Monday, March 23, 2009

Napa Eats: Terra and Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen

Even though we ate at these places on two different days, I'm smashing them in one posts as they're next door neighbors. (The stone building next to Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen is Terra.)

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First up, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen (which was recommended to me by LizzieB).

This is the bitchy hostess right before she told me that photography was not allowed in the restaurant. I was the picture of huffy indignation. And then proceeded to photograph everything with my iphone.

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We were supposed to meet some friends here for lunch who were driving from San Francisco to spend the afternoon with us, but they got held up in traffic. There was much more congestion on Saturday than there was on Friday.

We ordered the Crispy Backstreet Flatbread with caramelized onions, garlic, sundried tomtoes, and blue cheese. Yum.

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but my most favorite thing on the menu were the Oysters Pablo. They were baked with some sort of spicy pepper, a hearty dollop of cheese, garlic, and spinach. So delicious. Of course I didn't get a picture of these as I was too busy slurping them down. Nuts.

Mr. Insomniac got the duck burger with housemade shiitake ketchup and fries.

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and I got the crispy rock cod sandwich with a jicama slaw. Thought the slaw could have used some more kick - either more acid or something - as it was pretty flavorless. Fries were good though.

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We walked around St. Helena for a bit...

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I wanted to have breakfast at Gillwood's before we left, but it didn't work out. Oh well - there's always next time!

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Being the high-maintenance pet owners that we are, we stopped in here. Fideaux. How cute.

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Then it was on to meet our friends at V. Sattui (blog post to follow).



The night before we had eaten at Terra, which is right next door to Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen.

Terra is a one-starred Michelin restaurant characterized by New American fare with a blend of French and Asian flavors. The owners, Lissa and Hiro, also own Ame which is in San Francisco.

Mr. Insomniac reported that he overheard some passerby in front of the restaurant opining that Terra has gone down in quality, which made us a little nervous but everything turned out fine. The restaurant is in an old stone building that provides an intimate backdrop.

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We arrived for our 7pm dinner and were comfortably seated next to a charming older couple who chatted with us throughout our meal. The woman's birthday was last week and so the two were celebrating. They offered us recommendations and described how their move to Northern California.

We ordered a ton of food. After all, we were on vacation.

Panko fried Miyagi oysters on pork belly "Kakuni" in black vinegar sauce. This was heavenly - probably my most favorite dish here. You can't go wrong with fried + pork.

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Burrata cheese with melted Cipollini onion anchovy bruschetta. This was also tasty... the onions had a delicious sweetness.

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Warm salad of Hokkaido scallops with lemon coriander vinaigrette. The scallops had a wonderful buttery flavor and a great texture. They paired well with the acidic lemon vinaigrette.

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Broiled sake marinated Alaskan black cod and shrimp dumplings in Shiso broth. It was delicious - very light and flavorful.

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Grilled duck breast with foie gras tortellini, Kuti squash and winter greens. I wish I had turned the plate for this shot. Mr. Insomniac was getting increasingly embarrassed by my picture taking ways, so I just did a quick picture before he ate.

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Yogurt panna cotta with tropical fruit salad in passion fruit sauce. This was good, but I liked the panna cotta at Hatfield's better.

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Chocolate feuilletee with salted peanut ice scream and caramelized bananas. I did love the salted ice cream, but wanted something a little more substantial than the flakey puff pastry.

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2 comments:

Liz said...

Last time I went to Terra's, the menu seemed so exotic. I had never heard of squab, and I didn't really know what sweetbreads were either. I do remember that our waiter was very nice and not condescending at all when I asked a lot of questions. Now I fancy myself a bit of a foodie and your dinner looks great! I am not sure if we will return there in May or try something new. I did love the ambiance.

Cindy's is ok for lunch... I will have to try the oysters if we go back!

WeezerMonkey said...

No photography?! WTF?!

Terra's looks good, though!