Laura Chenel's Chévre goat cheese

Grilled and Marinated Goat Cheese Wrapped in Grape Leaves

We might as well call this recipe, by Chef Mauro Pando of Grace’s Table in Napa, “a few of our favorite things.” It features goat cheese, grape leaves, a baguette, and, to top it off, cherries. If you’ve ever looked at all the fresh, young grape leaves while driving around the valley and thought to [...]

Summer Corn Chowder with Dungeness Crab and Black Garlic

This Thursday (June 7) at the Chef’s Market in downtown Napa, Jordan Mackey, executive chef of Cuvée, will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. to prepare his Summer Corn Chowder with Dungeness Crab and Black Garlic. And for dessert? Immediately following Chef Mackey, Sally Pereira, Cuvée’s pastry chef, will demonstrate her techniques for preparing a [...]

Oakville Grocery Reopened

Tanned, Rested and Restored: Oakville Grocery Reopens

Oakville Grocery has had a long sojourn. The old girl had extensive reconstructive surgery, but like an aging silent-film-era starlet (the building was built before Tullulah Bankhead was even born, after all) who spends the off-season in Palm Springs with huge sunglasses on, waiting for her raccoon eyes to heal, she’s making her triumphant return [...]


When The Steak On Your Plate Is The Same Shape As The Region The Wine In Your Glass Came From

Oh, California. We seem to do all kinds of crazy things with our food out West. Like put avocados on hamburgers and cut a triangular chunk out of the bottom sirloin of a cattle and call it a tri-tip. For those of you on the East Coast, allow us to explain: It’s sort of like [...]

Fagiani's Rising

Fagiani’s Rising

Fagiani’s, the historic bar at 831 Main Street in Napa, is literally rising again. The figurative rising began in 2008, when the building’s new owner Steve Hasty cleared decades of dust from the old bar and opened the doors to a small group. The building had been sealed and its contents — cocktail glasses, cases [...]

French Blue

Something Borrowed: Howard Backen’s French Blue Takes Shape

The construction site in St. Helena, which come May 29th will boast Napa’s latest dining destination French Blue, is abuzz (literally) with saws and workmen fitting things, and amid the clatter, Howard Backen is energetic, but perfunctory when explaining where this will hang and that will go with a flutter of his fingers. Make no [...]

MCA’s Recipe for Pasta with Pesto

“I’ll be in the paper/ The news with Ernie Anastos/ They’ll even print my recipe for pasta with pesto.” Here is, in accordance with what we think his dying wishes might well have been, MCA’s recipe for pasta with pesto (as printed in Grand Royal magazine and via Food in My Beard). Our guest chef [...]


The Heirloom Seeds of Dissent

The bureaucratic bullshit can pile up so high that you need a shovel just to figure out what’s going on. So, it’s fitting then that it takes a bunch of farmers to cut through the crap of the GMO mess. The above seed packets-cum-activist literature were produced, donated and packed by the good people at Baker [...]


Does Piaci Make the North Coast’s Best Pizza?

Among the long line of P-words in which one can indulge while on the North Coast, “pizza” might not be the first to pop up. Sure there are fields of pennyroyal surrounding rows of pinot and pockets of pot plants. In Fort Bragg you’ll also find pilsner-a-plenty at the North Coast Brewing Co., (whose Scrimshaw [...]

Better Food Porn: Tips From a Pro

We can’t stop you from taking pictures of your food with your phone, but we can help you get better at it. If you insist on pointing your iPhone at everything that comes near your gullet, do your Facebook friends a favor and get professional help. Either from a psychiatrist or a photographer. If you [...]

The Thomas Keller Hagiography

If the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival is the culinary equivalent of Coachella, then Thomas Keller is its Radiohead. And this year the chef served as something of a headliner, complete with a gauzy tribute video that played at the festival, and, at nearly 17 minutes long, serves as something of a fawning mini-biopic. [...]

The tables are made from reclaimed redwood

Inside Goose & Gander: Now Open

Completely renovating a beloved local icon can be risky business. Judging from the reactions at a preview this weekend, Andy Florsheim and the team behind Goose & Gander can breath easy, though. The new crew has done right by the 90-year-old landmark. Let’s be honest: As great as The Martini House was under Todd Humphries and [...]

