Posted on June 13, 2012
Matching world-renowned wines with tasty foods is an important factor to most visitors of wine country, luckily, eating well comes easily in the Northern California region. Completely aware that delicious food surrounded me at every turn, I went on a mission to seek a truly authentic cuisine, that set itself apart from Napa’s distinguished dining experience. On a balmy day I came across Long Meadow Ranch Winery, perfectly situated on Napa Valley’s Main Street, and home to the quaint Farmstead Restaurant. Located in a former nursery barn, Farmstead Restaurant features a truly authentic farm-to-table menu, highlighting organic ingredients at their peak freshness.
Family owned, Ted and Laddie Hall, grow grapes for wine; farm organic artichokes, cardoons and watermelons; raise chickens for eggs; and produce grass-fed beef from 350 heads of cattle. The Hall family fosters a humble experience aside fancy Napa Valley, and is dedicated to providing wines that compliment their farmhouse cooking. The food was excellent, but what truly sets Farmstead apart from other top Napa Valley restaurants, is that each ingredient on the plate comes straight from their backyard. Executive chef Stephen Barber emphasizes a wood-burning element for select dishes, including the simply delectable grilled jumbo artichoke with sauce gribiche and lemon. While the artichoke was proportioned perfectly for an appetizer, I thoroughly enjoyed the LMR meatballs with caramelized root vegetables and tomato marmalade. To top it all off, the dishes include estate-produced olive oil, also available to try in their tasting room.
The Hall’s sustainable philosophy is apparent, not only in their cuisine, but also in the interior of their restaurant. Abandoned redwood framing from the original property has been used as coating for the restaurant’s bar front. Tree stumps have been used as side tables, and stones from the original foundation shape the outdoor fireplace. Although it was quite hot the day I arrived, I can only imagine on a chilly fall night, how relaxing it would be to enjoy a glass of wine by their outdoor fireplace. Vaulted ceilings and a beautifully displayed kitchen only add to the warm ambiance.
It goes without saying that the wine is superb, but Farmstead has found another avenue to set themselves apart. Instead of a corkage fee, a $2 per bottle fee is collected as a donation to a local charity organization each month. This modern family farm offers an innovated farm-to-table experience, while sustaining utter chicness.