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Alpine Community > Napa Valley Wine Train in Town

Register Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Downtown Napa’s newest restaurant is serving up a movable feast — literally.

For the next few months, the Napa Valley Wine Train will chug into its Oxbow District passenger station and load up hungry diners four nights a week — but will not take off on its usual Upvalley run.

During fall and winter months — when California is operating on Pacific Standard Time — the Napa Valley Wine Train makes its traditional dinner time trip to St. Helena and back only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So company officials decided to pull the wine train into the Napa passenger station Monday through Thursday to offer area residents an opportunity to dine on the train without having to commit to a three hour trip nor pay for a round-trip ticket. The train will stay put.

McKinstry Street Station — as the new dining operation is called — will serve dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the lavishly restored vintage Pullman railcars. In addition, patrons can sip wine in the Zinfandel Wine Tasting Bar Car, or order up a favorite cocktail.

Diners will have an opportunity to meet executive chef Kelly Macdonald who is offering an a la carte menu and a wine list with more than 100 selections.

Ranging from $8 for a frisee and radicchio salad with cambozola and candied walnuts to $18 for seared foie gras au poivre with cognac cream, starters and small plates include smoked rabbit with white beans, baked artichoke hearts with gorgonzola and serrano ham, Dungeness crab cakes dusted in rye, chardonnay battered frog legs and lobster-seaweed salad Napoleon with tarragon vinaigrette.

Main courses ($12-$25) include seared pork medallions wrapped in Serrano ham, macadamia-crusted double lamb chop with rosemary mashed potatoes, grilled chicken breast with spinach and sun-dried tomato soufflé, Indonesian Muscovy duck with fennel potatoes, curried mussels and clams with chorizo, grilled halibut with cured lemon and smoked nopales, beef tenderloin on grilled portobello mushrooms and portobello mushroom ravioli with roasted vegetables. In addition, chef Macdonald will feature fresh fish and lobster specials daily.

The wine train’s acclaimed desserts ($6-$9) include tiramisu truffle, apple pecan tart, stone fruit strudel with vanilla gelato, chocolate pot pie, marsala mascarpone berry parfait and creme brulee with fresh berries.

Wine Train officials are suggesting locals “drop in for cocktails, wine tasting or dining after work or before attending an evening performance in historic downtown Napa’s entertainment venues.”

McKinstry Street Station diners can park in the passenger station parking lot at 1275 McKinstry St., parallel to Soscol Avenue north of First Street. Reservations are not required.

The McKinstry Street Station dining experience will continue until Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March 2007.

L. Pierce Carson