Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm back! And LWF&D goes to Napa

Dear readers,

I've been a bad blogger recently, I know... there's been travel, there's been me trying to prepare for my move to Philly... essentially a whole bevy of excuses. My week in Bermuda was food-photography-free, so that brings us up to last week, which I spent in Napa with my mom. Since these are restaurants that might be of interest to some of you, what follows are some reports of our culinary travels.

The first night, we convened at Cuvee, since it was right next to our hotel. It's a beautiful restaurant with a lovely, sun-drenched courtyard and a very friendly staff (actually, the service was uniformly good throughout the trip). We elected to sit inside due to the oppressive heat and got started right away.

Mom started with the "Tumble of Local Organic Lettuces," which had a few radishes and a bit of goat cheese. It was a small portion, but she complimented the flavors, particularly the goat cheese.

Basic but fresh

My salad was the wild arugula, sans pancetta and with goat cheese instead of blue. The crispy parsnips and roasted muscat grapes were both flavorful and creative; I only wished there had been a touch more cheese.

Wine country on a plate

For an entree, Mom chose the salmon, which she enjoyed. She also ordered a side of Cedar Roasted Forager Mushrooms, which I was planning to share. That is, until they arrived positively BATHED in butter. They had clearly been cooked in butter, and then they'd been drizzled in what looked like a butter sauce. I ate a half dozen of the mushrooms and cut myself off-- while tasty, the mushrooms were unfortunately ruined by the lack of fat restraint.

Pretty fish

Butter with a side of mushrooms

We decided to try the desserts, and in retrospect we should have stopped at the savories. Mom chose the fruit cobbler, which she pronounced "okay." I went with the bronzed tart apple, which was also just "okay"-- everything, from the poached apple to the wan strips of puff pastry, was just all right, nothing special or inspired. That is, until I found a dead mosquito floating in the melted ice cream when I was halfway through. Um, ick. I doubt it was the restaurant's fault (I suspect it may well have dive-bombed the plate while I was eating), and they were appropriately apologetic (and removed it from the bill), handling it in textbook good-restaurant fashion. Unfortunately, it was a bad way to end what was otherwise a good experience.

Mediocre cobbler

Apple, pre-mosquito?

Overall, I'd recommend Cuvee for the atmosphere and the savory foods. Bugs aside, the desserts weren't worth returning for, since as you'll see there were many delicious sweets to be found elsewhere in Napa...
1650 Soscol Avenue

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