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We recently hit up Napa, CA for a few days as part of our #GFBloggerRetreat. We stayed in a gluten-free B&B in downtown Napa, Inn on Randolph. While there were gluten-free places to eat in Napa like C Casa, we found most of our favorite places in Yountville, CA. It’s about a 20 minute drive from downtown Napa. There you’ll find Thomas Keller Restaurants like Bouchon, Ad Hoc, and The French Laundry. This is a story about Ad Hoc – and their gluten-free dairy-free fried chicken.
Ad Hoc is a community-focused family-style restaurant. Everything is served family style. That usually sucks for those of us with celiac, but luckily we visited with 10 people – all gluten-free! We had asked about the fried chicken in advance, and thankfully they have the food service-only Cup4Cup flour that is dairy free (oh man, can I get a bag or two?). That means they are able to serve dairy-free gluten-free fried chicken made in a dedicated gluten-free fryer. However, there are other allergens in the fryer, so this might not be good for food allergies.
This was the menu for the night. While it looked delicious, it wasn’t what I really wanted. I wanted to be able to order my own meal and sides – but unfortunately when it’s a prix fixe menu, you have to deal with what they’re offering for the night. Now, it’s going to be incredible food – but it’s not of your choosing. If you’re interested in that, choose Bouchon, where you can order off of a menu for individual plates.
The salad was delicious – one of my favorite courses – and was picked fresh from the garden that’s outside The French Laundry. We actually visited the garden earlier that day, and saw chefs picking fresh herbs and greens for this very salad (okay, maybe not this exact one). I think that’s one of the coolest things about this group of Thomas Keller restaurants so close together in Yountville – they all share one garden.
You also can’t miss their wine list – a who’s who of Napa valley wineries (even one we went to – Domaine Carneros). They also offer some incredible scotches like Macallan 15 year scotch. I, however, had an iced tea because I was a designated driver for Napa.
I have to admit that I wasn’t awestruck by gluten-free dairy-free fried chicken. Why? Was it not good? No, it was delicious. But I am spoiled. I have an opportunity to travel across the entire country and eat at some of the finest gluten-free places around. Like Ground Breaker Brewing’s fried chicken, or even Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe fried chicken in my own backyard (like literally a few blocks away). I wasn’t as impressed with the fried chicken as others at the table, others that looked like they wanted to cry – and hide a few thigh pieces in their purse for later. But man, it was good. Like really good. I would have also liked to try their other main dishes as well, because I’m sure I’d be really impressed by them.
The sides and dessert were good, but it was really all about the main dishes. However, dairy-free was a bit harder to navigate for sides and dessert. For example, we couldn’t have the delicious buttermilk biscuits served as table bread, as it contained butter. I would have done anything to have a real life biscuit that I could eat that day. There wasn’t a dairy-free substitute. The sides were done dairy-free and were okay, but we all wanted to stuff more fried chicken in our belly and didn’t want to waste an inch of space. Dessert was sorbet and fruit, while others had a cheese plate and chocolate brownie that I saw some major eyes-rolling-to-the-back-of-the-head moments. I wish I could have tasted them all.
My absolute favorite part was when the “family” offered to take us to the back of the kitchen to meet the staff, see the kitchen and see how they make gluten-free meals. It was pretty incredible to meet the chef and the team that kept us safe that night. I hope that everyone gets a chance to dine at Ad Hoc and have this family serve you an excellent meal.
Ad Hoc is open for dinner 5 nights a week, closed Tuesday and Wednesday. They’re open Saturday for lunch and Sunday for brunch. You can make reservations in advance by calling 707-944-2487.