Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Day in Wine Country and Dinner at Bottega

Sunday was a nice relaxing day.  We decided to take a trip to the wine country.  We started out our day in Calistoga, having brunch at the Calistoga Inn then walking around the town. We then  worked our way back doing a little wine tasting and stopping at Dean and Deluca the most amazing specialty store.  I've been past D ean and Deluca but had never stopped.  It has everything from pastries to pate to cookware to a deli to fresh vegetables,( though the veggies didn't look so hot and were way expensive) and much much more.  I could spend hours in there just looking and drooling over all the wonderful items in there.  After purchasing a couple of small items we headed on down the road to Yountville.
I think I may have already blogged about Bottega in the past, but you'll have to forgive me that my memory is just not what it used to be, so bear with me.  Besides it's good and bears repeating.
 We were hoping we could get an early dinner at Bottega.  Bottega is the restaurant owned and operated by Michael Chiarello of the Top Chef Masters fame. Since it was a nice day we asked to be seated on the patio.  The lawn area across from where we were seated was set up for an evening wedding so we had a perfect seat to watch the comings and goings of the guests.  Unfortunately we didn't get to see the wedding take place.
Ok, now to the food.  After being seated we were brought our drinks and this wonderful crispy bread and the most amazing dipping sauce.  I think this sauce is one of the best things we ate tonight.  That's saying a lot since everything was top notch. I'll go into a little more detail about this sauce later.
We started with appetizers of the grilled octopus and "Green eggs and Ham" asparagus, crispy soft boiled egg, crispy prosciutto.

 Entrees were the duck confit and the soft shell crab w/pasta, soft shell crab being one of my favorites.  I can't remember the name of the pasta but when it was served the waiter poured bonito shavings on top.  But, since it was windy, the flakes blew all over the place.  What was left on my pasta was delicious, it reminded me of Udon.. Japanese noodle soup which is made with a bonito broth and thick noodles like in this dish.  The duck confit plate might look a bit sparse but it actually had 2 slices of toasted bread with goose liver pate in that empty spot, which luckily my husband does not like so I got to eat them and delicious they were.

Desert was a Pana cotta and Zeppoli's, Italian donuts with a dipping sauces of meyer lemon and either blue berries or huckleberries.. I can't remember.  What ever it was out of this world good.
Now about the dipping sauce again..really, it's that good.  I asked our waitress what was in it besides Parmesan cheese.  I was told it was aged Parmesan cheese, Calabrian sausage, Calabrian chilies, a little olive oil and a little parsley.  Now all I can tell you is that the cheese was crumbled or maybe chopped, it wasn't grated, they were little chunks.  I don't know how readily available Calabrian sausage is but I think if you used linguisa or chorizo chopped fine it would be as good and of course a few regular red pepper flakes would work equally well..not too much since there was no real heat in the sauce. Plus a good amount of good olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped parsley and salt to taste.  How much of each?  Well, the Parmesan cheese was dominant with a bit of everything else.  I would and am going to play around with this until I find the right balance.  Have fun with it..it is simply delicious.  I think it would be a really good sauce over pasta.
My one complaint and really it isn't even about the restaurant..it's about the chef's son.  Chef Chiarello's wife and son and friend were sitting behind us.  My back was to them, but my husband said between cooking he would come out and sit with them..and I missed that!!  My complaint is that his son who was maybe 6or 7 kept climbing out the window, jumping down into the garden, yelling to his mother that he was going to climb the stairs or whatever.  I know for him this was just dinner at dad's but for those of us who make it a destination it was rather irritating.  Being the chef and owners son you would think they would instill better manners in him..not a good reflection on his parents.
Oh and visit his Napa Style shop which is located right across from the restaurant..lots of interesting things in there.

1 comment:

verybearygood said...

Hey! That looks good...want to go back? Let's go together sometime!

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