You’ve been asking for it. Begging for it. And now they’re back — Hog Island‘s smoky, spicy, slightly sweet tribute to summer: BBQ’d Bourbon Chipotle Butter oysters. Part 1: Hog Island’s signature Sweetwater Oyster. Part 2: House-made garlic-bourbon-chipotle butter. Part 3: a flaming grill. Now add you plus a cold beer. Picture complete. Summertime’s good ‘round here.

Pucker up for this seasonal favorite from Kara’s Cupcakes — key lime pie, vanilla cupcake and graham cracker crust filled with key lime curd and topped with a silky cream cheese frosting. Available now through September!

The wait for that reuben is over! Five Dot Ranch had a soft opening for Five Dot Ranch Cookhouse in the Market last week. The official opening is this Friday, July 11, but many of your favorites, like the reuben, hot dog and roast beef sandwich are available now. On July 11, the full menu will be available: breakfast, lunch and dinner! Start off with pancakes with a whipped cream, noble maple syrup with all beef breakfast sausage then come back for a “You pick it, we grill it” 35-day, dry-aged ribeye! The Five Dot Ranch Smokehouse will opening on the deck later this summer.

Stop by Poor House for all your party necessities for the 4th of July… like sparklers in a variety of sizes to make the night a little brighter! Great for kids and adults! Pick up supplies to make a refreshing summer cocktail. Mix up one of Mason Shakers recipes from their cocktail book, Shake, like the spicy mezcalita, watermelon daiquiri, or the summer plum smash. Going to a BBQ or pool party? Don’t forget to thank your host with a gift!

With the arrival of summer, The Model Bakery knows there will be plenty of BBQs, picnics and parties with family and friends to take advantage of the glorious Wine Country weather. For your next gathering, bring along a taste of summer with the bakery’s watermelon and hot dog shaped iced cookies…tasty treats that always bring plenty of smiles! Stop by the Model Bakery and pick up a dozen for your next event!

The newest addition at Oxbow Public Market. Finally, a food geek’s dream-come-true! Napastäk (Armenian for “The Rabbit”) is a unique chef’s shop and epicurean boutique. A place where both professional chefs and home chefs can visit and find high-end ingredients and delights. You’ll find epicurean delights from Napa to the far reaches of the globe and beyond, many of which are not readily available and unique in their own special way. Revel in the selection of mustard, teas, jams, shrubs, drinking chocolates, maple syrups and more. Napastäk also has several different choices for the “perfect gift,” such as children’s enamelware, dough rollers, vintage cheese markers, aprons, top quality chef’s knives, and more.

Whole Spice has added a few new seasonings to the list. The hummus seasoning is full of garlic and spices that will jazz up your hummus. Also on the list are two really delicious seasonings for green olives. Both the fennel and the rosemary have lemon peel, blood orange, bay, garlic and chili flakes. Sprinkle on your olives with some olive oil and impress your friends. Stop in and get ten percent off when you mention this post. 

Can you believe it’s Memorial Day weekend??? The Model Bakery has fresh baked, hearty buns for hamburgers, hotdogs and sausages! Fatted Calf Charcuterie has pork chops, basque sausage coils, and more. Cate & Co. has delicious (gluten-free) hamburger buns and hot dog buns. And Kanaloa Seafood Market, Napa as the ultimate — a clambake to go!

Congratulations to The Olive Press, who has received a record-breaking number of awards for 2014.  Stop by The Olive Press and taste their award-winning oils! This year they’ve won more awards than ever before and competition season still isn’t over! Out of 43 medals so far this year, their Picual has garnered 10, so pick some up while supplies last.

Oxbow Produce & Grocery now has extended hours to accommodate your needs. Start the day off right with a delicious and healthful all-organic juice. Green Jeans with kale, romaine, spinach and lemon lime or Queens Greens with added fruit. Also the popular carrot or beet based juices each made freshly, one-at-a time. Oxbow Produce is open at 8 am daily. After work you can enjoy extended closing hours until 8 pm daily to shop for your dinner or your weeks groceries. Extended hours to make it convenient to shop at Oxbow Produce!