Super Friends 1973

Bar Stars Beattie and Pazdon Bringing Classics, Hand-Cut Ice to Goose & Gander

The old Martini House, empty more than a year now, will roar back to life next week as Andy Florsheim’s Goose & Gander. Florsheim has assembled a bar team supergroup of sorts (we are thinking more Super Friends or maybe the powers of Voltron uniting than Velvet Revolver, but you be the judge). Today, we [...]


Middling Mediterranean Falls Prey To The Plague of Mediocrity

It can’t be easy to open a new restaurant in one of the most well-trod dining destinations in the world. But most restaurants that open in Napa Valley do not aspire to be crowned with Michelin stars or spawn series of cookbooks. Instead, restaurateurs hope to be consistent enough to attract a devoted local following [...]


Cline Cellars’ Burnt-Honey Ricotta Gnocchi

Cline Cellars, a Sonoma producer most known for its zinfandel and its Rhone blends has quietly produced small quantities of a very food-friendly Sonoma Coast pinot noir since 2007, though up until very recently in amounts so small that they didn’t make it far from the tasting room. To celebrate the release of its Cool [...]


The Yelping Class: The Chronically Dissatisfied Modern Diner

As a wine and hospitality professional I study service obsessively. The ability to anticipate guests’ needs and to guide them through dining or drinking experiences that will leave them loving your establishment — and loving food and wine in general — more than they did before is the mission of nearly every person who works [...]

Boss Hogg: Spoils of The Flesh in LA

Black Hogg is that rarest of places in Los Angeles. One where men can eat, women can indulge, and life stops for a few hours or so.  The staff understands this fact and accommodates the diner, not pushing him out the door, but instead encouraging him to make a night of it and indulge in [...]

Luigi's pizza

Pizza without emotion is like childbirth without hemorroids

If you do not emote when you consume pizza, you are doing it wrong. Pizza has long been an emotional experience for me. I mean, shoot, remember completing your entire “BookIt!” readings  to then reap the lucrative prize of a fancy dinner at Pizza Hut? Pizza was and always will be the ultimate reward. Pizza [...]

‘Don’t Call Me Foodie, Fatty’

New York magazine has an obsessively wonderful feature story this week on the lives of the young, rich and hungry in Manhattan and Brooklyn (with occasional excursions into Queens to pillage borderline genuine street food exotica). But one statement by one of the interview subjects, Diane Chang — a 27-year-old New Yorker whose impressive photo [...]


Habit Forming Lines In Napa

The Habit Burger Grill added its fourth Bay Area location today when it opened in Napa (joining shops in Walnut Creek, Pleasanton and San Mateo) to much ballyhoo. And by ballyhoo we mean lines out the door like you would see at Bouchon on a Sunday if they were giving out free gold bars (and by gold [...]

Straight Outta Cabot: Brassica Dining Room

Brassica’s Wine Program Actually Interesting (But, Oh That Gingham)

Cindy Pawlcyn’s recent attempt to reinvigorate the former Go Fish space by replacing light fixtures, ditching the table cloths and exchanging the epic seafood-centric menu for a more manageable variety of Mediterranean small plates is largely a failure. Renamed Brassica, the restaurant still feels awkwardly large and like a dated take on farmhouse chic. And [...]

MMmmm, DiGiorno

The Basest of Baselines: Pizza Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

I have long been a pizza addict. It has gotten so bad that at one point I could be found drooling over a pepperoni pizza Lean Pocket, fake cheese guilt dripping from the corner of my mouth. I live in the pizza capital of the country, so you would think I wouldn’t have to resort [...]

More Goose & Gander Details

More details on Goose & Gander,  the highly anticipated restaurant filling the Martini House space in Saint Helena have rolled in. And from the sound of things the spot is going to be worth the wait. And a hearty affair. For starters, literally, you’ve got Chef Kelly McCown’s housemade charcuterie to whet your appetite for menu anchors [...]


Farmers Market: Ciccio Bringing Fresh, Ingredient-Driven Italian To Yountville

Frank Altamura grew up frequenting the little Italian grocery in Yountville on Washington Street. Since those days, a lot has changed. All around the diminutive free-standing wooden building with the distinctive facade, the machinations of wine country boom and celebrity chef superstardom have proliferated, turning the sleepy town into something else. And though the building [...]

Thomas Keller On Life, ‘Finesse’ and Everything

There are plenty of celebrity chefs who have their own magazines but with the definite exception of David Chang’s Lucky Peach most of them suck. They usually come off as thin retreads of other food titles, shallow vanity projects, schlock that the chef in question had little to do with, or worse. But Finesse, the semi-annual [...]