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Food that’s worth the long drive

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POSTED January 12, 2010 2:53 a.m.

How far will you travel to satisfy your taste buds?

I asked myself that very question after catching the segment of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featuring Taylor’s Refresher in Napa Valley. I had to try the ahi burger.

This is the sushi grade fish delivered fresh everyday from San Francisco.

If Food Network’s Guy Fieri could make the trip to St. Helena why couldn’t we?

On this particular lazy Saturday in December, my girlfriend, Kathi, and I loaded our boys in the car and took that drive from Interstate 5 north to Highway 12 towards Napa. I kept it under lock and key on my intentions to not only find Taylor’s but order the ahi burger despite a limited budget.

 From all accounts, the drive-in was located on the main road that runs along the Silverado Trail from Napa to Calistoga. It was a picturesque fall day in wine country, making it necessary to at least make a quick stop to the Robert Mondavi Winery to further appreciate the scenery.

It costs to tour the winemaking facilities and taste the samples at 7801 St. Helena Highway. But it’s absolutely free to browse the mission-style winery and take in the view from beyond the arch way.

From there, we continued the drive along the Silverado Trail and into St. Helena. By then the two teenage boys in the car made no secrets about it that they were hungry.

That’s when I spotted Taylor’s. It was an upscale drive-in with the parking lot filled with cars and a long line in front of the order window. Dining in was exclusively outdoors. Additional picnic tables could be found in the spacious backyard equipped with a few shade trees and plenty of God’s green grass.

The ahi burger was in sight, but at a not-so-cheap price. Cost was about $14.

Since we drove this far, I could justify paying that much even if it meant splitting the sandwich with the girlfriend.

Kathi’s 16-year-old son, Tom, opted for the bacon cheeseburger while my son, Josh, ordered the chili. We also ordered garlic fries as a side.
The ahi burger didn’t disappoint. This cut of fish was served on a toasted bun while dressed in an Asian slaw and wasabi mayo.

The garlic fries were quite tasty, too. The fries were cooked in garlic butter and parsley, appearing slightly green, but, according to Kathi, still the “best garlic fries ever.”

Her son raved about his bacon cheeseburger.

Josh, my 14-year-old boy, had chili from Texas to Hawaii in recent years. But he said the chili at Taylor’s may have been the best he’s ever tasted.

For the most part, I think it’s usually worth going out to the way to satisfy your taste buds. Over the years, I had the opportunity to try one of New York’s best, Fascati Pizza, in Brooklyn Heights, and Geno’s in Philadelphia for one of the best Philly cheese steaks, to name a few.

Getting there adds to the dining experience.





 






 
 

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