Saturday, January 19, 2008

sipping and judging in nor cal wine country

I'm not a big wine drinker, but my visit to Napa this afternoon made me wish I was. I've visited wineries all over the world (notably in wine rivals Italy and France) so I wasn't expecting to be WOWed by the Northern Cali version of what Europe does best. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. First, it was an absolutely gorgeous sunny winter day, so everything looked amazing. The vineyards were lush and green, the air was crisp and slightly cold, and everyone seemed in a cheerful mood---a perfect combination for a great day of wine tasting.

DO NOT skip the visitor's center on 101 Antonina Avenue in American Canyon for all kinds of brochures and suggestions on how to best spend you day. If you're lucky, they'll probably even have some coupons to use at a number of popular wineries which comes in handy when you're visiting several. Two thumbs up for V. Sattui Winery which was the busiest (and tastiest) winery we visited, and only $5 for 6 different wine samples! Their dessert wines are very sweet and a must-try in my opinion. If you choose to have a picnic rather than eat at a restaurant for lunch, V. Sattui is the place to do it. They have a full deli on the grounds of the winery and everything is competitively priced (read: bringing your own from Safeway won't be any cheaper).

Driving along Highway 29, tummy rumbling, eyes scanning for a place to eat, I spotted Rutherford Grill which I was immediately attracted to since Noelle works for their company. It was 2 in the afternoon but there was still a 45 minute wait, a clear indicator of how good the restaurant is. Luckily we were in WINE COUNTRY and the nearest winery was just a short walk from the restaurant, so the 45 minutes went by rather quickly as we sipped on Beaulieu Vineyard's reserve selection.

I should have tried something new, but the veggie burger sounded SO good that I just had to get it again (I had it at Houston's when I visited Noelle in KC). It was, of course, SO good and I'm glad I got it. I was looking forward to having squash as a side dish, but the only veggie available was carrots which I didn't want...but they ended up being rather tasty. SCANDAL OF ALL SCANDALS: Rutherford Grill does not, I repeat DOES NOT, have French fries of any shape, size, or flavor. This is great if you're Noelle (she's sworn off fries for 2008, read about it on http://littlemiss-strawberrycupcake.blogspot.com/), but for me, I love anything French or fried, especially if it's both. So yes, that was disappointing. BF got enchiladas which were super good, and his broccoli was purple which was fun. I had a whiskey sour to drink with my meal and I swear to G it was the best whiskey sour I have ever consumed in my life. The bartender used fresh squeezed juice that was so naturally sweet it was hard to even taste the alcohol (which there was plenty of, I watched her pour it). Finally, we got total VIP treatment because of our family connection to the restaurant, and our super nice waiter Lance comped us a side of kettle chips, a drink, and a banana cream pie which, and I'll deny ever saying this, was better than my grandmother's famous version of the dessert. THANK YOU RUTHERFORD FOR A DELISH LUNCH!


Veggie Burger


Enchiladas


Sex on a plate, aka Rutherford's Banana Cream Pie

1 comment:

strawberryshortcake said...

i ate with mom today, 100 bucks, and not a dime spent. mhhhh