Excited is an understatement when we heard that a Mexican Restaurant, La Calenda was coming to our town of Yountville. We were even more stocked when we heard it will be another restaurant from well-known Chef Thomas Keller was leading it. Wooohooo!!!
I am not going to lie. We were being teased for months waiting for the doors to open. On our drives home, my hubby and I kept peaking in the windows catch any signs of progress and hoping to see a grand opening sign. For months nothing, nada, niente. First, rumors were that it would open summer 2018, which we were extremely excited considering it’s in our neck of the woods and it would be during World Cup time. Well, that didn’t happen. When I found out that it may open sometime in December, I kept wondering when?!? We are going to be out of town for the holidays. To my surprise, doors opened on January 3rd, 2019 a day before my husband’s birthday.
I was extremely happy. I kept asking our local Yountville friends how I could hold a table for 10 and it didn’t seem possible. Here is where my Capricorn stubborn mindset pays off. I wanted to keep it a secret so badly that on the way home from work I made sure we took a different route so that he would see that La Calenda’s doors were open a day. I stopped a bunch of times (sorry!) prior to the Grand Opening and politely asked if I was able to make reservations to surprise my husband. Como dicen en Venezuela, “el que no llora, no mama”. I was determined to get us a table, even if it meant a deposit for the table. You see I just love surprises and even more when it is surprising my love and celebrating his birthday with our besties.
A bit of history about the location of La Calenda
The location that La Calenda sits on has a lot of meaning, not only because it’s in the heart of Yountville but because it was previously home to Hurley’s, a favorite place for locals to hangout for a drink or a delicious meal. I was very happy to see that The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group kept the relaxed local charm. La Calenda definitely brings a family-friendly atmosphere and best part of all is it’s traditional Mexican cuisine. The magic coming from the kitchen is the work of Chef Kaelin a native Oaxacan.
NOW LET’S GET TO THE JUICY STUFF
As soon as you walk in La Calenda you will feel the cheerful lively Mexican feel, the music selection is awesome. My dream comes true! Finally, Latin Music in Napa. The décor makes you feel like you are in Mexico lindo.
What not to miss when you visit La Calenda:
I suggest you start with a drink at the bar while you wait to be seated. I usually start with a Mezcal. Over the past year I’ve developed a love for Mezcal. The smokier the better for me. I blame this on Tulum. Plus, I just love how they serve their mezcal. You’ll have to order one to find out!
My Mezcal pick at La Calenda: Del Maguey San Luis del Rio
If you don’t see me with Mezcal, then you’ll see me with a Margarita. My favorite is the Fenix but I request it with mezcal instead of tequila; because after one tequila, 2 tequilas, tres tequilas… cositas pasan! 😜
My Margarita pick at La Calenda:Fenix with mezcal
¿Qué más se te antoja?
And of course, you must order their guac, salsa and chips, aka Totopos, Guacamole y Salsas. The salsa roja y verde is to die. You will be traveling back to Mexico and taste the artisanal ingredients. Oh, but if you want just Totopos y Salsas, know that “a portion of all proceeds goes to Community Health Clinic Ole in Napa Valley”. “Clinic Ole’s mission is dedicated to providing high-quality primary health care to our Napa Valley community.”
If it’s your first time at La Calenda, I suggest you go with family style.
For our first time, it was cool to be there with a group of close friends because we were able to do it family style. We got to try a variety of dishes. Luckily we are locals so we have been there almost every other weekend to try other dishes. Here are my choices on must try. ¡Vale!
Ask if they have the Ceviche it’s sometimes offered as a special on weekends. OJO: This is not their Coctel de Camarón and the Ceviche is not on the menu, yet! 😊
Life is a beet. I LOVE beets. If you are beet freak like me you have to try their Ensalada de Betabeles. OJO: This can change depending on season fruit and produce. I was so happy when I got my beet salad that I completely forgot to take a photo. Woopsy!
Tacos de Barbacoa. I think I’ve had this every time I’ve been to La Calenda. That’s how delicious they are. The night of my hubby’s birthday I sort did not want to share this dish the first time so every time after I’ve had it solo. OJO: You will be licking your fingers.
Oh don’t forget their Frijoles Refritos. It’s your mouth watery by now? 😋Mine is just reminiscing our Calenda times.
Puerco en Mole Verde: My hubby had the pork jowl in mole verde that is wrapped in a fresh, stone tortilla. He has also had the Enchiladas de Mole Negro con Pollo and said it’s the best mole negro his ever tasted.
And of course, there is always time and space for Postres or as one of my favorite quotes says—
“Life is too short, eat dessert first.”-Unknown
You must try the Churros!!! I have yet to try the rest of the desserts. Or you can just end the night with a Mezcal too. That’s what I usually do. Hehehe.
Awww… I love ❤️ that we have traditional Mexican regional food right around the corner. And that I can go there on a Friday night to have my mezcalito and dance to some reggaetonsito. Yeap! They play Daddy Yankee, Despacito, Mana and a bunch of other well-known Latin artist. As a Miami girl this is just music to my ears and heart. 💃🏻
Así que Bella. Get your sexy high heels on when you go to La Calenda and bring an appetite so you can try it all.
6518 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
(833) 682 – 8226
Recuerda. ¡Descubre, saborea y brinda! Because life it’s just way too short.
And if you think your besties would love this tip pass it along and get someone else tipsy. ¡Vale!
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Un beso enorme,
P.S. If you see dancing at Calenda by the bar, please don’t be a stranger. Say Hi or just dance conmigo. 💃🏻 ¡Vale!