Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Oxbow Public Market

After our tour of the Quent Cordair Fine Art Gallery, we walked to the Oxbow Public Market for wine tasting and shopping.

The Oxbow Public Market houses specialty merchants in its 40,000-square-feet who offer a wide range of artisanal food and wine products, and feature ingredients for dinner as well as an inexpensive snack or meal on site.

Here's the founder of the Oxbow Public Market, Steve Carlin. He led our tour. His background includes 20 years with Oakville Grocery Company, a leading Northern California specialty foods retailer, and Project Manager of the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace.

Before our wine tasting at the Oxbow Wine Merchant, we walked to some surrounding shops outside of the market building.

If you're a fan of the Food Network, you might have seen Taylor's Automatic Refresher featured. This is one of their 3 locations. At Taylor's, fast food is fine food made with fresh, high quality ingredients.

Next stop was Fatted Calf, an artisanal charcuterie and butcher shop. You can follow them on twitter here. Here is a link to their current menu.

Selection of patés and terrines.

Pork Belly = Hog Heaven

We also got a chance to visit The Model Bakery, and they specialize in artisan breads made with organic stone ground flours. They also offer a complete range of pastry products.

Once inside the main market building, I looked to my right and spotted Kara's Cupcakes. This location is one of five stores. Very pink, cute logo, and hard to miss. Above is a shot of some of Kara's specialty Halloween cupcakes.

Tillerman Tea is another specialty shop within the market. Above is David Campbell, who after spending 25 years in the wine industry, found his true passion in tea. The shop offers 40 different teas from all over Asia, and the selection changes with each season’s harvest.

After the mini-tour of the market, we were led to the Oxbow Wine Merchant & Wine Bar. At this shop and bar you can buy, taste, and learn about wine. The shop carries smaller production wines from around the world, as well as more familiar, high-quality labels. There are tables and a bar area, as well as a private room available for rental.

Peter Granoff (one of the owners) lead our tasting and summoned a delicious snack plate from Fatted Calf and Model Bakery to accompany our wines.

Aforementioned delicious snack plate from Fatted Calf and Model Bakery to accompany our wines.

Here is a Chardonnay we tried, the 2008 Chamisal Chardonnay. Fermented in stainless, yeah! A lot of golden apple on that one for me. Great alternative to overly-oaked chards.

And one of the cheeses we tried with the Chardonnay is called Carmody. Carmody is an artisanal cow's milk cheese with a golden color, a smooth texture and a buttery intensity.

After the tasting, some of us on the tour (including me) were still hungry and so we stopped by Pica Pica Maize Kitchen (also in the Oxbow Public Market). Below is a pic of what I had for dinner. It is the Pica Pica signature dish, the arepa; The arepa is a grilled corn flour cake, stuffed with traditional Venezuelan fillings. I got the Pepeada (chicken salad and Venezuelan style guacamole). I also got a side salad (it had jicama and quinoa on it!!) and I picked a dry rosé to drink with my meal. Yum!

For more an entire list of tenants at the market, click here. There is a listing of business hours here. Additionally, there is a local's night at the market. You can keep up with the special events on the market's event page, or follow them on twitter.

In the next post of the Downtown Napa series, I crash out at my AWESOME hotel room at the Napa River Inn. :)

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