Napa Valley Part 1 – Bottega

We recently spent some time in Napa Valley and have much to share.  So this is the first of several posts focusing on the great food and wine we experienced on our trip.

Our first night in town we went to Michael Chiarello’s Bottega in Yountville. He started with, you guessed it, a pork belly dish.

“Bacon & Egg” braised pork belly, crispy soft cooked egg, four bean Tuscan salad, preserved meyer lemon marmellata, lemon verbena

He said…I was drawn to this dish because it’s hard for me to pass up pork belly, and I was intrigued by the crispy soft cooked egg.  The pork belly didn’t disappoint as it was very flavorful and delicious.  I was impressed by the skill in this presentation, however, I was expecting the yolk to be runny.  Nevertheless, it was a great dish to start the meal.

Smoked & Braised Natural Short Ribs polenta and speck polpette, espresso agro dolce glaze, smokey jus

He said…It’s good we took the picture before I took a bite because this dish was gone shortly thereafter as it was hard to put down my fork.  This may be one of my favorite dishes that I’ve had this year.  The short ribs were tender and I loved the glaze which gave it a rich flavor that brought out the smokiness of the meat.  The polenta and speck polpette, which is an Italian meatball, were a nice accompaniment to the dish.

Grilled Shortrib Meatballs Sicilian heirloom tomato sauce, coal roasted eggplant passata, cucumber, grapes, housemade ricotta

She said…I enjoyed the dish.  The meatballs themselves were very tender and flavorful.  At first, I thought the accompaniments were strange, but when I got a bite of everything together it somehow worked.

Potato Dough Raviolo filled with spinach and ricotta, black truffles, farm fresh egg yolk, sage brown butter

She said…As soon as the dish was placed in front of me, I knew I was going to like it.

And then the magic happened…the gooey egg yolk oozed out from the center of the pasta.  I was impressed by the perfectly soft, hot yolk.  It mixed with the brown butter and provided a rich, luscious sauce for the pasta.  The creamy ricotta and the pungent black truffles took the dish over the top.  I loved it, and ate every bite although it was incredibly rich and filling.

Panna cotta

We were pretty stuffed, but didn’t want to pass up dessert on our first night of vacation so we opted to share the panna cotta.  It was a nice sweet ending to a very good meal.

We have plenty more food and wine adventures in store for you from Napa Valley so stay tuned.

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