It’s not too late to help the Easter Bunny create the perfect basket…eggs, eggs and more eggs, plus three different chocolate bunny sizes and more, all available at Anette’s Chocolates for the perfect Easter gift. Prices range from $5.25 to $160 for Anette’s 10 lb. chocolate rabbit. Anette’s will be sampling their Easter creations daily through April 19 so stop in for a taste.

Easter is just around the corner and The Model Bakery has a variety of specialties for your holiday celebrations. In addition to individual chocolate raspberry eggs and iced Easter sugar cookies, a wide assortment of breads, rolls, cookies, tarts, pies and desserts are available. Hot cross buns, bunny-shaped breads, coconut bunny cakes and an assortment of full-sized, egg-shaped and decorated cakes in carrot, berries and cream and chocolate flavors are available in the store and can be made to order. Special orders must be placed by noon, Friday, April 18.

Spring is here and The Model Bakery is busy creating all sorts of tasty treats to celebrate the season, including their new mango rum cake, a white buttermilk cake soaked with rum simple syrup, then layered with fresh mango slices and a pastry cream, whipped cream and flaked coconut filling. It’s finished with buttercream, flaked coconut and fresh mango slices…can you say yum?  Stop by the bakery to discover this new treat and other fresh baked goodies for your spring celebrations.

Seven new springtime menu additions at Ca’ Momi are as fresh and bright as the season! New offerings include: Crespelle ai Fungi, a thin pancake filled with Wine Forest mushrooms and mascarpone, and Tagliatelle with fava bean pesto, pecorino romano and mint. Trying a new dish? Why not try a new wine, too? Opt for a Ca’ Momi wine flight with your meal.

Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen is  six years old this month and they’re celebrating with a brand new arepa. Stop in to wish the team a happy birthday and try the new crunchy chicharron arepa for $6. They’re so good, you’ll want more than one!

It’s great to know there is an alternative natural sweetener available that is sweeter than table sugar, and has virtually no calories. Does that seem too good to be true? In a sense yes, but it is a fact. This natural sweetener is called “Stevia,” which is an all-natural herbal product with origins in parts of South America. The main cultivation is in Paraguay, Brazil, Japan and China with other growers spread out across the Pacific Rim.

Stevia Rebaudiana is a perennial shrub that grows up to 1 m tall and has leaves 2-3 cm long and is a member to the Aster family. The leaves contain glycosides and stevioside, which is responsible for the incredible sweetness of this herb. For centuries the Guarani Indians in South America had used the leaves of the plant to sweeten their tea concoctions or to add sweetness to some of their foods.

The crude stevia leaves and green herbal powder are reported to be 10-15 times sweeter than table sugar. The refined extract of the stevioside is claimed to be 100 to 300 times sweeter than ordinary table sugar. Now that is sweet!  If you do use the extract, we suggest that you dilute the extract with water so you won’t overpower your food or beverage.

Stevia can be purchased and used in a variety of forms – leaf, liquid, or powdered extract. Also the fresh leaves can be added to any hot liquid to add sweetness. We carry the pure herbal green form of stevia that has been ground into a fine powder and ready to use.  But you have to watch out for all the processed stevia that is sold in the marketplace – best to use the real deal.

Although there are many ways to use stevia, start out by adding it to hot or cold beverages, or in smoothies. Also, it does impart a slight after taste that takes getting used to, but not for long. For me, stevia has to be one of the best healthy alternatives to beat the sugar guilt – so consider it a friend with healthy benefits and enjoy the guiltless pleasure of sweetness.

Stevia is available at Whole Spice.

St. Patricks day is coming up on Monday, and St. Paddy’s Day isn’t St. Paddy’s Day without corned beef!  Both Five Dot Ranch and The Fatted Calf have their own versions of corned beef available for your St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. And, of course, leftover corned beef makes amazing sandwiches, perfect corned beef hash, and is great chopped into a salad. Make sure to pre-order your corned beef by stopping in or calling today. Plus, you can enjoy St. Paddy’s day at Five Dot  Ranch Friday, March 14 through Monday, March 17 (St. Paddy’s Day). This year, the menu features house-made corned beef with braised cabbage, mashed potaotoes and whole grain mustard sauce for $15.  We recommend calling ahead to reserve yours 707-224-5550.

