Ring in 2011 with a memorable celebration – whether your mood is lively jazz and a casual buffet, or a six-course tasting with Kobe and caviar.
Here are special picks on where to dine for New Year’s Eve.
Chef-owners Chris and Veronica Laramie have taken a truly fun approach to their five-course dinner. The evening begins with oysters and scallops, because seafood is a traditional sign of good fortune. Then, there is no chicken or lobster, since diners should head into the New Year with both feet forward, and thus not consume animals that move or scratch backwards. Instead, the entrée is beef served with curds, whey and chanterelles, to promote forward thinking in the year to come. Reservations: 510-868-0735, eve-berkeley.com.
Silo’s Jazz Club at the Napa River Inn (Napa)
Napa’s hottest speakeasy, wine bar and jazz venue puts on a hoppin' and rockin' party replete with a Blue’s Brothers Tribute band and champagne toasts. Rub shoulders with the performers at a pre-show meet-and-greet, then move into a light buffet with wine and champagne. Make it a full night, too. The adjacent Napa River Inn is offering a New Years Eve Package with overnight accommodations, complimentary breakfast delivered to your room and late check-out. Reservations: 707-251-5833, silosnapa.com.
FARM at The Carneros Inn (Napa)
One of this year’s most elaborate celebrations begins with dinner then ends with dancing, in a five course menu and wine pairing from chef de cuisine Ryan Jetté, followed by live music from the Dan Daniels Trio. Just a few of the dishes include roasted chestnut soup with white wine poached quince and black truffle, butter poached Maine lobster with black trumpet mushrooms, arrow leaf spinach, butternut squash and cranberry-Niçoise olive sauce, and suckling pig with pork cheek confit, savoy cabbage, Granny Smith apples, carrots and truffle pork jus. Reservations: 707-299-4880, thecarnerosinn.com.
Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead (St. Helena)
It’s a farm-to-table family-style feast from executive chef Sheamus Feeley, highlighted by cocktails and live music. Take your seat at Farmstead’s community table, and dig into hors d’oeuvres including chilled local Dungeness crab, Hog Island oysters, cheddar drop biscuits and more. Then it’s on to dinner, with dishes such as Hudson Ranch porchetta with salsa verde, California Arborio rice with mushrooms and braised short rib, Nantes carrots with herbs and tangerine butter, and creamy Yukon gold potato puree. Dessert is a selection of homemade candies and cookies enjoyed to the live performance of the Isaac Carter Band. As the clock strikes midnight, guests will enjoy a Schramsberg sparkling wine toast and a late-night course of spaghetti bolognese and flatbreads. Reservations: 707-963-9181, longmeadowranch.com.
EPIC Roasthouse (San Francisco)
Usher in 2011 on the stunning San Francisco waterfront, with views of the fireworks displays over the Bay, the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and the San Francisco skyline. Executive chef Jan Birnbaum will prepare a four-course menu featuring dessert created by consulting pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner. Feast on crispy sweetbread and lobster salad, medallion of 28-day aged rib-eye served with twice baked truffled creamer potatoes and porcini mushrooms, a roasted porchetta of suckling pig served with apple-chestnut hash and buttered Brussels sprout leaves, and pumpkin crème brulee with ginger snap crust. Reservations: 415-369-9955, epicroasthouse.com.
Waterbar (San Francisco)
Usher in 2011 on the stunning San Francisco waterfront, with views of the fireworks displays over the Bay, the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and the San Francisco skyline. Chef Parke Ulrich is crafting a four-course menu showcasing “oyster opulence” of a half dozen oysters served with caviar, Maine lobster salad with limestone lettuce, ruby grapefruit and buttermilk dressing, and seared black bass with cauliflower soubise, smoked bacon and brown butter hollandaise. Reservations: 415-284-9922, waterbarsf.com.
Dry Creek Kitchen at Hotel Healdsburg (Healdsburg)
Blow out the stops for this over-the-top, six course gala tasting menu paired with wines. Feast on delicacies like American Caviar Napoleon with smoked sturgeon mousse and toasted rye wafers; roasted chestnut soup with smoked duck breast and crispy chestnut chips; butter poached Maine lobster with Peruvian potato mousseline; American Kobe au poivre with wild porcini mushrooms and black truffle béarnaise; and passion fruit pavlova with crispy meringue, mascarpone mousse and passion fruit sorbet. Entertainment includes dancing to the seven-piece band, The Casuals, in Hotel Healdsburg’s Fireplace Lobby Lounge, party favors and a midnight champagne toast. You can also boogie next door to Hotel Healdsburg's hip new sister property's New Year's Party with dancing to a DJ in the Green Room. Check out the New Year’s Celebration package, too, which includes a 2-night stay, gala tasting menu for two and more. Reservations: 707-431-0330, charliepalmer.com.
Spoonbar at h2hotel (Healdsburg)
Chef Rudy Mihal, of the modern Mediterranean restaurant in Healdsburg’s new eco-chic h2hotel, will offer a three-course “craft your own” menu. Starter choices include local winter radicchio greens with Point Reyes goat cheese, or preserved foie gras with brioche and spiced figs. Main options include dry aged New York strip with frittes, crispy pan seared sea bass with sunchoke puree and Castelvetran olives, or roasted duck with porcini risotto and saba. Finish on a sweet note with desserts like lavender panna cotta with blackberry gelee and ginger spice cookies, or blood orange crostada, almond cream baked with house made blood orange marmalade and served with minted cream. After dinner, slide over to h2hotel’s New Year's Party in the Green Room with dancing to DJ music. Also ask about h2hotel’s “NYE Party Package,” which includes a 2-night stay, 3-course dinner for two at Spoonbar, and a bottle of bubbly on arrival. Reservations at 707-433-7222, h2hotel.com, or OpenTable.com.
Tip: new Year’s Eve is one of the biggest, best nights of the year. Why worry about driving, parking, and that extra glass (or bottle) of sparkling? Leave it all to Pure Luxury, with a limo, Town Car, or even a small charter bus for an entire group of friends.