Appetizers

A day-trip to St. Helena turns up a cornucopia

The kitchen at the Long Meadow Ranch & Farmstead.
The kitchen at the Long Meadow Ranch & Farmstead.

We day-tripped to St. Helena in the Napa Valley one recent weekday to see what we could see.

Our destination was lunch at the Long Meadow Ranch and Farmstead, where estate chef Tim Mosblech turns out an artfully assembled spread of four-star dishes sourced from Long Meadow’s organic gardens and meadows — from rainbow chard to grass-fed beef and lamb. We found a farmer’s market, wine-tasting room, a giant smoker from Texas for barbecue, a bustling restaurant with wood-burning pizza oven, and spacious grounds for strolling.

Before we sat down to eat, though, we did a mini-exploration of St. Helena.

The Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company has been around since the 1930s, specializing in “everyday” and fruit-oil-infused oils, imported and domestic cheeses, and an array of charcuterie. The antique olive press is a marvel of retro engineering.

La Luna Market & Taqueria sells fresh baked goods, homemade tamales and chips, quesadillas and burritos, tortas and carnitas, and shelves full of Mexican specialties.

Steve’s Housewares has everything for the home cook, from high-end Le Creuset dutch ovens, to aprons with to-the-point sayings such as, “If you want breakfast in bed, try sleeping in the kitchen.”

Back at the farmstead, we enjoyed an olive-oil tasting and a multi-course lunch that included beef tenderloin with toasted farro, charred Brussels sprouts and salsa verde, and red wine-braised Fuji apples with crushed almonds, brown butter ice cream and tarragon.

Along with sips of estate reds and whites, of course. After all, we were in the Napa Valley.

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

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