Choosing to live in Berkeley has had the unexpected bonus of being within close driving distance of Napa Valley. Nothing like a sunny Sunday wine tasting with friends to cheer you up
But with all that wine, I definitely need a nice place to eat. Passing through Helena for the first time last summer, it was hard to miss the bright red sign reading "Farmstead Restaurant" standing between rows of leafy green vegetables on the side of the road. It's usually a good sign for me and my dietary restrictions when a restaurant is so openly flaunting the farm-to-table ideology, so I tried it out. And then I went back. And then I went back again.
|Peppers I found on-site last summer|
The Farmstead Restaurant is directly connected to Long Meadow Ranch, a 650 acre historic site located in the mountains above Napa Valley. The land was originally a vineyard from the 1870's, and was re-established by the Hall family in 1989. The ranch produces grass-fed meat, olive oil, wine, eggs, and fruits and vegetables, all of which are featured at the Farmstead Restaurant along with other local producers. Their land is Certifed Organic by CCOF, and the family seems to take pride in their artisan products.
The restaurant itself is very farmstead chic (is that a thing? It makes sense to me), with re-purposed farm implements hanging from high ceilings. There's a bar, central kitchen, long tables, and an outdoor seating area surrounded by espaliered trees. If you like a rustic feel, this place is perfect for you.
|Herb Roasted Potatoes|
The Farmstead Restaurant's Executive Chef is Stephen Barber who comes to the restaurant with southern roots and a long list of accolades. While their menu doesn't specifically list gluten free items, the waitstaff is always knowledgable about gluten and readily points out options on the menu.
On my last visit, I had brick cooked chicken with savoy spinach, Rancho Gordo Beans, and salsa verde. Paired up with a very seasonal blood orange martini, and it was perfect.
If you're interested in visiting the Farmstead Restaurant, it's located at 738 Main Street, St. Helena and is open daily at 11:30 am.
|What you see as you drive past the restaurant|
|Espaliered trees surrounding the outdoor seating area|
|Blood Orange Martini|