Asking a vendor whether the poutine fries at a music festival are “authentic” would be ridiculous anywhere but at BottleRock Napa Valley, the annual music, wine and food festival that features top Wine Country restaurants and Michelin-starred chefs in its culinary lineup.
Quelle surprise — the classic poutine with beef gravy, chewy cheese curds, green onions and crispy fries were on point. Maybe they weren’t as extraordinary as the pastrami-smothered fries from three-Michelin-star chef Christopher Kostow of Loveski Deli and the Restaurant at Meadowood, but they were delightful nonetheless.
Though it’s only been nine months since the 2021 BottleRock in September — delayed after cancellation in May 2020 and 2021 — crowds have returned to hear Metallica, Pink! and KYGO and taste dishes from more than 67 food vendors, down slightly from 75 last year.
More than just cold hot dogs and flat beer, BottleRock’s food lineup includes gourmet doughnuts, paella, lobster rolls and oysters along with craft cocktails, beer and local wines. If you’re going, here are nine to check out.
9 must-try dishes
Black Piglet Back BLT, $19: Toasted bread with ripe tomatoes, lettuce and garlic aioli that will bring you to your knees. The bacon is from John Stewart and Duskie Estes’ Black Pig Meat. Find it in the food truck area.
Ramen Burger, Nombe, $18: A “bun” of fried ramen noodles with a 50/50 Kobe beef and pork belly patty, slathered in miso sauce with blue cheese and buttered shiitakes. A little greenery includes arugula in wasabi aioli, tomato and cucumber pickles. Add a sushi “burrito” with spicy tuna and rice rolled into a seaweed wrap. Near the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage.
Salt and Vinegar Chips with Caviar Onion Dip, Charlie’s, $15: This forthcoming Napa restaurant has salty homemade vinegar chips, with onion dip studded with caviar. The caviar premixed into the dip was a bit of a letdown, but for $15, we were satisfied. VIP area.
Loveski Deli Loaded Fries, $18: Though chef Kostow was sequestered behind the VIP gates last year, this year us general admission festivalgoers can try his crinkle-cut fries with gooey white cheese sauce, pickled carrots and pastrami. Culinary Garden.
Root Beer Float, Mariapilar, $8: The float of creamy ice cream makes this drink an after-rocking cool down. Culinary Garden.
Classic Poutine, Poutine Brothers, $14: You know the drill: crispy fries, salty beef gravy and cheese curds. They’re crave-worthy and a perfect foil to those $18 craft beers. Culinary Garden.
Peanut Tofu Nachos at Azalina’s Malaysian, $9: A stomach-filling deal with braised tofu, pickled vegetables and a sweet-spicy peanut sauce atop ballpark tortilla chips. Culinary Garden.
Gerard’s Paella, $20: Heavenly saffron rice, vegetables and a topper of chicken and shrimp made in a giant paella pan. A festival staple and so hearty. Culinary Garden and VIP area.
Glazed Pork Belly Skewers, $18: The presentation of a giant hunk of pork belly on a skewer was more thrilling than the bland taste and chewy texture, but still a fun festival bite. VIP area.