The busy bakers at The Model Bakery are always coming up with great new baked treats to entice us, and their new pretzel bread is no exception. Made with organic whole milled California wheat, organic whole milled Montana hard red/white wheat, Strauss organic whole milk, organic butter, organic malted barley syrup, sea salt, grey salt and caraway, sure to bring back childhood memories of soft pretzels at the ball park, zoo and the beach.  And for you pumpernickel fans, expect a Model Bakery version soon…yummy!

When you hear the term “organic” you may dismiss it. It connotes a “status” and often conjures up two different images: lifestyles of the rich and famous or perhaps some alternative, hippie thing. The term “organic” actually refers to the way agricultural products are grown and produced. Oxbow Produce & Grocery is committed to bringing only organic fruits and vegetables to your grocery basket.

Organic standards include a national list of approved synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances for organic production which means that organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of:

  • antibiotics
  • artificial growth hormones
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • artificial dyes
  • artificial sweeteners derived from chemicals
  • synthetically created chemical pesticide and fertilizers
  • genetically engineered proteins and ingredients
  • sewage sludge
  • irradiation

Wow, who knew that conventional, non-organic food could contain these ingredients?

Whole spice suggests a very special (and simple) dinner, perfect for a weeknight or for company.

2 lamb shanks
1 Tbs olive oil
½ oz Whole Spice lamb rub
3 carrots, sliced in big chunks
3 celery stalks, sliced in big chunks
3 shallots, cleaned and quartered
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, stem and seed pod removed, cut and quartered
1/2 small butternut squash
1 28 oz. can stewed plum tomatoes
1 cup hearty red wine, like a Syrah
1 cup beef broth
3 cardamom pods
4 whole allspice berries
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub lamb shanks in olive oil and rub with Whole Spice lamb rub. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes, turning a few times to seal in the juices. Add all the vegetables and spices and cook for two hours. Remove the cardamom and allspice. Serve over creamy polenta.

Hai, Arigato! Hog Island Oyster Bar is now serving premium Japanese sake from Sake Tengoku of St. Helena. A partnership of three local industry veterans — acclaimed sushi chef Ken Tominaga, Sake master Stuart Morris and business manager Julie Bath, Sake Tengoku imports high-quality, small production sakes that have never before been imported to the US.

Aizu Chushou Junmai’s subtle and complex aroma of quince, celery, kumquat and almond is a unique and delightful pairing with fresh seafood — and raw oysters.

Sake Brewery: Tsurunoe Shuzo Aizu Chushou,
Aizu Wakayama, Fukushima Prefecture
Founded 1794
Brewer Yoshimasa  Sakai

The city Aizu Wakayama where this sake is brewed has very drastic weather patterns, creating distinctive seasonal changes helping the local farmers to grow some of the best rice in Japan. Rice requires heavy rainfall, cool winters and hot humid summers. The temperature variation increases between days and nights during summer in the foothills of Fukushima. In winter, consistent snowfall cleans the atmosphere, stabilizing low temperatures to furnish a good sake brewing environment.

This traditional brewery uses no modern machines to make their sake. A visit to this brewery would astonish you…steaming rice in a large metal pots, ropes and pulleys, wooden platforms, wheelbarrows…all part of the day to day brewing process at this Sakagura.

All of their sake is truly handmade and in small amounts which lets this Toji input his beautiful spirit into the sake. The resulting sake is stylistically light, delicate, pretty and soft, much like the reflective moments spent by the koi pond in the rear of the brewery.


Don’t miss the February special at Cate & Co., Oxbow’s new gluten-free bakeshop. It features a chop chop salad made with fresh Dungeness crab, avocado and chili lime vinaigrette, and a chocolate crinkle cookie, for $17. C CASA also has a tasty special this month: a chicken enchilada with poblano cream sauce, accompanied by a chop salad and a chocolate almond macaroon, all for $13.

