Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ribs and Zin Party- Yountville

Sunday we went to Yountville for the Ribs and Zin party at Bottega, which is Michael Chiarello's new restaurant. Next to his restaurant is a large lawn area where the event was held, also his Napa Style store is right there also and I think the hotel that is next door is also his.. it seems like he owns most of Yountville. We went about 2 hours early just to be sure to get a parking space and I'm glad we did. We had time to kill so we went to check out the venue and checked in and got our wrist bands then headed to Bouchon Bakery for some coffee and pastries. Everyone had the same idea.. the place was over flowing but it didn't take long to get in, there were cases of great looking pastries. I ordered my latte and a Pain de chocolate and a blue berry coffee cake. Oh that croissant was so good...the best I've ever had. The coffee cake was good too but Charlie agreed that the croissant was better. After our breakfast we sat for a while and people watched then headed back across the street to see if anything new was happening at Bottega. Not much was going on so we went and browsed through Napa Style but it's just way too expensive for me. We then went and sat up on the patio of Bottega and watched the people coming in. Off in the distance I saw Michael Chiarrello at the barbecue of course I had to get a picture. OK, I'm getting to be a chef groupie. Ever since I saw Hubert Keller on Top Chef Masters I was just so charmed by him.. so when I found out he was going to be here of course I wanted to meet him. Along with Keller(Fleur de Lys, Buger Bar) and Chiarello (Bottega) were, Cindy Pawlcyn (Mustards Grill), Elizabeth Faulkner (Citizen Cake).I just took it from the patio since they were not letting anyone into the event area. Charlie decided to go smoke a cigar and right after he left they began to let us into the event area. We were directed to the wine area where we could get a tasting of about 8 wines. Of course there was the Chiarello Vineyards Zin and there was Duckhorn Vineyards and a few others that I'm not sure who they were. I got the Duckhorn Souvignon Blanc and the Chiarello Zin.. Charlie doesn't drink wine mind you. He found me sitting on one of the walls enjoying both wines. In the buffet area they had the Italian sodas for those who don't drink and also the beer garden with beer from Napa Smith Brewery. So of course we had to go try some beer which was so good on a hot day. About then we noticed people starting to line up for the food and also something going on on the other side of the lawn. Charlie went to get food and I went to see what was going on.. it was the autograph session. I had brought one of Chiarello's books ( I have every one's books but I wasn't about to carry 4 books around) I got to be the 2nd person to have the chef's autograph my cookbook.. All the chef's were genuinely nice they all took the time to actually talk to everyone and sign books, bags, wine bottles etc they took pictures with the people ( I didn't get a picture with the chef's since Charlie was eating), it was fun. And as I said Hubert Keller was as nice and charming as he seems on TV. I guess you can say he's my celebrity crush. He just charmed me from his first appearance on Top Chef Masters and I'm so glad he's just as he appears on TV. Both he and Chiarello are just hilarious both have great personalities. The women were just as nice just not as boisterous as the men. After I got my signatures I ventured back to the buffet area. Charlie said the cole slaw was good but he thought the ribs were just so so, but then he's not a big ribs fan. After standing in line in the hot sun for quite a while I finally made it up to the buffet table. There was 3 pans of ribs, but I couldn't tell if they were different or the same, extra sauce for the ribs,the cole slaw, the damn hot peppers, corn bread w/ green chilies, and water melons. Yes, the cole slaw was excellent. It was not the mayonnaise kind but an oil and vinegar type, slightly sweet and sour. The cornbread was OK, the ribs were just OK. They were falling off the bone tender but it was more like they were par boiled to make it tender then put on the grill to crisp up. It didn't have any of that smokey barbecue taste. The one nice touch was they had warm towels to clean your hands and face with. They also had waiters walking around serving water since it was so warm. Around 1:00 they had a Q&A session and of course most of the questions were about the Top Chef Masters show. Of course they wouldn't reveal anything but Chiarello was telling everyone to watch to see what goes on between him and Dale. They then had a cooking competition between Chiarello and was supposed to be a dish similar to what they prepared on Top Chef. Chiarello did fried halibut balls with a salsa verde and an aioli and Keller did a hamburger stuffed with shortribs with his home made mustard, swiss cheese and tomatoes on cibbata bread. Faulkner and Pawlcyn were the judges. Of course it came out a tie, but the women said both were delicious. I wish we had gotten to have a taste. The only complaint I had regarding the Q&A and cooking demo was the lack of seats. They had about 2 dozen chairs blocked off for VIP seating but everyone else had to stand around or sit on the ground. They did have TV's set up around the area so at least everyone was able to see what was going on. It's just that it was in the direct sun and hot, thank goodness for the little breeze that blew through every now and then and the waiters serving water. They said there were 600 people in attendance so it was a nice size crowd without being over whelming. I put myself on the mailing list so hopefully they will have another event next year. The proceeds went to Clinic Ole and to the Connely Ranch.
Charlie looking thrilled
Hubert Keller

Michael Chiarello

Cindy Pawlcyn

Elizabeth Faulkner

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks Eileen! Now I can say I "went" to this event!!

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