There is something inherently attractive about the Wine Country.
Could be the wine. But maybe it’s also the endless views of rolling vineyards, the slow pace, the mild summer nights, and the excellent food. Something about the Wine Country makes you want to slow down and escape the city.
We have many favorites, but recently we find ourselves drawn to the little town of Yountville.
Each time we are in need of delicious food and world-class wine, we hit the road to Yountville. Walkable from end to end in about 15 minutes, the Main Street is dotted with charming restaurants, inviting tasting rooms and local shops. Our contributor Lauren went on a 24 hours trip to Yountville and came back rested and relaxed, and according to her, a little bit too full from all of the good food. Here is her Yountville itinerary.
With so many boutique hotels popping up in wine country, it’s hard to pick just one. For me, the Hotel Yountville has always been my go-to because of their superb hospitality, the perfect balance of modern and warmth and their crave-worthy breakfast. They just did a remodel, and I was lucky to get a preview. It is a beautiful property that exudes wine country coziness. One of my favorite things to do is to slip on a bathsuit, wrap up in a robe and soak in their hot tub which conveniently is next to a fireplace with a view of Pinterest-worthy outdoor dining space. Speaking of fireplaces, I love that they are located throughout the property and, most importantly, in their rooms. Nothing beats watching the glowing flicker of a fireplace from your cozy king bed. From luxury bedding to mini bar stocked with complimentary organic fruit and nut mix, granola squares, caramel macchiato almonds and water; they think of every detail to make your stay perfect. It’s almost hard to leave the comforts of room to head out to explore.
If you do leave the room, there are plenty of great dining options in the city of Yountville — besides the French Laundry.
As I mentioned above, the breakfast at the hotel is one to remember. My favorite dish: simple eggs and toast, but the quality of ingredients make it a standout. Pro tip: order an English muffin instead of toast. They get their English muffins from famed Model Bakery. Also, they put together a juicy fruit plate with local in-season fruit. If you are looking for something a bit faster and still want to get your English muffin fix, Model Bakery just opened up a cute mini-shop downtown. Grab a pack of english muffins to bring home with you and a quick coffee on-the-go.
Bistro Jeanty is my all time favorite lunch spot. This casual French bistro has that laid back feel that might lead to you munching on fries and sipping rose with a friend all afternoon. My menu highlight is their tomato soup which is served with a drool-worthy topper of pastry dough. The flaky top combined with the creamy tomato soup is worth driving up to Yountville for alone. If you are in the mood for a more casual lunch, stop by Atelier by JCB for a carefully curated selection of picnic must-haves including cheese and meats.
Walking to dinner is easy when you are staying in Yountville because nothing is more than a 15-minute walk from the hotel. We visited the Hotel Yountville’s sister hotel, the Bardessono to dine at their restaurant Lucy. This restaurant takes farm-to-table to a whole new level by having their own farm behind the restaurant. From lemon trees to broccoli and olives, you name it they grow it. We enjoyed cocktails which included herbs from their garden to make them truly unique. The food was top notch. Some of the standouts were the caesar salad with brioche rings and the salmon with parsnip puree and microgreens. A few other Yountville favorites are Redd Wood for best pizza and pasta, Ad Hoc for an adventuresome 4-course meal, or Bouchon for classic French fare.
There are a few fun stops along your stroll in Yountville. Just because you didn’t get the reservation for French Laundry doesn’t mean you can’t visit their gardens. Their gardens are massive and even include chickens and bees. It’s fun to stop by and see what is in season. I would also recommend taking a peek inside the Silver Trident Winery tasting room for their Ralph Lauren-decorated interiors. Lastly, Bouchon Bakery is also always a good stop for a quick macaroon snack but be prepared to wait a bit in the line (it’s worth it).
One of my favorite stops on our quick trip was the newly-opened Ashes and Diamonds Winery. Upon pulling into the parking lot, it is clear that this is a winery unlike any other. The winery is owned by ex-music exec Kashy Khaledi and designed by famed LA-architect Barbara Bestor. When you walk in the large yellow pivoting door you are transported to a mid-century perfection–imagine a tasting room set in Palm Springs in the 50s. It’s also not only about the decor; their wines are unique and delicious. They decided to produce traditional-style wine which means low-alcohol and tannins that is higher in acidity. This makes for a very drinkable wine that pairs perfectly with food. We did the tasting of four wines, and the standout for me was the Vin de Table. As a Cab Franc lover, I was really into all of their wines because they use the grape in nearly all of their wines.
We were already shemming our next trip up there for their food and wine pairing before we finished the last sip.
All of these stops are quite a bit to pack into a quick 24 hour trip to Yountville, but the great news is that is so close by if you live in the Bay Area. It is the perfect town to calm down in after a long work week and enjoy some of the best food and wine in the Napa Valley.
I have already planned my next visit.
*Photography by Lauren Mizrahi