Bouchon, Domaine Chandon, Solage Calistoga

Day 158

We headed to wine country for Ron’s cousin’s wedding. Since the wedding was in the late afternoon, we decided to go to Napa for lunch. There was more traffic than we anticipated so we were almost 30 minutes late for our 12:15pm reservation at Bouchon. I had made the reservation on OpenTable yesterday and when we were running late, I gave them a call to tell them we were going to be there around 12:30pm instead. When we got there around 12:40pm, I was pleasantly surprised to see they still had our table reserved, equipped with a high chair to put Simon’s car seat. I had specified in our reservation that it was 2 adults and 1 baby so I’m glad they did this for us.

The service was excellent as usual. Their bread was so delicious and the rest of the meal was also fantastic. We tried their special appetizer/soup of the day, a lobster bisque with a crab and lobster beignet also with sweet corn and small tomatoes in the broth. Yum!

Simon was a little fussy so he spent time out of the car seat while we were waiting for our main courses. Check out his cute overalls. Thank you to Auntie Elaine and Uncle Edgar.

Pan seared roast duck with duck gizzard sausage and braised field greens and sweet corn. The duck had a nice crispy skin and it was a beautiful presentation.

Ron ordered the special entree of the day, a lamb shank. Very tender, fall off the bone tender, but still a bit of gamey taste. Although the vegetables countered that and surprisingly tasted very good soaked in the juices.

After the great lunch, we headed across the way to the bakery to buy some goodies for home. Then we had time for one winery before heading to Calistoga for the wedding. We ended up at Domaine Chandon as I was in the mood for some sparkling wine. They have a nice tasting room that is open to the lawn area but the service left sometime to be desired. You have to crowd around this bar to get your tastings and the servers seemed to be attentive only to certain crowds.

This was probably the fourth or fifth time we’ve visited Domaine Chandon and the service is usually better and the sparkling wine they serve are now different. We ordered the $25 Prestige tasting which were pretty tasty but not ones we would likely buy. We miss our Mumm Napa Valley sparkling wine club and their tasting service is must more personal. It’s table service and they come to explain the wines to you and serve complimentary delicious cheese crackers. I’m not sure if they still do this but this was the standard 2-3 years ago.

Anyways, Simon fell asleep during our tasting but thought we’d take a photo.

He woke up briefly to take this photo in front of the mushroom garden, our favorite spot at Domaine Chandon. One of the staff helped us to take this photo and even got Simon to smile a bit. Thank you anonymous lady!

After this, we drove over to Solage Calistoga where the wedding was to be held. The staff there was very friendly and helpful. First we asked for a place to change and they guided us to their pool changing room. Then Ron realized he forgot his cuff links and someone there let him borrow his! We were always greeted with a “hello” or “how are you?”. I’d want to go back just to check out their spa. Seems like they would have great service.

The ceremony started a bit late and they had some technical problems (microphone kept on cutting out) but it was short and sweet and led to a nice cocktail and appetizer hour. Simon had been awake for quite a while and had been pretty calm for most of the time. I was waiting for him to start getting cranky and tell us that he wanted to nap. Instead, as Ron was holding him, I noticed he started nodding off while facing forward. Had a bit too much to drink baby?

When we were invited into the dining room, the first thing I noticed was the candy bar. So pretty and so yummy. I found out later that the marshmallows were home made! Creative.

Everyone got a take out box of candy to take home.

Simon and I waiting for dinner to start.

The meal was simple but delicious. These are shrimp lettuce wraps, shrimp were really fresh and the cups also had some rice noodles and a tangy sauce.

A green salad with sweet corn, tomatoes, and a bit of grated cheese.

Roasted chicken with green beans and fingerling potatoes. A big portion and very moist. Ron and I were surprised the chicken was so moist and wonder how they did it.

A vanilla panna cotta with melon soup. I could just drink the melon soup… so refreshing. I liked the panna cotta but some people did not. It had a bit of tanginess and was very smooth. I enjoyed the panna cotta more than their white wedding cake with fresh berries.

Simon took little naps throughout the dinner. I brought along Winnie the Pooh to help him sleep. I think it did help him remember that he was supposed to fall asleep. He got woken up a few times though because of the noise and being too warm.

We ended up getting home late and Simon was konked out. We transferred him from the car seat straight to the bed. We didn’t want to wake him by changing his clothes so let him sleep in his outfit.

Here are our Bouchon Bakery goodies. French macarons (blueberry, caramel, hazelnut, raspberry, and pistachio) $3 each and huge!

To show how great Bouchon restaurant was, we asked to take our small piece of bread home since it was so delicious and they went to get us a box and filled it to the brim of bread! The bread has a great crust and is chewy on the inside. Those are the vine looking things inside this box. We transferred it into this box with the rest of our pastries. Also in here are a almond & chocolate croissant and brioche.

Delicious looking citrus tarts… can’t wait to dig in to these.

Can’t wait to dig in to all of them….

It was a good day overall, beautiful weather and a beautiful wedding. Congratulations to Eugenia and Michael!

We took a photo with the bride and groom but not with our camera (it ran out of memory!) so hopefully will post it here later on.

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