Napa Novembers – So Much to be Thankful for

Nov. 9, 2010 | by Jim Beazley

They say you can see a New England Fall from outer space. But if you come to the Napa Valley in November you won’t have to go that far. And with temperatures in the upper 60s it’s downright balmy by comparison.

Early rains in October and the first Sunday of November have greened up our hills, turning California gold into Irish green. But the real show is in Napa’s vineyards.Whether they’re on hillsides or the valley’s floor the vineyards are a rich tapestry of yellows, oranges and reds.

Used to be we’d say they “cut the phone lines and blocked the roads” when November came…that’s how abrupt the High tourist season would end. With Napa’s rebirth as the valley’s food and Wine capital, things are changing.

On the Napa River, “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto continues to wow his many followers at his new, high-end Morimoto Napa with his East-Meets-West combinations and imaginative sushi. Steven Barber, of Napa’s Barbers-Q, has opened his new restaurant Fish Story to rave reviews. And Tyler Florence, a TV celebrity who has penned five cookbooks, is planning a rotisserie restaurant to fill out the new 3rd Street Waterfront complex on the new Napa Riverwalk.

Local’s favorite Winter dishes and comfort foods–fresh vegetable soups, steaming mussels and simmering stews–are migrating back onto the menus at long established Napa eateries. Chef Marcos’ award-winning chili is back at Celadon. Served with freshly baked cornbread made with jalapeno and sweet corn and a mixed green salad, it is only available at lunch. At night Celadon’s signature mussels are sure to warm more than just your heart.

The word’s gotten out how beautiful the Napa Valley is in November. It’s like high season but without the crowds, and with the color turned up to maximum instead!