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desperately seeking duck bacon

Fatted Calf does have smoked duck breast...which I'm guessing is what you're kind of looking for. It's brined, cold smoked then cooked.

Apr 12, 2012
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Foods store?

There were Rancho Gordo Tortillas for sale at the Napa Fatted Calf store last week which were incredible. I guess you could try frying them yourself if they don't have chips at the RG store.

Mar 03, 2012
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Pork Caul

The Fatted Calf in Napa always has some for sale. Their SF store probably doesn't carry any, as most things are made in Napa, but they could probably get some brought down if you give them a few days notice.

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Fatted Calf
644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

Sep 12, 2011
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Bar menus in Yountville area???

Redd has a great bar menu, especially the pork belly buns. It can get pretty busy though, and I'm not sure if they take reservations for the bar. I don't know if the bar at Bouchon has it's own menu or if it just lets you order off the regular menu. Between the two, I would go with Redd.

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Redd
6480 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

Bouchon
6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Aug 12, 2011
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

I'm in Napa anyone know where I can buy good brats and hoagie rolls

Fatted Calf does sell Craft Beer links, last time I was there (Thursday), they were made with Pliny the Elder. They're about as close as you can get to a brat currently. They're pretty tasty.

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Fatted Calf
644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

Feb 05, 2011
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

New Dim Sum Truck in Napa

The size of the dumplings were about the size you would get at a restaurant,they didn't skimp there. Definitely larger than tru gourmet, but I don't think as good, but I've only eaten at both places once, so it's hard to compare.

Oct 01, 2010
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

New Dim Sum Truck in Napa

Went today to Dim Sum Charlie's which is an airstream trailer located in the construction site between soscol and oxbow. I think they're still in their soft opening stage, with their official opening occurring this weekend. They sell a wide variety of dumplings, and other dim sum offerings (although with non-traditional names), and state that they only use organic and sustainable products. I sampled quite a few of their offerings, and it's definitely the best Dim Sum in Napa....but then it's the only Dim Sum in Napa.

Overall the quality of the dumplings were quite good, but not great. Having grown up in Toronto and Vancouver I know what great Dim Sum can be, and this doesn't even measure up to the best places in San Francisco, which wouldn't be such an issue if their prices were a little more reasonable. That being said, it was good, and I'd happily go back and eat it again...and probably again, there just isn't any other place in Napa to get dumplings of this quality.

Some of their offerings included:

Sui Mai (Beef, pork, or chicken): I had the pork, and it was pretty tasty, with a good texture

Country Shrimp Almighty (Their version of Har Gow I guess): Shrimp as a bit rubbery, but the seasoning and flavor was good

Pork Rice Noodle Snotty: This is comparable to the long wobbly slippery noodle dish at dim Sum Places (name escapes me): This I did not like, texture was weird, and flavor just not great, but then I usually don't like these normally, but my friend wanted to try them.

BBQ Pork buns: They have both baked and steamed (although their baked also seemed to be steamed?). The Steamed buns, which they call the white fluffy, was really good. The filling was nice, with good flavor and not too much sweetness surrounded by a great dough that was soft and the right amount of chew. The Honey baked pork bun was OK, the honey and filling together made for too sweet a bun.

They also had sticky rice stuffed with pork sausage, chicken and scallops wrapped in lotus leaves. They was pretty tasty as well, and one of the better versions of this dish I've had (and this dish can be done very poorly).

The only real downsides was the wait and the price. Again, this was a soft-opening, and apparently there was a twitter event there, so the wait was crazy (around 40-50 minutes). As a cook I know what it's like to get killed on line, and this was was being killed big time. For this reason I can forgive the wait, and in talking to some others that had been before, the typical wait time is usually 5-10 minutes.

The prices though are just way too much for dumplings, especially from a trailer that must have pretty low over head. The prices range from $5-6.85 for 3-4 dumplings (or 2 buns), and that seems even more then what Yank Sing charges. The price is the only thing that would keep me from coming back often, but it's great to finally have a place in napa to get some tasty Dim Sum

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Yank Sing
49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

Sep 30, 2010
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

where should a steak lover eat around yountville?

