Posts Tagged ‘napa valley dining’

Tickle Your Taste Buds at Some of Napa’s Finest Culinary Demonstrations

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Tickle Your Taste Buds at Some of Napa’s Finest Culinary Demonstrations

The Napa Valley is simply overflowing with incredible wineries and restaurants. With so many great options, it’s tough to choose where to dine. The good news is that a lot of local chefs offer some spectacular deals on culinary demonstrations, which means you get to have a good time witnessing the creation of some decadent meals while tasting them at the same time – and in some cases you might even get to participate!

Cooking with Julie – Oxbow Market Tour and Cooking Class

Julie is the queen of the culinary scene in Napa Valley and she knows just where to go for in-season product and local ingredients. You’ll start your tour in the market and then head to the kitchen for a fantastic hands-on class. The experience includes tastings, your class, and a three-course lunch. This class is offered on a regular basis, so don’t worry about missing out, but make sure you put it on your to-do list.

3-Day Cooking Class

Those looking to truly get their hands dirty will appreciate the experience of the 3-day hands-on cooking class run by CasaLana Gourmet Retreats. This “culinary vacation” includes instruction on some very basic cooking and knife skills and focuses on nutritious yet delicious cooking techniques and recipes. Class sizes are very small (8 maximum) and include meals during classes, wine/beverages, and a manual with recipes. Call to find out when the next session starts.

Kitchens in the Vineyards: Home and Garden Tour

Run by Music in the Vineyards, this relaxing day includes tours of some of the most beautiful homes in the Napa Valley. Every home you visit will be styled by a team of designers and florists, and you’ll be able to taste dishes provided by local restaurants at each location. You’ll also encounter local authors who are available for book signings. It’s a full day of relaxation and fun. The next event is scheduled for late April 2015.

Tamale Making Workshop

If you love eating tamales, you’ll love learning how to make them in this fun and simple hands-on workshop hosted by the Napa County Library. The next event will be on May 2, 2015 and is free to the public, but you’ll need to make sure you RSVP in advance.

There is so much to do, see, and even learn in the Napa Valley. Not sure where to start? Ask the concierge at your Napa Valley Hotel for information about local classes or demonstrations during your stay. You’ll definitely cherish the experience.

Napa Valley Restaurant Month

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Napa Valley Restaurant Month

February may be for lovers but it’s also an exciting time throughout the entire Napa Valley because the month is, officially, Napa Valley Restaurant Month. If there are restaurants you have always wanted to try but just haven’t had the time or budget for, now is your opportunity to sample some of the best the area has to offer.

In general, each participating restaurant will offer visitors a limited menu. Lunch menu items will range from $14 to $30 and dinner menu items will range from $24 to $50. Most of the restaurants and wineries will two or three  several courses. While some restaurants will offer both lunch and dinner seating, some will offer only one or the other. Some of the larger hotels and wineries are offering complete packages with hotel stays and meals included.

A Few Restaurants to Try

The Restaurant at Auberge will be offering a two-course prix fixe lunch for $29. The menu is only available during the week (M-F) and does not include alcohol. Reservations are encouraged and large group reservations will not be accepted during Restaurant Month.

The Grill at Meadowood Napa Valley is offering both lunch and dinner specials. Lunches are two courses at $30 per person, or $45 if you’d like to pair your meal with wines. Dinners are three courses at $50 per person, or $75 if you’d like to pair the meal with wine.

The Bakery Café by Illy will be offering a daily Market Lunch for $18.89 (representing 1889, the year the Greystone was built). Each lunch includes two food items and a glass of wine from Greystone Cellars. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Culinary Institute of America. This deal is available Monday through Friday only.

The Farmer and the Fox is offering a seasonal three-course menu with an optional beverage pairing. The daily menu will be spontaneous, based off of the local ingredients available each week. The cost for the three-course meal is $50 per person, with an additional $45 per person for beverage pairing (optional). Reservations are required and must be made by calling the restaurant directly.

These are, of course, only a handful of the restaurants participating in the festivities throughout the month. Visit the Visit Napa Valley page for a complete listing of participating restaurants along with their offering and reservation requirements, or ask your Napa Valley Hotel & Suites concierge for help choosing a location to visit!

How to Order Wine Like an Expert

Monday, May 5th, 2014

No one wants to look foolish when ordering wine, but if you’re not used to drinking it, a wine menu can be overwhelming. If you’re planning a trip to Napa Valley, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics of ordering wine at a restaurant. Take the opportunity as a learning experience that will introduce you to something new and exciting.

