Deirdre's Top 5 Oxbow Market Snacks

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cupcake.jpgby Deirdre Bourdet

For those of you who love food emporiums as much as I do, here is my list of the top five things to hit on an eating romp through Napa's Oxbow Public Market.  Warning: may be habit forming.
(1) Grass-fed Beef Jerky
The fine people at Fatted Calf use plenty of bourbon and secret spices in their jerky marinade... and I think they also slip a bit of crack in there, because this stuff is just a little too good to be legal.  Mysterious and smoky bourbon undertones round out the clean, grass-fed flavor, and make the mandatory ten minute gnawing time a welcome meditation on beefy bliss. 

(2)  Happy Hour Oysters. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 5-7pm, Hog Island pulls enthusiastic crowds with $1 Sweetwater oysters from Tomales Bay and discounted beer and wine specials.  The Sweetwaters are on the small side relative to many other oysters, but rigorous and highly scientific testing by yours truly has proven them among the most luscious and delectable items you can put in your mouth in public.

(3)  Double Salmon BLT. 
Not many people can make it past the Cheese Merchants' alluring counter with appetite still in good form, but the Oxbow Wine Merchants' outrageously delicious double salmon BLT is worth the self-restraint such a feat requires.  Two toasty slices of nutty bread from Model Bakery precariously unite a slab of grilled fresh salmon with layers of succulent lox, smoky-sweet bacon, crisp lettuce, fresh tomato, and a homemade basil aioli. Perfection in sandwich form.
4)  Taylor's Sweet Potato Fries. 
These fat little beauties are dusted with sugar and spice, letting them double as dessert for those who dig the sweet-savory thing.  As with quality steak fries, you get a bit of crunch at the tips of each bright-orange baton, but the insides remain luxuriously smooth and creamy.  Getting your daily dose of Vitamin A could not be made more enjoyable... until they find a way to add vitamins to Champagne, of course.

5.  Chocolate Fleur de Sel Minicupcake. 

Kara's Cupcakes is a relatively new addition to the Oxbow, but their grownup riff on a Hostess classic immediately established itself in my pantheon of favorite foods.  Delicate fleur de sel flakes crown a thick layer of dark chocolate ganache "frosting," taunting you with the promise of salty delights within.  For lo, the perfect, tender, uber-chocolately cupcake below conceals an instantly addictive salted caramel core... a miraculous fantasy come to life for the amazing price of $2.00.

Other Oxbow Market articles:
Oxbow Odyssey
The Kitchen Sink's At Oxbow

Napa Oxbow Market
644 1st St # D
Napa, CA 94559-2611
(707) 226-6529

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The choco/fleur de sel cupcakes are heaven. But I stick to gorging on cheese at the Wine Merchant and keep the fish out of the equation. Give me the grilled cheese with tomato soup!

Sounds great, what's the sddress ?

Looks like they added the address. I've been a couple of times now to the Market and it's pretty cool. Though I have to say "Sift Cupcakery" next to the Napa Valley Opera House makes a much better cupcake than Kara's Cupcakes. I've tried Kara's three different times now (different flavors) and I'm disappointed each time. The cake part is good, cake and frosting together - no go.

Sift Cupcakery is right downtown on Main Street. Oh, and their prices are cheaper. My favorite is their Limonata. Sigh...I might have to get one today. Don't tell my diet!

Last week I was watching your show on TV. There was a
shop I believe called "Anette's" spice rubs and also
a shop that does wine or liquor infusement in their
chocolates. How can I get some information on these


Sue, information on all the Oxbow merchants is available at I think you are looking for Annette's Chocolates? The main company website is
They have another (larger) store location just a few blocks west on First Street, too.
The dedicated spice store at the Oxbow is fantastic, though, and totally worth a visit: Perfect for getting obscure spices and salts for a recipe without having to commit to a huge container that will clutter your cabinet and ultimately get dumped out years later.

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