selected the combination massage and bath treatment called “The Works.” It takes about two hours and you will feel relaxed and ready to dip into Calistoga Spa’s mineral pools outside.
Health and wellness are at the heart of the Solage Napa Valley spa resort experience. Artfully designed and ecologically conscious, Spa Solage offers relaxing and invigorating services, including new twists on the renowned Calistoga mud and mineral water therapies.
Grocery Stores, Farmer’s Markets & Shopping
Dean & DeLuca (St. Helena)
Sunshine Market (St. Helena)
St. Helena Farmer’s Market
Friday http://www.sthelenafarmersmkt.org/ This year we have over 50 wonderful Vendors (Growers, Artisans, Food Vendors and Community Groups), Musicians, Market Lectures, Chef’s Demonstrations, Book-Signings, Market Classrooms, Kids’ Story Time and Educational Entertainment Programs, Face-Painting and much much more….
Saturday – Local gathering place for great food and wine in Napa Valley – try cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery!
Pope Valley Pottery
http://www.popevalleypottery.com/ Kelly P. Farley
Kelly is inspired by simplicity that enhances form and function. You can see this in the variety of serving containers – white ceramic plates, bowls and rows of porcelain cups and mugs; a series of forms scaled from tiny to large; bowls that nest.
How to Get Around?
Napa Valley Tours & Transportation (NVTT)
www.nvtt.net Napa Valley Tours & Transportation delivers the red carpet & white glove service! For 15 years, President Michael Graham has operated a family-owned company that provides full transportation service. His fleet of hundreds of vehicles are available to suit your needs from town cars to buses. Mike raises the bar for Chauffeurs – professional, prompt, and shares local knowledge and insights that are invaluable. NVTT’s concierge service helps you to plan your trip and make the most efficient use of your time.
For reservations, call #707.251.9463 or #888.946.3859
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll want to reference these articles, click here:
2014 “Top 10” Napa Valley Wineries
Thank you to Archetype, SolBar, Brix, Calistoga Spa, Gott’s Roadside, La Condessa for hosting us during our stay!
Written by Patricia Stone, a travel writer and consultant with www.GlobalAdventuress.com