Deirdre Bourdet: September 2010 Archives

The Napan Renaissance

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GH Gallery.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Five years ago, no one would have come to the city of Napa for its fine arts.  2010 marks the dawn of a new era for Napa's art scene, with no fewer than three downtown Napa galleries open to the public, a new month-long celebration of the arts this fall, and--for the first time in its 23-year history--an Open Studios event organized and planned by the artists themselves.  This autumn is the ideal time to visit Napa Valley and experience the artistic renaissance that is beginning to take shape.

AVIA Napa: The Sexiest Sleep in Town

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AVIAexterior.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The AVIA Hotel opened its swanky wrought iron doors last summer at the western frontier of Napa's downtown.  Since that time, the hotel has become a touchstone for the energy and excitement transforming the neighborhood.  It's the place I recommend every fun-loving visitor stay in Napa, whether that visitor is my seventy-something mom or my thirty-something best friend and her boyfriend.  Everyone who stays there loves it.

The hotel's location on First Street at Franklin puts it right in the thick of Napa's West End, the fast-growing community of hip art galleries, restaurants, retail, and tasting rooms. The bigger-than-life main doorway looks out at Oenotri and the Gordon Huether Gallery immediately across First Street, and all of downtown Napa's best restaurants and tasting rooms are within easy walking distance.

September Saturdays in the Valley

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chefotooletomates.jpg By Deirdre Bourdet

Napa Valley is known throughout the world for its stunning wines, gorgeous countryside, and world-class cuisine.  Late summer is the perfect time to visit this corner of foodie paradise and taste the good life, and conveniently, tons of September events give visitors and locals the opportunity to experience all three of Napa's greatest attractions in the same sitting.  Here are my top weekend picks for a good time this month
Photo by Ashley Teplin

Build Your Own BLT day at Bardessono Resort. Next Saturday, September 11, from 2pm to 5pm, I will be following my dreams to an embarrassment of deliciousness, courtesy of Bardessono and Hill Family Estates.  On this momentous day, Chef Sean O'Toole will give guests free rein to assemble the greatest BLTs imaginable using the resort's own organically farmed heirloom tomatoes and lettuces, a panoply of housemade aiolis, local breads, and of course a full selection of artisanal bacons.  Will you choose Bardessono's own apple-smoked bacon, with Cajun aioli on slices of rich brioche?  Or will you go with Fatted Calf from Napa, slathered with bacon-sherry aioli on tender pain de mie?  As you ponder these important questions, sip on a selection of lovely Hill Family Estate wines, and nosh on passed hors d'oeuvres like Andalucian gazpacho, sweet tomato cream puffs, or La Quercia prosciutto with crushed tomato crostini.  Round out the tomato-bacon feast with sides like fennel salad with taggiasca olive, preserved lemon, and Regina extra virgin olive oil, or a visit to the decadent burrata bar with its selection of specialty salts.  Cardiologists will be standing by... or so I hope.  For tickets call Bardessono at 707-204-6030.


Napa's New Lease On Nightlife

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By Deirdre Bourdet

nightlife.jpgWhen I moved to Napa from San Francisco a few years ago, everyone warned me I was entering a nightlife dead zone. Everything shuts down at 9:00pm.  While that may have been true in the past, a slew of newcomers and new ventures by long-time residents has kicked things up a notch around here.

After nearly a decade of tortuously slow renovation, the Uptown Theatre re-opened its doors this May to reveal its newly restored deco-fabulous style. Fresh faced and fully equipped with all the modern amenities, the Uptown offers an unbeatable combination of historical charm and contemporary sophistication. 

The restored original ceiling murals and light fixtures custom built to replicate the originals radiate classic 1930s style, but the sound system and the seats are 100% modern--21-23 inches wide, as compared to the original theatre's 16-17 inch seats, and staggered to ensure there's not a bad seat in the house.  Even the nosebleed seats have perfect unobstructed views of the stage and perfect acoustics. A full bar offers patrons their choice of libations, including local wines and bubbly by the glass. 

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