Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Napa Valley...Day Three

Well, the week is starting to get away from me...too many more things to do and just two more days to go. That's what I love about the Napa Valley...we come up here with few plans and let things unfold, always making discoveries.

As I start this before going to dinner at Redd, the temperature in Yountville is 98 fog this morning and J counted at least 8 hot air balloons up in the sky by 7 a.m. That's when they go up, before the air currents get too strong as the day starts to heat up. Tomorrow I will try to get myself out that early to get some photos. A little known fact about ballooning in the Napa Valley, is that on more than half the days, there is fog or clouds in the early morning hours and the balloons cannot go up for safety reasons.

So, after a morning at the pool, we walked over to Pacific Blues for lunch on their deck.
Pacific Blues is one of the few modestly-priced restaurants in Yountville. Needless to say, it has great appeal with the locals and I've been told that they discount their already very fair prices to those who work in town. A Cobb Salad for J and a Taco Salad for me was the perfect hoit day lunch. Pacific Blues is open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner and is always a lively place.

Then, we were off for some serious wine tasting.

First stop was at Regusci, one of the Valley's oldest wineries...

it's main building dates back to made it through the 1906 Earthquake and is still in use as a gravity flow winery. Regusci is one of the Napa Valley's Ghost wineries, adding to its historic credentials; it is one of the few remaining Napa Valley wineries that existed between 1860 and 1900. Even on this beautiful summer day, the tasting room was relatively's the weekends when things get crazy in the Valley...that's why we come up here from Monday to Friday. Regusci's production of their own wines is limited and their wines are mainly available here at the winery. The winery dates back to 1932.

Oh, they are very dog friendly, with at least 5 of their own dogs hanging out on the grounds...two of them greeted Louie when we arrived and checked into the tasting room from time to time to see how we were doing. The local vet was in there too, having a glass of wine after treating one of the Regusci pigs.We could not resist purchasing a bottle of their 2005 Patriarch wine...a splurge for a special dinner party in the near future, me thinks. And, one more thing about Regusci...they have a lovely large picnic time, we will bring lunch with us.

At the suggestion of the charming man who poured our wines at Reguschi, we drove down the Silverado Trail a few miles to the 5 month old James Cole winery.

Again, this is a small winery with limited production. One of their most interesting wines was an Ice Wine made from Canadian Pinot Noir...yes, I succumbed and now am thinking of yummy desserts to make to serve with this special wine. All their red wines are made from grapes grown here on their estate. We also splurged o their 2004 Estate Cabernet.

What a nice way to while away a hot August afternoon in the Napa Valley!

Redd opened in Yountville in November 2005. Two years ago we enjoyed a bucolic lunch on their patio. Last year, we went back for dinner. And, tonight to celebrate our wedding anniversary, it's our choice.

Chef/owner Richard Reddington cooked at such famous French restaurants as Arpege and Le Moulin de Mougins as well as putting in his time in the Bay Area at such luminous restaurants as Masa's, Jardiniere, and Auberge du Soleil. The decor at Redd is clean, simple, and airy. Even the entry is understated, with a tiny name placard at about knee height by the sidewalk.

The food is the best of California's fresh ingredients in American/Mediterranean preparations; sometimes there is an Asian influence.

In past visits, we've ordered from the a la carte menu. Tonight, we decided to try the 5-course tasting menu ($75 per person) which gave us a way to sample 10 items from the menu, between us. The chef decides what we get. Our first courses were Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Sashimi of Hamaguchi.

Next came Carmelized Diver Scallops with Cauliflower puree and Halibut with Clams and Chorizo in a foamy Saffron Curry Nage.

There was an interesting surprise on the third course when one of us got the Scallop dish that the other had for the previous course. The other third course was Quail on a summer vegetable MInestrone with Arugula Ravioli.

Our fourth courses were Filet with Shortribs for J and Lamb cooked two ways for me.

Desserts were both fanciful. J had tiny Corn Fritters with corn Ice Cream and Corn Puffs..yes, the cereal in the box! My dessert was three creations based on Peanut Butter and Chocolate.

And, as we relaxed after this delicious and lovely meal, we presented with a small dish with fudge and English Toffee!

For wine, we ordered a bottle for the entire meal but with the tasting menu, for another $50 per person, there is a wine pairing..a glass of wine to compliment each course.

The end of another day in Paradise!

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