Ritual Coffee Roasters is proud to announce the opening of its concept coffee bar, The Cup & Star, adjacent to the existing Ritual Coffee location inside Oxbow Public Market. The space was designed by architect Lizzie Wallack, of Envelope A + D, and beautifully built out by contractor Gary Taylor. The café is proud to feature a custom Synesso Hydra MVP espresso machine, a pair of Marco SP9 Pourover machines, a beautiful hardwood bar, a dedicated seating era meant to evoke a classic European bar/cafe amidst a bustling market environment, and stunning custom tile work and lighting.

The menu features a curated and often exclusive menu of pour-over coffees utilizing
multiple brew methods, tasting flights, select espresso drinks, and signature beverages. It is unlike any other Ritual location, and unlike most other coffee shops in general, for a few key reasons:

  • Prioritizing experience and connection over speed. As more specialty coffee shops open and compete with each other, the goal is to remain ahead of the curve by experimenting with service style and by showcasing Ritual’s uber-talented baristas. Robots are making coffee now, and ready-to-drink specialty coffee is available at your local grocer. But people don’t go out of their way to visit Ritual just for the coffee. It’s also the incredible staff and the wealth of information they can offer.
  • Encouraging customers to choose the experience they’re in the mood for: leisurely and interactive, or the quickest great coffee possible. Depending on the day, anyone has the capacity to be either kind of customer. The goal is to make way for authentic customer interaction without sacrificing quality. Ritual feels confident in the ability to consistently deliver amazing coffee for every customer. But with the addition of new technology available in brew methods (an American made Synesso Hydra MVP espresso machine with volumetric settings, and a pair of Marco SP9 automated pour-over brewers), Ritual is taking the next step in its mad-scientist pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee, and customers get to be closer to the action than ever before.

Eileen Rinaldi, the founder of Ritual, explains: “Every time I visit our shop in Napa and meet a customer who finds out I’m the owner, I hear the same thing: “Your staff are AMAZING!” But, in the hustle and bustle of the market, it’s also a constant struggle to accommodate the customer who wants to sit and talk with us about our new Sweet Tooth Espresso offering, as we simultaneously pump out drinks for caffeine-deprived vacationers who just want to get their coffee and hit the road. The Cup & Star is a unique way to help facilitate conversations about our coffees and the stories behind them, while decreasing pressure and increasing efficiency at our main bar.”

The 279-square-foot existing location had been doing almost as much volume as the company’s flagship cafe on Valencia Street, so last spring, whenthe space next to Ritual’s kiosk became available, the company jumped at the chance to expand a bit, knowing they wanted to add a second espresso machine and serve more specialty drinks, with the vision to create a kind of “tasting room” experience, now the standard in the wine industry, but for specialty coffee.

Rather than just making the existing coffee bar bigger to accommodate this, Ritual created an entirely new bar and business model. There’s no booze, but it looks and feels like a bar, and instead of waiting in line you can “belly up” and talk to the barista. The lighting is cozy. The music sounds good. And of course, you’re warmly welcomed by a seasoned barista.

It’s so different from the rest of Ritual Napa that the company gave the space its own
name and identity: The Cup & Star (a cheeky reference to the welcoming British pub vibe that’s being channeled.) Everything is served in beautiful ceramic wares, and there’s no “order here” or “pick-up” area. Like a craft cocktail bar, the featured items are on the menu, but the old standards are also available.

Eileen beams when she says, “The last 9 years up in Napa have been incredibly rewarding. We get to hear lots of visitors tell us that the coffee we made them is the best they’ve ever had, “except for in Italy,” but we also have winemakers and sommeliers and chefs from the French Laundry and bussers and servers who really appreciate our coffee, our commitment to quality, and the incredible posse of weird, cool, diverse co-workers that we’ve managed to collect in spite of Napa being a pretty small town.”

This expansion builds on the fifth brick-and-mortar location for Ritual Coffee, a coffee roasting company that strives for transparency and precision at every level of its business. Ritual boasts nearly 100% direct trade coffees, and roasts everything on a vintage German roaster at its headquarters in the SoMa district of San Francisco.

Whole Spice has all the spices you need to change up your cuisine for the spring season! Whether you like sweet, spicy, herbaceous, citrus flavor or a combination of all the above, Whole Spice has all the spices for your life!

Try this Whole Spice recipe for Moroccan Spiced Carrot Salad, a delicious warm side dish spiced with Harissa and Toasted Cumin! Enjoy!

