Barndiva, Healdsburg, CA

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While we had many incredible meals this year in California, Barndiva was one of our favorites. Our first night in wine country was spent at a lovely table on the back porch of Barndiva. After a week of hot, sticky days, the cool evening air of Sonoma County was a welcome addition to our meal.

I was drawn to Barndiva by their motto “Eat the View,” as well as their commitment to use fresh, sustainable ingredients. Not to mention their beautiful website. If you’re in the area, and don’t mind a pricey meal, Barndiva is a real treat. Of course, you can skip the wine pairings and have a much more affordable meal, but this was our time to enjoy it all. Oh, and be sure to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail at their bar next door!

Vegetarian Options

  • heirloom tomato salad, burrata, garlic crouton, basil, spanish sherry vinegar
  • heirloom beet salad, cowgirl creamery mt. tam, strawberry, almond
  • mt. tam cheese, huckleberry jam, toasted brioche
  • bd frites, fresh cut kennebec potatoes, spicy ketchup
  • goat cheese croquettes,tomato jam, lavender honey
  • butter lettuce, bacon, blue cheese, asian pear, garlic croutons (ask for no bacon)

Pescatarian Options

http://www.barndiva.com/#greetings

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The Orangerie, Chenonceau, France

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As promised – The Orangerie at Chenonceau. Another tourist location, but again, well worth a visit. Chenonceau is one of the most beautiful chateaus in the Loire Valley. The entire park surrounding the chateau is breathtaking and deserves a leisurely visit, including lunch!

The Orangerie fits perfectly in this setting. Not only is the restaurant elegant, the food is beautifully presented. We were definitely surprised by the quality of this meal and would recommend it to anyone visiting the chateau, as long as fish is an option in your diet – there are not many vegetarian options. However, we have found that with advanced notice most places will accommodate. Reservations are again encouraged, and be sure to ask for a seat on the terrace!

Vegetarian Options

  • White Asparagus with Goat Cheese Ravioli and Pesto
  • Cheese Plates

Pescatarian Options

  • Caesar Salad
  • Crab with Whipped Cream and Ice Cream of Green Peas, Lime
  • House Cured Smoked Salmon (fantastic!)
  • Mullet with Wheat and Green Pea Risotto
  • Monkfish with Paprika, Artichoke, and Asparagus
  • Fish of the Day

http://www.chenonceau.com/index.php/en/restaurants-a-store/the-orangerie

The Loeb Boathouse Central Park, NYC

Yes, it’s touristy. However, don’t let that deter you from a great meal at the Loeb Boathouse Central Park. Having only one full day in the city I knew I wanted to visit the museums around the park, as well as explore the park itself. With a day this busy lunch reservations are a must, and since I would already be in the park it was the obvious, and admittedly exciting, solution.

Rain was looming all day, fortunately it held out until I entered the boathouse, and then it poured. It was great fun to watch the rowers try to rush to the shore, even though they were already soaked. It was a rain that just dropped all at once and stayed for a while with no warning sprinkles. However, the covered porch at the Boathouse could not have been a better place to enjoy lunch and the rain. After an extremely hot and humid day, the cool breeze coming off the rain and lake was refreshing and relaxing. While I try to take each experience for what it is, I do have a habit of comparing to previous experiences. The Loeb Boathouse Central Park reminded me of a great lunch my husband and I enjoyed in France a few years ago (I now realize I never wrote about that experience – that will be my next post!). Throughout my lunch I could not have felt more fortunate – fortunate to have the summers off, fortunate to be in such a beautiful place, fortunate to have avoided the rain, fortunate to have other amazing experiences to reflect upon, and fortunate to be comfortable enjoying time alone.

The menu examples below are from the lunch menu. There are separate menus for brunch and dinner on the website: http://www.thecentralparkboathouse.com/lakeside-menus.php

Vegetarian Options

  • Roasted Beets, Dandelion Greens, Sunflower Seeds, Poblano Vinaigrette
  • Mixed Lettuces Basil Sherry Vinaigrette, Snipped Herbs, Shallots
  • Housemade Cavatelli, Roasted Cauliflower, Toasted Almonds, Shaved Ricotta Salata
  • Celery Root Ravioli, Shitake Mushroom, Braised Herbs, Saba

Pescatarian Options

  • Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Cucumber, Tomato, Onion Salad, and Caper Remoulade Sauce (Delicious! Do not miss this if you are a crab cake fan!)
  • Black Sea Bass Crudo, Julienne Mango, Pickled Shallots, Coriander
  • King Fish Escabeche, Frissee, White Asparagus, Grapefruit, Shaved Bottarga
  • Sautéed Skate, Fennel, Italian Parsley, Kalamata Olives, Red Onions, Orange Supreme
  • Scottish Salmon, Chickpea Puree and Grilled Baby Romaine Salad
  • Sautéed Sea Scallops, Nappa Cabbage, Scallions, Ramen Noodles, Oxtail Broth

Reservations are encouraged – otherwise, expect a long wait: http://www.thecentralparkboathouse.com/lakeside.php