Meal Choice and Preferences

Red or white is the first step. Some people have a strong preference for one or the other, while others use their meal as a guide. For instance, white wines generally go well with a lighter dish such as chicken or fish, while red wines are best suited for heavier dinners like steak. If you’re having lunch out, white is usually the best option.

Glass or Bottle

If multiple people at the table are having wine, it’s generally more cost effective to purchase a bottle. If your table can agree on a bottle, that’s great. Otherwise, it’s best to stick to a single glass so that everyone can have what they want, and you can sample various wines.

Seasonal Offerings

One of the wonderful things about Napa Valley is that the menus are always changing. Wine menus are typically arranged by the wine type or region, and listed by price range from lowest to highest. If you notice that the vintage year is added on the menu, then you know that the menu is updated regularly.

Ask for Recommendations

If you know what you like to a certain degree, you can ask the waiter for suggestions. If you want to stick to a certain budget, then it’s best to narrow down your search and ask the waiter to recommend the best one. In fact, in Napa Valley, some restaurants have a sommelier that is dedicated to serving wine.

Receiving the Wine

If you ordered a glass of wine, take a moment to swirl the wine and let the flavors mix in. Smell the aromas of the wine, and hold the wine glass at the stem instead of at the bowl where your hand could interfere with the temperature of the wine. If you ordered a bottle, verify that the label matches what you ordered. The cork should be slightly wet, and when opened, the wine should smell fruity. This is all part of the experience.

A Closer Look at Napa Valley’s Fine Restaurants

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

You probably read a lot about Napa Valley and its reputation for fine dining. There are five-star restaurants, seasonal menus and impeccable locales that lie within beautiful Wine Country. But what is it about these restaurants that make the headlines? When you read that you can actually travel to Napa Valley and spend the whole time eating, you have to wonder, is it true?

There are a few factors that make Napa restaurants a cut above the rest.

Locally Grown Ingredients

Napa Valley may be a popular place to travel to, but the integrity of the area has never been compromised. Wine Country is an area that relies heavily on its own resources. Locally grown produce is a staple in many of the dishes served in Napa restaurants. Thanks to the area’s climate, soil and natural resources, there’s no reason to look any further than Napa for the best ingredients. What you’ll find are fresh ingredients that add taste, color, texture and variety. Plus, you know you’re getting healthier ingredients with fewer pesticides while also supporting the local economy.

Seasonal Menus

The weather is almost always ideal in Napa Valley, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t subtle differences between each season. Napa’s restaurants offer up seasonal menus that accommodate the various seasons (heartier meals in the winter; light, refreshing dishes in the spring and summer). Look for a variety of produce, meats and seafood that come fresh from local farms. Also, the constantly changing menus mean that you can expect new dishes being offered all of the time. After all, variety spices things up!

Wines to Complement Every Dish

Of course, you can’t eat a meal in Wine Country without being offered a glass of wine. Napa Valley has the finest wines that come directly from the local vineyards. There are wines to accommodate all types of dishes, such as sweet reds and light, fruity white wines. You can pick various wine selections for your meals, and have fun experimenting with a variety of flavors. Plus, it’s nice to see that when your server opens a bottle of wine for your table, you know exactly where it’s coming from.

Plan a Fall Getaway to Napa Valley

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Napa Valley is one of California’s most consistently beautiful places. The fall season is no exception. This time of the year is a real treat, considering that it’s harvest season and the leaves on the trees and vines are changing color. The temperatures are ideal – mild but sunny – and the season can be a bit quieter than the summer months, allowing you to have an intimate stay on your destination. Starting in November, hotel and flight rates start to drop since the biggest crowds have already paid a visit to Napa Valley and harvest season is over.

Fall is Harvest Season!

Planning a fall getaway is an excellent idea if you’re looking for a short stay in a beautiful, exotic location. There are enough crowds to keep wine tours interesting, and harvest season puts a new spin on traditional grape picking. While much of the picking and harvesting is completed by breakfast time, it’s still fun to be around during this time. There are also plenty of festivals to celebrate the season, such as grape crushes and crush camps. These events allow visitors to harvest the grapes and taste the juices before they become wine.

Harvest season lasts about 8 weeks, from the end of August through October.

Fall Foliage Brings Bursts of Color

Napa Valley is known for its rolling hills and tall redwoods in the distance, so just imagine what these features bring to the landscape when they change color and are enhanced by the grape vines. With various shades of green, red, yellow and orange, Napa Valley becomes exceptionally stunning. It sets the perfect stage for a romantic getaway or a weekend excursion.

