Spending a weekend in Napa? Yes, reserve months ahead for the Restaurant at Meadowood’s famed dinners, but don’t overlook these local spots (and their wine lists).
Ask anyone in Healdsburg where to eat, and they’ll point you to Valette. For something light, order the crispy-skinned striped bass. It’s served with a tom kha kai custard that delivers a spicy-sour kick. Ask for the equally lighthanded 2015 rosé from Banshee Wines: dry, floral, and full of strawberry.
Spicy Bao Buns
Hit Napa’s Heritage Eats for a wholly satisfying lunch: grilled lemongrass pork on two house-made steamed bao buns with crunchy cabbage slaw, Asian pickled veggies, and dashes of pleasantly hot chili sauce. Go for the Honig Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. Its bright flavors really sing with the pork’s lemongrass.
Arrive early at Farmstead in St. Helena for a foot-long rack of ribs, which chef Stephen Barber smokes daily and serves with green apple coleslaw. Just say yes to the side of cheddar biscuits with honey butter. Farmstead’s co-owned Long Meadow Ranch winery makes a merlot that’s bold enough to match ribs.