One of my favorite things about Sofia Coppola’s 2006 version of Marie Antoinette was the over-the-top decadence the young, naïve queen partook in on a daily basis when it came to food. Who needs vegetables when you’re young, beautiful and rich and have access to the finest pastry chefs, cupcake bakers and Champagne makers in all the land? Of course, we all secretly wish that we could eschew the balanced meals once in a while for a feast of all our favorite treats.
Following in Marie’s footsteps, my own version of nonchalant foodie indulgence usually occurs in a French bistro and is always best during the daytime when you’re lent a feeling of sinning in sunlight while all the world goes on somber and serious around you, working and doing other adult-like things that you are not momentarily privy to.
In Napa we found this experience on our first full day when we decided to have the one lunch of the trip at Bistro Jeanty boasting a Chef Philippe who is indeed actually from the Champagne region of France. Upon entering the charming little space I was met by walls of butter yellow, which has become my superstitious sign that I will love a French bistro.
From the moment we sat down gluttony ensued. We ordered everything at once and watched as our table became laden with the dishes, compelling us to move our noontime cocktails over to adjacent tabletops.
As if we needed bread to start a bread heavy meal! But in wine country it never hurts to get extra sponge material in the body to help sop up the tastings. It arrived warm with crispy outsides and beautifully soft interiors alongside an adorable ceramic pot of grainy mustard. The doughy innards were also the perfect material to soak up the remaining lobster cream sauce at the bottom of an emptied dish of pike fish quenelles.
Three large bones came filled with marrow in the perfect consistency to spread on the large, toasted baguette slices. It was not too watery and not too thick and easily spoon-able; something that takes talent to get truly right. The bordelaise sauce added a nice jolt of tang to the overall bite.
The star of the lunch and the reason we had come was the savory and belly-warming tomato soup in a bowl topped off by a delicious dome of puff pastry. With each bite pulling in some of the puff along with the cream-heavy richness of the soup, we were in true foodie bliss – letting ourselves “eat cake” in broad daylight without regard to who saw us. We were after all on vacation!