more great eats + saying goodbye

by Kristen :) on May 31, 2010

I had to save these last two mouth-watering meals for their own post because Chris and I enjoyed them that much.  It’s so neat to visit a restaurant and really taste the quality and care in the food.  Yes, there is amazing food in front of you, but it somehow transforms into an overall experience that is so much more than just the food.  That is what I truly love! But before we get to the good eats, we first had to make one last stop at another one of our favorite wineries called Pride.  They not only have a great tour, but some pretty spectacular views as well.  

Pride is kind of off the beaten path from a little side street in St. Helena, but it’s well worth the windy drive through the gorgeous trees.

Dang those are some big bottles!

We actually really enjoyed the chardonnay which had a nice balance to it.  It wasn’t too oaky, but still had a nice buttery mouthfeel with bright fruit.  We also tried the ’07 Cab, but weren’t that impressed and thought it wasn’t as bold in character as we remembered their cabs to be.  It was an ’07 though and probably needs a bit of aging.  The tour guide also explained that they are using less ‘new’ oak and more ‘used’ oak which can impart a subtler, less bold flavor to the wine.

Pride is also unique in that it sits right on the border of Napa and Sonoma counties.  So if you hop over to the left of that line below you are in Sonoma and to the right you are in Napa.  Pretty neat!  It is also mandated that whatever is produced in Sonoma or Napa has to be bottled there too, so they have two production facilities to make sure that is accomplished.

Here’s one of my favorites of us here about 4 years ago . . .

The grounds are absolutely gorgeous!

Here are some viognier grapes, which are pretty hard to grow since they like being spread out and can risk shattering if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

You can even picnic here if you like :)

After our tour Chris and I were definitely getting hungry and the guide recommended a new restaurant to us.  We always like trying new places, especially if the locals recommend it.  So we decided to give it a shot and boy oh boy we were so glad we did!

Farmstead Restaurant recently opened in February and is situated right in downtown St. Helena.  What is great about this restaurant is all there menu items are local, sustainable and organic.  Picked at the peak of freshness, everything tasted spectacular with a down-home country feel.  We could really sense the quality in their finished product and felt right at home.  They also make their own extra virgin olive oil and various wines.

I absolutely loved the decor and ambiance.

I love when restaurants expose the kitchen because I enjoy watching all the action :)

This is a great quote on their menu.

Now on to our wonderful food!  I wanted to try everything on the menu because it all looked amazing.  Chris and I were a bit worried that it was going to be expensive, but it wasn’t too bad.  It wasn’t your usual cheap eats, but the quality and experience was well worth it.  It was about $12-$20 a plate for lunch.

We started out with the fava bean soup drizzled with a bit of their lemon olive oil.

And these buttermilk rolls and cheesy biscuits were compliments of the chef.  omg I could have eaten 100 more of these, dipped into that yummy soup!

I would have been perfectly content with just the soup and rolls for lunch, but we already ordered entrees and of course I wanted to try them too :)

I ordered the gnocchi with lamb shoulder, peas, carrots and mint.  The  flavor combinations in this were perfect and oh so comforting.  A bit heavy for lunch, but I saved more than half for later.

Chris got some more comfort in a bowl with the chicken and dumplings. mmm

And dessert was sweet California strawberries topped with ricotta cream.  Simple, perfect and refreshing.

We walked around outside a little bit to check out the outdoor dining, which would be wonderful if the weather was warmer.

And sadly after lunch we had to say goodbye to good ol’ Napa, but headed towards Sacramento with a smile to visit some family :)

For dinner we had already made reservations at a place called Bidwell Street Bistro, when a family friend and chef said we had to go there for their duck confit.  Boy, two amazing meals in one day? Yes, please!

Bidwell Street is located in Folsom, CA in a fairly small and simple venue.

I started out with probably one of the best salads I have ever had.  It may look simple, but the flavors going on in there were music to my taste buds.

Chris got some more green with the pea soup which was outstanding as well.

For dinner I ordered the halibut with sweet corn and roasted potatoes, topped with a walnut pesto and micro greens. Everything worked perfectly and I was pretty much in pure heaven.

Chris went with their duck confit specialty which was out of this world, stupid good.  I think we were moaning ooohs and awwwhs of goodness throughout the whole meal, and I hope no one next to us was weirded out! lol

aaaand dessert, yes more dessert was their carrot cake.  It didn’t have as much cream cheese twang as I like, but it was chock full of carrots and some kind of liquor soaked raisins.  mmm

