Restaurant Review – October 2010

Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine Restaurant Review October 2010

The Oxbow Crawl with Pals from New York
Tuesday Local’s Night
By Dorothy and John Salmon

Our friends, Ross and Kevin, were back in Napa for a week’s vacation and, hoping to move here before winter weather descends on New York, to look at buying property. We invited them to join us for Local’s Night at the Oxbow Market and participate in the Napa ritual “Oxbow Crawl” through the entire property. If you are visiting Napa and want to know what real “Napkins” look like, go to the Oxbow Market on Tuesday night. The locals are there in all their resplendent glory!

On this Local’s Night the place was packed at 6:00 p.m. There were almost NO parking places in sight. We each chose to have dinner from a different Oxbow restaurant. When we walked up to the Hog Island Oyster Bar, people were lined up against the wall eating oysters, laughing and having a great time. Ross and Kevin stopped there first for ½ dozen Coast and Kumamoto’s ($17), an order of classic Oysters Rockefeller ($12 for 4) and Ross ordered the Oyster Po Boy for dinner ($10) along with a glass of Hogwash Rose ($9). Ross thinks the Hog Island Po Boy’s are the best anywhere and, since he is originally from Seattle the Oyster Bar is always his first stop,.

Because he loves the way he can custom blend his coffee, Kevin headed to Ritual Coffee We all met up again at the Oxbow Wine Merchant where we shared a bottle of Ancien 2009 Pino Gris from the Sangiacomo Vineyards ($26). Kevin decided to dine at the Oxbow Wine Merchant, which moves into the Main Market in November, along with its partner the Oxbow Cheese Merchant. Kevin ordered an elegant Caprese Salad made with Heirloom tomatoes, Burrata cheese, basil pesto, Balsamic glaze, and Olive Press Oil. ($13) and the Smoked Salmon BLT ($12) made with Norwegian smoked salmon, Niman Ranch bacon, butter lettuce, tomato, basil aioli, that comes with a cup of soup or a small salad. Before leaving, Ross and Kevin purchased their favorite cheese and a bottle of wine to take back to their river condo.

We  stayed and laughed with friends at the Wine Bar while John and I made our decision of where we would stop for dinner. As is always the case, we ran into people we had not seen in a long time, laughed with friends and found out what’s new in town.   (Watch the news for the announcement of the NEW and exciting signature destination restaurant moving into the Oxbow Wine Merchant spot). Also new to the Oxbow Market is Graham’s Take-Away Foods, which will be located in the main Market Hall, offering innovative, locally-sourced, quality,  breakfast, lunch and dinner items for take-out or dine-in. Graham’s Take-Away Foods is designed for locals who want amazing fresh food without having to slave over a hot stove. Owners Graham and Andrea Zanow are graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and Chef Graham Zanow worked at the world renowned French Laundry in Yountville. Also new to the Oxbow Market is Ca’ Momi; three Italians making wine in the Napa Valley have opened a classic Italian pizzeria, pasticceria and enoteca wine bar with retail. In the new enoteca you can order all kinds of authentic treats: real pizza – the classic Neapolitan style we like to make in our wood burning oven; tramezzini, crostate and crostatine di frutta, baci di dama, zaetti, tiramisu’, cantucci and biscotti from the pasticceria…. And, of course, great wines.

The Oxbow Market is THE place for local news and catching up with everyone! While you are doing the Oxbow Crawl, don’t forget to visit the Model Bakery and the Fatted Calf; each has incredible sandwiches and great food. Our boat trips are the best when we have Fatted Calf Sandwiches onboard. The pork sandwiches at the Fatted Calf are legendary!  (That’s samiches for the locals) Model Bakery has fabulous breakfasts; in fact, their amazing English Muffins were featured on the September 20th episode of the Food Network as “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” with Michael Chiarello.  That’s how good they really are!

We headed off to C Casa and Pica Pica for our dinners.  Dorothy ordered the Grilled Garlic Citrus Prawn Taco ($6.50) and the Corn Edamame Salad with zucchini, red bells, cotija cheese and Meyer lemon olive oil ($4). C Casa is FABULOUS, with inside and outside dining. John headed down to Pica Pica Maize Kitchen at the south end of the Oxbow Market for the Pulled Pork Cachapas Pernil with pulled pork, tomatoes, avocado and aioli ($8.99). Pica Pica has two locations adjacent to each other including a great bar with an assortment of beer, terrific sangria and interesting drinks. John topped off his Pulled Pork Maize Cachapa with Meatballs a’la criolla ($5) and a Napa Smith beer ($3) on Local’s Night.

We ran into Lee Hudson who is the proud owner of the Oxbow Produce and Grocery. That’s the place where you will find locally grown, organic fruits and veggies. Support our local farmers and hang out with Lee at the best market in town. Of course, everyone knows that Gott’s Roadside Tray Gourmet is outside the Oxbow Market and it’s busy from the time it opens until it closes. Noted wine critic Robert Parker claims that Gott’s double cheeseburger is his “Most Memorable.” Don’t forget Five Dot Ranch for the best meat in town, Kanaloa Seafood Market for the best fish, Whole Spice Company for rare spices, Anette’s Chocolates for homemade treats that are famous in the Napa Valley, the Olive Press, Tillerman Tea and Heritage Culinary Artifacts for really cool gifts.

Outside, you can rent a kayak from Napa Valley Adventure Tours if you want to see the Napa River up close and personal. The Oxbow Market even offers Up-Valley deliveries if you are willing to pick up your order from the parking lot where the Napa Valley Grille was located or at Gott’s Roadside parking lot in St. Helena. For more information about delivery schedules and vendors who will bring your Oxbow Market fantasies to your up valley neighborhood, call (707) 226-6529.

Oxbow Public Market is located at 610 & 644 First Street, Napa. The Market is open 7 days a week and only closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Most tenants of Oxbow Public Market are open a minimum of 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday through Friday, with later hours on Tuesdays for Locals’ Night and on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, please visit or call the market office at 707-226-6529.  Here’s the link to their amazing vendors:


One comment on “Restaurant Review – October 2010

  1. wine making says:

    It’s difficult to find experienced people about this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s