Ca’ Momi’s enoteca in Napa just introduced its spring menu highlighting the seasons’ organic bounty, picked directly from the Ca’ Momi garden in Napa. The seasonally-focused menu features vibrant asparagus, fava beans, strawberries and lettuces, incorporated into classic authentic Italian regional springtime dishes. Among the highlights of the new spring menu include:
Fiori di zucca – Crispy squash blossoms
Insalata di fragole e spinaci – Spinach & strawberry salad w shaved red onion & balsamic vinaigrette
Insalata di asparagi – Poached asparagus with organic egg and lemon vinaigrette
“Springtime is when we celebrate new beginnings and the bounty of our gardens,” - Ca’ Momi Chief Evolutionary Officer, Valentina Guolo-Migotto
Stracci alle pesto fave – Fava beans with mint, lemon and parmigiano reggiano
In addition to these seasonal menu offerings, Ca’ Momi enoteca has an extensive menu of signature year-round dishes which celebrate “la cucina povera” (poor kitchen) cooking, with flavors and ingredients rooted in necessity and crafted with quality organic ingredients from nearby farms and gardens, and with DOP ingredients imported from Italy. Ca’ Momi is also home to Napa’s only VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana) certified pizza. Ca’ Momi also has the Ospitalitá Italiana Seal of quality and authenticity granted by Italian Government to restaurants promoting Italian gastronomic culture and standards. Ca’ Momi enoteca is a Michelin recommended restaurant.
Ca’ Momi enoteca is currently located at the Oxbow Marketplace in Napa, California but will soon be expanding to a new Osteria in a nearby location 1141 First Street in late spring.
A team of San Francisco Bay Area’s one-starred Michelin chefs came together to form the perfect constellation at “The Michelin 101: Stars of the Valley” dinner at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. The “101″, in case you’re wondering is the Bay Area highway where all of the collaborating chefs and restaurants are located including Peter Armellino (The Plumed Horse), Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub), Jared Gallagher (Chez TJ) and Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/Rosewood Sand Hill). Desserts were created by highly skilled Pastry Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and the exceptional wines for the multi-course menu were chosen by the festival’s hand-picked team of guest sommeliers.
From the moment you stepped in to the tranquil Mediterranean setting of the Casa Palmero, you knew an enchanted evening was in store. Mere seconds after passing through the blooming spring garden, arriving guests were greeted with a glass of vintage Champagne Henriot Brut Millesime 2005. The smoky and highly fragrant sparking wine was refreshing, crisp and consisted of a proportionate combination of Chardonnay and Pinot. The Champagne from Reims, France was paired with the select Michelin chef’s hors d’oeuvres of the evening…
Warm Taylor Bay Scallops with Sauce Choron - Chef Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse)
Foie Gras au Torchon with Seville Orange, Sesame Seed Crisp - Chef Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub)
Tsar Nicoulai Caviar with Flavors of Vichyssoise - Chef Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ)
Cracked Farro Porridge with Bone Marrow - Chef Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/ Rosewood Sand Hill)
Following the relaxed Champagne reception, diners were led to a quaint, dimly-lit, room filled with a group of adorned tables that would soon be the canvas setting for the chef’s creations and wine offerings for the evening. Throughout the dinner, the celebrated chefs and winemakers presented and explained their inspiration for the dishes and wines following each of their courses.
The wines for the evening…
The Sommelier’s select wine pairings for the Michelin 101 Dinner
Jimmy Hayes (Mayacamas Vineyards)
Stéphane Ogier of Domaine M&S Ogier, Côte-Rôtie (Rhône Valley, France)
Bernard Hervet of Domaine Faiveley
Karen MacNeil (The Wine Bible)
And although the dining room was refined and tranquil, the kitchen we learned was a whole different story. When Chef Peter Rudolph came out to describe the components and influence of his dish, he exclaimed…”It’s so quiet in here! We were playing Dio and then… Slayer came on in the kitchen.” Everyone cheerfully chuckled. It was indeed obvious the chefs were doing what they do best, but also enjoying the camaraderie in the back of the house. Their cooking technique and styles vary, but all of their courses harmoniously complemented one after the other. The chefs may have been rocking out in the kitchen to head-banging, heavy metal tunes, but the dishes served were nothing short of a smooth, melodic symphony.
The Bay Area Michelin chefs courses for this very special dinner included:
First Course: Monterey Bay Abalone with Potato, Espelette and Lime by Chef Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ) paired with Marqués de Murrieta Albariño, “La Comtesse de Pazo Barrantes” (Rías Baixas, Spain – 2011)
Second Course: Roasted Line-Caught Halibut with Vegetables Jardinière and Oxtail Consommé by Chef Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub) paired with Domaine Faiveley, Chambertin Grand Cru, “Clos de Beze” (Burgundy, France – 2007)
Third Course: Roast Partridge with Morels, Huckleberries and Smoked Turnips by Chef Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/ Rosewood Sand Hill) paired with Domaine M&S Ogier, Côte-Rôtie (Rhône Valley, France – 2007)
Fourth Course: Roast Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope with Stinging Nettles, Semolina Gnocchi and Pickled & Roasted Spring Garlic by Chef Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse) paired with Mayacamas Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, CA- 1998)
Dessert Course: Blonde Chocolate Ricotta Tart with Cocoa and Lime by William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves)
The delightfully rare and memorable evening concluded with dessert and petit fours for the table via Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) paired with Ramos Pinto, 20 Year Tawny, “Quinta do Bom Retiro.”
