Redd Wood – Yountville, CA

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Redd Wood is chef Richard Reddington’s more casual Italian restaurant located in Yountville in the Napa Valley. His upscale spot, Redd, is also close by more casual was exactly what I was looking for. And I must say – I don’t think it was all the wine tasting talking – this was my favorite meal of the trip.

As you’ve probably come to figure out, I love food. But I also really love ambiance and service. And that is one of my biggest pet peeves with many vegan restaurants. They might have the healthy veggie food down, but vegan-centered spots often miss the mark on service and definitely on ambiance. That’s something I’ve found is best left to the carnivores. And Redd Wood knocked the service aspect out of the park.

We sat outside (I also love dining al fresco) and as the evening wore on, it got chillier and chillier. Our amazing waiter not only pulled a blanket out of somewhere to wrap around my shoulders (seriously, this guy was good) but they pulled the heater right over to our table.

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We brought in our own bottle of wine (a Zinfandel from the Clif family winery – yes the same people that make Clif Bars) – we had planned on bringing 12 bottles back with us and over bought by one. This is another thing I love about Napa Valley – you can BYOB anywhere. Redd Wood has a $20 corking fee which I found pretty on-par with other places in the area.

Another tip I learned throughout the trip – my (now) favorite thing to do is simply tell the waiter I’m vegan, inquire about the menu, but then also ask if the chef is willing to play with me. I’ll eat whatever Chef wants to cook, as long as it’s vegan. I did a mix at Redd Wood. Of course with my research from home I knew there were options on their menu that were already vegan, but I was also curious to see what the chef could come up with given a lot of leeway. And luckily for me, Chef was willing to play.

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I started with the summer vegetable salad, the waiter was kind enough to note that the salad dressing on the menu was not vegan friendly and suggested a citrus vinaigrette instead. Again, the produce was exceptional. I loved this salad. And I know, I know, if I’m vegan I must absolutely love salad. But the truth is, usually I don’t. I’ll eat it because I know it’s good for me, but never am I this excited about salads. I swear!

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Then – Chef had a field day. Roasted rosemary potatoes with black truffles (flown in overnight from Australia) and a roasted vegetable medley of some sort. This was great. I’m a sucker for anything truffle and everything paired so nicely. Now, I’m sure if you went and asked for something to be made up this is not exactly what you’d get – again, you have to be willing to roll the dice. But I’m so glad I did.

And of course the trip of gluttony couldn’t end without some dessert – raspberry sorbet suggested by our fab waiter. He was spot on.

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Moral of the story – if you’re in Yountville, you HAVE to go to Redd Wood. Food was fantastic, ambiance was adorable (look at those twinkling lights in the shot of the heater!) and impeccable service. And I was shocked at the price. In a good way! I expected to pay way more than I did. Seriously. If you have to get on a plane, get on a plane. Go now!

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