When Thomas Keller chose tiny Yountville for The French Laundry, foodies the world over had to study maps even to figure out where it was. That was a long time ago. Today Yountville is a pilgrimage destination of sorts for fans of farm-fresh locally sourced food. And with Bistro Jeanty, Ad Hoc, Bouchon, and now the Bardessono Hotel's new restaurant, there are more destination dinners to be had in Yountville than most long weekends will accommodate. What to do? Make lunch a centerpiece meal as well, so you can fit in more stops. Here's how I do it; I pick up a quick cafe breakfast at Bouchon -- a scone or morning bun, perhaps, and a big steaming to-go cup of the best coffee anywhere. Then I head out on a bike ride or short hike, to work up plenty of appetite for lunch. Another hike or wine tasting breaks up the afternoon; it's also important to make time for a spa treatment, soak or swim. Then a fashionably late dinner, European-style, and a night of deep, restful sleep, before setting out to eat my way across town again tomorrow.
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Locals and tourists alike flock to this gourmet eatery to watch the chef concoct his excellent dishes. With a panoramic view of the Napa hillside and a decor of warm impressionist tones, the place makes for an elegant night out. The menu of fusion cuisine features entrees like Slow-Cooked Lamb Shank with Potato Puree and Grilled Spearfish with Chanterelles. Or, you can order a five-course tasting dinner that comes Japanese-style in a bento box. The on-site wine store offers an extensive and eclectic variety, running the gamut in price.