With a few days to spare before heading back to Australia, we decided to take a quick weekend trip to Napa Valley and take in the stunning country side before heading back to the big city. We are both lovers of wine, so the full day tour was exactly what we needed. Our driver gave us come pretty amazing recommendations on where to dine for lunch, with his top pick being Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, a hidden neighbourhood gem.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
Cindy’s is located in the charming town of St. Helena, right in the heart of Napa Valley. The interior of the space is chic country style setting, with its own flare of sophistication. The formal space offers linen tables, wall papered walls, banquette seating, rustic wooden floors and over sized candelabras for their upscale style.
Opening its doors in 2003, the restaurant has quickly won over not only tourists, but locals with their high quality foods, top notch service and impeccable wine list from local wineries. The restaurant is housed in a historic 1800s building, with historic touches remaining throughout. To keep the California-casual atmosphere, owner Cindy Pawlcyn, brought Howard Backen of Backen Gillam Architects on board to re-design the two story buildings interior.
When arriving, guests enter through the side brick patio, offering alfresco dining and showcasing their 100y/o fig tree and wood-burning oven.
Cindy Pawlcyn, the owner behind Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, is a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, chef-owner of Napa Valley’s Mustards Grill and co-creator of many renowned Bay Area restaurants (including Fog City Diner, Bix, Roti, Tra Vigne and Buckeye Roadhouse). So it’s no wonder this hidden gem has quickly found its way into many foodies must try list!
Stuffed peppers bring me back to my childhood, so seeing them on the menu, I was pretty excited to give them a go. To start we ordered the ‘Stuffed Piquillo Peppers’ with cumin braised beef & charred tomato salsa. These little guys are jam packed with flavour and the salsa worked wonders with the perfectly spiced beef.
Usually you would think to have Brussels sprouts with your mains, however these ‘Blistered Brussels Sprouts’ served with kimchi vinaigrette, crispy shallots, sriracha aioli were out of this world amazing! This is usually a love or hate veggie, however I would definitely recommend giving them a go, even if you aren’t usually one to order Brussels sprouts. They were spicy, crunchy and an overload of flavouring.
MC ordered the ‘Railroad Deluxe’, a tender, juicy piece of steak, cooked how you like, at Market Price. The steak was cooked to exact perfection, some of the best steak he’s ever had, served with mushroom and greens on the side.
I decided to go with the ‘Rabbit Tostada’ served with red chile salsa, black beans & feta. It was recommended by the waiter and probably the best recommendation I’ve received in a long time. The rabbit was tender, the salsa was just the right amount of spicy and the salad worked beautifully to bring all elements together.
Overall, we highly recommend booking a table at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen. The food was divine, the service impeccable, and the wine stunning.