Sunday, March 28, 2010

Breakie in Wine Country

Spring is in the air, and I am hungry. My gurgling and growling stomach woke me up bright and early this morning. I never used to wake up hungry, but lately it’s the first thing on my agenda, right after caffeine. Where to go in the beautiful Napa Valley? We decided to try Fremont Diner located on Highway 121 in the Carneros. As stated in previous posts, the Tea Drinker and I are fans of going out to breakfast. Okay, we admit it, we are fans of eating. Period. Our favorite local breakfast joint, Boon Fly CafĂ© (also located in Carneros), is where we usually go, and gobble down our stand-by orders of “eggs in a hole” and "Green Eggs & Ham”. Today, however, we decided to venture a bit further down the road, and give the Fremont Diner a try.

This diner used to be named Babe’s, a sort of run down place, where they served up up shakes, burgers, and fries. We went there a few times, and snuck home afraid we would be caught with grease dripping down our chins. The new owners of this diner have done wonders with the ambiance, and created a cozy, comfortable southern-style restaurant nestled in wine country(this blog has great photos). As you approach the Fremont Diner, you feel as though you stumbled upon a secret treasure; it fits in nicely amongst the vineyards and cow pastures.

A small building with a screen door welcomes you to step right up to the window counter(outlined with a chalkboard menu) to place your order. While you wait in line, there is plenty to look at- a lot of nice touches that make a statement about thought, care, and supporting local goodies. The counter is lined with homemade pastries, jellies, and preserves. We passed this time around, but plan to come back and sample them soon. Sit at the brushed steel counter( there are about four stools) and view the open kitchen. There are plenty of magazines and newspapers to read, or just enjoy your meal and watch the action. We opted for one of the antique tables, and watched the many hungry souls enjoying their morning. Looking around I assumed that almost everyone in the restaurant was on a getaway weekend to the wine country. They looked happy as they filled up on biscuits and gravy before heading out for another day of sampling wines or fighting the traffic back to San Francisco. Either way they looked content. The restaurant also has picnic tables out back, if you want to take in the fresh air.

The menu supports many local farmers and companies. It seems to be their motto. On the breakfast menu choices range from Shrimp & Grits, Black Pepper Brisket Hash, French Toast, Ricotta Pancakes, and an Egg breakfast. I attempted to order the Rancho Gordo yellow eyed beans, with sage and chili salt, and a fried egg on top. Alas, they were sold out. The man in charge suggested that I ordered the grits(stating, "they will be the best I will ever have"),with a fried egg and grilled asparagus stalks. Sold to the highest bidder! I thought the grits were pretty darn good, but then the Tea Drinker reminded me about the shrimp and grits that we had at brunch one year after the Atlanta High Museum Wine Auction. They were made by Chef Rathbun; I really should reach out for him and get that recipe. But, I will state that the fried egg in this dish was perfectly cooked, and probably the freshest tasting egg I have ever had. Absolutely delicious. Oh, and what did my lovely husband order? The Tea Drinker loves breakfast sandwiches. Eggs, Meat , Cheese, Bread. No need to elaborate here!

Now onto the rest of our day, where we will be tasting lots of loose leaf teas(Assams and Ceylons), and then heading out for a bike ride. Put a spring in your step with fresh ingredients at every meal, and support your local purveyors. Now what’s for lunch?

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