Saturday, June 22, 2013

Napa Food Adventure: Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, SolBar, Bouchon Bakery

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen

I saw a bloomspot deal for $50 dinner at Cindy's for $25. Since we've never been and I had heard good things about this place, I decided to buy the coupon to use for our trip. I called in to make a reservation and we were able to secure a spot for an early dinner.

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen is one of several restaurants owned by Cindy Pawlcyn, who also owns the famous Mustard's Grill in Napa. We've been to Mustard's Grill and enjoyed the food there, so we were hoping that we would also like Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen.

The restaurant was located in downtown St. Helena, a short drive from our inn in Calistoga. We were seated inside, although it would have been nice to get a table in the outside courtyard area.

We started off with the Papaya & Avocado salad which seemed to be one of their more popular items. This salad was so refreshing! I loved the combination of the sweet papaya with avocado, and the crunchy toasted hazelnuts. 

Papaya & Avocado Salad

We also ordered their famous polenta fries, which was also amazing. It's a bit more grainy than Frances' restaurant's version, but this was also delicious.

Polenta Fries

I ordered the special of the day which was the lobster carbonara. The spaghetti was cooked perfectly al dente, and the creamy sauce was surprisingly not too heavy.

Lobster Carbonara

Dan ordered the mushroom tamales and he enjoyed it. The tomato-based sauce worked well with the corn tamale and mushroom topping.

Mushroom Tamale

For dessert, we had to do the famous Campfire Pie. It was an oreo crust pie with chocolate and marshmallow. Yum! We surprisingly almost finished this huge dessert.. My friend told me she shared this with 7 other people...haha. I guess Dan & I can finish what a group of 8 can.

Campfire Pie


I had heard a lot of great things about SolBar, especially their ricotta pancake for breakfast! However, since we had breakfast included with our B&B stay, we came during lunch time.

 Since the weather was so nice, we asked to be seated outside in the patio area which was shaded.

We started with Vietnamese lettuce wraps which was simple and refreshing for a hot day!

Lettuce Wrap

For our main, we ordered the fish tacos. It was good but nothing out-of-this-world.

Fish Taco

Overall the food was good, but we were a bit disappointed. Maybe because we knew that SolBar was a 1 Michelin star restaurant, we were expecting more. It could very well be that lunch was not their specialty; maybe their breakfast or dinner would have been a better choice.

Bouchon Bakery

To finish off our day full of eating, we made a quick stop at Bouchon bakery in Yountville for their famous macaroons and iced cappuccino which was perfect for the hot day!!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Castello di Amorosa

I had heard a lot about Castello di Amorosa and was really looking forward to finally visiting the "Castle of Love". The castle happens to be in Calistoga, which was where we were staying. We went on a Monday, so it wasn't really crowded. As soon as we walk passed the entrance, we were directed to the ticketing booth.

General admission was $18 which included wine tasting and self tour of the castle. If you're not drinking, they have a "children's" admission which was $10 and included grape juice and self tour. There's also guided tour which was $33 per person. We decided to do the general admission for Dan and the children's admission for me since I wasn't planning on drinking.

We went up the stairs towards this viewing tower and saw this beautiful view from the top!

We then came back down and passed by the main courtyard.

The next area was the Great Room, which was beautifully painted with murals. I heard that sometimes they use this room for parties.

There's also a small theater where we could watch how they make their wines, etc. The last part of our self tour was the wine tasting, located down in the basement. I actually really enjoyed the grape juice & chocolate tasting, and was thankful that they had options for people who don't want to taste their wine. :)

Overall we're glad we went and finally got a chance to check out this beautiful property!