The Gastro-Goth Lounge Napa Never Knew It Needed

Empire, a new lounge and restaurant in Downtown Napa next to Andaz Hotel (formerly Avia), ushered in its arrival with not one, not two, but three nights of grand opening festivities. Small plate bites were passed offering a peek at the small but eclectic menu (mashed potatoes, meatballs and mac and cheese on the “nostalgia” [...]

fish heads

Elbow Deep in Herring Spawn

What does it mean to love food? Does it mean chasing Michelin stars or documenting your every meal on Instagram or religiously following each episode of Top Chef? When the distance between the source of ones food and the food on the plate is ridiculously short, you begin to realize the difference between loving food [...]

A San Francisco Super Bowl Stew

For a while it was looking like there would be no crabs in crabville: With fishing boats on strike for the first part of December, it seemed the Bay Area would be Dungeness less all winter. Thankfully, this has not been the case. Wholesalers came to their senses, the crabby crustaceons are everywhere and the [...]

Rudy Mihal

Rudy Brings Right Touch to Sonoma

Restaurant Rudy might just be the best little restaurant in the heart of Wine Country you never heard of. Rudy Mihal, who left Spoonbar last year to start his own place, opened the new spot quietly this fall in Sonoma, in an unassuming space that has been a revolving door with three restaurants in a [...]

What's in season; Oct'10 - Persimmons - FS=Kevin Crafts

Persimmon salad with dates, cashews, and honey

Western persimmons were introduced to California from Japan (by way of Commodore Matthew Perry) in the 1870s. Tomato-shaped Fuyu persimmons, eaten when firm, ripen just in time for a bright autumnal orange salad. Care should be taken if attempting this recipe with the softer Hachiya, or other astringent type persimmon which can be found in markets well into [...]


Barrel Stave BBQ in Sonoma

All that 40 percent new French oak here and 30 percent new oak there means if there is one thing Wine Country has too much of (besides over-oaked wine) it’s old French oak. And there are only so many candle holders and rocking chairs one can sell to tourists. But used barrels are now answering [...]

Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia photo via Flickr/desta

Harvest Friuli Style: Brovada

Come November, vignerons across the Northern Hemisphere are bracing themselves for the finish line: they are puffing their chests, widening their stride and pressing, pressing, quite literally, towards the end of harvest. The red wine fermentations that they have been minding so carefully have bubbled to a stop; skins and seeds have been shoveled from [...]

pulled pork

Are You Ready For Some BBQ?

Serious Texas style BBQ has come to St. Helena. Every Monday at least. Starting today and every week thereafter, smokey goodness will spill from the back of Ana’s Cantina from 11:30 a.m. until, according to the bar, “the meat runs out.” In theory this includes plenty of chow to see hungry football fans through to [...]

farm to grist mill

Beyond the Kitchen Brings the Table to the Farm

Chef Bill Heubel towers over the grill, nearly hitting his head on the green tent covering his makeshift kitchen area. Make no mistake: Chef Heubel is a very tall chef. Taller probably than this very tall chef, and yes, taller even than The Very Tall Chef. This particular very tall chef is nearly hitting his [...]

French Blue patio

The Blue Marie, a Bloody Mary with a French Accent

Three sweet little words: Now serving brunch. Few phrases bring more joy to our hearts here at TTG HQ in the brunch hinterlands of Napa. What was once a desert, devoid of benedicts and bloodies, has been shaping up of late. French Blue in St. Helena is the latest restaurant to begin full-on brunch service [...]

Good Food Awards Now Accepting Entries

The Good Food Awards is now accepting entries in all categories. The entry period closes August  31. The Awards, now in their third year, were founded to “recognize American craft food producers who excel in taste and sustainability,” according the organizers. The awards are open to producers across the nation with prizes awarded regionally. Last [...]

Chef Joey Elenterio on the Future of Foie Gras in California

Too often the debate over the fate of foie gras in California either gets boiled down into over-simplified terms or boils over into barely coherent invective. The ban against producing or selling foie gras went into effect July 1, in accordance with Senate Bill 1520 which outlawed gavage (or the process of force-feeding ducks or [...]

Ca'Momi pizza dough

How To Make Pizza From Scratch (Yes, Even The Dough)

“Set in a warm place to rise for 6-8 hours” is not a phrase from my new book “50 Shades of Yeast.” No, it is the most potentially derailing detail in the process of making dough at home for a delicious no-one-else’s-mouth-noises-must-be-heard pizza dinner in your own sanctuary. True, waiting 6-8 hours to even begin [...]