Boy, I am drooling just posting about these meals again!  It was very special to have such nice meals, but now my stomach and wallet need a little break!

~~~~

Much of the rest of our trip was spent hanging out with family and enjoying some relaxation.

Chris had to eat a gigante burrito the size of his entire forearm.  Don’t ask me why.  I think I would have hurled, but he managed to finish it.

Yep, it was 18 inches long and probably at least 2,000 + kcals.  Man, he can sure put it away.

All to get his name up on the wall lol

I had the lunch special which was actually pretty good.

We had to make a stop at Chick-fil-A of course!  So sad we don’t have these in Vegas :(

And how could we resist fro yo?  This place had a million topping combinations.

One day we also went on a little bike ride with Chris’ nephew around the block before we headed out on a little 15-miler.  Had to get in some exercise with all this good food!

He was such a good little cyclist, and proclaimed to have ‘left me in the dust!’

We made a stop at the Sac Jazz Festival which was a lot of fun!  Even though we didn’t get to spend too much time, we got to see a great blues set.

And now I am back in good ol’ and HOT Vegas again, ready to get back to reality, work, and summer school *sigh*

It was really nice to visit and take a little break from it all.  I think I’m falling in love with California to be honest.  I could really see myself living here if we could somehow afford it in the future.  We’ll have to see how the markets pan out in 5 years or so?

Until then, we are left with wonderful memories, lots of vino, and our own tasting party in the future.  Oh yes and some quality gym time :)

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BroccoliHut May 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Love all the wonderful soups in this post!

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2 Shannon June 1, 2010 at 2:25 am

What a fantastic trip! Its so beautiful, it must have been hard to leave. So glad you had such a wonderful time!

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3 The Candid RD June 1, 2010 at 5:02 am

Sounds like you and Chris have been really enjoying life, and FOOD lately! That winery sounds, and looks lovely. And reasonable prices always make a place that much better, in my opinion.
I can’t get over that 18 inch burrito!! Where does that food go?! Chris is so skinny! He probably hates it wen people say that though Nick is the same way, but lately I’ve noticed he’s getting a bit of a stomach and I have NEVER seen such a thing on him! I’m almost happy because I swear he used to eat whatever, whenever, and nothing happened. Not anymore! muahaha

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4 Melinda June 1, 2010 at 5:12 am

Great meals! Love the pics and I am drooling over some of this too. I have had some pretty amazing meals, but the lobster I had recently was amazing. I am looking forward to my summer travel and enjoying foods in other countries. Glad you had such a nice time in Napa.

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5 Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries June 1, 2010 at 5:23 am

So much delicious food in one post! Farmstead looks wonderful, I bet that gnocchi was to die for. And that carrot cake! Yum! By far my favorite dessert. The best meal I ever had was pumpkin saffron ravioli in Italy. It was two summers ago and I still dream about it!

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6 Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly June 1, 2010 at 7:17 am

I don’t think I could name the best meal I have ever had….what a hard question!

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7 Kristen (swanky dietitian) June 1, 2010 at 8:12 am

Looks like such a wonderful trip! I am glad you got to enjoy yourself after the century.
I am so jealous. I have never been to a winery in Napa or Sonoma..one day!

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8 Gelareh @ Nutritious Foodie June 1, 2010 at 8:51 am

Oh wow you really had a great trip, great food and views and wine.. :)
Hope you guys had a safe drive home.
Best meal… hmm this one requires soem thinking ;)

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9 Emily June 1, 2010 at 9:22 am

Ahh, so many good eats! Pride looks like a gorgeous place, and Farmstead definitely looks like my kind of restaurant. Those cheesy biscuits look out of this world!
I can’t believe Chris could eat that whole giant burrito! At least he’ll go down in history for it. :-)

Hope getting back into the swing of things isn’t too hard! It feels weird to me to be finally done. And now the great job search continues…

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10 Nicole, RD June 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Wow, it all looks fantastic! That was seriously one HUGE burrito!

Pride looks amazing…the whole experience, topped off by the scenery. Just breath-taking! I think my best meal was at an Italian restaurant in Chicago. It is totally unique and the seafood is flown in daily. Absolutely divine with a glass of Chianti!

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11 runnerforever June 1, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Your dessert looks like something I would love! Great eats and a fun experience!

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12 Julie June 2, 2010 at 9:12 am

Giant burritos, wineries galore, and 100 miles. I wanna be you when I grow up! Thanks for introducing me to all this. There’s a good chance I might be cycling with you in the near future. Maybe early next year when I’m not traveling so much…I think. I’m going to stick with spinning for now.

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13 Corinne @ Green Grapes Blog June 2, 2010 at 9:45 am

OH MY! You just made me so EXCITED! I’m moving back home to San Fran at the end of the month, so all of these places are going on the must-see list!!! Thank you! Glad you had a great time!

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14 Lori June 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm

The farmstead restaurant looks amazing. I love the inside and, of course, the food. That burrito looks like something my husband would put away during his marathon training. :) I’ve enjoyed catching up on your trip. Congrats on your ride!

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15 Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] June 2, 2010 at 9:44 pm

phenomenal photos – phenomenal!

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16 Allen June 3, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Ahhhh, we miss you guys already! Please come back soon. It looks like we will be down in Vegas for Christmas….so, on 6 months to go. :)

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