I had family visiting this past weekend so we popped up to Napa and Sonoma counties for some wine tasting. Because I rarely drink, I was the designated driver and got to be in charge of which restaurants we visited. One of my favorites was Long Meadow Ranch Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena.
Long Meadow Ranch is a sustainable 650-acre farm in Napa Valley that produces artisan organic wines, extra virgin olive oil, livestock, eggs and produce. Instead of using the soil for one purpose (growing grapes for wine production) the ranch uses produces several crops to maintain the health of the soil. In addition, both the restaurant and ranch run off 100% solar energy. They produce so much energy they actually giving back to PG&E. The ranch has an extensive composting operation that relies on organic material and soil erosion is controlled and new soils are built through the extensive use of crops like grasses, clovers, and legumes.To get a taste of the wonderfully fresh organic ingredients, the ranch opened the Farmstead Restaurant on Main Street in St. Helena.
Appetizers included grass-fed beef and arugula, spring onion soup, mixed green salads, wood roasted asparagus with ricotta and Meyer lemon. Main dishes on the menu when I visited included California Arborio rice with black trumpets and peas; cheeseburger with California cheddar and arugula; California Petrale sole with roasted beets, asparagus and Meyer lemon butter.
After my family did the Long Meadow Ranch wine and olive oil tasting, we wanted a quick and light lunch. I ordered two appetizer salads for my lunch: the arugula, shaved mushroom and Carmody cheese salad followed by the caramelized beets with goat cheese and watercress. I loved the beet salad as it’s one of the few that I have seen with the peppery watercress. Another treat of the meal were the homemade potato rolls and aged cheese biscuits.
Knowing that these were more akin to dessert than appetizer, I had half of each of these melt-in-your-mouth specialties. Between the two salads and half of each roll, I probably made it through a Napa Valley restaurant lunch, and probably ate around 500 calories—not an EZ feat. And requiring some dedication and discipline.