Duckhorn Dinner for King’s Kitchen

Friday, May 21, 2010


Margaux, Chef Joe and I had an awesome time in Napa Valley this week with Dan Duckhorn of Duckhorn Vineyards, Larry & Maria Beasley and their annual Napa trip companions – Mary & David Whelan and Jeannie & Bob Wallace.  We did the auction dinner from last years King’s Kitchen fundraising event.  This was one of two auction items entitled “Dinner with Duckhorn & Noble” but Larry Beasley and Company requested the dinner take place in St Helena, Ca (see menu).  The trip was great fun.  We landed late Monday afternoon in San Francisco, took a quick riding tour through the city, including a trip down the Lombard Street and the infamous curvy road and then headed to Delfina for dinner.  Joe returned to Jim Noble Restaurants from Delfina where he was sous chef for Chef Craig Stoll.  I don’t believe we missed many options from the menu, enjoying the pork sugo, beef cheek raviolis, soft shelled crabs, spaghetti with tomato sauce, grilled squid and panna cotte.  We even went next door for a fourth course form Delfina Pizzeria “Napoliano” styled which was some of the best I have had.  Early the next morning on our way to the valley we stopped for breakfast at Tartine Bakery – ham and cheese croissant, chocolate éclair and their famous Meyer lemon tart.  Latte from Tartine was one of the best in years for me.


We arrived in Napa around lunchtime, dropped our bags, checked out the kitchen at Duckhorn and then made our way Mustards, where former Noble’s Chef Dale Ray is now the Executive Chef.  Dale and his staff were absolutely wonderful and gracious to us by pre-ordering a lot of our mis en place.  They also gave us free range of their organic gardens.  Thank you Chef Dale and Cyndy Pawlsen for your help.  It’s tough to do a dinner 2500 miles from your own kitchen and we couldn’t had done it without you.

After lunch at Mustard’s, Joe prepped for the rest of the afternoon.  Margaux and I were fortunate to get a personal tour of Ovid Winery and were able to taste barrel samples and their 2006 Ovid Winery Proprietary Blend, currently on the Noble’s Restaurant wine list.  Stunning!  Rated 95 points by Robert Parker.


We met Kelly Duckhorn and David Duckhorn that evening for dinner at Tre Vigne Pizzeria and finished the night with a glass of rose from the cellar of The Martini Bar.

The next morning, Margaux and I met Kelly at The Model Bakery for coffees and breakfast then headed to spend a few minutes with Margeret Duckhorn before she left for the Pinot Noir festival in Anderson Valley.

Back to Model Bakery to get bread for the dinner, local cheeses from Sunshine Grocers, lunch at Taylor’s Refresher and then last minute pick ups at Mustards as I finalized the menu in the car.  Off to Duckhorn Vineyards for dinner preparations around 2.  Before everyone arrived we were able to sneak in a tour of Paraduxx Vineyards.

The dinner went smooth, the wines were amazing and we were really happy with the flavors, colors and tastes of the food as we worked to make each course compliment the wine selections.  Dan was, as always a most gracious host, describing each course’s wine selection with stories, history, warmth and typical hilarity.  That Dan Duckhorn is a “hoot” as we say in the Carolinas.

Pan Seared California Quail

Pan Seared California Quail

Thank you Larry & Beasley for your faithful support of The King’s Kitchen.  Thank you Margaux and Joe.  Thank you staff at Duckhorn vineyards, for you patience and assistance.  Thank you Dan and Nancy.  Thank you Ducky!  You are the top of the heap!


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