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.
If 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.
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.
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.
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.