Comfortable Temperatures

The winter can be rainy in Napa Valley, but the fall is just perfect. It’s still dry, with temps ranging in the 60s and 70s. With ideal weather comes a more comfortable getaway. You can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and biking without feeling hot or sweaty. The nights do get cool, so be sure to have a light jacket with you. And, you’ll enjoy sitting outdoors for an evening meal since local restaurants bring out their new seasonal menus at this time.

Downtown Napa is the Ultimate Culinary Destination…with Walking Tours!

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Long ago, the Napa was very remote – it wasn’t close to a big city, and the residents liked it that way because they wanted to live closer to the food they ate, and savor the natural flavor of good quality ingredients. Those traditions live strong in Napa ,which boasts many farm-to-table restaurants, world-class chefs and award-winning cuisine on every street. You’ll find the top local chefs at the Napa Farmers Market every morning because they care about the freshness of the food they serve.

Of course, Napa Valley residents stick close to their roots too – there’s a restaurant for every taste, every occasion, and every budget because we eat here too and we take pride in the joy of dining with great company.

  • Looking for some great barbecue with your wine? Try the Bounty Hunter Wine Bar and Smokin’ BBQ. They have over 40 wines by the glass and 400 by the bottle!
  • Want to snag a little afternoon sweet treat? Check out the Sweetie Pies Bakery right in downtown Napa in the historic Hatt Mill, and here’s a secret: they also serve breakfast and are open seven days a week!

One of the best things about staying in downtown Napa is that you’re so close to everything. Enjoy a walk or bike ride to your next stop and you’ll work off all those calories, plus you can refill at the next stop!

There are so many wonderful tastes to enjoy in Napa and a stay at the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites puts you right in the middle of things.

Talking about a walking-foodie tour, we’ve got one of the best in the nation. The Gourmet Napa Walking Tour is a 3-hour tour of downtown Napa. Now before you think walking for three hours will be awful, note that it’s a flat route, just 1 mile long, with plenty of time to sit, taste, and sip your way through some of the best foods available in Napa Valley.

There’s more to Napa than simply tasting wines, so the tour starts at the Oxbow market where you’ll see and sample the bounty of California’s extraordinary selections. Then you’ll cross the river and visit the 19th century historic buildings that weathered Prohibition. You’ll also leave the tour with a hand-selected list of the best restaurants and recipes for your next meal.

Call us at 707-226-1871 for your Napa Valley reservations and book your fun foodie tour today. You can’t beat the price and the opportunity to learn all about the famous Napa Valley cuisine.

Get Local Favorites at the Oxbow Public Market

Saturday, May 18th, 2013
Seattle's Public market Produc

c/o: Marvin Harrell

The Oxbow Public Market is located in Napa and offers an up-and-coming marketplace that includes a farmer’s market, riverfront patio dining and boutique shopping. Buying from Oxbow Public Market, you’re giving back to the community, supporting local farmers and wineries and expanding your palate to new flavors and fun.

The sky is the limit when visiting the marketplace, and you can expect everything from coffee to ice cream to fresh cheese. There are also shops where you can purchase fresh seafood, butcher’s cuts of meat and oysters on the half shell. Baked goods are always a treat, and you’ll love getting fresh-baked breads and cupcakes. Of course, nothing is complete in Napa without wine, so you can also plan on buying popular wines at the Oxbow Wine Merchant and Wine Bar.

If you’re planning a visit to Napa Valley, you should make Oxbow Public Market a part of your stay. There’s plenty to do on a budget, and you can get a great feel for the local culture. There are also special offers for locals as well as great opportunities for merchants who want to sell their products to customers from around the globe.

Here are a few of the regular events that can be enjoyed at the market year-round.

Napa Farmers Market

Open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7:30am-noon, the Napa Farmers Market offers the best locally grown produce straight from the farms of Napa, as well as gourmet foods and homemade crafts.

Locals’ Night

Oxbow Public Market isn’t just for visitors; it’s a great place to do local shopping and pick up crafts and artisan goods directly from the source. Locals’ night is held on Tuesdays at 5pm and offers special deals on food and other items.

Restaurant Specials

Every day of the week, there’s a different special to enjoy. Check with the local listings first, but some of the regular specials you can expect include half-priced oysters on the half shell at Hog Island Oyster Bar, select beer and sangria for $4 at Pica Pica Bar and guacamole and chips for $5 at C Casa on select days.

There are also additional events to be enjoyed throughout the year, such as movies on the River Deck and Happy Hour. The Oxbow Public Market is conveniently located along the Napa River and Napa River Trail. To learn more about this fresh marketplace and its events, visit

Celebrate Your Special Occasion on the Napa Valley Wine Train

Friday, April 5th, 2013


Is it your birthday, anniversary, other special occasion? Whatever you’re celebrating, the Napa Valley Wine Train is the perfect place to do it. It’s considered Napa Valley’s most unique restaurant, and for good reason. Where else can you enjoy fine dining, exquisite wine and a tour of the Napa Valley vineyards? Nowhere but the Wine Train.