Grass fed can be tough at times, but maybe some of their cuts are better than others. The time I went it was pretty good, not overwhelmingly tender mind you, but good flavor. I wasn't impressed with Farmstead enough to go back anytime soon though to try it again...well maybe when the patio is warm, and LMR starts producing more summertime produce for the kitchen.

Either way, if the steak is varying in quality at Farmstead, that's even more reason to go to Press instead

Apr 29, 2010
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Romantic trip - recommendations please!

If you take Spring Mountain Road (which I think starts as St. Helena Rd on the Sonoma County end) you can visit Pride and School House Vineyards (both of which I really like). My favorite back road is the Oakville grade, absolutely awesome drive, But there aren't any stops worth making on it (as far as I can tell anyway). Avoid this road though if car sickness is an issue.

Apr 29, 2010
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

where should a steak lover eat around yountville?

Definitely Press, they have quite a few steak options. The Beef at Farmstead is great, but there is only one choice each day, so it might not be what you're friends are looking for at the time.

Apr 29, 2010
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Calistoga?

Since JoLe isn't open for lunch, I second the Solage rec. It's good solid food, and better than any other option in Calistoga.

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JoLe
1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515

Apr 24, 2010
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Lunch at Redd - recommendation for wineries nearby?

Probably one of the best places to go nearby is Ma(i)sonry. They serve Blackbird, a well as others, and have ongoing art exhibits. It's a short walk from Redd, and well worth a visit

http://www.maisonry.com/

Mar 03, 2010
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Heeeeellllllp! Need a country ham in the Bay Area!!!

I wonder if the fact that the Momofuku cookbook's praising of Benton's has caused the backlog. If so I'm sure they weren't expecting this kind of demand, and has probably sent them into this delivery problem. I have a friend who's ordered from them a few times and hasn't ever had a problem like this. Not that I'm excusing them from giving you incorrect information when you placed your order, I'm just hoping that this is a slight hiccup in their customer service rather then a reoccurring trend.

Dec 22, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

St Helena restaurants...

Market is OK, good food, but nothing special, and I don't like akaBistro at all. Not that the food was bad, it's just not good enough compared to other places in the area to warrant the prices or another visit.

I second the recommendation for Cook and Terra as better alternatives to aka Bistro.

Dec 14, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Napa Valley Trip Report

Reddington has a habit of 86ing beef if the waiters are selling a lot of it, and then trying to get them to push something else like the fish. And it's not because that station gets too in the weeds with all the orders...it's just him being him. That might be the snit they were referring too.

Dec 11, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Poutine.

Speaking as a Canadian, you really need to be drunk to enjoy your first poutine. It's only then that the combination makes sense, after that initial one though you will crave it no matter what state you're in. So I really want to try some of these bay area one's, but I just don't know if I can set myself up for that kind of disappointment, but the craving is strong.

Nov 18, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Napa: Meat at Ubuntu - “No Holds Barred, No Rules” dinners on Tuesdays during the winter

The staff meal at ubuntu features meat, if you go in their walk in you'll see lots of meat used for family meal. I'm not sure if they use special cookware just for family meal, I highly doubt it, but if one goes in expecting that nothing in that place has ever touched meat, they're sadly mistaken.

Nov 17, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Calistoga - recomendations

No you didn't catch them on a bad day, their meat is always just adequate. It does if you're really craving BBQ, but definitely not a place I would go to with only a few days in town.

Oct 24, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Calistoga - recomendations

I find La Luna and Azteca better than Villa Corona....as are pretty much any taco truck in Napa. La Mixteca is probably the best mexican I've had in a while (Thanks to some chowhounds for pointing it out).

Busters is OK, but for anyone who knows real BBQ, it really disappoints. It does in a pinch, but is pretty mediocre for the most part. The hot sauce will put some hair on your chest though.

I will agree with Maria that Saraforina is great for breakfast, and can be hit or miss on a lot of other items.

