Months ago I made the reservation at BOTEGA. Of course, I was also on the wait list for French Laundry. However, I knew that a meal at Botega would keep the birthday celebrant happy for months. I know it was my favorite dining experience on my previous trip to Napa. And I was excited to return.
After a great day around Napa, Birthday dinner started in the parking lot dressing room. For an evening in Yountville, we needed to step up our attire a notch from the day’s wine tasting style. It also made us feel much like we were a few decades younger. We were about maximizing time in the vineyards instead of driving back to the Sonoma Valley and back.
We started by giving Dennis’ tip a try: Start the evening with a beer to cleanse the palate. Our lovely, yet sarcastic waiter Murph set us up with a local brew. A Moonlight Brewing Co, aka the local crazy brew guy. A brewmaster that they have only when the brewer decides to bring his latest batch by. Already at this point in the night, we knew we would recommend that when making your reservation that you ask to for Murph to be your server. Every waiter adds to the ambiance. But an Irish guy in an Italian place adds a little extra fun.
Then we ordered a Zin for our meal. Murph guided us to Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken 2010 Zinfadel. Wine notes:
Dense, rich, and intense, with very focused fruit and rich yet silky tannins, this is a “Big Time” Zinfandel that is in high demand among the most fanatic Zin-heads, and for good reason. This is a tough wine to get as most of it is sold directly to Biale’s mailing list, so we can’t be sure how long we’ll have this in stock. Act fast! My notes: More. Please. (And I found a bottle randomly at the market weekends later and grabbed it off the shelf).
Round 1 : Antipasti
Green Eggs and Ham :: maple braised pork belly, crispy soft cooked egg, spinach and pecorino budino, baby spinach insalata, preserved meyer lemon marmellata
Roasted Baby Golden and Chiogga Beets :: Point Reyes blue cheese espuma and pistachio vinaigrette
Round 2 : Paste
Ricotta Gnoccie della Nonna :: ricotta “pillows” with old hen salsa di pomodoro and pecorino
Potato Dough Raviolo :: filled with spinach and ricotta, black truffles, farm fresh egg yolk, sage brown butter
Round 3 : Secondi
Forno Roasted Whole Fish :: Calabrian grilled eggplant, fermented garlic “XO” sauce
Duck Three Ways :: roasted breast, confit leg, duck liver mousse, Sierra Beauty apple pasta, spiced hazelnuts, and watercress
+ Contorni – Truffle-parmigiano fries (of course!)
Round 4 : Discussions. Reminiscing. Last year’s birthday vs. today. What can be done to out-do today’s events next year? Then he states “there is one more thing I would like you to do for my birthday today”. And my mind quickly goes to what sexual favor he is thinking about. Seriously, with the food and wine we had today, what else could the man want??? Then he removes a silver knob from his coat pocket. And says “Will you marry me?” (At least that what my memory heard; he may have added more words…). The silver knob opened to a sparkly diamond (very sparkly in the candlelight). With the wave of emotion getting my tongue, I just said “Yes”!
Round 5 : Dessert
A jar of deliciousness. Carmel. Chocolates. I don’t even recall anything but it being Yummy (good thing we took a photo).
Botega | 6525 Washington Street | Yountville, CA | 707.945.1050 | Website