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The Napa Valley town of Yountville, Calif., is something like a culinary Disneyland. A neat row of quaint shops and acclaimed tasting rooms and restaurants is sandwiched between the vineyard-dotted hills that make Napa a valley.
Most of Yountville’s restaurants are owned by chef Thomas Keller. Many immediately associate Keller with The French Laundry, his three-Michelin-starred fine dining establishment, but he’s so much more than that. This is good news if, like me, you arrive to Napa without a required advance reservation to The French Laundry.
During a visit to Washington Street — which contains the bulk of the town’s sites — consider a culinary crawl through Keller-land. Starting from The French Laundry, cross the street to walk through Keller’s expansive culinary garden, which is open to the public. Here, admire heirloom varieties of seasonal herbs and vegetables, check on the microgreens growing in the on-site greenhouse, and pay a visit to the chickens clucking in the coop.
Then, head south on Washington and make stops at, in order: Bouchon Bistro, Bouchon Bakery, La Calenda, Ad Hoc and Addendum.
Bouchon Bistro offers traditional French cuisine and a raw bar. Bouchon Bakery is the town’s No. 1 location for baguettes, macaroons, espresso drinks and elevated twists on American treats. La Calenda is Keller’s newest location and his first foray into Mexican cuisine. Fronted by Kaelin Ulrich Trilling, a young chef from Oaxaca, La Calenda specializes in tacos, tamales and mole from the region.
Also casual, Ad Hoc offers American comfort food and specializes in fried chicken and barbecue, while Addendum offers boxed lunches by Ad Hoc.
The DetailsThomas Keller www.thomaskeller.com