In the heart of
resides Long Meadow Ranch
(LMR). This 650-acre home ranch produces
both wine and food in the Napa Valley from three different locations including
the home for wine making at the 90 acre Rutherford Estate in the center of the
Rutherford AVA. Among this vast estate, the destination spot is the Long Meadow
Ranch Winery and the spectacular restaurant, Farmstead and the tasting room in
the historic Logan-Ives House and the Farmers Market at Long Meadow Ranch. It
is an impressive destination and not to be missed if you are in Napa
Helena and/or . Napa Valley
Yesterday we convened for our regular restaurant club get together and this month it was my turn to select our destination. Farmstead had been on my list for a while. I was thrilled the day had finally arrived to experience this distinguished restaurant.
As you approach
Saint Helena from Napa,
it was apparent that the traffic slowed due to the popularity of the quaint
wine valley town. Farmstead is just on
the other side of the train tracks and the driveway sneaks up on you to make a
right hand turn. Once in the parking lot, I knew I arrived to a special
location in wine country. The rustic
feel of barn yard like structures, a restored green truck from the 30’s or 40’s
and the beautiful landscaping is a feast for the eyes.
My friends were already seated, since we drove separately and already ordered the famous Cheddar biscuits with honey butter. We enjoy sharing various dishes, so we can fully experience the key items at the restaurant. A few tasty bites and then on to the next wonderful dish is my kind of feasting. I ordered a glass of 2008 Abiouness “Pommard Clone” Pinot Noir from the Carneros region. It was an absolutely stunning glass of wine with the pure elements of an awarding winning Pinot Noir.
We ordered the special of the day, Grilled asparagus with LMR egg and ham. The perfectly cooked egg added additional richness to this perfect started. Next to arrive was the two salads - Caramelized beets with sky hill goat cheese cream, greens and Chimichurri and Salad of lacinato kale with chili pequin, lemon dressing and toasted parmesan. Both salads busted with flavor and each plate was wiped clean.
After our salad courses, it was time for the hearty main dishes that included - LMR meatballs with caramelized root vegetables and tomato marmalade, Potato gnocchi with LMR beef ragu, herbs & parmesan and Wood grilled heritage pork chop with broccoli rabe, jalapeno grits and apple-onion jam. All three were simply divine and cooked perfectly. The combinations of flavors were mouth watering.
We certainly could not end this wonderful lunch without a bit of dessert. So many amazing choices but at the end, we selected the Scharffenberger chocolate cream pie with graham cracker crust and whipped cream. This is a signature dessert at Farmstead. The graham cracker crust was the show stealer in my opinion. I could have just eaten that and minus the chocolate and whipped cream. It was that good!
We left fully satisfied and loving every aspect of this lunch. We did a bit of shopping in downtown
Helena and found wonderful items at Toss Designs. If you have not visited a Toss store, you are
in for a treat. The burning question is –
which restaurant do we go to next?
The Cheddar Cheese Biscuits were outstanding and a true masterpiece. I knew that I needed to develop the recipe at home and recreate these delicious bites of heaven. My version is extremely close to what we enjoyed at Farmstead. Enjoy!
Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
Makes 12 biscuits
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons shortening
2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 Cup cheddar cheese, grated and packed
¼ Cup cheddar cheese, grated for top of biscuits
1 Cup Buttermilk
In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix together. Next add the butter and shortening and use a pastry cutter to incorporate into dry mixture until size of small peas. Add 1/3 cup of grated cheddar cheese and mix. Add the buttermilk and stir well with a spoon. Dough will be sticky.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Use an ice cream scoop and place onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Keep at least 1 inch apart. Top each biscuit with about a teaspoon of grated cheese. Bake for 14 minutes. Turn off oven and put the broiler on high. Once heated, add the cookie sheet under the broiler for 30 to 60 seconds until cheese is browning and bubbly. Remove to cool or serve warm.