Oct 23, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Calistoga - recomendations

If you're on your way out of town then Boon Fly would be a great stop before getting out of Napa (I didn't realize that was the case when I told you it was a little to far to drive). Napa has a shortage of good breakfast spots, so there aren't too many better options than Boon Fly (definitely go for the doughnuts).

Oct 22, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Michelin Guide to San Francisco, 2010

Yeah the only thing that surprised me bout the Commis star, is that the restaurant is just so new, and I really didn't think they would have enough time to review, write-up and still make the publishing deadline. I've never eaten there, but a few friends that have, have raved about it.

Oct 19, 2009
Piperdown in Food Media & News

Your favorite (and least favorite) restaurant/food chains in Toronto/the GTA

As a Torontonian now living in California, the two chains I miss the most are Harvey's and Swiss Chalet (if the above is true about the price increases, then that's a shame), although once they changed their fries, it's never been the same for me. I don't know what it is about Harvey's that I've loved so much, but it's always been a favourite.

Oct 19, 2009
Piperdown in Chains

A Tale of Two McDonalds

In the past I've experienced 10:30 on weekdays, and 11 on weekends, but lately it seems 10:30 on all days. I've been able to get breakfast items a little past 10:30. but only if they have extras in the warming trays, so I can't always get what I want.

I'm not a fan of most of their breakfast items, but their hashbrowns win me over every time.

Oct 19, 2009
Piperdown in Chains

Michelin Guide to San Francisco, 2010

About time for Ubuntu, they definitely deserve it. Not sure how I feel about Martini House losing their star, kind of expected it, but still a bit surprised. Also, Terra already had a star, but the OP indicates that it's new.

I wonder if SF will ever get a second three star restaurant.

Oct 19, 2009
Piperdown in Food Media & News

Dinner in Santa Rosa

Willi's Wine bar might suit your needs. Probably my favorite of the Stark's restaurants. Lots of Plates to share, and wines by the glass.

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Willi's Wine Bar
4404 Old Redwood Hwy, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Oct 15, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Good eats around Vallejo

Yeah, It's definitely a place were there are limited things you should order. I think maybe one of the reasons I liked it so much was that I was not expecting anything good based on the outside of the joint, but it was still more promising than the Long John Silvers down the street.

Oct 12, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Good eats around Vallejo

A good cheap place is Chicken Express (not the chain). It looks like a dump but has surprisingly good mexican food.

Oct 12, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Cyrus or Meadowood?

It's not a bad drive under normal circumstances, but the road is single lane, and windy, and it will be night time. Plus if you want to enjoy the wine (I thought the wine pairings were amazing, and well worth it), then ride back at night isn't the safest thing to do. My meal at Meadowood wasn't as good as my meal at Cyrus, but it was comparable. Plus the stretch of the Silverado Trail from Calistoga to St.Helena is probably the nicest part of the whole trail.

Oct 01, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

For Napa locals - where do you eat?

Martini House can be affordable depending on what you eat. The tasting menus can be expensive, but you can go a la carte and spend less. I recommend going to their cellar and getting the best burger in town (only $16 with onion rings), it's a huge burger and is easily filling, but don't miss their charcuterie plate which is all house made.

I'm just a starving culinary student, so for less expensive meals I go to the Mexican Markets like La Luna or Azteca. Taylors is a rip off. Tra Vigne pizzeria isn't too expensive. If your staying in Napa, then there are lots of taco trucks. Unfortuneately Napa County isn't the best place for budget meals.

Sep 13, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area

Eat Real Fest, Oakland, August 28-30

I can't believe how amazingly organized this festival was. So many vendors, there wasn't any need to wait in long lines. The only one we waited awhile for was Chop Bar's pig on a flat bread, which was well worth the wait. At this point though we had eaten at about 10 other places, and had full beers, so waiting wasn't a problem.

The other stand outs were Saul's pickles (especially the tomatoes), and Soul Cocina's Puri cones. Congrats to the organizers for suck a great day, I was a little leery after the long waits at SF street food, but this was probably the best festival I've been to all summer. Can't wait for next year.

Aug 30, 2009
Piperdown in San Francisco Bay Area