Downtown Napa Culinary Crawl

Guest Blog by Margaret Andrews

So, being the painfully famous blogger that I am (in my house, anyway), I get invited to a lot of swanky high-class events. For example, I recently attended a Culinary Crawl in Downtown Napa, courtesy of Erika Bjorkover at Augustine Ideas. I didn’t even know Napa had a Downtown, did you? But they do, and it’s cute, and they’ve got something like 80 restaurants and 20 wine tasting rooms.

With a “Farm to Fresh” theme, we kicked off Happy Hour at Grace’s Table. I ordered a very yummy Strawberry Orange Martini.

It tasted like fruit punch and I didn’t want to fall down at the very first place we hit, so I tried to slowly savor it. I also have a strict personal policy of not being found on some random floor before dusk. I have SOME class.

The appetizers presented at Grace’s Table, such as Deep Fried Artichoke and Cornbread (with a romesco sauce), and the Beet Crostini, was all locally sourced. And horribly delicious.

There’s no way the Beet Crostini had beets in it because I hate beets. At least I think I do. Also? This dish does not meet the qualifications of the “Farm to Fresh” theme because everyone knows beets don’t come from a farm. The beets I grew up on were purple-ish red, shaped like super-thick Ruffles potato chips and came out of a can. I can’t believe they tried to pull one over on me with this appetizer, no matter how awesome it was.

Next, we crawled with Erika over to Mason Cellarsand tasted wine, while noshing on a huge meat platter from the Fatted Calf.

Our friendly and helpful host and wine pourer gave us six different wines to try and even though I’m not much of a white wine person, I kind of liked them. Speaking of which, I accidentally told the guy standing next to me that I was “not a white person”, at which point I replayed what I said inside my head and turned a fabulous shade of crimson and did I mention that Mason Cellars is one of the few places in Napa that doesn’t charge for wine tasting?

Crawling on…

We crossed the river and entered the Oxbow Market where we were served delicious crepes from La Crepe! While they do make savory crepes they gave us sweet ones like raspberry, and banana and hellloooooo Nutella!

The Oxbow Market is one of those indoor dealie-bobbers like the one at the Ferry Building in San Francisco or the Chelsea Market in Manhattan, only not quite as big as those guys.

We wrapped up our evening at Eiko’s, a sort of Japanese restaurant, night clubby place with comfortable couch-like furniture in the bar area. They brought out margarita popsicles (refreshing!) and served us California rolls and fried shrimp tempura (scrumptuous!), which reminded me of a similar dish they serve at Nobu in NYC, or Buddha’s Belly in L.A. Ohhh, look at me, getting all worldly on you, referencing such “big city” restaurants.

I’m totally going back to Downtown Napa. Not only is it a great place to walk around with some cool old buildings like the former library and beautiful post office (I know, how can a post office be beautiful?), but they have one of my favorite visitor incentives of all…

Free parking. As in, free. As in, available spots in public lots.

God, I love free parking. If I were King, I would grant every man, woman and child free parking.