Our third day in the valley began with a hardcore breakfast of “Champions” at Soskol Cafe just down the road from our villa. Named after the road on which it quietly rests, Soskol is an established go to in Napa, California for hearty, tasty and honest breakfast cuisine.
We were seated in a booth along the back near the open kitchen. A duo of hard working guys were pumping out omelets, pancakes and other breakfast goods on a flat top with a few burners. Their movements were fluid and they clearly knew what one another was doing at all times. Really well run machine in the back of house.
The table was dressed with anything one may need for breakfast service. This included more than a half dozen condiments six of which are hot sauce – three flavors of Tabasco alone…uh, money.
Multiple Yelp reviews raved about the house specialty Corned Beef Hash. Soskol’s uses house made corned beef that’s cut into strips rather than chopped fine. It’s seared up on the griddle and combined with delicious potatoes and veggies.
The ridiculous portion of hash was served alongside hash browns, eggs (over easy) and toast. The corned beef was so so juicy and tender. The sear on the meat was perfect, a little char and smoky action worked really well the with the onions, peppers and potatoes that were well textured. Nothing was too crunchy or undercooked and nothing at all mushy in this dish.
When I sliced into the yolk it ran all over the plate. Instant breakfast art. So beautiful. Some well placed hot sauce – Cholula is my choice for eggs – and that was all it took to just about bring a tear to my eye. I knew something deep down…
This is the best corned beef hash I have ever tasted. I know, best lamb burger and ribs yesterday and now another “best ever…” But the use of high quality meat and corning on premise, the unique cut of the beef going against the grain gives you an almost steak and eggs play. Also, most other versions of this classic dish are similar, over seasoned, and the meat is diced and often lost in the whole of the plate. Loved it. Get it.
Jill ordered the breakfast burrito. It was a bomb of a burrito. A massive tube of goodies served with, once again, any condiment you would want with this Mexican classic. Cheese, bacon, black beans, guacamole, sour cream and potatoes were all crammed with expert precision into the warm and soft tortilla.
The shell itself wasn’t nearly as thick as others making it less filling and easier to appreciate the filling – which after all, is the best part. It was excellent, and as an item that we wouldn’t normally order, we were extremely pleased with both of our choices.
We saw an order of biscuits and gravy go out to another table so we had to grab an order to split the two of us. They were baked that morning. Warm and fluffy with a nice crust.
Served with a rich but still not too creamy gravy, the biscuits went down easy even after eating our other dishes. They must’ve used more roux to thicken as opposed to extra cream. Excellent side dish to share anytime in our book. Wow. Full and ready to face the day…
Before heading out to our first winery appointment we swung by the once a week Farmer’s Market at the Oxbow Market in downtown Napa. Fresh produce of all sorts. The brightest, most vibrant colored fruits you’ll ever see in side of the US. The juiciest, sweetest most tender peaches I’ve ever put in my mouth. Incredible plums from farms just down the road. Purple, yellow, blue – all different textures and flavor profiles.
The Dragon’s Breath plums were out of this world. Almost tropical flavored. Picked a few for the road. Strawberries that weren’t massive genetically modified beasts. Instead, small and sweet with true berry flavor. So damn tasty. And so sad that it’s not embraced more.
We worked our way up Highway 29 and over to Pritchard Hill by way of a 25 minute climb up more steep winding roads with no guardrails. We finally made it to Tim Mondavi’s Continuum Winery. After the Mondavi family lost control of their empire in 2004, Tim ventured out to satisfy his passion to craft a high quality single estate wine that could roll with the big boys.
Hands on wine making using mostly if not all estate fruit with a focus on a single bottling is what Continuum stands for. Perched atop the peak of Pritchard Hill with the likes of other stars like Colgin, Bryant and Dalla Valle, Tim is at the winery at least five days a week and has his hands in every step of the process.
We were treated to a stellar tour of the hilly vineyards by Stu Harrison, the original employee for Opus One winery and owner of his own winery Trivium. We drove the land in his 1960’s vintage Land Rover – Stu was incredible. Warm and welcoming, a trend around these parts, and so willing to impart his expertise and passing upon his visitors.
We got to go up into the vineyards in his vintage 1960’s Land Cruiser and pick up the red rocky soil and break it up in my hands. So different from the rich fertile soil in which you’re used to seeing other vegetation. The tour was awesome. The view from the top of the mountain was breath taking.
Stu was fun and so happy to be doing what he has been in Napa for the last few decades. We had no idea that we were standing next to a legend, in fact, until the end of our tour when Tim Mondavi himself began touting Stu as the real genius at the facility – not himself.
We were escorted back to the winery and again were treated to a remarkable tasting of their newly released 2009 Continuum Red Bordeaux Blend. It was gorgeous. Lush ripe red fruit. Big on the palate but elegant and driven with finesse. Should age effortlessly for at least a decade or two.
Bread, olives, cheese and homemade Continuum estate olive oil were also served with our wine. Perfect accompaniments to our delicious red, even the olive oil was rare and priced at $80 a bottle. Thanks guys! Near the end of our tasting Tim Mondavi himself came out to welcome us and chat for a bit.
As soon as he discovered we were newly engaged he insisted we take a bottle of their 2006 Continuum home with us as a gift from the winery. He also was kind enough to sign the bottle with a kind note of our celebration. So unnecessary, unexpected and incredibly generous of the both of them.
We couldn’t have asked for a better trip to a winery. A pristine estate making a phenomenal single wine by incredibly sincere and genuinely nice individuals. Infinite thanks to Tim, Stu and the crew at Continuum. Cheers!
Afternoon adventures to follow…
I’m hungry. Let’s eat!