Monday, May 17, 2010

Napa's Newest Hot Spot

It seems every time you turn around, there's a new hot spot that's all the buzz in downtown Napa. And indeed, Oenotri (pronounced oh-no-tree) can definitely be described as a new hot spot. I've been a bit remiss in writing this blog post. My husband and I had a great dinner there almost two weeks ago. But I'm still talking about the dinner to all my friends so I'm excited to finally be telling all of you about it.

Oenotri is located on First Street in Napa, right next to the new Norman Rose Tavern. These two restaurants, along with the Avia hotel across the street, have definitely brought some new life to First Street. Oenotri is open until midnight Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a fun, friendly bar and a unique Italian wine list.

The menu is one of those menus where everything looks good and everything we had exceeded our expectations. The menu changes nightly and focuses on fresh, seasonal Italian cuisine. In addition to the main menu, there is a salumi menu featuring about 20 different salumi and small bite items. You won't go hungry here! We started with an asparagus salad with prosciutto. Delicious! Then moved on to a fava bean, ricotta and lemon olive oil pizza. Doubly delicious! We rounded it off with an amazing strozzapretti with Willis Farm pork ragu. Delicious, delicious, delicious!

The atmosphere is comfortable and inviting. The bar is friendly. The food is delicious. If you haven't already, go try it!

Written by Linzi

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

An Innovative Take on Tacos

Locals Night at Oxbox Market was in full swing tonight. Hungry diners were lined up at Hog Island, Pica Pica and the newly opened C Casa Taqueria. Owner Catherine Bergen and the Jacinto brothers, Erasto and Pablo, opened the doors tonight to this great taqueria that is sure to bring some new excitement to the Oxbow. The line was long but drinks were served while waiting and the tacos were well worth the wait. The menu features unique taco combinations, house made tortilla chips and salsa, rotisserie meats and interesting salads and small plates. The chicken taco is delicious and I can't wait to go back and try the Mahi Mahi taco. I guess I know where I'll be next Tuesday night!

Written by Linzi

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sweet Cherry Cheesecake

The St. Helena Farmer’s Market was bursting with ripe cherries this week. The first sign that summer produce is right around the corner. There are so many great ways to enjoy cherries. One of our favorite is as a tart topping for a sweet, creamy cheesecake. We used red wine in the topping which complements the sweetness of the cherries and the cheesecake.

For the Crust:

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

1/3 cup melted butter

1 8 oz. pkg. softened cream cheese

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cups flour

1 tbsp. vanilla

For the Topping:

½ cup red wine

½ cup sugar

4 tsp. water

1 tbsp. lemon juice

3 tsp. cornstarch

20 oz. pitted sweet cherries

In a bowl, combine sugar, butter and graham cracker crumbs. Press mixture firmly into a 9-inch pan. Beat the cream cheese until lightly whipped. Slowly beat in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add the flour, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Pour into pan and bake for about 1 hour until top is lightly browned. Chill in refrigerator.

To make the sauce, bring wine, sugar, and cherries to a boil. Cook until mixture is thick, or about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, lemon juice and water and whisk together. Pour cornstarch mixture into pan with cherries and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes until mixture is thick. Remove from heat cool before adding to cheesecake.

Pour sauce on top and around the side of the cheesecake. Garnish with confectioners sugar or whipped cream. Serves 6-8.

Recipe by Karen