Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

Farmstead Exterior WP

By John & Dorothy Salmon

Dorothy and Peg Maddocks, the Executive Director of NapaLearns, stopped for a delightful lunch at Farmstead in St. Helena after an UpValley NapaLearns Board Meeting. Farmstead is one of the happiest places in the Napa Valley. For five years, Ted and Laddie Hall have passionately served fresh, certified-organic vegetables and grass-fed, farm-raised beef and lamb from their three acre ranch and their remarkable Rutherford gardens. Not only can you have a great lunch or dinner at Farmstead, you can taste their great wines in the historic, Logan-Ives House. Wouldn’t you love to serve those REALLY fresh eggs tomorrow morning for breakfast at your house? You can bring them home, along with fresh veggies and amazing olive oil by stopping at the Farmers Market at Long Meadow Ranch on Fridays from 9AM to 1PM, or Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 4PM.

Ted, Laddie and Chris Hall raise grass-fed beef, heirloom fruits and vegetables and happy chickens who lay farm-fresh eggs at their historic 650 acre Mayacamas Estate, high in the Mayacamas Mountains. They also produce award-winning wines from their 16 acres of vineyards planted in the 1870’s. You can guess where the honey served at Farmstead comes from…no surprise; it is from the Hall’s honeybees kept at the Rutherford Estate.

Ted and Laddie Hall are wonderful people and Farmstead is one of Napa Valley’s best places to dine because they serve wonderful food in a warm, inviting environment with great ambiance, lots of light, cool furnishings and great staff who are friendly, well informed and quick to make all guests happy. Executive Chef, Stephen Barber, is an award-winning chef and a favorite in the Napa Valley. We have followed him from BarbersQ to Fish Story to Farmstead because his talent is unique and his food is delicious, fresh, and Farmstead is the perfect landing place for Stephen.

Farmstead, which was built as a nursery barn, seats 110 happy guests and is surrounded by an open kitchen with both booth and central seating and a great, community-dining area and, of course, a full bar. Peg and Dorothy stopped for lunch at Farmstead because they love Ted and Laddie and wanted to say thank you to Farmstead for choosing The Pathway Home as their designated “Corkage for Community.” The Hall’s donate the fees collected each month to a local nonprofit. Over the past five years, Farmstead has donated more than $90,000 to local, community-serving nonprofits. The Pathway Home is so grateful for this generosity.

Farmstead is also the place to stop Monday through Friday, from 4PM to 6PM for their Growers Happy Hour with specially-priced cocktails, beer and wine, and their special bar menu. On Fridays, Farmstead offers live entertainment and sitting outdoors is the best way to end your day by the cozy, wood–fired,
authentic forge.

We were greeted at ourour table by their server, Brenna, who made sure that the lunch was fun and healthy. Since there was lots of work still to do that afternoon, we both started with ice tea ($3.50).  If we had been able to have a glass of wine, we could have chosen from Farmstead’s long and legendary, large, double–sided, wine list and tempting cocktail selections, from the Farmstead Margarita ($11) to their Manhattan ($16), or maybe the North Bay, made with Sipsmith gin, dimmi liquor, lemon juice and bay simple-syrup ($11). We knew that we would be back for dinner soon,and we plan to order a glass or two, or a bottle of their terrific wines, many great ones by the glass for $12-$22. Or, wemi9ght order a bottle of Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, all at reasonable prices. If you are in the mood and have the purchasing power for some great wines, you can share a bottle of the 2007 E.J. Church Cabernet Sauvignon ($296). Farmstead was full at lunch, and in talking to Adam Kim and Kipp Ramsey, their Farm to Table Manager, Farmstead has had a great start in 2015 and has been full in January and February.

For lunch, Peg ordered the Potato gnocchi with grass fed beef ragu, parmesan and herbs ($22), which was really amazing. Dorothy ordered the Dungeness crab and bay shrimp LouieLouie, with gem lettuces, avocado and cornichons ($23.50). It was the perfect lunch. When Adam Kim stopped by to greet us, he generously let us try the warm burrata cheese with LMR estate olive oil and whole roasted garlic ($16) and the Long Meadow Ranch grass- fed, steak tartare, with farm egg, capers, cornichons, Tabasco and toast ($17).  Wow!

