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I am happy to help you plan your trip to Napa.  If you need a free winery trip planning agenda please give me as much time as you can due to the large number of requests.  I can typically turn around a custom agenda in 3 days.

Happy also to help you with restaurant and hotel recommendations, all honest and unbiased and based on my own experiences.


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Local Wally's Blog to Napa |

Read Local Wally's Blog to Napa for up to date news, features, and stories from Napa Valley. Guest Posts Welcome!

Filtering by Tag: good eats napa

Farm Restaurant at Carneros Inn Review

Local Wally

Farm Restaurant inside the luxurious Carneros Inn

At a Glance:  FARM is a destination restaurant inside the luxurious Carneros Inn focused on delivering an elegant yet casual dining experience using the finest farm to table ingredients. Expect stellar service and stunningly beautiful plates.

Perfect for:  Special occasion dining, romantic dining, impress your date dining.

Wally Says:  Modern farmhouse, gourmet chefs, I never knew farmers were such foodies!

Napa is filled with lively, upbeat, bistro-vibe restaurants but where do you go when you want a more refined, more elegant dining experience? For that I go to FARM, the upper end restaurant inside the Carneros Inn that features foodie worthy dining in a relaxed and sophisticated setting. The design features a living room styled alfresco lounge, patio dining, cathedral ceilings and two fireplaces, white tablecloths, the works. Date, be impressed.

TIP:  If you're driving in for dinner, come a bit early to walk the grounds of this unique resort. It's really unlike anything you've ever seen, a place to bookmark for your next visit.

Fancy cocktails to start the evening at the Carneros Inn's FARM.

One of my dining rules is to always start with a cocktail, especially when it's served at a trendy looking bar serving custom craft cocktails. Modern, hip, the bar at FARM is welcoming and friendly and the cocktails creative and sophisticated. And of course, the wine list at FARM is extensive, even featuring wineries within walking distance to the resort. For dinner corkage is $25, waived if you purchase one of their bottles as well.

Farm to Table Dining

Simply stunning plates, beautiful presentation, and flavors, oh yes, the flavors are fresh and vibrant. Make sure you get the Agnolotti, tiny ravioli's with fava beans, green almonds, fromage blanc, and lemon preserve. It's a starter so the portion is tiny but it's so good that you'll need to watch your table manners when the person next to you wants a bite. Um, no, get your own!

In fact, everything appears to be over the top delicious at FARM. Designed by Executive Chef Aaron Meneghelli, the farm-to-table menu showcases simple, elegant food based on the natural abundance of the surrounding region. FARM is refined in presentation and flavors and each dish includes at least one element from the on-site farm. And yes, vegetarians get more than the obligatory nod with plenty of options, all equally delicious.

Expect to spend around $60 per person before drinks for an appetizer and entree. Portions are sized appropriately for the rich ingredients though some might want to add a salad or dessert to round it out. A $115 tasting menu features a 5 course dinner, a great option for a special occasion. Service is polite and professional and the noise level low enough for an actual conversation. Wow, what a concept!

So Napa has plenty of good - great - restaurants, so many that it's hard to choose. That said, FARM should make your short list if you're looking for beautiful plates of exceptional ingredients deliciously prepared.

Bon Appetit,

Local Wally

TIP: Doing a day trip to Sonoma? Make FARM your dinner stop on the way back to Napa.

The outdoor patio at FARM

Now Open for Brunch!

