Boys and their toys.
It’s no secret that many men seem to be born with a gene programming them to love cars, and anything, frankly, with a big engine that can make them go fast, furious, and hell bent for leather.
Food fits neatly into that equation, too. Great, filling food, because it keep the men fueled so they can continue fast and furious.
So with Father’s Day coming up Sunday, June 20, why not combine the two, in a package Pop will love – take him to the Invitational Father's Day Auto Show at V Marketplace in Yountville, followed by a meal at a top North Bay restaurant.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Yountville Auto Show, known as a celebration of the "art of the driving machine." If you’d like to get your fix of national champion cars, local favorites and one-of-a-kind collector curiosities, they’re here, all bright and shiny and bearing emblems of Packard, Pierce Arrow, Ford, Ferrari, M.G., and Mercedes Benz.
Plus, there are more than 100 early and late model autos spanning some 90 years of production, such as Auburn, Kurtis, Tucker, Muntz, a 1928 Model A, and a ‘57 Chevy.
Make a day of it; the event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and it’s free, which leaves plenty of time and money to fit in some other activities, too. You can wander the Marketplace’s lush lawns and gardens, and take in shops and galleries, plus any of Yountville’s incredible restaurants.
This tiny town of just 1,500 residents is home to 15 restaurants sporting six Michelin stars between them, so your choices are great, including pastries or Croque Madame at Bouchon, briny-beautiful Point Reyes oysters and foie pate at Bistro Jeanty, or Piedmontese skirt steak with a mountain of Parmigiano-parsley fries at chef-TV star Michael Chiarello’s Bottega.
The ice cream sandwich at Hurley’s is a must - thick with vanilla gelato, hazelnut praline and raspberry coulis – or for a healthier treat, try the silky celery root soup at Bardessono, studded with boneless chicken wings, chanterelle mushrooms, crunchy celery and croutons (chef Sean O’Toole’s menu changes frequently, but you can count on his elevating simple ingredients in unlikely, sumptuous combinations).
While The French Laundry may be pricey – and difficult to get a reservation – savvy diners to know to head to Laundry owner Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc down the street. There’s just one menu each night, three-courses served family-style, and it’s a bargain at $49.
You’ll definitely want to plan a wine tasting at Silenus just down the road (Silenus Vintners, 5225 Solano Avenue, Napa. 707-299-3930). Nestled along Highway 29 on the edge of Yountville, this cooperative showcases nine small vintners.
Rather than just a typical co-op tasting room, however, Silenus is a custom-crush winery, so what you’re sampling was crafted right on the property by each of the winemakers. Drawing from their small productions that average about 400 cases, the vintners offer a changing line-up of more than three dozen wines, many of which are available only in the tasting room.
And these are truly artisan bottlings, including grapes you’ve likely never heard of but should, like the blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Semillon and Tocai Friulano from Matthiasson. There are also lesser-planted-locally varietals like Pinot Gris (Ideology Cellars), Viognier (Due Vigne di Famiglia), Grenache (Ramian Estate), Cabernet Franc (Gridley Family Cellars).
If your tasting host seems particularly knowledgeable, by the way, he or she may be the winemaker.
Details: V Marketplace, 6525 Washington Street, Yountville. 707-0944-2451. vmarketplace.com
Tip: Surprise dad with a smooth ride of his own. A private limo, perhaps, from Pure Luxury.
Can’t make it to Yountville? Here are some other notable Father’s Day 2010 Restaurant Offerings to Consider:
Baumé / Palo Alto
201 S. California Street, 650-465-1166
Choose from five-courses ($78), ten-courses ($118), or the bomb: fifteen-courses ($168). Dishes include haricot vert salad with curry dust; smoked duck breast, zucchini and Verbena composition; seared grass fed beef filet with miso foam; and Peach Melba reconstructed.
Chez Papa Resto / San Francisco
4 Mint Plaza, 415-546-4134
A steal! The $40 three-course brunch features posh choices like Kobe beef tartare; Eggs Benedict; grilled rib eye and eggs any style; thick cut French toast with house made bacon; a grilled sirloin burger with fries; slow cooked pork belly with fresh peas and poached eggs; bread pudding; and carrot cake.
Espetus Churrascaria / San Francisco and San Mateo
1686 Market Street, San Francisco, 415-552-8792
710 South B Street, San Mateo, 650-342-8700
For the manly appetite: $49.95 all-you-can-eat Brazilian Rodizio menu showcasing a gourmet salad bar with 20 items, hot side dishes and 14 varieties of savory skewered meat carved tableside. Each party also will received one complimentary $10 gift card to be used on a future visit.
Gather / Berkeley
2200 Oxford Street, 510-809-0400
Get the gang together for a special a la carte brunch, brimming with Acme walnut French toast with braised strawberry-kumquat topping, maple walnut sauce and Straus yogurt; fried egg and roasted merguez sausage with chickpea ragout and preserved lemon aioli; roasted market vegetables with spicy lentils and soft grits; and young chicken under a brick with heirloom bean hominy ragout and shaved spring radish.
Italian Colors / Oakland (Montclair Village)
2220 Mountain Boulevard, 510-482-8094
The chef has crafted specials including frutti di mare soup with herb oil; antipasti of fresh Dungeness crab, avocado, papaya, English cucumber, and chili lime vinaigrette; fresh baked pizza with prawns, pancetta, caramelized onions, Spanish Manchego cheese and crushed red chilies; Grilled sea bass with lobster and pea risotto, and basil pesto aioli; Niman Ranch Porterhouse steak with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus with red wine demi glace; and pasta with duck ragout, spring garlic, duck jus and handmade lemon ricotta ravioli.
Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto / Berkeley
1919 Fourth Street
Free gifts galore, with guy-inspired prizes in the restaurant’s Father’s Day raffle. And to eat? Special selections include leg of lamb, house applewood smoked prime rib, and stuffed salmon.
The Franciscan Crab Restaurant / San Francisco
Pier 43, 415-362-7733
Hook your choice of two prix fixe menus. For $19.95 diners can enjoy a cup or clam chowder or a house salad, plus a choice of fish & chips, crab enchilada, shrimp cioppino, spicy prawn fettuccine pasta or chicken breast cutlet. For $29.95, fill up on a cup or clam chowder or a house salad, plus a choice of fresh fish (bass, halibut or salmon prepared one of five different ways) with roasted baby potatoes and butternut squash with olives or a Petit Filet Mignon en jus with flash fried broccolini and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. Both prix fixe offerings also come with a dessert of house made frozen custard ice cream.
Urban Tavern / San Francisco
333 O’Farrell Street, 415-923-4400
Uber deal. The $34.95 three-course dinner menu features soup or Tavern salad; fish du jour or bbq spare ribs; and the Ultimate Blondie & Malted Beer Brownie Sundae with caramel and chocolate sauce. All fathers will also receive a complimentary mason jar filled with Urban Tavern’s house made BBQ sauce.