On our last full day in Napa Valley, we woke up early – like 4:30 am early – to go hot air ballooning. Afterwards, we were naturally pretty sleepy, so we headed back for a quick nap before our planned excursion to the sparkling wineries. Of course, I’m the kind of vacationer who likes to be constantly doing things, so after an hour, I was rip-roarin’ ready to go, while BF was still lingering in bed. So I got up and took the short walk down the street to Bouchon Bakery – it was literally not even a block away. I could see it while standing outside Vintage Inn (in fact, I took the first photograph in that post while standing across from Bouchon…)
I walked into the bakery and just admired all the yummy looking treats.
Look at these gorgeous tarts. Remind you of something?
Fantastic looking bread display… BTW, for those that keep asking, this is the last SF 2k8 post. So stop asking.
I was really very sorely tempted by a lot of the treats, but finally settled on two things.
Of course the look-alike tart for the BF because I’m nice like that. When I first showed it to him, cutely enough, he said, “WHY IS THERE CORN ON MY TART?!” Yes, he said that. I politely informed him that it’s not corn, it’s pomegranate. And the reason why I don’t know if this tart was any good is because he “didn’t feel like eating it right now” when I gave it to him, so I dragged it through security, onto the plane, and back home to NYC, and now he doesn’t remember if he ate it or just threw it away. I don’t even want to begin talking about that – you know how I hate wasted food and wasted money so very much. Whatever. It’s pretty. Deal with not knowing if it tasted good.
For me, I was stupidly lured into buying this TKO or Thomas Keller Oreo. So it turns out that when you proportionally enlarge an Oreo, you shouldn’t increase the inside cream. It doesn’t translate like that – it was too much, slightly too crumbly, and too cloying. I wasn’t a fan of my super expensive Oreo by any means. Boo. I only took a few bites. How sad. I think BF threw it out with his tart, too, even though I requested that he not do so. Sigh.
Right next door to Bouchon Bakery is Bouchon, a casual Thomas Keller restaurant. Of course, feel free to dress up for the occasion anyway, if you get a reservation. Bouchon is open pretty late actually, seating until about 11:30 I believe. Though we were late for our reservation, they seated us quickly and with no attitude or problems whatsoever- a nigh impossibility in NYC given that it was Friday night and we were over 20 minutes late (despite being only a block away…). The hostess was very much “No, no, don’t worry about it, it’s not a big deal,” though in NYC, our table would have been given away or at the least, the hostess would have copped an ill attitude with us and left me feeling very angry about being mistreated. Not the case here at ALL.
As soon as we sat down, bread was placed on our table, which was covered in paper. Look familiar? Scroll back up to the 4th picture of this post 😉 The bread was quite tasty actually, and BF and I soon finished our pieces but declined more.
I was surprised to see such a brief menu, but since there were things both of us wanted to try, I was okay with it. I found it a little odd that the Croque Madame was over $10 more than the Croque Monsieur, despite their similarities – it’s an extra $10 for brioche, a fried egg, mornay sauce and fries? Really? Luckily, I didn’t feel like all the extras and opted to get just the Croque Monsieur and amused myself with the notion that at what upscale/high end/celebrity chef restaurant in NYC can you order a main course that’s less than $10 (and by so much, no less)?
I also opted to order a starter of olives, which, though the initial bite was bursting with rosemary flavor (something I don’t like), were really quite delicious. I would guess they were house cured.
BF ordered the steak frites. The fries were delicious, perfectly crispy and potato-y at the same time. The steak was also quite tender and yummy, which surprised the BF since he hadn’t been sure what the cut was going to be like. He didn’t like the butter melting on top, though… and was a bit grossed out by it actually. Ah well, a lot of steakhouses do their steak that way… I guess he just hadn’t realized it would come such a large chunk just melting away.
For a side dish, I also ordered the mac & cheese, because you know how I love this stuff. Unfortunately, I thought this was only okay, since they used a very sharp cheese and the whole dish was a bit too oily for my taste.
The Croque Monsieur, though, was really tasty and presented nicely. I was really pleased with the combination of flavors and how something so simple could be done so well. I couldn’t finish the whole thing, and took half to go, and found that it was still good cold the next day during our drive to the airport. Excellent, especially with the leftover olives I also took 😉 (I hate wasting food!)
Overall, our meal was super pleasant with great service and very good food. As a friend of mine would say – it’s not unique or special but it’s well done. And sometimes, that’s what matters, right? Plus our meal came out to $70 in entirety, including a generous tip. You really can’t beat that – unpretentious, good food for a reasonable price.
SF 2k8, previously:
King of Thai Noodle House
House of Prime Rib
The Country Way
Joe’s Cable Car
Honu’s Island Grinds & Bar
Mondavi, Rubicon, & Peju
Domaine Carneros & Domaine Chandon