The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone should make everyone's list who is headed to wine country in search of a fantastic meal in addition to great wine. Set in the hills of St. Helena (right outside Napa), the outdoor view is serene, while the inside view of the kitchen is lively. The beautiful setting is enhanced by the cuisine. UH-MAY-ZING!!! It's 2 months later, and I can't stop thinking about it.
Here's a little prequel to my Dottie's visit: I was told by multiple people before arriving in San Francisco that I better not leave without eating at Dottie's True Blue Café (San Francisco, CA). I was prewarned about the wait, the one that takes place in a line of hungry people standing single file, out the door and down the sidewalk. Being that we were on vacation, the husband and I were willing to take the time to check this place out. Even on a late Monday morning, the infamous line existed (although my guess is it was about half of the size of what the weekend one gets to be). All in all, I would say we stood there for about 45 minutes and then it was dining time. The first thing I noticed when we walked in was that there were other people photographing their food- I knew we were in good company! Next, I took note of the surroundings- the actual place itself only sits about 30 people including a few seats at the counter. The interior is a cutesy diner set up with an open kitchen, displaying the line cooks hard at work. Swanky music plays in the background and it's almost as the servers are dancing as they move quickly to cater to each guest.
The menu is made up of a couple pages of tempting selections with a few extras posted up on the wall via a chalkboard. I zeroed in on two of those specials and that's what we ordered- an omelet and French toast. Sounds pretty basic, but neither of them were the usual breakfast fare. The omelet was stuffed with lamb Nerguez sausage, roasted garlic, tomato, spinach, and goat cheese. It was an unbelievable combination of flavors and I couldn't help but "ooh" and "aah" with each bite. The side of breakfast potatoes and homemade buttermilk toast completed the dish. For "dessert," we enjoyed the Cinnamon Pecan French toast. I am a sucker for just about anything cinnamon, and this dish was no exception. The bread itself was nice. thick slices cooked just how a French toast should be= well on the outside and just enough on the inside. The whole pecans and pure maple syrup were a perfect addition. After finishing every morsel of our meal, we left with our bellies full, our taste buds charmed, and our wallet barely effected- I'd say we hit a trifecta!
If you're now intrigued to try Dottie's but you just can't fathom an hour or so wait, how about take out? That's always an option and then, you can take your food and enjoy it elsewhere, like at one of San Francisco's pretty parks! No matter what your plan of action is, I highly suggest you give it a try- those friends who threatened my return would be consequential should I not have a Dottie's experience to discuss, knew what they were talking about.
While frolicking around Napa Valley for our honeymoon, the husband and I (and the honeymoon crashers, Michelle and Brian) made our way to Rubicon Estate, one of the most beautiful properties that wine country has to offer. After our tasting, we were given a tour which concluded in the Mammarella Wine Bar. Being that this was our 5th (and final) winery of the day, I certainly did not need another sip of wine, but on the counter sat a beautiful plate colored with shiny gold and brown “paint” that caught my (tipsy) eye. This edible, artistic display was made up of the Estate’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Francis Coppola Selects Chocolate Wine Sauce. We were invited to sample the liquid treasures via trinkets of bread and all fell in love, primarily with the chocolate sauce.