Rock stars always seem a little dirty, hot movie stars are always shorter than you think they are, and male models are a little over-done. Call me crazy, but if I was going to be a groupie, I would be a chef groupie. Give me Ryan Scott from Top Chef or Curtis Stone (love those Aussies!) any day. So imagine my surprise and delight when over New Years weekend I had not one but TWO celebrity chef sightings! The weekend started with the new Tyler Florence restaurant in downtown Napa, Rotisserie & Wine Napa. Great food, kind of like fancy comfort food: collards, yams, grits, scrapple (eek!) I played it a little safe and had the Hudson Ranch Winter Salad, assembled from “whatever is fresh from the garden” and the Petaluma Rotisserie Chicken, both amazingly wonderful. But back to the exciting part… Tyler Florence was actually checking every single dish before it went out. It is a small restaurant, so he was the first thing we saw when we walked in. Very cool.
The next day, after some wine tasting in Yountville, we went to Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s casual French bistro. Maybe the best meal I’ve ever eaten. While killing time until the restaurant opened, we waited in line next door at the Bouchon Bakery and ate my new favorite food: Macaroons. Perfectly crunchy, creamy, sweet, chewy, I believe these could satisfy any craving. I think I’m going to serve them at my wedding. So delicious! But back to the meal… I started with a Bouchon martini, from a list with the most innovative ingredients I’ve ever seen on a cocktail menu. I got a simple goat cheese salad and my entree was the pan-seared sea scallops, Maine lobster, pommes Maxims, parsnip purée, chestnuts & sauce citron. Out of this world! But the best part of the meal might have been when Thomas Keller himself walked into the restaurant. I was completely star-struck! He ducked into the back really quickly, came back out and said hello to a table he knew (I was SO jealous!) and then he was gone. Of course it was instantly posted to my facebook, as well as the pages of my dining companions. And now immortalized here. Hands down, best New Years weekend ever… until next year. Watch out, Jamie Oliver / Daniel Boulud / Rocco Dispirito!
Meet an up and coming chef here!