For the first time ever, FARM at The Carneros Inn (4048 Sonoma Highway) is pleased to announce Sunday brunch. Previously only open for dinner, FARM invites guests to enjoy the summer brunch season on FARM’s newly-renovated outdoor patio and with a round of bocce. The family-style brunch will be offered from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. every Sunday, with the first brunch on July 3, 2016.
Designed by Executive Chef Aaron Meneghelli, this elevated family-style brunch will be a play on classic brunch items with Napa Valley nuances. Guests will choose four menu items as a table to be shared family-style for $45 per person. The menu will change weekly, depending on the best local seasonal produce, as well as what is being harvested in The Carneros Inn’s culinary garden. A sampling of Chef Aaron’s brunch dishes will include Smoked Fried Chicken and Waffle with pepper jelly; Beets and Berries with fresh ricotta, garden greens, pistachio, and saba; and Fresh Biscuits with Silverado Trail strawberries, foie gras mousse, and Marshall Farms honey, among others

Harvest Table Restaurant in Napa's St. Helena Review: Good Eats Napa Valley

Local Wally

Harvest Table

1 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574|  (707) 967-4695

AT A GLANCE:  High quality farm to table dining at the Harvest Inn's Charlie Palmer restaurant. Hidden gem, food will not disappoint.

With five culinary gardens on site, Harvest Table prides it self on serving local seasonal dishes that highlight the Napa Valley’s agricultural prowess. Even the honey comes from the garden bees used to pollinate the crops. Needless to say the dishes are inspired and constructed with a familiarity of farmers market style cooking. These guys take farm to table seriously!

The two open patios blend seamlessly with the inner dinning room and present a connection with the forested grounds of the Harvest Inn. The restaurant setting is detailed but not elaborate and is a place where comfortable conversations thrive.

The menus are split between lighter and more robust options with equal weight given to both. The roasted Carrots with Granola were a great introduction into the Harvest Table’s mantra of fresh/local. And as the Chef Levi Mezick hails from the south, the Shrimp and Grits have an unmistakable authenticity and passion. The octopus salad, with octopus slow cooked for 4 1/2 hours and then finished on the grill, was an excellent companion for the Domain Caneros Brut (2010) and spring heat. The Pork Chop—paired with Polenta and morels with fresh pea greens reminding the garden beds are a stones throw from the table—was cooked perfectly. We finished with a mentionable Chocolate peanut butter bar and a Rhubarb Shortbread; both nothing less than delicious.

If you're wine tasting in St. Helena and getting a bit hungry, take a detour and stop in for a bite at the bar. Oysters, Pommes Dauphine (fancy Tater tots), Crispy Pork Head, a Burger, and homemade ice cream sandwiches, can all be found on the bar menu. I'll be on the patio :-)


My Favorite Napa Valley Restaurants: Redd Wood in Yountville

Local Wally

Good restaurants in Napa aren't hard to find. But good restaurants in Napa that offer great value without chef compromise are. Every now and then as I eat my way around Napa I find one that tugs at my heart without grabbing my wallet and I'm loving REDD WOOD in Yountville.

The casual setting is urban contemporary, hip, trendy. And though they call it a pizzaria it's much more than that. But would you expect anything less from Chef Richard Reddington, the guy behind popular (and more upscale) Redd in Yountville?

I started with some Frito Misto, delicately fried seafood with vegetables. Let me say that again - delicate. No greasy, soggy mess, it was light and lovely and next time I think I will get this and keep it to myself - it's that good.

Redd Wood Napa

Wings. I cannot resist wings on the menu and these were perfectly cooked and delicious. There are a lot of lousy wings being served these days but not these. I mean, look at those wings and I defy you not to want to reach out and grab one!

After drinking so much great Napa cabs all day I wanted a steak. Now I just read in Bon Appetite that you should NEVER order a steak out unless you are at a steakhouse and I get that. Most restaurants that don't focus on steak don't do a very good job but Redd Wood nails this steak - dare I say better than Ruth's Chris or Flemming's? This steak was also huge, big enough for 2 to share. So. Good.

Had to at least try the pizza since they do call themselves a pizza joint and I was not disappointed. Light and airy crust and enough toppings to shame most "gourmet" pizzas, this is the perfect choice after wine tasting all day.

After dinner smiles - no, that is not me but I was there! And you should go there too - REDD WOOD is easily one of my top favorite Napa restaurants, located at the north tip of Yountville. Go, you will love it!

Local Wally, Napa Tourist Guide