Hand-painted signs greet passersby at Schellville Grill's cozy roadside shack, hinting that homemade meals await inside. Though the restaurant's façade emanates a rustic vibe, the kitchen teems with formal expertise from the Culinary Institute of America, owner Matthew Nagan's alma mater. Here, Matthew rubs beef tri-tips in a mélange of dried chipotle, natural smoke flavor, and hand-ground black pepper, marinates them for 24 hours, then grills them over hot coals, hickory chips, and dried wine vines. This sweet and spicy meat stars in several house specials, including a ranchero quesadilla and a sandwich that's lured Food Network's Guy Fieri to Matthew's smokehouse.
On a flower-lined patio, diners pair live music and local wine with gourmet sweets from Matthew's sister, Emily. Available in flavors such as chocolate zinfandel and espresso cinnamon, whole cakes can be ordered for pickup or enjoyed at private parties in the restaurant's dining room or safe deposit box.
The sausage and suds savants at Lokal call their savory fusion of Hungarian and German fare "European soul food" and present a diverse menu of hearty dishes that pair well with wines and craft beers. The hand-cut fries ($5 small, $8 large) and warm Addie's German Potato Salad ($8) soothe and comfort the stomach like heated lederhosen. Melted gruyere cheese and Lecso ketchup cover the tender Angus beef Lokal burger and fries ($12), and golden sauerkraut sidekicks the "Hamburg" platter's three delicious sausage links ($18). Gourmet ghouls can sink fangs into the traditional-recipe Laszlo's Transylvanian Goulash ($16) and wash it down with Deutsch brews such as the Bitburger pilsner ($6 half-liter, $12 for one liter) or local wines including the Cline Zinfandel ($6.50 glass, $32 bottle).
Palms Grill’s team of chefs harness the power of fresh, locally sourced produce to craft their menu of more than 150 made-from-scratch dishes. Reward early-rising appetites or trick late-rising roosters into a false sense of accomplishment with all-day breakfast options, including the California omelet ($8.95) with its savory mélange of avocado, mushrooms, and duo of swiss and cheddar cheese. Appetizers, such as vegetarian spring egg rolls ($8.95), limber chomping muscles before they get to work gnawing on The Palms melt, which unites slices of grilled parmesan-sourdough bread with stacks of turkey, ham, bacon and swiss cheese ($8.95). Mouths munch happily on The Paradise burger ($8.95), a half-pound patty anointed by a triumvirate of swiss cheese, pineapple, and teriyaki sauce ($8.95). Culinary sorcerers conjure Crispy Chicken Palms Style, pairing lightly breaded chicken breast with lemon-cream sauce and fresh asparagus ($14.95). Palms Grill offers petite options of many dishes for those with smaller appetites, watching waists, or transporting their food by fanny pack.
Chef Greg Johnson transfigures time-tested favorites into creative dishes at the award-winning Zinsvalley Restaurant. Diners can steal away for an exotic midday lunch of coconut yellow curry, which bathes baby bok choy, yams, shitake mushrooms, snow peas, and jasmine rice together in a bath of yellow coconut milk curry ($14), or field imaginary fly balls while noshing on the Wagyu beef hot dog with a piquant kick of jalapeño jam and pico de gallo ($11). At dinner, gourmands can sip local small-production vintages while elegantly slurping shrimp linguini ($16) or the chef's signature steak frittes, which pairs grilled Kobe Bavette with chili-rubbed fries and watercress ($24).
The oenophiles at Napa Valley Toffee Company satiate cravings for local flavors with tastings of Napa-produced wines and luscious homemade chocolates. Synchronized sippers can indulge in a hodgepodge of five red and white nectars, each harvested from Napa-grown grapes, bottled by local wineries, and approved by the California Raisins. Though wine flights vary by tasting, guests can expect to nourish their palates with gulps from small case lots and nibbles from local vendors, such as Napa Farmhouse 1885, and Verve Coffee of Santa Cruz. Before heading home to wash off purple handlebar mustaches, sippers can treat themselves to $20 worth of goodies from the shop, where bottles of 2009 sauvignon blanc ($20) and Rescue Red ($15) hobnob with eight-ounce boxes of house-made chocolates ($11) and Drink the Leaf loose-leaf tea.
Carpe Diem Wine Bar fastidiously finds the finest vintages of rare, unique wines from around the globe and serves them alongside a menu of small plates that encourage sharing and pairing. When assembling the extensive wine list, Carpe Diem's grape gurus give precedence to pours, such as the L'Objet pinot noir from the Russian River ($13 per glass), that possess interesting flavor profiles. Naturally fermented and aged in French oak, L'Objet exudes the coltish boisterousness of youth and pairs well with Kobe beef corn dogs ($9), which combine the innocence of a boardwalk treat with the futuristic menace of cows raised on classical music. Wines also enhance artisanal cheese and meat plates ($6–$26) or brick-oven grilled flatbreads ($11–$14) piled with toppings that include mushroom, tiger prawn, and pumpkin.