Gott harvest

					                                                       The Press Democrat – October 24, 2007

                 Gott harvest?
                 Hard work, good food turned dilapidated ham-
                 burger stand into cult classic
                 By Diane Peterson

                 Joel and Duncan Gott, the entrepreneurs behind Taylor’s Automatic
                 Refresher in St. Helena, have discovered a winning formula for casual
                 dining in the Bay Area.

                 “My brother and I wanted to have a hamburger stand,” Joel said. “Then
                 we asked, ‘what would we want to eat?’ “

                 What the Gott brothers like to eat is pretty simple: burgers and shakes,
                 grilled cheese and fries, hearty soups and Cobb salads. What’s not to like?

                 But like other Wine Country chefs, their secret to success lies in their em-
                 phasis on quality ingredients. They source egg buns from Sciambra Bakery
                 in Napa, ice cream from Double Rainbow in San Francisco, fresh halibut
                 for the fish tacos and sushi-grade tuna for the popular ahi burgers.

                 The little burger bar in the heart of Wine Country has garnered some
                 pretty big buzz in the past eight years, with published nods in magazines
                 like Bon Appetit, loyal fans like wine critic Robert Parker and lofty ac-
                 colades that include a James Beard Award for America’s classics.

                 Locals and tourists alike love the retro-modern feel of the hamburger
                 joint, which doesn’t take reservations but welcomes everyone from little
                 kids to wine geeks.

                 “The atmosphere really helps define what Taylor’s is,” Duncan noted.
                 “What we are is lawn, picnic tables, and you wait for your table to be
                 called. . . . It’s first come, first served.”

                 After getting the Palisades Market in Calistoga up and running in 1993,
                 the brothers bought the vacant hamburger stand in 1999 and turned the
                 dilapidated building into an instant cult classic.

                 From its 600-square-foot kitchen with one grill, one griddle and a fryer,
                 Taylor’s serves up to 500 customers a day who come from miles around
                 to sample its upscale burgers, old-fashioned BLTs and newfangled wine
                 bar, inspired by Gott’s other venture, Joel Gott Wines.

                 With his wife, winemaker Sarah Gott, the 36-year-old entrepreneur
                 launched his own line of affordable wines in 1996 with grapes sourced
                 from all over California.

                 “Harvest started quickly and early this year,” Sarah said of the 2007 crop.

St.Helena 707-963-3486 • San Francisco 866-328-3663 • •
                 “We brought in the whites in August. We source from Lodi, Paso Robles,
                 Monterey, Lake County and Mendocino.”

                 Like Taylor’s Automatic Refresher, the core wines made by Joel Gott
                 -- zins, cabs, chardonnays and sauvignon blancs priced from $13 to $25 --
                 go against the stereotype of the Napa Valley, where high-priced cabs and
                 white linen tablecloths are the norm.

                 But that hasn’t stopped the mom-and-pop operation from expanding.
                 The Gott brothers opened a second Taylor’s at San Francisco’s Ferry
                 Plaza Marketplace in 1999 -- like the original, it’s always packed -- and
                 are getting ready to open their third eatery in December as part of the
                 new Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa.

                 “It will be a gathering place for foodies,” Joel said. “This will be a
                 seven-day farmers market, with all kinds of artisan stuff that is not
                 mass distributed.”

                 With the new Taylor’s coming down the pike and harvest in full swing,
                 Sarah and Joel Gott have their hands full this fall. Like most couples with
                 young kids -- daughter Lucy is 4 and twins James and Lael are 2 -- they
                 don’t have much time or energy to throw formal dinner parties. Instead,
                 they like to put together spontaneous gatherings with close friends like
                 Krisi Raymond, a winemaker from Raymond Vineyards, and Katherine
                 Grimes, a former chef at Taylor’s.

                 When Joel Gott takes to the grill, guests know to expect a meaty main

                 A few years ago, he bought a huge smoker from Houston -- “it’s like a
                 big choo-choo train, it’s 25 feet long” -- to cater events. He experimented
                 with it and ended up creating a pulled pork sandwich he put on the
                 menu at Taylor’s.

                 “It was a crash course in smoking,” Joel said. “We found that the bigger
                 the meat, the better, so we started doing pork butts.”

                 While the big smoker still lives behind Taylor’s, the Gotts purchased a
                 Big Green Egg -- an egg-shaped, ceramic cooker modeled after an ancient
                 Japanese kamado grill and touted as the world’s best smoker -- for their
                 Craftsman-style home on St. Helena’s historic west side.

                 Smoking meat has become a passion for Joel, and it pairs well with some
                 of the simple Mexican food he enjoys cooking and eating with friends.

                 “I eat Mexican food nine out of 10 days,” he said. “It’s the only ethnic
                 food that we have around here, and the Latino population is so big that
                 you can get the spices.”

                 The secret to smoking in the Big Green Egg is the cooker’s thick, ceramic
                 walls, which insulate and hold the heat, allowing the meat to cook at a
                 slow, steady temperature.

St.Helena 707-963-3486 • San Francisco 866-328-3663 • •
With his smoked pork tacos, Joel likes to serve a refreshing coleslaw made from cabbage, apples, cilantro
and lime juice. Then he whips up a red and green salsa, grills some yams or sweet potatoes -- a Taylor’s
favorite -- and throws some organic Mi Rancho tortillas on the grill.

To pair with dinner, they might open a bottle of 2005 Joel Gott California Zinfandel and toast the harvest.

In addition to the new Taylor’s opening at Oxbow, the Gotts have two other projects to celebrate this year.

They are partners in The Ranch, a new custom crush facility south of St. Helena on Zinfandel Lane, which
caters to wineries both big and small.

