Amazing Wine Dinners This Spring and Summer in St. Helena

    Acclaimed chef Cindy Pawlcyn has unveiled the spring and summer menus for her legendary Supper Club, held every Wednesday at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in downtown St. Helena in the Napa Valley.

     Inspired by the rich culinary traditions of various cultures around the world and here at home, Pawlcyn creates a delicious feast each week that showcases her exuberant love for food and travel.

     Patrons should prepare for an unforgettable dining experience as they sample the edible delights of Peru, Northern Mexico’s Pacific Coast, the Greek Isles, and a “Northern Lights” extravaganza featuring the delicacies of Denmark, Finland and Norway. Drawing on her flawless culinary instincts, a 6,000-volume cookbook collection, and requests from fans, Pawlcyn takes diners along for the ride as she travels the globe on the backstreets of Napa Valley.

     Pawlcyn brings three decades of experience to her kitchen. A pioneer of California wine country cooking, she has received the Robert Mondavi Award for Culinary Excellence and has been nominated twice by The James Beard Foundation for Best Chef in California. She’s also noted for her around-the-world culinary travels. Executive Chef Pablo Jacinto and his staff also bring their cultural heritage and travel experiences to the table, providing ideas for the weekly themes.

     “We learn so much about other cultures through their food,” Pawlcyn says. “I love learning about the street food, the festival food, and the special dishes of the places I go.”

     Supper Club menus have showcased seasonal dishes from Pawlcyn’s travels to Spain, France, New Zealand and Vietnam, to name just a few. Each week she invites diners to join her on a new culinary adventure, all the while honoring the rich farm-to-table tradition that defines Northern California cuisine. With the freshest ingredients sourced from local artisan producers and her very own organic garden, Pawlcyn gives her patrons a chance to explore new cultures through the sensory pleasure of food.

     “Developing the Supper Club menus is a lot of fun,” Pawlcyn says. “And it’s so exciting when customers bring their suggestions to me. We’ve done Hungarian and Roman because of suggestions from our customers.”

     A Roman feast featured the classic dish veal saltimbocca in mini-form, as a delectable appetizer. Pawlcyn layered tiny veal scaloppini with small strips of prosciutto and aromatic sage leaves.

     For an Israeli dinner, the popular dip of hummus was reinterpreted as a soup. This was followed by Israeli schnitzel served with lemon carrot salad and tabouli studded with tart pomegranate seeds.

     Calamares rellenos, squid stuffed with Spanish ham, made an appearance on the Spanish country menu. Duck was finished with Spanish sherry, and potatoes got a spicy makeover with red pepper sauce. For dessert, ropes of crisp, golden brown churros were dunked in a rich chocolate sauce, just as they do in Madrid for a 3 a.m. snack.

     Some weeks, Pawlcyn keeps it close to home, exploring the distinct regional cuisines of the United States. From the corn and chilies of the Southwest to the cioppino of San Francisco, patrons get a taste of America’s culinary past and learn about the diverse cultural influences that form modern cuisine. Select wines are offered with all the menus.

     The price is $40, including all courses and paired wines. Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen is located at 1327 Railroad Avenue in St. Helena. For reservations, call 707-963-1200.


     May 7 — Northern Lights: Tastes from Denmark, Finland, and Norway

     May 14 — Morocco


     May 21 — Portugal

     May 28 — Lebanon

     June 4 — Oaxaca, Mexico

     June 11 — South Africa: Cape Malay

     June 18 — Greek Islands

     June 25 — Caribbean Night Delights: ‘Ya, Mon’

     July 2 — New England Shore Dinner

     July 9 — Parisian Bistro: A Celebration of New Season Garlic

     July 16 — Southern Celebrations of Georgia, Tennessee, and Louisiana

     July 23 — Spain and the Andalusian Summer

     July 30 — Festival of the Tomatoes

     August 6 — Japanese, John Stanley’s way

     August 13 — Chicago Summer Fest: Corn, Beans, and Beer

     August 20 — Sergio’s Sinaloa (Northern Mexico’s Pacific Coast)

     August 27 — Minnesota: Land o’ Lakes Festival


Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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