Moroccan Spiced Carrot Salad
(Serves 2-4)

Ingredients:
5 medium-sized carrots, peeled
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs. Whole Spice Harissa Coarse
1/4 tsp. Whole Spice Cumin Powder Toasted
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. water
1 tsp. chopped parsley

Directions:
Place water in a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Add carrots and simmer until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Cool. Cut carrots into bite-size pieces and place in a serving bowl. In a small bowl, combine garlic, harissa, toasted cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice and water. Heat up a nonstick pan and add olive oil. Add the seasoning mixture to the pan, then gently fold the cooked carrots into the mixture. Simmer on medium heat, stirring until the carrots are coated with spice. Place in a salad bowl and add parsley.

Fieldwork brewery would not survive without the support of its friends, family, and the significant others of its employees. For nearly every employee’s birthday, Sarah The Baker delivers the most extravagant baked goods; so Fieldwork Brewing Company has decided it is its turn to pay it back. The result, The Baker Double Brownie Stout.

The Baker is brewed with extremely high grade dark cocoa powder from Belgium and delicious cocoa nibs from Africa that hit your palate with velvety rich chocolate notes. Served on nitro, The Baker is true liquid brownie decadence. Fieldwork rarely dedicates a beer to anyone, so that should tell you just how much they love Sarah… or brownies. Either way, stop by the taproom to celebrate.

Spring is finally in the air at the Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant! With this beautiful weather and sunshine comes some fantastic seasonal cheeses from our own backyard.

Here are some of the newer seasonal favorites:
St. Pat, from the Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma, CA. This luscious, soft-ripened brie style cheese, is made with the rich buttery milk from a herd of Jersey cows, tended by John Taverna, a local dairy farmer. The small wheels are then wrapped with the leaves of the Stinging Nettle plant. Once the leaves have been flash frozen, to relieve the “stinging” from the Nettles, they are wrapped around the cheeses during their brief aging period. Imbuing the rich creamy cheese with a light vegetal flavor and a subtle hint of artichokes.

Andante Dairy, also out of Petaluma’s fertile dairy lands, is finally back in stock! Tomme Dolce, an all time favorite of the staff at the Cheese & Wine Merchant, is one of the only aged goat milk cheeses produced by Soyung Scanlan, the head cheesemaker at Andante Dairy. Tomme Dolce is coated and rubbed with a blackberry or plum preserve on the rind, lending subtle notes of sweet fruit to the salty, tangy and caramel notes of the goat cheese. Tomme Dolce will only be available for a little while longer, so stop by to grab a chunk while you still can. Also, try some of their softer more delicate French influenced goat and cow’s milk cheeses that are a must try for cheese lovers of all types.

There is also a new creamery in Sonoma County, Moonside Creamery, from Sebastopol, CA. Their newest cheese, Lunetta, is another wonderful addition to all the fantastic cheeses produced in the area. Lunetta is a natural rind cow’s milk Tomme with a firm texture that may sometimes develop crunchy tyrosine crystals. The cheese offers bright flavors of citrus and cultured butter with a savory, long finish.

During the month of March Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant is pairing this cheese with a locally produced Tannat wine that is part of their March wine club selection. The high-toned, salty notes in this cheese bring the ripe cherry fruit in this hearty California Tannat-based blend to the forefront while pleasantly softening its tannins.

Stop in at the Cheese & Wine Merchant and ask about their wines and taste some of these amazing cheeses!

Whole Spice has all the flavor you need to spice up your life! Stop by the spice shop and try a pinch of ghost pepper salt, Zhug spice, Chipotle chili flakes, or chili lime salt! Better yet, take some home and try them in your next batch of Guacamole!

Also, Whole Spice will offer a 20% discount on all herbs and spices during the last three days of March so plan on doing some spring cleaning of your spice cupboards!

In the meantime, enjoy this Whole Spice recipe for Spicy Guacamole:
Servings 4 – 6

Ingredients
2 ripe avocados
1 Roma tomato
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
3 green onion scallion, chopped finely
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
1 lime
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chili lime salt or ghost pepper salt
1 tsp Chipotle flakes or Zhug spice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions
Halve the avocados and remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel and put in a mixing bowl. Using a fork, roughly mash up the avocado (don’t overdo it — the guacamole should be a little chunky). Squeeze the juice from the lime and then add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Napa Valley Distillery (NVD) makes its oak-infused cocktails using its own premium, award-winning craft spirits and all-natural ingredients.

This libation is a variation of the 1830s East India cocktail delightfully crafted from California Brandy, Orange Curacao, Real Blackberry Syrup and Blood Orange Bitters. Prior to bottling it is oak infused to achieve a vintage flavor reminiscent of an era long since passed.

NVD’s oak-infused cocktails are meant to be easy to enjoy! Just shake on ice and serve up or on the rocks. Though they’ve added all the bitters needed to create a balanced cocktail, you are encouraged to try adding your favorite bitters for a unique mix.

Bitters suggestions: Bob’s Bitters Chocolate Bitters, Scrappy’s Orange Bitters or Napa Valley Bitters Coffee Pecan.