Where do I begin? The lush restaurant Bottega in Yountville, CA has been a goal culinary destination of mine since I fell in love with James Beard Award Winner Chef Michael Chiarello’s cooking style. He and I seem to think alike, appreciating food’s rustic simplicity but incredible depth of flavor. He, too, uses the best ingredients for memorable flavors, but he doesn’t fuss too much. Every detail is perfect and chosen to balance or enhance one of the chef’s signature dishes.
At Bottega, where the colors of the Italian countryside warm the indoor and outdoor spaces, tabletops are lined with white paper and fresh bread is served without a basket. Textured plaster walls offset aged wood and Murano glass chandeliers. But we’re not here to talk about the design. Bottega is all about the chef and the food! And as the staff will readily talk about, Michael Chiarello is a working chef, residing in his rightful place at the kitchen’s helm almost every night. (I’m working on an interview and hope to post one sometime soon.)
And forgive me for only providing atmospheric shots here. I was so entranced with the food that I didn’t stop long enough to photograph it. You’ll just have to envision . . . .
In Chiarello’s world, food and wine go hand and hand. Drawing from his family’s Napa Valley vineyard and beyond, Chiarello offers a noteworthy wine list for appropriate pairings.