MAGAZINE

How to Stuff Your Face at Napa's BottleRock Festival

by Allie Pape | @alliepape Thu May 28, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Napa's burgeoning BottleRock Napa marks the kickoff to the Bay Area's festival season, and as is always the case in this food-obsessed part of the world, the edible headliners are so good that they threaten to steal the show from the musical ones. If you get peckish as you're checking out headliners No Doubt, Imagine Dragons, and Robert Plant, here are a few area favorites worth hitting up for an energy boost.

What to Eat

Farmerbrown's Little Skillet

Bottlerock Napa Food Farmer Brown 2015

Farmerbrown's cuisine. Photo courtesy of Bottlerock Napa

This SF-based chicken-and-waffle parlor is generally considered to be one of the best in the area for the soul-food classic, and they'll have on-site fryers and wafflemakers churning out golden-brown deliciousness just begging to be doused in syrup and hot sauce. They also do a mean mac and cheese, if that's more your speed.

Morimoto Napa

Bottlerock Napa Morimoto 2015

Photo courtesy of Bottlerock Napa

While the Iron Chef takes to the stage with Snoop Dogg (yes, really), his culinary crew will be putting out two signature recipes from his Napa restaurant: a scallion-pancake flatbread with Wagyu beef and Asian slaw, and ribs topped with a sticky-spicy tamarind glaze.

El Porteño

Bottlerock Napa El Porteno 2015

Photo courtesy of Bottlerock Napa

If you need food yesterday because you're late to catch a must-see band, this is the booth to hit. Their Argentinian empanadas are delicious and highly portable, with fillings like ground beef and olive or mushrooms, cream, and shallots.

La Condesa

Bottlerock Napa La Condesa 2015

Photo courtesy of Bottlerock Napa

This hip Napa Mexican spot (spun off from an original location in Austin) has a strong local rep for its rotisserie chicken tacos, which will be available at the fest. And its tortilla soup will probably end up saving more than one queasy attendee who partook in too much of the local juice the night before.

Azalina's Malaysian

Bottlerock Napa Azalinas 2015

Photo courtesy of Bottlerock Napa

Azalina is a Malaysian native who rose from poverty to run a booming SF business, and for good reason: her food is awesome. It may take some persuading to get your group to skip pizza and burgers to sample her chicken or tofu curry nachos with pickled onions and coconut, but we can guarantee that this unholy Mexican-Malaysian mashup may end up being one of your favorites of the fest.

What to Drink

Bottlerock Napa Wine Drinking 2015

Photo courtesy of Bottlerock Napa

Unsurprisingly, given its location, BottleRock is all about the wine. Kick off the day with a glass of Schramsberg bubbly, then shift to a Silver Oak cabernet as the sun sets—you can guarantee it's delicious, because it's the only style of wine they make. In between, sauvignon blanc from FARM, Twomey Cellars, or Seaglass or pinot noir from Etude and Bread & Butter make for easygoing daytime sippers.

If wine's not your thing, local craft breweries NapaSmith (try the pilsner) and Lagunitas (famed for their IPA) will be on the scene, and simple cocktails like gin and tonics will also be offered. For non-drinkers, North Valley Produce smoothies, Mariposa Ice Creamery root-beer floats, and Morimoto's Red Bull-and-yuzu topped shaved ice will keep things cool.

The Culinary Stage

As mentioned above, Snoop and Morimoto will join forces for BottleRock (and applying Snoop's blunt-rolling skills to sushi), and tons of other chefs and artists will be doing the same on the festival's new, Williams-Sonoma-sponsored culinary stage. If you're interested in cooking, a few notable chefs to catch include SF's two-Michelin-starred Dominique Crenn (brewing up liquid-nitrogen cocktails with tWitch and Allison), pizza legend Tony Gemignani (showing Vernon Davis and Charles Woodson how to toss dough), and Top Chef champ Michael Voltaggio (swapping chicken-and-waffle techniques with Flavor Flav).

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