Yountville / Napa Valley
6525 Washington St.Yountville, CA
Have I ever mentioned that one of my favorite Chefs to watch on TV is Michael Chiarello. I loved the show Easy Entertaining and then the new show on Fine living, Napa Style. Michael makes cooking for a group of people look easy and fun. How I wish I could be one of what seems like thousands of very close friends that gets invited to hang out in his Napa Valley house, while he prepares great food in a unique way. I know it is just television, but I am sure those shows were totally realistic and of course Michael is a perfect host! If you know better DO NOT burst my bubble!
On last years trip to Napa with my guy, I insisted that we stop in at Napa Style, Chef Chiarello's store and cafe in Yountville. I had been told that on that exact day Michael would be cooking at the cafe! My boyfriend, not being the shopping, food TV watching type was sure this would be a waste of precious wine tasting time. He also was under the impression that I was going to just pop in and out of this store and we would be on our way...He had never seen me around somewhat famous people of whom I truly admire. Yes I was nervous!
Let me say my boyfriend is also kind of the bull in a china shop type, so he of course walks into Napa Style, and heads straight for the Cafe so he can meet this Michael fellow... I first almost tackle him! This is not how I do things! I am basically pretty shy and I take the VERY slow approach...(some might call it stalkings) wandering around the store slowly browsing and sneaking peaks at the kitchen in the back of the store...yes Chef Michael is indeed back there making salads and sandwiches....I skulk around the store some more... Taste each of the large selection of salts...Taste some wine(liquid courage)....frustrate the heck out of my boyfriend who just keeps asking, "Are we gonna order a sandwich or what?" He does not understand my process! After...maybe 30 minutes of "shopping" I am told we are ordering food or we are leaving, FINE! Lets do this!
So we order a fancy BLT, my guy jokes around with Michael about how he has way more grey hair than on TV. This would have been embarrassing but, my guy has a full head of premature grey hair! So Michael being the perfect host I assume he is, takes it in stride and jokes right back. There is casual banter between the two, as I just stand there silently like a lump on a log...That is all part of my process! Then we sit and eat, and I drink some of the Chiarello Zinfandel, which I recall being really good...biased, maybe.
After a few minutes Micheal comes out of the kitchen to greet some of the other crazy fans hanging around watching him cook (ok maybe I was the only crazy one). Chef Chiarello approached our table....and I have no idea what was said! All I remember saying was can I shake your hand? He was very nice and let me, and yes eventually I let go. My guy not being in the same fog I was said "hey how about a picture?" So Michael and I stood next to each other and smiled, my guy of course made jokes about Michael not getting handsy (party pooper!) and Michael made a comment about my guy being bigger than him (by quite a few inches) so not to worry (party pooper!). And then he moved on....as did we.
Of course I also spent a large amount of money on grey salt and some pink salt to take home with me. I can not really remember the rest of that day other than sending the picture to everyone I knew! Some knew who he was and were impressed others said "who is that guy?" I still say Michael Chiarello is a fabulous host and Napa Style is also a great way to spend some time if you are ever in Yountville California.
Since this was pre-blogging days for me I did not get any other pictures of the interior of Napa Style...and I was too busy "shopping".You will just have to check out the website or go visit for yourselves. This one time only I will share THE picture of Michael and I, The Wino Reavealed!
Next trip, BOTTEGA!
Next trip, BOTTEGA!