Olio Nuovo is here! Hudson Ranch olive oil is a true celebration of the moment! The first batch of the season is available today at Oxbow Produce & Grocery. It is prized for its grassy flavors and spicy finish, and full of very fine olive particles that are suspended in the oil giving it more intense flavors. It is meant to be used immediately in order to capture these flavors before they dissipate. Catch it if you can!

Whole Spice soup base is a premium, all-natural blend of spices, using only the highest quality of ingredients, with no chemicals or MSG. And with no meat products added, it is truly a vegetarian’s delight. In addition to using in soup, Whole Spice soup base may also be used as a dry rub for meats or fish, and a variety of other vegetarian dishes. With so many wonderful uses Whole Spice soup base is sure to please. Try this simple soup recipe at home…

Whole Spice White Bean Soup

Quarter cup olive oil plus extra for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cups leeks (white part only), diced
2 Tbs. Whole Spice soup base
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 28 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
1 28 oz. can or frozen white beans (any kind of white bean will do)
Fresh parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Sauté carrots, celery, leeks, garlic in olive oil for five minutes. Add soup base, chopped tomatoes and white beans and simmer on stove for 45 minutes. Spoon into four bowls and garnish with fresh parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Feeling a little empty without the tree and lights? Fill the void with fresh, locally grown flowers fromThe Monkey Flower Group! As usual, materials will be selected based on whatever is looking freshest and most beautiful from California’s growers, but likely candidates include parrot tulips, ranuculus, acacia buds, ferns, freesia and orchids. There’s no better way to banish a post-holiday slump!

Whole Spice has many curry powder blends to choose form, including Vindaloo. Warm up your family during the holiday season with this delicious and easy recipe. Take two skinned and boned chicken breasts cut in one-inch cubes. Toss the chicken in a Ziploc bag with one oz. of the curry blend to cover the chicken. Slice two small carrots, two stalks of celery, a half an onion and a half of a bell pepper. Sauté the chicken in olive oil on both sides until browned, then add the vegetables to the pan. Stir until onion becomes translucent, then add one small can of crushed tomatoes, a half cup of broth of your choice and one tablespoon mango chutney. Put a lid on the pan and let simmer for a half hour. Serve with Basmati rice or naan, an Indian flat bread available in most grocery stores.

Planning a New Year’s Eve party? Stop by Poor House in the market hall for the perfect party accessories. Pick up a cocktail book to brush-up on your mixology skills. Keep your party classy with glassware and bar accessories from Simon Pearce. And don’t forget to ring in the New Year with sparklers!

The holidays are in full swing with parties, gift swaps, dinners and more. The Fatted Calf has more than just amazing meat. Stock up on pantry basics as you cook you way through the holidays with Katz olive oil, Straus butter and Claravale raw milk. And you’ve got to have Fatted Calf bacon and apple cider syrup for the brussels sprouts. But what will your guests snack on while dinner is in the oven?  Pop a bottle of wine and let Fatted Calf build a charcuterie platter with incredible cures, pickles, rillettes and olives. Customizable to any size or preference, a platter is the perfect addition to any pre-meal party.

This holiday season, be the hit of the party! Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant is your first choice for local, handmade cheeses and exceptional boutique wines. Oxbow Cheese & Wine offers an outstanding selection of jams and preserves, crackers and crisps, nuts and dried fruits, caviar and champagne, everything you need to wow your friends and family! Chat with the knowledgeable team about a cheese-board crafted specifically for your party and let them help select great wines to go with your feast! New and going fast: Fondue from Rolf Beeler, gorgeous Swiss cheeses by Willi Schmid & Ueli Moser and much more!

Start the holidays with a twist on your table! Try Pica Pica‘s hallacas as a dish to start your meal.  A Venezuelan delicacy served only during the holidays, it is a corn flour dough, stuffed with a three meat stew, profiling a mix of sweet, sour and spicy flavors, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed before serving. This year, Pica Pica is hosting a Hallacazo on Saturday, December 14, from 12-4 pm with hallacas to get in the holiday mood!