Best Bets For Brunch in Napa

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By Deirdre Bourdet

I'm a firm believer in the classic mom maxim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day--particularly if your day begins in Napa.  Lining the stomach against all-day wine tasting, and feeding the brain in order to remember what you've experienced are both essential for optimal enjoyment of this food and wine paradise. Here are some of the best places in Napa proper to begin your taste adventure.
brix.jpgBrix.  For years, the elaborate Sunday brunch buffet has drawn crowds to this restaurant/garden/marketplace, conveniently located right on Highway 29 near the boundary with Yountville. Anne Gingrass-Paik--the original opening chef for Wolfgang Puck at San Francisco's Postrio, and later executive chef at Hawthorne Lane--took over the kitchen at Brix in June of 2008, bringing new energy and soul to the table and reinforcing Brix's commitment to farm-to-table dining. 

Locavores will delight at the ultra-fresh ingredients sourced from local farms, and the sixteen acres of gardens and orchards surrounding the restaurant.  Sunday brunch (served 10:00 am to 2:30 pm) features a seasonal smorgasbord of breakfast favorites with a wine country twist, as well as an al fresco seafood bar dishing out raw oysters and a variety of cured and cooked seafood.  Whether you're ready for wine or not, flip through the restaurant's tremendous wine list full of rare and esoteric creations from northern California. Check out a gruner veltliner from the von Strasser Vineyard in the Diamond Mountain District by the glass, or a vertical flight of the Kelleher Family Vineyards cabernet sauvignon, made from grapes grown right next to the restaurant's outdoor terrace.

restaurant_boonfly.jpgBoon Fly Café.  If Brix is the northern Napa favorite for brunch, Boon Fly is the champion of the south.  Opening at 7:00 a.m. every day of the week, Boon Fly Café jump starts the morning for crowds of local folks, visitors, and guests of The Carneros Inn, where the restaurant is located.  Don't let the bucolic, red barn exterior on Highway 37 fool you--inside is a bright, airy, contemporary restaurant bustling with energy.  Whether you want boldly flavored egg dishes, pancakes, meat, yogurt, oatmeal, or the hangover-friendly breakfast flatbread (two fried eggs, bacon, caramelized onions, and mozzarella), you will find it here.  During weekend brunch, you can also order the signature smoked salmon flatbread with fromage blanc, red onions and lemon sour cream, or the brazenly, spectacularly indulgent Kobe cheeseburger on a homemade brioche bun, which you can top with avocado and/or bacon for full arterial blockage.  Whether you get the burger or not, everyone agrees that the tiny, tender, house-made doughnuts are a must.  

If morning finds you hungry in downtown Napa, check out Sweetie Pie's in the Historic Mill Complex for a panoply of pastries and a full espresso bar, Grace's Table on Second Street for a full menu of homemade, homegrown breakfast favorites from around the globe, or on weekdays, Alexis Baking Company on Third for fresh-baked goodies and classic breakfast sandwiches.

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