Howie Kahn has been writing about food and wine for top publications for over a decade—traveling the world, interviewing culinary icons like René Redzepi and José Andrés and earning himself a James Beard Award along the way. Now a contributing editor for WSJ. Magazine, a published author and the host of the popular food culture podcast “Prince Street,” Howie will be leading our Insider Journey to Napa Valley in October. Created in partnership with WSJ. Magazine, the itinerary features private visits to top wineries, with behind-the-scenes tours and tastings, as well as receptions with the estates’ owners that will be hosted exclusively for our group.
Here, Howie shares an insider’s look at the Napa Valley wine scene—plus a few of his favorite restaurant recommendations, including where to find the best pizza in New York City.
For our upcoming Insider Journey to Napa Valley, what elements of the trip are you most excited to share with foodies and wine lovers?
Howie Kahn: I set out to put the kind of trip together that I would dream about going on myself, meaning this is a truly intimate look at what and who makes Napa Valley function and how so many elements there get to be so delicious. There are doors opening on this trip that are not typically open to the public. The access is truly special across the board in terms of the people we’ll meet, the places we’ll see and the hospitality we’ll experience. We’re going to be drinking incredible and interesting wines with the incredible and interesting families who make them. And the people preparing our food will be equally inspiring and innovative. I’m also proud of the fact that the trip really will focus on families—since families, and their fascinating dynamics and evolving skills, are often the backbone of doing business in Napa Valley.
What is special about traveling to Napa Valley at this particular moment?
HK: This is a time of balancing respect for Napa Valley’s heritage with an era that requires tremendous innovation. Learning about the way in which the new and the old can co-exist, and how one can inform and elevate the other, is a particularly rich area of focus right now.
What would surprise travelers about Napa Valley’s current wine scene?
HK: That it’s truly a culture of big, bold, compassionate ideas and that there’s real genius in the mix. Wine is about grapes, sure, but it’s also about people bringing together intelligence and integrity to make an exceptional product.
Do you have a favorite Napa Valley wine?
HK: There’s so much to love, but I’m very excited to drink through our whole itinerary with this group. From the Harlan family to Continuum and beyond, we’re going have some truly great pours.
What Napa Valley restaurants are you most excited about right now?
HK: We’ll be spending some time with Chef Christopher Kostow at The Restaurant at Meadowood. I couldn’t be more excited for that. He’s a visionary.
What is special about bringing a group of travelers together for three days of touring, eating and drinking together?
HK: Food and wine—and scenery like what we’ll be seeing—really has a way of bringing people together. I’m so excited to meet this group. I think we’re going to be great friends.
At Indagare, we believe that how you travel matters. What was a most memorable travel moment on a recent trip you took?
HK: I just enjoyed a long Fourth of July weekend in Detroit. I grew up around there, and it was inspiring to go back and see how far the city, and its surroundings, have come. It was a blast to show my wife and son some of the great things I experienced there as a kid, and it was equally special to see and experience what’s new in the city, all together.
What’s next on your travel wishlist?
Most memorable recent meal?
HK: Al-Ameer in Dearborn, Michigan. Easily some of the best Middle Eastern food in America.
In your expert opinion, who makes the best pizza in New York City?
HK: Williamsburg Pizza.
Follow Howie’s adventures and peruse his lookbook of delicious things to eat on Instagram @howiekahn.
Learn More and Book Now: You can travel with Howie Kahn on our Insider Journey to Napa Valley with WSJ. Magazine in October 2019.