“This helps us give a little more control over the wine we’re making,” Joel said. “And we do services for
people who need beginning to end, bottle to storage.”

Meanwhile, Sarah is celebrating the release of a new, high-end cab -- the first with her name on it. The
Gott 2004 “Sarah’s Metier” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon draws upon the winemaker’s recent experi-
ence at Quintessa Winery.

“Joel has always wanted me to come out and have my own wine,” she said. “So we’re focusing on my
little baby, the cab.”

With a slightly different label and a $40 price tag, “Sarah’s Metier” is one of the pricier wines produced by
Joel Gott Wines. But the well-known winemaker still regards it as a bargain.

“We’re making a $40 cab that most people would be charging $70 to $80,” she said. “This is your week-
end wine.”

You can find ancho chile powder and the other spices at Latino markets.

Smoked Pork Taco

Makes 12 servings
   6 pounds pork butt, cut in half

   1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
   2 tablespoons cumin seed
   1 tablespoon whole coriander seed
   6 whole cloves
   2 tablespoons salt
   2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
   3 tablespoons sugar
   1 package corn tortillas

Grind peppercorns, cumin seed, coriander seed and cloves with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.
Add the remaining dry ingredients. Prepare the barbecue smoker per the instructions. Generously coat
the pork with the rub. Smoke for 3 to 4 hours, taking care to tend the fire every hour to regular the heat.
It should remain somewhere between 225 to 250 degrees. When the pork is ready, place on cutting board
and coarsely chop.

Heat corn tortillas of your choice on a barbecue until warm and soft. Build tacos with shredded pork,
simple slaw and roasted red and green salsa. (recipes below)

                St.Helena 707-963-3486 • San Francisco 866-328-3663 • •
Simple Slaw

Makes 8 servings
   1 head green cabbage, shredded
   2 crisp apples, grated
   ½ bunch cilantro, cleaned and lightly chopped
   ¼ cup mayonnaise
   2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or more to taste)
       Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Grate the apples and toss with some lime juice to keep from discoloring. Combine all ingredients and
season to taste.

Red and Green Salsa

Makes 3 cups
   10 chiles de arbol
   4 medium tomatoes, quartered
   15 tomatillos, whole
   3 cloves garlic
   ¼ yellow onion

Place chiles in a dry saute pan over medium-hot heat, shaking continuously to evenly toast. The chiles will
become aromatic and turn brown on some edges. This takes about 5 minutes. Let cool. Remove stems.

Place chiles in a small pot and cover with about ½ cup water. Bring to a boil and let stand off the heat to
cool. Pour into blender and puree until smooth. Reserve.

Peel and clean tomatillos. Places tomatoes and tomatillos and garlic together on a half sheet pan and toss
lightly with olive oil and salt. Place under broiler and cook until charred, being careful not to burn the
garlic. Cool completely. Pulse in food processor to desired consistency. Add salt to taste. Finish with fresh
chopped onion. Add chili puree a spoonful at a time to suit your tolerance for heat.

Grilled yams (also called sweet potatoes) can be served as a vegetarian alternative for the tacos, or as a
side dish. You can find yams at Latin American markets.

Grilled Yams

Makes 8 servings
   4 yams
       Olive oil
   3 limes

Place whole, unpeeled yams in a large pot and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil and turn
down to a simmer until the yams are cooked but still slightly firm - 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the
size of the yams. You can test along the way by piercing with a paring knife.

When done, place the yams in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain immediately and set aside to cool
completely. Refrigerate if not using until the next day.

                 St.Helena 707-963-3486 • San Francisco 866-328-3663 • •
To prepare the yams for grilling, cut in half lengthwise and then cut each half into 3 or 4 spears, depend-
ing on the size. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Place on a hot grill and give each side a
few minutes to heat through and form nice grill marks.

To prepare the limes, split them in half crosswise and place cut side down, on the grill. Grill for a few
minutes to slightly caramelize. Remove from grill and cool. Serve yams with limes to squeeze on top.

Serve this pudding in Mason jars with screw-top lids, for a casual presentation.

Butterscotch Pudding

Makes 6 servings
   1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
   ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
   ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
   ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
   « cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
   1 teaspoon salt
   3 cups whole milk
   5 large egg yolks
   ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
   1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Scotch
   1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat until it boils. Brush down
sides of pan with wet pastry brush as needed, making sure to use warm water.

Boil sugar syrup until it turns a dark amber color. Take off the heat and add cream slowly, stirring until
smooth after each addition.

(Note: the cream will cause the caramel to bubble vigorously at first.) Set caramel sauce aside.

Mix brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan. Whisk in milk, then put
over medium-low heat and stir until mixture thickens and boils, roughly 8 minutes. Remove from heat
and whisk in the caramel sauce.

Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl and then slowly whisk in a third (roughly 1 cup) of the caramel mixture
into the egg yolks to temper them. Then slowly whisk the egg yolks back into the caramel mixture. Put mix-
ture back on medium heat and bring to a simmer. Finally whisk in butter, Scotch and vanilla over heat.

Pour into glasses or Mason jars and chill until firm.

Serve with whipped cream and salted pecans.

For the pecans: Preheat oven to 325. Toss pecan halves with 1 tablespoon melted butter per 1 cup of pe-
cans until well coated. Then toss with ½ teaspoon salt per 1 cup of pecans. Spread onto baking sheet and
roast for 15 to 20 minutes until nicely browned. Let cool on sheet, tossing periodically until the pecans no
longer look “wet” from the butter. Rough chop.

                 St.Helena 707-963-3486 • San Francisco 866-328-3663 • •

Shared By: