Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Monday

Towards the end of town, there it is on Monday night.
Beets and greens in a lovely vinaigrette. The bacon was crumbled into teeny bits, which made it more delicious in my opinion, as it flavored but didn't dominate the fresh vegetables.

Chive buttermilk biscuits and the guest of honor. Not shown: ratatouille and sausage gravy.

Too full to do much with this: fresh cashews, goat milk gouda and pear jam which tasted for all the world like apricot jam to me.

Chocolate cake with a chocolate nib thingy. The orange sorbet was sublime and was shaped into an orange (hard to see here)

Piggy, yes I was.

Oh my, how lucky we were to get reservations for one of those Thomas Keller fried chicken Monday's. I'm not a real fried food fan but this was definitely the best I've ever had--and lots of it. And the rest was quite excellent too!

I love Napa- photos only!

Ubuntu, my favorite this trip!

Ubuntu is unique. It is a creative, delicious and lovely vegetarian restaurant in Napa which owns a Michelin star. It was delectable and my favorite this trip to the Napa Valley, which is saying something! The waitstaff was charming and very helpful and the food was on another astral plane. This is not the raw kale salad from Whole Foods! The amuse was a fresh, perfectly grilled ramp floating on lime creme fraiche with a sprinkling of hot pepper. What an amuse!

Everything is small plates and between two of us we had four, more than enough and dessert. First we had:
BASIL BUD marinated beets and ‘udumalapet’ EGGPLANT
WAX BEAN vinaigrette, spicy PICKLES, NASTURTIUM panade, ‘poha’ BERRIES.

A really unique/cute/cool/gimicky thing at Ubuntu is they serve the food on the bottom side of the bowl or plate.

Next was undoubtedly our favorite:

rustic rancho gordo ‘yellow eye’ bean stew
ROSEMARY, CHILI, smoked ‘red russian’ KALE . The taste of the kale smoked was like nothing else. We added an Ubuntu farm egg on the top for good measure. The rosemary lent an almost curry-like quality to this stew which was delectable and filling.

Next, another winner:

garden inspired extruded pasta: SPICED fiore, confit ‘gajo de melon’
melted TOMATO, assorted BASILS, ‘midnight moon’ goat’s milk gouda. Could you imagine this combo would be so tasty? The pasta was delicate and home-made and the shavings of goat gouda was out of this world. Also, very filling and warming.

Finishing up the mains with:

“inside out” grits, oven dried ripened and fried green TOMATOES
goat’s milk ricotta, HONG VIT, smoked corn husk. Those peppers looked scarey like a jalapeno/serrano thing but were just flavorful peppers with no spicy bite. Their smoky taste was a nice offset to the creamy, rich grits.

I do not leave without dessert and voila: coconut sorbet float, lemongrass soda
passion fruit tapioca, lime granita, CILANTRO. This was so full of zesty, alive flavors with the fuzzy fizz from the lemongrass soda and the nip from cilantro micro-greens. Refreshing and cool and the perfect ending. Something I would love to have everyday.

Please, please, please Ubuntu, come to my town soon!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Tartines are just a french way of saying "openfaced sandwich".
They are made on a large slice of toasted hearty bread and usually have something warm and melty on in. Ina Garten has some great ideas: try the eggsalad smoked salmon one for starters. This was my tartine in a cafe in Avignon: melted mozzerella with tomatoes, olives and anchovies with a light salad. A perfect lunch.