“We Cook together, have fun together, and came up in the ranks together… ” – Chef Peter Rudolph.
The stars of the evening – Chefs Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant), Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse), Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ), William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub). Armellino said that participating in this Pebble Beach Food and Wine dinner with his fellow Michelin-starred chefs and friends was the “pinnacle” of his career. Kudos to Pebble Beach Food and Wine for putting together an incredible evening featuring some of the finest culinary and wine talent in the Bay Area and beyond. It was a PBFW gourmet memory I won’t soon forget, but thankfully, these Michelin-starred restaurants along the 101 freeway are just an on ramp, some miles, and an off ramp away.
See all the celebrated San Francisco Bay Area chefs and restaurants in the 2015 Michelin Guide.
For this issue of Culinary Trends Magazine, I showcased cured ham. It was both an interesting and educational topic to write about since I found it to be a subject that many chefs and diners were both so passionate about. Also, having been a judge at a previous L.A. Cochon 555 event, and having attended the recent hog wild San Francisco event, cured ham was on the brain, and most likely still in my intestines. Enjoy!
Oliveto Restaurant recently got a much-needed facelift and with it, addressed a huge problem in restaurants… acoustics. With their new updated look, the owners tackled not only aesthetics, but thought deeply about providing a comfortable dining experience. Doing so, they collaborated with award winning, renowned, Berkeley-based Meyer Sound to address noise pollution in restaurants. Meyer Sound tailor made Constellation and Libra acoustic systems to install an integrated system of microphones, advanced signal processing, and small, self-powered speakers distributed throughout the upstairs dining room.
Striking photography of a historic California olive orchard conceals acoustic panels that provide the right level of absorption. As a result, conversation becomes effortless and natural, heard clearly and without interruptions or distractions from background noise or voices from a neighboring table — setting the perfect tone for conversation and connection, while maintaining the all-important buzz of an exciting, busy restaurant.
Next time you find yourself in the East Bay, visit Oliveto for their rustic, Italian cuisine while experiencing the benefits of their revolutionary sound system in the newly redesigned dining room.
Another great time to visit, would be for their upcoming Whole Hog Dinners in March. See the details on their website at: Oliveto.com
Many believe that living in San Francisco with its multitude of offerings is ultimately superb, and although true on many levels, I believe one of the not-to-be taken for granted perks about living in the Bay Area is the easy access to get out of the city for a quick day trip or an even longer weekend retreat. For those thinking of getting away, the nearby town of Saratoga is an ideal destination to put on the map. Only an hour away from San Francisco, it’s the foolproof mix of food, wine, music, art and relaxation. Saratoga also offers ideal weather for many outdoor activities including hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, golf, and biking.
When venturing out there, here are a few of my Saratoga highlights that you don’t want to miss:
On a recent visit, I visited Cooper Garrod Winery for a bit of wine tasting and a picnic in their rustic, outdoor space surrounded by vineyards and 100-year old eucalyptus trees. The comfortable, casual winery boasts a historic-country ranch setting with an antique barn, horseback riding and valley views. On every last Sunday of the month, there is a combination horse back riding and wine tasting trail ride. And yes, it was well-thought out with the riding taking place before the wine and buffet consumption. Yee Haw!
If you’re seeking some zen in your life, and who isn’t really… this is the place to be. The exquisite landscape is host to the oldest Japanese garden on the Western Hemisphere. Portions of the film Memoirs of a Geisha were even filmed here. Get visually lost in the koi pond or find your peace in the bamboo garden. Think of it as your mini-Japanese vacation spot in the Bay Area.
Executive Chef/Owner Peter Armellino’s elegant restaurant is a favorite among those seeking fine dining in the South Bay. From the contemporary, glass-encased wine cellar to the traditional, elegant souffles, this is the spot to head to for a romantic dinner date, or a bottle of champagne to celebrate life and all its milestones. Their wine selection is no-doubt impressive and includes both the classics and the eclectic. See the list here.
Indulge your inner princess at this boutique of baubles. Owner Deja is a gem and her highly-curated selection includes both exquisite domestic and international pieces. Gather a group of your loveliest lady pals and enjoy a “Sip, Sparkle, Wish” party where you can try on the many glorious jewels from the glass cases, while enjoying desserts and champagne.
With almost every seat being a not-too-far distance from the main stage, this is the concert venue to get up-close and personal to the biggest names in the music industry. From Ray Charles to Foreigner, they have all played here. Founded in 1901, Mountain Winery is a sophisticated gathering point for wine and live-music lovers. Since its inception, the winery has focused on cultivating Pinot Noir and Chardonnays due to the ideal growing soil of the environment. To this day, the winemakers at Mountain Winery use malolactic bacteria and yeast that are indigenous to the environment. Sample the Estate Wine and take in the panoramic view at the outdoor Vineyard Wine Bar.
This is where many of the Silicon Valley set come to relax and beautify. Pamper yourself or someone you love with a facial, massage, or the latest technology (it is Silicon Valley, after all) spa treatment including an infrared Sauna Therapy suite. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they host a Happy Hour Manicure Bar where guests are treated to sparkling wine and sweets paired with their manis and pedis.
You now have no excuse not to add the Northern California city of Saratoga to a future upcoming weekend escape.