Yountville is abuzz with the news that chef Michael Chiarello will shutter his NAPASTYLE store and open a food hall in the space, with a mozzarella bar, meat-curing area, wood-fired pizza oven, nanobrewery, and a café that serves pastries. It’s already being compared to Mario Batali’s Eataly in NYC and Chicago, though the footprint will be significantly smaller and the focus will be on a Wine Country experience. The space is adjacent to Chiarello’s Bottega restaurant and the unnamed project is slated for a March 2016 opening. The NapaStyle store, which focuses on kitchenware and Wine Country souvenirs, will close on January 4th. 6525 Washington St., Yountville.
You can have a white Christmas in downtown Napa after all. The restaurant 1313 MAIN has been transformed into a winter wonderland with holiday trees, more than 20 pounds of fake snow, and a six-course holiday menu featuring Santa-approved dishes like 20-day dry-aged Sonoma Duck roasted over pine with cranberry and celery root velouté, sweet potato gnocchi with roasted chestnuts, a gingerbread soufflé, and luxe wine pairings. The $250 per person experience runs through December 30th. Details and reservations online. 1313 Main St. (at 5th St.), Napa, 707-258-1313.
Truffles are coming! On Wednesday December 9th, Napa’s LA TOQUE restaurant will feature a five-course truffle tasting menu featuring some of the most renowned truffles in the world. The Michelin-starred restaurant’s chef, Ken Frank, has invited guest chef Carlo Zarri from Hotel Ristorante Villa San Carlo in Cortemilia, Italy, to showcase both white and black truffles from Piemonte. Local and Italian wines will be paired with each course. Details and reservations online or by calling 707-257-5157. $150 per person, plus $62 for optional wine pairing. 1314 McKinstry St. at Soscol, Napa.
High-end Napa wine emporium and eatery BOUNTY HUNTER will be expanding—a lot. Founder and CEO Mark Pope announced plans for a four-story, 27,500-square-foot “food and wine emporium” that will open in 2018. The ground floor will feature a large barbecue restaurant, and there will also be a retail space for wine and spirits. The second floor will include event spaces and a “wine lab” for “a unique educational experience,” according to reps. Company headquarters will be on the third and fourth floors of the First and Main building. “It has been my longtime dream to create an engaging environment that celebrates this region’s love of food and wine in a fun, approachable setting,” said Pope.
Get a little cheesy on Sunday December 6th with cheesemonger Gordon “Zola” Edgar. The author and passionate cheese enthusiast will be at RAMEKINS from 3-4:30pm for a free event and book signing for Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Most Iconic Cheese, his latest work. The event is hosted by Sonoma cheesemaker Sheana Davis, who will serve aged cheddars from around the country, along with brews from Uncommon Brewers. Reservations suggested; call 707-935-7960. 400 West Spain St. (at W. 4th St.), Sonoma.
For the second year, OpenTable.com has tapped ST. FRANCIS WINERY in the Sonoma Valley as the nation’s number one restaurant, beating out culinary superheroes in New York, San Francisco, and Napa Valley.
“We are still pinching ourselves,” said Chris Silva, president and CEO of St. Francis Winery and Vineyards. “The real irony is that we aren’t actually a restaurant,” he added, acknowledging the uniqueness of his situation. St. Francis won the coveted top spot in 2013 as well.
But it also isn’t an accident that executive chef Bryan Jones’s five-course tasting menu and wine pairings have attracted a lot of attention. Using ingredients from the winery’s two-acre garden, classical fine dining techniques, and luxury ingredients, this isn’t exactly picnic fodder. And then there’s the idyllic scenery surrounding the dining room, with views of Mount St. Helena and the vineyards. At $68 per person, it’s a relative steal for this kind of dining experience.
OpenTable generated its list of the 100 Best Restaurants in America from more than 5 million restaurant reviews collected from verified OpenTable diners between November 1st, 2014, and October 31st, 2015. Reps tell us that restaurants are sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant’s average rating in the “overall” category, along with that restaurant’s rating relative to others in the same metropolitan area and the average number of restaurants reviewed by diners who reviewed that restaurant.
St. Francis Winery takes reservations for food and wine pairings Friday through Monday; details online. 100 Pythian Road (at Sonoma Hwy), Santa Rosa, 707-538-9463.