For a number of years, Jon and I have had the tradition of taking each other to a new Michelin-starred restaurant for our birthdays. This year, for Jon’s birthday, I’d planned a few events in Napa and narrowed my search to that part of wine country. Looking down the list, I didn’t have to go far when I recognized that Meadowood was not only in a perfect location, but also had recently (2011) been upgraded from two stars to three, joining The French Laundry at the top of the Bay Area Michelin guide. Having already had the pleasure of dining at The French Laundry, I was anxious to see how Meadowood would compare to not only it, but also but my favorite restaurant, Cyrus.
Meadowood did not disappoint. In fact, with the sad closing of Cyrus in October, Jon and I elevated The Restaurant at Meadowood to the top of our favorite “special occasion restaurants” list. The entire meal was perfect. Atmosphere, service, presentation, and food were all impeccable. From the moment we sat down when Jon had a hand-written birthday card waiting for him, to the moment we walked out with full, happy tummies (and lighter wallets), we were completely taken care of. We will certainly be back for more!
When we arrived, it was still light outside, and for about half the meal, I had window light to help with the photo taking. I used my D300s and 24mm f/1.4 lens at f/2.0 while I had the extra light. As soon as the sun went away, I did have to open up to f/1.4 and increase the ISO a fair amount. As I learned on our Asia trip, the 24mm f/1.4 on a D300s (36mm full frame equivalent) is a great food lens. It’s wider than the 35mm f/1.8 that was my go-to lens for food for a number of years. The wider focal length allowed me to capture a little more of each plate and also worked well for shots of the restaurant interior.
See my blog post for more tips on photographing food in restaurants.