Napa 7On a recent exploration of the goodness Napa Valley offers we were absolutely captivated by one of the most earthy, ranch dining experiences of any of our travels, anywhere.  Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead Restaurant offers an authentic farm to fork dining experience utilizing fresh, local, all-natural grass fed beef, sustainable, organic heirloom produce and eggs, hand crafted olive oil and honey.

Each tantalizing entree and sumptuous dessert is a showcase of colors, flavors and ingredient-driven farmhouse cooking created by Chef Stephen Barber. Indoor and outdoor seating are both centered around an open kitchen hub where local ingredients are masterfully prepared at the peak of freshness along with Chef Stephen’s unique approach to Southern cooking styles, brick roasting, wood burning and wood grilling. Monday nights are family nights with specially priced two course menus.

Wood grilled castroville jumbo artichoke with sauce gribiche and lemonWood Grilled Castroville Artichokes w/ Gribiche sauce was one of our favorite appetizers. I grew up in Carmel just outside of Castroville and never had them this good even in the artichoke center of the world. And the Wood Roasted Padron Peppers were outstanding. The Grilled Frog Leap Peaches with bellweather ricotta, basil and honey were devoured in short order. The wood grilled Heritage Pork Chop was spectacular and so moist and flavorful that it is hard to imagine any way it could possibly be improved upon. Finally, the Nectarine Crisp with Almond Streusel was so good that it would be worth a repeat visit just to savor it again.

Napa 10The waitstaff at Farnmstead were some of the best we have ever experienced anywhere. And simply put, it was one of the best dining experiences of a lifetime.

Napa Valley is peppered with jewels and gems and hidden treasures. Farmstead is one of them. So glad we discovered it.

Carmel L. Mooney is the editor of Roadtripsforcouples.com, an online travel magazine. Carmel co-hosts a travel and dining radio show every Sunday afternoon. Her family travel column can be read in California Kids Magazine at: www.valcomnews.com You can follow her on Twitter: @CarmelLeeMooneyor Facebook. Carmel is also the Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit that trains and places Autism Service Dogs. You can read her service dog blog at: www.pawsitivesolutions.org.