Friday, January 31, 2014

Discovery Weekend: Searching for Michael Chiarello – Parte Seconda at Bottega

Happy Birthday CardOur search for Michael Chiarello did not end at Coqueta. My husband actually surprised me and said “why don’t we go out of town on your birthday weekend?” Since I did not want to cancel our reservations at Coqueta and wanted to be at home on Monday (so I can pick up my birthday gift), we compromised and decided on going out of town on Sunday only.

The first thing that came to mind was the Wine Country – perhaps to Napa. The plan was to go wine tasting in the morning(!) then lunch. I have been obsessing over going to Bottega after having dinner at Yountville last year – so this presented the perfect opportunity.

We had a late start that day and skipped the wine tasting. Yountville was only about an hours drive away from home (without the wine country peak season traffic), so it was a relatively easy drive.

Pomegranate Sicilian Soda
Pomegranate Sicilian Soda: It's almost like a smoothie.
Bottega had a very romantic atmosphere and very classy. On our table, we had a birthday card from the Bottega team. Since I was eating my alcohol again (maybe avoiding it altogether this meal). I had a Sicilian Soda with Pomegranate, and my husband had his usual Pinot Grigio. While waiting for our shared appetizer, we enjoyed warm bread served with garlic, parmesian and perhaps basil. Love warm bread

We started with a shaved Brussels sprout salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing, Marcona Almonds and sieved egg. I have made Brussels sprout salad last winter, but this should be what I should aim for. Finely shaved Brussel sprouts with really lemony and cheesy dressing. The Marcona Almonds added a crunchy texture, and the egg was so delicate, one can mistake it for cheese. Delicious.

Bottega Brussel Sprout Salad
Brussels Sprout Salad... elevated!

My husband had the Pork Loin with potato pancake. My husband said it was the best he ever had. It was so tender it almost fell off the bone.

Pork Loin
Irresistible Tender Pork Loin

I have been in a duck-mode lately and cannot resist ordering confit. I believe this is one of the things that I cannot really do justice at home, so I always order it when I find it in the menu. The duck came two ways: a confit leg (of course) and a beautifully roasted breast. This was a huge entrée, served with black rice, berry sauce and watercress.  I had some left-over for dinner that night (The confit is GONE! gone at lunch!).

Duck two ways: Confit and Roasted Breast
For dessert, I couldn’t decide between the Tiramisu or Zeppole. My husband believes that Tiramisu is my all-time favorite dessert. Although he is right, I really like exploring and I haven’t had Zeppole before. Again, it did not disappoint: warm Zeppole filled with Hazelnut Crema with a Berry Sauce: It’s like an elevated peanut butter and jelly doughnut hole. It’s a great sweet, but with a cappucino, it was the perfect light ending to a great meal.

Elevated Hazelnut Butter and Jelly Zeppoles...YUM!!!!

Bottega is becoming, if not already, our favorite Napa Valley Restaurant. Bottega featured fantastic food with friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable service. My husband said that it was one of the best, if not the best, dining experience that he's had. It was unforgettable. A visit to Bottega is a must for any Napa Valley Wine Country trip.

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