March 09, 2010

Anniversary with Michael Chiarello

Troy and I spent a day last weekend tasting our way through lovely little Yountville in Napa Valley, to celebrate our seventh anniversary. It was a lovely day, and though rain was predicted, we were spared. We stopped for coffee at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery (all we could afford with Keller's name attached to it, to be honest!) and had a delicious lunch at Bottega. We lucked out and Michael Chiarello showed up ready to work, kitchen clogs and all. Though he has gotten a bit of bad press recently because he called out a young, smart mouthed chef, who was there to assist him, on the Bravo TV show "Top Chef Masters" last season; we found the Chef extremely accommodating and full of good cheer.

The food was completely lovely and deeply satisfying. We started with a nice bruchetta trio on some crisp, light bread from the Model Bakery......which we made a bee line for after the meal to bring some of this bread home. Honestly, the Bay Area has the best bread ever! I ordered a handmade handkerchief pasta with a slow braised rabbit ragu and Troy had the fall-off-the-bone, balsamic glazed short ribs. We found the service professional and friendly, and when we asked our server to suggest a nice spicy red wine to accompany our meal, she brought us one of Chiarello's own. I confess to say, that I don't remember which one it was....but it was terrific with just enough spice and berry goodness to compliment our menu selections.

After lunch and our picture with the Chef, we meandered the streets, trying to walk off our hearty lunch and enjoying our rare time just the two of us. It wasn't expensive or a fancy kind of day, but it was slow and easy and just what we needed and wanted.



So glad you got away and to such celebrity attended venues. So happy for you!

ChefGirl said...

Thanks Lisa! It is funny because Younville is the most compact of all the Napa Valley towns, and all of the places we visited were in walking distance of each other....except Model Bakery, which is in St Helena (but close to Chiarello's former digs and his home).