‘Eat the City’ Author Robin Shulman

A city is a living natural place. You may not think it to look at it, but the City, New York, teems with more naturally sustained life than some of our Central Valley farmland. And if people take anything away from her new book Eat the City (subtitled A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, [...]

Khao Soi By Any Other Name

I’m supposed to be translating his menu, but intead I’m listening to how this stooped man’s shop came to serve Khao Soi, the best noodle dish Thailand has to offer. He smiles, even while he talks, and I’m pulled into to a story of love and adventure. Khao Soi is ubiquitous in northern Thailand and [...]

Homemade Hummus

At this week’s Napa Chef’s Market Chef Gerry of Tarla Mediterranean Restaurant will be demonstrating his recipes for baklava and hummus at 6:30. Following him will be Terry Letson of Fume showing you how to make a Nutella Swirl Poundcake for dessert. Whether using as a dip, spread or even a filling, hummus is great to have [...]


Deep Fry My Disappointment And Call It Forcella

I was ready to be blown away. I grabbed a wad of fried dough with my fingertips, twisted, and yanked the fluffy softness from the pie. It was delicious, soft, chewy. Unfortunately so was the entire crust.


Make Gott’s Gazpacho

Around these parts (and by these parts we mean Rancho TTG) we get nearly as enthusiastic about the arrival of tomato season as we do Beaujolais day. Except shouting “The tomatoes are here! The tomatoes are here,” isn’t nearly as satisfying as yelling “est arrivé!” even when we try to be all like “Ze tomatoés [...]

Hard To Swallow: The Worst Abuses of ‘Certified Organic’

There is just something about the “Certified Organic” label that has always seemed a little dubious, but perhaps you didn’t know exactly why. Well, it turns out you have good reason to be suspicious about that can of “organic” Campbell’s soup or M&M Mars’ Dove Organic,  developed specifically for Wal-Mart. The New York Times reported [...]

Grilling Fire

Sausage Party: The Meat Hook and Malbec

The relationship between a deep red wine and barbecue cannot be undersold. While red wines can certainly speak of refinement and sophistication, there are also many with a smokiness or gaminess that conjure primal open fire cooking (though if you really want to be primal you’ll probably reach for a Coors, not a malbec). A decent malbec [...]

Duck, Duck, Goose: Taking Sides In California’s Foie Gras Fight

From places considering foie gras “corkage fees” (Encanto says it’s considering this work around) to speakfoiesies to simply stocking up (Oenotri in Napa is trying to stock up to outlast foiemaggedon) to promoting ethical farming practices, there are sure to be no shortage of creative approaches in restaurants to dealing with, flaunting and fighting the state-wide ban [...]

Rendering of the restored Fagiani's

Fagiani’s Fits Fabric of Napa with ‘Floating Glass Wine Cave’

The latest details on the rising of Fagiani’s in downtown Napa, which we’d previously reported would reach three-stories and include a rooftop bar and dining area, were delivered in the form of a typically perfunctory Paolo Lucchesi missive. The redesign and operation of the long-shuttered restaurant is in the capable hands of NYC-based design troupe AvroKo, which is [...]

Tacos Garcia fence at Pancha's

Tacos Garcia Truck Rolls Back to Yountville

Rejoice people of Yountville. The Tacos Garcia truck usually stationed outside Pancha’s on Washington Street in Yountville is back. The truck had been missing since a horrific fire tore through a shopping center in Napa and destroyed its parent restaurant. The sad stretch of broken fence in the Pancha’s parking lot where the truck usually [...]


Between the Sheets at The French Laundry

The clock above the kitchen door reads 10:30 a.m. The first wave of prep cooks — which have been here for more than five hours — are moving in accordance with Chef Thomas Keller’s simple reminder placard beneath the second-keeping clock: “A Sense of Urgency,” it reads. Which is exactly what is needed in order [...]

The wood-burning oven at Ciccio in Yountville

Fired Up: Ciccio’s Quest For The Perfect Pizza Crust

“I’m so over food that needs a pedigree. We’re just going to cook,” says Polly Lappetitio, the Chef at Frank Altamura’s (of Altamura Winery) soon-to-open pizzeria, Ciccio, in Yountville. Having spent 13 years at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone restaurant (the last five as Executive Chef) we can understand her need to simplify. For [...]