Head up to Russian River for an organic, garden-fresh picnic lunch, packed in compostable and biodegradable packaging. The menu includes white truffle popcorn, fresh salad with citrus balsamic dressing and roasted meat and grilled vegetable sandwiches paired with Lynmar’s 2007 Russian River Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Lunch served daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., $35 a person ($30 for club members). lynmarwinery.com
What doesn’t Michael Chiarello do?
Along with stints on Top Chef Masters (he made it to the final four), he’s won three Emmy’s for his Food Network Show Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello; is behind the artisan home goods company NapaStyle and is the chef and owner of Bottega restaurant.
Recently, Chiarello unveiled a chef’s table at Bottega. Unlike other chef’s table-dining experiences that are set firmly in the kitchen, Chiarello’s Calcutta d’Oro marble and vintage brass table is still in the main dining room. However, the setting, near the opening to the bustling kitchen, provides the perfect vantage point: the action of the cooks behind the scenes plating the night’s meals and the excitement unfolding in the dining room as the night (and generous wine pouring) wears on.
While at the chef’s table, Chiarello is your evening’s host, dropping off each dish, discussing what inspired or challenged him, fielding questions about how to copy his presentation at home (hint: you’ll need a 2,000-year-old Himalayan salt block) and even agreeing to be in a picture or two.
On a recent night, the chefs smoked and braised short ribs, and paired perfectly cooked asparagus with a warm pecorino custard; but the crispy soft boiled egg and burrata were the most exciting dishes on the plate. Leave room for the finale—a warm chocolate cake drizzled with a decadent hazelnut cream. Don’t miss the evening’s wine pairings—the sommelier pours varietals that have been carefully chosen to match each course—and keep a look out for Chiarello Family Vineyards, the chef’s own small-production estate winery.
The courses change each night and chef’s table guests are welcome to contact the restaurant in advance to have Chiarello create a menu that will pair with a favorite cult wine or to submit a special dietary request.
Prices will vary (per each night’s different courses and ingredients) but most meals have four courses plus a cheese service, and it’s about $70 per person for the dinner and an extra $30 per person for wine. Bottega, 6525 Washington Street, Yountville, 707.945.1050. botteganapavalley.com
Mmmm more chocolate!
True lovers of chocolate, don’t miss the first annual Napa luxury chocolate salon. It features 25 chocolatiers, confectioners and wineries along with chocolate tasting, author signings, wine tasting and ongoing interviews by TasteTV’s Chocolate Television. June 6, napachocolatesalon.com