Out of Town: Napa for a Night!

Russian River Brewing Co.: A Must Visit in Santa Rosa for Beer Lover’s!

Pliny the Elder Double IPA (8.0% ABV), need we say more? Russian River Brewery is one of the finest breweries in the country.  We stopped in at the Russian River Brewing Co., a larger bustling pub in downtown Santa Rosa, CA (about 1/2 hour from Napa) on a Friday evening for happy hour (M-F, 4-6:30pm).   We had numerous pints of Pliny, one of our all time favorites (the “hop-head’s” dream). We also had their large beer sampler, which consisted of everything they had that day, as their taps change often due to their limited supply.   The sour ales (Temptation & Salvation) were really interesting and definitely a taste you either love or hate.  We loved the sour ales because of their uniqueness.  They taste somewhat like a carbonated wine/beer combo with a very sour bite.

RR has very limited distribution so it is difficult to find.  Pliny the Elder is sold in 16oz. bottles for $4.30-4.95 in the SF South Bay at places Whole Foods and Lunardis, sorry not at BevMo!  Here is a list of sale locations: Where to Get the Beer Pliny the Elder was named after an interesting figure from history.  Pliny the Elder and his contemporaries coined the botanical name for hops, “Lupus salictarius,” meaning wolf among scrubs.”

Oh, and the Drew Bites (Crispy bits of pizza dough topped with Mozzarella, sesame seeds, and garlic.with pepperoni and pepperoncinis) are the bomb!

Bounty Hunter

We walked down the street from our hotel to try out Bounty Hunter, a Wine Bar and BBQ restaurant.  The decor was ironic upscale hunting paraphernalia with wild boar heads and exposed brick on the walls.  The unique part of the food was that the BBQ, pulled pork or brisket and coleslaw, was served on a slab or tile for the table to share.  We then ordered additional sides such as the grilled corn.

Oxbow Public Market: Best Lunch Spot in Napa!

I loved this spot!  It must have been CA yuppie-land love at first sight for me!  I mean organic, artisan foods, wine, cheese, ethnic foods … oh boy!  Oxbow was really nice and reminded me of a smaller or more quint version of the Ferry Building in SF or the North Market in Columbus, OH.  They had an organic market along with artisanal foods such as chocolatiers, spices, olive oils and eat-in or take-out ethnic cuisine and seafood.  We had Venezuelan Street Food from Pica Pica Maize Kitchen that was delicious and our friends had Tacos from C Casa.  C Casa had the most out of this world black-beans with Chorizo and Goat Cheese!   Why can’t we have this place in Santa Cruz or Los Gatos?  There are rumors that a similar type of market will be built in downtown San Jose.

Bouchon Bakery: Best Treats in Napa Area!

Truman Show, I mean, Yountville Show is like the most perfect manufactured town in the world!  We love Thomas Keller’s cookbooks and had not been able to get to the hub of their creation in Yountville until this weekend.  We finally hit Bouchon Bakery on a Saturday afternoon after it was closed the night before when we stopped by.  I have read things online about other bakeries being better at certain pastries and so on and so forth.  But I have to tell you, Bouchon was delicious and well worth the trip.  We tried about ten various treats and were impressed with ALL of them.  The prices were not as over the top as you would expect.  We loved the chocolate peanut butter cup with its pieces of sea salt and their jelly filled doughnuts.  Yes, the doughnuts were jelly filled which can be quite scary if you grew up with disgusting jelly doughnuts.  But not Bouchon’s doughnuts, they’re filled with deliciousness!  Next time is Ad Hoc in Yountville for us, which was closed the night we tried to go because of a private event.

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