My brother-in-law Russell and his new bride, Lindsay, got married the first weekend in June (2012) at the Charles Krug Vineyard in Napa, CA. After the rehearsal (the day before the wedding), we ventured across the street to the Culinary Institute of America for lunch (at the Wine Spectator Restaurant). You cannot imagine my excitement over this. First, I had no idea it was across the street… and then, to find out we were having lunch there completely pushed me over the edge!
It was a beautiful day, so we sat outside in the shade and it was such a lovely time. I mean, what could be better? Sitting outside the CIA, trying dishes that the resident chefs were working on, all while sipping wine that had been bottled locally. I was in heaven.
The menu was drool worthy. I started with amazing, local Oysters on the Half-Shell — with just a simple mignonette ($15). Not only were the oysters sweet, succulent and delicious, the mignonette was a perfect match as well.
Next up was a shared dish of Foraged Mushrooms and Romano Beans — with brown butter, balsamic vinegar and topped with house-made ricotta cheese and truffle oil ($7). This savory dish oozed umami flavor.
Lastly, and I’ve been craving them ever since, where pan-friend sardines with crispy skin, served over a salad of frisée (also called curly endive) and sauteed mushrooms, in a simple olive oil vinaigrette. I had never had sardines that were cooked like this, and I really enjoyed them. Definitely not a mild fish, but I loved them. Rich in flavor and the crisply skin was divine.
Overall, I highly recommend making a trip to the CIA for a meal if you are in the Napa area. While we didn’t have time to tour the campus or look around too much, I’d love to go back and do a little more exploring.
They may kill me… but in case you were wondering what the handsome groom and STUNNING bride looked like the day of the wedding… here you go. Enojy!