Jun 01, 2015

Downtown Napa, Part I

Recently I was invited on a trip to learn more about Downtown Napa. When we visited in November it was just after an earthquake had damaged most of downtown, so I was really excited to see what kind of progress they made. The afternoon started out at Napa City Hall. When I was walking in, I noticed a small amount of residual damage on the building across the street. It was very interesting to hear first hand how the city has been revitalized and how it had quickly recovered from the quake. A whopping 95% of the businesses were open the next day. As a Californian, it always makes me proud to see so many people come together to rebuild in light of an earthquake. Mayor Techel shared the vision for Downtown Napa, and how they are also utilizing this experience to improve the city’s flooding issues as well by developing a living river area for the tidal river that flows through the city center.

atlas social in downtown Napa, CaliforniaIf you’ve been to Napa before you’ll know that the culinary scene is on par with their wines, and atlas social is no exception. A must eat is the Chef’s Crispy Fried Farm Egg, served with Bacon Jam. It is a soft-boiled egg that has been battered and deep fried, I’ve never had anything like it. A close second is the Grilled Cauliflower Steak, served with Béarnaise & Citrus. Chef Nick Ritchie really doesn’t disappoint with any of the menu items.

atlas social in downtown Napa, California atlas social in downtown Napa, California Crispy fried egg at atlas social in downtown Napa Cauliflower Steak at atlas social in downtown Napa, California

Blind wine tasting at Napa General Store Blind wine tasting at Napa General Store Blind wine tasting at Napa General Store Blind wine tasting at Napa General Store Blind wine tasting at Napa General Store

At Napa General Store, I did my first blind-folded wine tasting. At the very least it was interesting to see how much sight plays into your perception of taste, and it was a fun experience. I didn’t name all of my wines properly (more like made very poor guesses) but I did pick up a couple of filt bags (French net) to take home to the boys for upcoming beach trips. I’ll stick to what I’m good at.

Andaz Hotel in Napa, California Andaz Hotel in Napa, California Andaz Hotel in Napa, California

Checking into the Andaz hotel in Napa was very quick and easy, there is no front desk! It was recently named one of the top hotels in Northern California by Condé Nast traveler, and it’s easy to see why. I still dream about the giant bath tub, it was reminiscent of our babymoon suite in Carmel. I’ll share more details and my review later on.

Torc in Downtown NapaTorc in Downtown Napa Torc in Downtown Napa Torc in Downtown Napa

After a quick cocktail hour at 1313 Main, we had dinner at Torc. I chose the Violet Artichoke Soup, Heritage Porchetta, and a special strawberry dessert served with coconut-lime vegan ice cream on top. I wish I could live on the dessert. It was heaven in a bowl for someone like me who can’t eat dairy.

Walking back to the hotel through downtown, all was quiet. Downtown Napa reminds me of a small town with a big reputation, and I don’t mind it at all.

Have you been to downtown Napa? Where are your favorite places?

This trip was sponsored by Downtown Napa. All opinions, text, and images are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make life here at Team Wiking a little sweeter.

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I have never been to Napa, but, dang! I am dying to go.

xo katie // a touch of teal

I love Napa and the Andaz is my favorite hotel to stay. Looks like Day 1 was a great day!

Great pics specially for delicious food

This is a lovely post and really makes me want to visit this area. I cannot believe with my love of wine how I have neglected to visit this region as I have heard so many great things about this and your post really reinforces what a great place this is, thanks

I’d love to go to Napa! I’ve only been to California once (when I was 5), and I really want to go back and do an epic road trip. I’ll have to add a few of these places to my must-see California list! 🙂

I agree, you should come back. I’d love to go on one big California road trip too. Most people don’t realize how large the state actually is until they want to drive North to South, haha.

We loved Torc as well! I hope you’ll also visit the Oxbow Market and Gott’s Roadside while you’re in Napa. Enjoy!

Of course! Oxbow is a favorite for me, and Gott’s too! We also have a Gott’s near my house so it’s not quite as tempting. 🙂

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