After reminiscing about my favorite Brooklyn spots of 2010, I started thinking about other memorable restaurant meals I had last year. The one that stands out most wasn't in Brooklyn, or even New York. It's a place in Napa that my Mom took me to during a Christmas trip to California. Had I not been on a blogging break back then, I would have taken many more photos, scribbled notes, and written about it right away. It's been a year since our visit, but it looks like Ubuntu, a "vegetable" restaurant with one Michelin star is still just as good.

We were in Sonoma with my brother and his family. Nico was 20 months at the time and my niece Adriana had just turned 2. With two little ones, it was easiest to eat most of our meals at home, but my Mom managed to sneak in a few lunch reservations, including one at Ubuntu. At first I didn't think it was a good idea. Not only was the restaurant 45 minutes away, but she made the reservation right in the middle of naptime. Believe me, I know how lame that sounds. I'm cringing even as I type it. Yet there I was, the girl who went from planning international trips around restaurants to a Mom determined to preserve her son's midday snooze.

It's a good thing my Mom knows what she wants. She insisted we go and I learned that if there's ever a time to let schedules slide, it's when you're on vacation.

Ubuntu was incredible. A cool and creative place that transforms seasonal and local produce—a lot is grown in the restaurant's biodynamic garden—into a series of small plates that could make me swear off meat forever. The space is sleek and modern and didn't feel too kid-friendly at first. Attached to a yoga studio, it was actually much more laid-back than it looked.

Nico and Adriana were happy, too. How could they not be with almond milk smoothies and a velvety cream cheese mousse served in a jar? We even lucked out by going at a time when a yoga class wasn't in session. The steps to the studio were right near our table, so instead of taking the kids outside to burn off some energy, we went one flight up and let them romp around there.

1140 Main Street
Napa, California


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Anne Stesney said...

One of my former co-workers is a carnivore to the core. She has never been to a vegetarian restaurant she likes...until she tried Unbuntu. My interest is peeked!

Lia said...

Anne, Ubuntu is really so so good. I'd love to go back some day, or for something similar to open in Brooklyn!

Aron said...

Looks awesome. Thanks for the tip!

Ashley said...

Definitely want to try it! Thanks!

Lia said...

Aron and Ashley, it's such a great place. I hope you're able to check it out!


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