Friday found us motoring north to Calistoga to take in the Old Faithful Geyser and the local Petrified Forest. Suffice it to say that the geyser was a geyser and the "petrified forest" was the lamest thing my mother and I have ever done. By far.
So on to dinner. This evening found us at Brix, a sprawling restaurant by the St. Helena highway. We sat outside on the patio by their incredible gardens, taking in the sunset, the ideal weather, the grape vines, the vegetables... it was pretty much the perfect setting. Oh, and the food was good too.
Mom started with the butter lettuce salad, which she claimed was tasty. It looked simple and fresh from across the table.
There was a long wait between appetizers and entrees; our waiter apologized several times and explained that the kitchen had lost the ticket, so as we waited he brought us each a half-glass of zinfandel on the house. It was delicious. Props to Brix for being honest and dealing with a mix-up in a stand-up fashion.
Once the entrees arrived, we were back to being happy. Mom chose the halibut once again and asked for potatoes instead of the fregola pasta; those potatoes ended up being incredibly delicious, creamy and crispy and completely indulgent.
My choice was a combination of sides: warmed spinach with saba vinaigrette and pan-roasted wild mushrooms with fines herbs and shallots. The spinach was pretty standard-- wilted spinach with an occasional sweet kick from the saba. The mushrooms were delicious, though; not as butter-drowned as those at Cuvee but tender, flavorful, and earthy in all the right mushroomy ways. Outstanding.
Brix was a top contender for the best meal we had. While the food was quite good, it was the atmosphere that was priceless... sitting out on the patio in the delightful early evening, drinking wine and eating fresh food, then strolling through the garden to see where that food came from-- it's a Napa experience that shouldn't be missed.
7377 St. Helena Highway, Yountville