Using our usual excuse that we were writing this review, we HAD to at least taste the Meyer Lemon Meringue pie made from the LMR Meyer lemons ($8). We both remarked that our mothers made great lemon meringue pies when we were kids but NOTHING like this Meyer Lemon pie, which was incredible.

If you want to experience an amazing ranch that and feel like you are immersed in Napa County’s history, you can take a tour of the Long Meadow Ranch 650 acre farm and see their one-of-a–kind, rammed-earth winery, caves, sample their wines and experience a view that is indescribable. ($60/person plus tax: 11AM, 1PM and 3:30PM). That’s just one of four tours and tastings you can experience at Long Meadow Ranch.

We think that even a long term resident of Napa County will benefit from the tours and tastings offered at Long Meadow Ranch. Ted and Laddie also offer a Fat Tuesday Celebration, with classic NOLA and Creole food, and live music and partying. If you want to experience the Napa Valley in the early morning on your bike ride, you can join the Tack and Tacksman Ride every Saturday.

Ted and Laddie Hall have created an all encompassing opportunity for visitors to dine on fabulous fresh food, shop next door at their General Store and go back in time in their restored 1874 Gothic revival farmstead. Farmstead is the best example of the family farm from centuries ago. Not only are the Hall’s a wonderful family working hand in hand with their son Chris and their experienced staff, they are giving, loving people who extend their generosity to so many others in the Napa Valley.

Visit Farmstead this month and bring your own wine. In doing so, you will get a great meal and also support The Pathway Home.


Jax Diner Open for 3 Months and Already Winning Awards!

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Jax White Mule Diner had only been open a couple of months when the 6th Annual Chili Cookoff rolled around in August.  Hardly enough time to have honed their chili recipe to a competitive level, or so you might think.  Jax’s chili not only won First Place with the judges panel, which included a few discerning Napa Chefs, it also won The People’s Choice Award, meaning the folks attending also thought it was the best.

Impressive. Especially since chili is just a small part of their breakfast and lunch menu. J.B. Leamer, founding owner of Jax White Mule Diner, remembers going to the local diner with his grandfather.  It was a center of community activity – a relaxed, affordable place to enjoy a good meal while catching up with family and friends.  Leamer loved everything about it, and for years thought that if there was ever an opportunity to open a place just like it, he would jump on it.

That opportunity presented itself when Leamer was wearing his hat as a realtor, showing a client the space at 1122 First Street in Dwight Murray Plaza.  “Gillwoods had just closed,” said Leamer.  “I realized downtown didn’t have a diner anymore.”  Leamer suggested to the client that he consider opening one in that spot.  One thing lead to another, and Leamer ended up making the plunge himself.

Opening a restaurant is always a big risk.  So far, Jax has been a huge hit.

“When I saw where they were located, I figured they’d be out of business in a month,” said Michael Holcomb, a local who owns several properties downtown.  “Then, I tasted the food.  I eat at Jax three or four times a week now.”

Because this is Napa, Leamer was able to assemble an enviable team to run the diner.  Chef Jason Buckley, who helped make the Napa Valley Grille a success before leaving California for a few years, has delivered on the classic Americana vibe Leamer had envisioned.  Bobby Cabrerra, for years a fixture at Downtown Joe’s, sees to it the kitchen runs well and that the service is top shelf.  Tony Morales, formerly with Silverado Resort and Spa and Celadon, is the Managing Partner, ensuring guests’ expectations are met.  Part of that is having the courage to occasionally follow the chef’s whims and go off-menu.  “We participated in BottleRock, and served Tater Tots smothered in cheese and crumbled bacon.  People loved them.”

“We’re really making old school new again,” said Leamer.  “Come in and enjoy our relaxed atmosphere with your neighbors while sharing great comfort food, beer & wine, while enjoying the game on one of the large screen TVs .  Jax is Napa’s place for Happy Hour, Wed-Fri from 3pm-7pm with $3 beer, $5 wine, special appetizers and dinner entrees per our clients’ request. Look for longer hours  Wednesday through Friday with a menu that will include fried chicken and other favorites.

JAX will accommodate your fantasy football draft or private event. Just give them a call at 707-812-6853. Open daily, 7am at 1222A First Street, off Dwight Murray Plaza, west of Main and First Streets, serving breakfast till 3pm.  Wednesday through Friday, open till 9pm.

As Morales says, “Come in, relax and get your mule on.”