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Owner Gordon Minnis’s quirky little bistro is famed for its cliché-busting Californian-style food as well as a turbo-charged selection of wines from the Golden State that not only score for quality
but come with a flat mark-up of just £5. Calistoga is pitched on a scruffy lane away from the main drag and its homespun, dog-eared interior is nothing to shout about – but that just adds to the
hip West Coast vibe. Eclecticism rules in the kitchen, which knocks out some punchy, up-front flavours – from Monterey Jack cheese and roasted pepper quesadillas or chilled cucumber and avocado
soup to seared tuna with sweet-potato fries and chilli sauce, seafood gumbo or peppered pork escalope with herby couscous. Grills bring prime meaty cuts with a choice of sauces and appropriate
sides, while Oreo chocolate brownie with bourbon cream makes a satisfying stateside finale.
It’s getting to that time of year when people are considering where to go for their Christmas meals, in December. I won’t be ranting about it in the same way, this year, as I’m pleased to see that there are a good number of places taking a more balanced approach to things. However, I’m still sad to see so many places still treating the customers they work so hard to value the other 11 months of year with such little festive regard. “Happy Xmas – that’ll be double the price, for half the quality” seems to be their motto.In happier news, Calistoga continues to rise above this, maintaining its approach of not inflating...
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