cocktails at Bottega!
While waiting for your table at the ever-popular Bottega (see "eats"), do yourselves a favor and check out the bar in the front. Sure, they have fine wines on offer (they would be silly not to), but it’s the cocktails that had us intrigued. Doug opted for the Basil Gimlet, a truly delicious concoction that we later had to ask our waiter about in hoped of recreating back at home. Yours truly took a chance on Chef Michael Chiarello’s secret surprise chocolate vodka drink that was warm and comforting, and the perfect antidote to our rainy evening.
Bottega serves food at the front bar as well, and therefore, can get pretty crowded throughout the evening. If you are not in the mood to sip while standing in the middle of a main path of foot traffic, make a beeline for one of the 40 outdoor lounge seats on the terrazzo that just happens to feature a couple of nice cozy fireplaces.
Trust your “Set of Drifters” here. Hold off on the wine until dinner and indulge in one of these amazing liquid treats!
Bottega - Villagio Marketplace, 6525 Washington Street, A9, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 945-1050
On recommendation from our massage therapists, we decided to check out Farmstead on our second night in Napa Valley. You can’t miss this place if you are traveling north on Hwy 29. The stark signage stands out in contrast to the more Italianate-style wineries and restaurants nearby.
And though Farmstead is actually attached to the Long Meadow Ranch (wine and olive oil are procured here), it’s the restaurant that has become a current favorite amongst Napa Valley locals. (And if you are a local in Napa Valley, you know good food!) Farmstead is cherished for executive chef Sheamus Feeley’s farm-to-table approach, and a few glances at their sustainable menu certainly piqued our tastebuds’ interest. Unfortunately, since we had already eaten elsewhere for dinner that evening, we had to settle for a nightcap at the bar instead. We were certainly not disappointed. The “Dimmi Hendricks” gin creation and the “Pear Martini” deserve a special mention.
Saddling up to the restaurant’s interior bar, patrons are given a generous overview of the establishment’s bustling activities, from the open kitchen to the spacious modern dining area that used to be a nursery in a former life. Farmstead’s rustic barnyard decor is certainly inspired and a nice change from some of the more showy interiors in town, but it’s the local pulse that just may be this spot’s best feature! The restaurant is open daily at 11:30 AM; check the website for nightly dinner specials.
Set of Drifters tip: Don’t forget to take that wooden coin out of the glass that doubles as the bar’s check holder. It will get you a wine tasting for two at the Long Meadow Ranch winery next door!
Farmstead - 738 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-9181
Looking for a caffeine-infusion first thing in the morning in “downtown” Calistoga? Look no further than the Calistoga Roastery. Okay, so the breakfast sandwiches we inhaled due to starvation were not the greatest, and the coffee itself was really nothing to call home about...
Still, the tongue-in-cheek humor that bounces off this charming cafe’s four walls is well worth the trip. Vintage tin sings featuring clever bon-mots are joined with kitschy candies, backwards clocks, and some of the funniest “Zodiac” greeting cards we have seen yet. You may still need to get a stronger coffee later in the afternoon, but for your first foray out into the wilderness of the day, you could do a lot worse. Calistoga Roastery is open daily from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM.
Calistoga Roastery - 1426 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 942-5757