Over break, I went to napa with my dad and my friend Lauren’s family, people that we have been friends with since I was in first grade.  This might seem like a long time to maintain a friendship but I believe the longevity of our friendship is based on three things: food, alcohol, and golf.

The first time I went over to Lauren’s house to play with our very cool American Girl dolls, my Dad came to pick me up.  Well, he met Lauren’s dad, who offered him a beer and asked if he liked golf, and the rest is pretty much history.

From that point on our families took a lot of vacations together, and going to Napa, while it is a relatively new tradition, has to rate as one of my favorites.  As a whole, the seven of us going to Napa for this culinary adventure share something very important in common: we all love food.  Dining at restaurants with this particular family is always so enjoyable for me for two reasons.  One, we order MOUNTAINS of food, and no one is shy about stealing a bite from another persons plate.  And two, my dad and Lauren’s family humor me in my obsessive need to document whatever we order in pictures.  It works out.

On this trip to Napa, we stopped at two restaurants.  The first is Bottega, which is actually in Yountville.  This is Michael Chiarello’s restaurant and while from what I’ve observed of him on Top Chef leaves me questioning his personality, this is my favorite restaurant ever.  Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the appetizers here but I think that they are strongest dishes at this restaurant.  My personal favorite was the pork belly confit with crispy soft boiled egg: perfectly crispy pork belly with an expertly boiled soft egg covered in breadcrumbs.  When you cut into the egg, it opened and melted all over the pork belly and it was truly perfect.  So, picture that in your head if you can.

Here are some things we got (that I managed to snap a picture of before they were inhaled):


Swiss Chard, Spinach & Ricotta Raviolo, farm fresh egg yolk, sage browned butter, & Burgundy black truffles

This was AMAZING.  Observe as the ravioli is opened, and the egg yolk oozes everywhere:



Words don’t really do this dish justice.


Ahi Tuna with Mushrooms, Served on a Salt Block

Pork Chop

My dad ordered this, and he wasn’t that impressed but he did rave about the “petrified spinach” that this was served with


Oven Roasted Kale ("petrified spinach")

Paprika Oil Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak Parmigiano Reggiano and parsley fries, salsa rossa, arugula

I didn’t try the steak, but heard it was good…the truffle fries were AMAZING.


some kind of seasonal crab thing - huge, but good.

Fall Squash & Amaretto Tortelli, apple braised pork cheeks & pork braising jus

This was about 1/2 of the things we ordered.  I can’t recommend Bottega enough and I look forward to going there next.

The day after Bottega, we visited Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa for the first time.  I was apprehensive because I wasn’t sure what could top our lunch at Bottega, but I was so happily surprised.  A combination of hunger and awkward lighting prevented me from getting pictures of most of our courses, but the best appetizer I ate was (surprisingly) a salad of haricot verts and beets, with a roquefort vinaigrette dressing.  It was simple and amazing.


Calamarata Amatriciana with Guanciale

Best pasta dish of the entire trip; al denta pasta rings with a spicy tomato and guanciale sauce with some grated Pecorino.  I would LOVE to recreate this someday.


Champagne Cosmo

Ordering cocktails at a restaurant is a weird experience.  I liked this, but it was a little sweet.


RAVIOLO con GRANCHIO Dungeness Crab, Ricotta Tarragon-Mascarpone, Bisque

Two out of the group ordered this (inspired by my ravioli from the previous day I would like to think.  What can I say, I am a trendsetter).  It was very rich and different then expected, but it was good.



There were some other really good appetizers (the fritto misto was excellent, as was the salt cod arancini) and my dad loved his lasagna.  Definitely will be making a return trip here.


Hope you enjoyed my little dose of food porn!  A college students budget doesn’t always allow for these types of meals, so the posts might be few and far between, but food porn is always appreciated.


One response »

  1. […] with Lauren and Leslie, my best friend since first grade and her sister, who I mentioned here and here. As soon as I bought the coupon I thought of them, as we all have similar tastes, which is to say […]

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