Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Napa Valley: Prix Fixe Dinner at Ad Hoc

When I told friends that I went to Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc, their replies were always the same-- "did you have the fried chicken?" Unfortunately the famous fried chicken at Ad Hoc is served on Mondays, and my friend and I were there on a Thursday. I am happy to say though, that I was still blown away by everything I did try.

Ad Hoc offers a $52 (+ $36 for wine) 4-course menu for dinner that changes on a daily basis. Each course is served family-style. The restaurant serves brunch on Sundays.

This was hands down the best meal I've had in 2015, and looking back on it is making my mouth water. I cannot wait to return on a Monday and get some of that fried chicken!

Mixed Green Salad with red beets, pickled red onions, crispy gaufrettes, granny smith apples, toasted caraway creme fraiche
A superb salad with a wonderful combination of flavors. The beets were sweet, the onions spicy, and the apples refreshing.

Mar I Muntanya: Saffron rice, piquillo peppers, green beans, cauliflower, chorizo, roasted chicken, pei mussels, gulf shrimp
Mar I Muntanya is a Catalan dish composed of chicken and seafood over rice. I am a huge fan of seafood paellas, and this dish won me over just one bite in. The rice was incredibly flavorful with a perfect al dente texture, the chicken skin was crispy, the inside moist and juicy, and all the seafood was fresh and amazing.

Veal Cutlet ($16 addition) with olives, tomato sauce, capers
Without the additional course, we definitely would've had more than enough food, but we did drive over to Napa mainly for dinner at Ad Hoc (wine tasting was just a bonus), so when it came to deciding whether to add on this veal cutlet or not, it took all of a minute for us to say yes. And I'm very glad we did. This was fried to perfection. It was simple but very solid.

Bellwether Farms Pepato with palladin toast, dijon mustard
The sheepsmilk with peppercorn was semi-hard with a strong flavor. It paired well with the spicy dijon and warm bread.

Cranberry Bourbon Bundt Cake with toffee sauce and candied pecans
I have a major sweet tooth, but just because I love desserts, doesn't mean I like terribly sweet ones. This bundt cake was perfect! Dense and far from being overly sweet.

6476 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 944-2487

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Napa Valley: Wine Tasting at Round Pond Estate

My favorite winery is Frog's Leap, but after experiencing a wine tasting at Round Pond Estate, I think the two tie as my favorites now.

The family-owned Round Pond Estate winery is beautiful, starting from the long palm tree-lined driveway leading to the estate.

Reservations are highly recommended. Tastings are available from 10am to 4:30pm. My friend and I hadn't planned ahead and made an appointment, but because it wasn't too busy when we arrived on a Thursday afternoon, they were able to take us on.

We opted for the Zinc Bar Tasting, which is $25 per person for 3 Round Pond wines.

The estate also offers Estate Tastings, which is $50 per person and includes 4 wines paired with appetizers, and also Barrel Tour and Tastings for $75 per person, which involves a winery tour and wine tasting with appetizers.

L to R: 
2013 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (retail price: $42)
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (retail price: $60)
2012 Proprietary Red Wine (retail price: $80)

I really liked the proprietary blend. It's primarily cabernet sauvignon, but also includes petite syrah and malbec. 

Our wine educator kindly gave us a complimentary olive oil tasting. All oils are created and bottled at Round Pond.

L to R:
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil (retail price: $36, 370ml)
Garlic Infused Olive Oil (retail price: $18, 250ml)
Meyer Lemon Citrus Syrup (retail price: $18, 200ml)

I bought bottles of garlic and lemon citrus syrup. Garlic oil would be great for cooking with, and the lemon citrus syrup would be amazing for drizzling on cheese or mixing into cocktails.

Nicely packaged syrups

A lovely grand fireplace on the patio

Plenty of outdoor seating

Round Pond offers a family-style lunch for $125 per person

I will definitely be back soon!

875 Rutherford Road
Rutherford, CA 94573
(888) 302-2575

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

California Travels

Being in the bay area has me itching to go on road trips and quick vacations in this area. Hoping to make the following happen in the next few months...

1. Las Vegas/Britney Spears: I've been wanting to go to a Britney Spears concert since high school. With Britney's Vegas contract, I am not letting this opportunity pass me by. Girls' trip!

The Parker Palm Springs Hotel

2. Palm Springs: My sister is pushing for this. I've been to the desert a few times, but I would love to go back and stay overnight at The Ace Hotel or The Parker Palm Springs.

Fried chicken at Ad Hoc

3. Napa Valley: I love wine, and I love food. There's no better place to visit than Napa! Hoping to check out Round Pond for wine, and to dine at Ad Hoc.

4. Sonoma: Well, more like I just really want to go to The Girl and The Fig for "country food with a French passion". Sounds perfect.

A yurt at Treebones Resort

5. Big Sur: I've still never tried glamping, but I think it could be very interesting. My friend recommended Treebones Resort.

Tacos at Guisados

6. L.A.: After spending four years of college in L.A. and only visiting once since moving away, I feel a strong need to return for the warm weather and delicious Mexican food.

Any other recommendations? Let me know!

Images 1/2/3/4

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This week

I moved to San Francisco!

I am so excited to be here, and am already enjoying all the sister time (she says I'm annoying, but I know she just loves me so much) and mild weather.

Here's to a new adventure!

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