Last week we took a little break from the usual Friday Whole Foods salad bar and enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Thomas Keller's newest restaurant, La Calenda. Located in the middle of Yountville in the old Hurley's space, the casual taqueria is tasty and surprisingly affordable. The restaurant opened at the beginning of the year just blocks from the famous restaurateur’s three Michelin star flagship the French Laundry and his other businesses Ad Hoc, Bouchon Bistro, and Bouchon Bakery.
To start, we ordered the chips and salsa with a side of guacamole. This could have been our meal considering the portion was enormous and the chips are thick and hearty. We also ordered the chicken tamale as well as the tacos de barbacoa to share. Creating an authentic menu, true to the Oaxacan traditions, means everything is sourced locally and handmade with the finest ingredients. While most of Chef Keller's restaurants come with a Michelin-sized bill, we spent about $70 with tip AND each of us had an incredibly good cocktail (mine was a very spicy marg). Nicole isn't a huge fan of tequila (which is most of the cocktail menu), but they were easy about swapping it out for vodka.
If you go, take note that they don't accept reservations and it is one of the more popular spots in town right now. We went for lunch around 2, and walked right in, but have heard that some people wait for over an hour. Our food came out within minutes of ordering it, so once you are seated, rest assured you won't be hungry for long!