The Napa Valley Wine Train provides a three hour train ride through Napa, moving through the most popular wine valleys, taking you through St. Helena and back for a total of 36 miles. You can enjoy a lunch or dinner, and you have the option of purchasing a winery tour. It’s a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

The train is beautifully renovated to suit modern-day taste, but still has its old school charm. The train was originally built in 1864 and is almost as old as the state of California. The train lacks nothing, and currently features three kitchens, two engines and rail cars that were hand built here in America.

The Wine Train is a great place to celebrate but you don’t need an excuse to climb aboard this beautiful train. There are various packages to choose from, and the prices are great considering you get lunch or dinner, a relaxing train ride and entertainment.

The car you choose will set the stage for your train ride. The Silverado Car is the most relaxed of the bunch and includes a western theme with sliding windows. If you’re going to bring along a group of people, this is the car that will best serve everyone. The Gourmet Car is your next step up where you will get a nice balance of relaxation and luxury. This is also a great choice for groups as long as you plan in advance. The final option is the most expensive, the Vista Dome Car. Here, you sit above the crowd for a quiet, romantic and intimate setting. This is perfect for a date, anniversary or special occasion.  You will enjoy 180-degree Napa Valley vistas and romantic moonlight dinners.

No matter which time of the year you choose, the Napa Valley Wine Train is the best way to celebrate your special occasions or have a great date.

Blog sponsored by: Napa Valley Hotel and Suites

Dining Could Not Be Better in Downtown Napa

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Ah, if you’re staying in downtown Napa, you’ll have no trouble finding some of the best dining in the country. Proving that there’s much more to Napa Valley than just wine tasting, the foodie scene in Napa has become a destination in and of itself and the chefs are serving up food to die for!

Stay with us at the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites and you’ll be in close range (often within walking distance) of some of the best dining you can imagine. Most of the restaurants in Napa Valley proudly serve private label wines that are anything but the standard ‘house wine’ you’d get anywhere else.

  • Angele Restaurant – a true French country restaurant that’s beloved by the locals. The dining room is in the historic 1890s ship chandlery and the riverfront patio celebrates the region’s famously fantastic climate.
  • Cuvee - a wonderful setting with a terrific happy hour, Cuvee is a local favorite for its good value. A beautiful patio setting and cozy lounge chairs make this a great place for a long leisurely break.
  • The Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ – with a hunting lodge theme, it’s hard to imagine fine dining here. But with the grills and smokers in the back, this restaurant manages to deliver excellent food.
  • Celadon - this is a top pick for many and the locals love it. It’s up-scale casual in its vibe and serves a glorious menu featuring global comfort food.
  • Cole’s Chop House – owned by the same person who delivered Celadon, this is an upscale fine dining steak house. Housed in an 1800s exhibit hall once used for the Napa fairs, the spacious restaurant has original wood floors and an open truss ceiling with exposed stone walls as an elegant background to an incredible meal.

These are just a few – just a few! – of the simply wonderful dining options in Napa Valley.

Call us at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites to reserve your room and we’ll help you with reservations at local restaurants. Call 707-226-1871 for more details and pricing.

Foodie Alert—Discover Napa Valley’s Delightful Restaurants

Monday, February 13th, 2012

With some of the country’s hottest chefs calling Napa Valley home, it’s no wonder that the downtown area is chock full of tantalizing dining establishments.  If you are a foodie who loves unique and high end fare, Napa Valley is the place for you.  A sampling includes:

  • Mustards Grill: American fare with a twist!  Mustards Grill is one of the most desirable dining spots in the area
  • Bouchon Bakery: using the freshest ingredients, bakery lovers can find every possible Parisian delight and more at this Yountville boulangerie  
  • Tra Vigne: reservations are suggested at this fine Italian inspired restaurant; once there you could imagine yourself anywhere in Italy
  • French Laundry: fine French cuisine to entice the taste buds and awaken the soul
  • Farmstead: showcasing seasonal America farmhouse cuisine

After you’ve made your dining selections, reserve your boutique hotel room at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites. Napa Valley Hotel and Suites is centrally located and only steps away from some of the most popular restaurants in the area. This Napa boutique hotel allows you to have quick and easy access to major attractions without having to worry about transportation. 

Talk to our Guest Services staff and find out more about the endless selection of restaurants in Napa. Call 707-226-1871 to reserve your room at this charming Napa boutique hotel.