Calistoga Harvest Table® is an annual celebration of harvest season in the Napa Valley. Guests dine under the stars at 1,000 feet of tables in the center of Calistoga’s main street, Lincoln Avenue. Though the 800 available seats sell out quickly, the event is open for a social hour prior to dinner, an opportunity for all to mix, mingle and enjoy delicious Calistoga wines and local craft beers at the eight wine bars lining the street.
When the dinner bells ring at 6:00 pm, guests find their seats at their chosen restaurant and spend the evening savoring course after course of delectable meals. Each restaurant serves a prix fixe menu showcasing the bounty of Calistoga.
This year’s culinary trend at Calistoga Harvest Table® was tomatoes and microgreens. All nine restaurants participating in the dinner served one or both of these menu items.
Queen of the Hour: Tomatoes
Though tomatoes are a popular summer fruit, (yes, fruit!), their growing season in sunny Calistoga and Northern California extends far into harvest time. The tomatoes served at each restaurant were deep red (and yellow, green and purple, for the heirloom varieties) and positively bursting with flavor. From traditional Italian panzanella and cioppino to simple, elegant tomato salads, perhaps the queen of Calistoga Harvest Table® 2019 was the humble tomato.
Chef Roger Dierkhising of Café Sarafornia, Calistoga’s old-fashioned diner, served a deceptively simple Tomato Medley with Yuzu Dressing as their first course that their guests raved about.
At Hydro Grill, a Fig, Tomato & Cucumber Salad was garnished with red onion and herbs, drizzled with basil vinaigrette and topped with pecorino.
Chef/Owner, Shaun McGrath, of Lovina embraced the Italian heritage of the tomato with a Late Summer Panzanella and Smoked Salmon Rillettes, a refreshing combination.
Napa Valley Crust, the quaint vintage food truck pizza oven owned by locals Aldo and Betty Nunez, served a Margarita Pizza, that classic combo of tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil.
Veraison’s Chef Taylor Jones dazzled with an SF Bay Cioppino with a spicy tomato broth to rival those served right on the water in the big city.
With a Macro-Personality: Microgreens
Microgreens were also all the rage at Calistoga Harvest Table® 2019, adorning the plates at four of the participating restaurants. Microgreens, tiny, edible versions of full-size herbs and vegetables, are an excellent garnish but they’re also packed with nutrients and flavor. Microgreens accompanied appetizers and entrees of all kinds at these restaurants, bringing their surprisingly large personality (for such small stature) along with them.
At the Calistoga Inn, Restaurant and Brewery table, Chef Santiago Garcia prepared a Prime Ribeye with Potato Galette, garnished with kale, micro radish, baby carrots and a cabernet sauce.
Owner and chef for the night, Sasan Nayeri, of French Cajun-favorite, Evangeline, featured a Melon Salad of honeydew, watermelon and cantaloupe on their menu, introducing a pop of fresh, herbal flavor with micro basil and mint.
Chef Sergio Morales of Sam’s Social Club, the laidback yet luxurious restaurant at Indian Springs Resort, served up a Housemade Ricotta-Stuffed Grilled Peach with golden balsamic vinegar and microgreens.
All Seasons Bistro brought in the flavors of Asia, featuring an Ahi Tuna Tartare with ponzu, ginger, chili, avocado, nori, sesame, microgreens, taro and wonton crisps.
The menus at Calistoga Harvest Table® are different every year, but always capture the abundant energy of the harvest in a delicious, farm-to-table way. Save the date for Monday, July 20, 2020 to purchase tickets for next year so you can savor this incredible experience for yourself.