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Napa - Venezuelan restaurant in Oxbow Public Market?

First of all, is the Oxbow Public Market open yet or does anyone know the opening date.

There was a mention of the OPM in Via Magazine so I looked at the website. There was some interesting stuff there but what really caught my attention was Pica-Pica. Supposedly they will have "Venezuelan Arepas, a corn-flour based flat roll, grilled to be crispy on the outside and filled with savory mixtures. The menu will be complemented with Tequeños, Cachapas, Empanadas, Polvorosa de Pollo, (the Venezuelan version of the chicken pot pie) and a variety of Ceviches."

Other stores in the Public Market building which will have an outdoor area on the river ...
The Fatted Calf
Oxbow Wine Merchant & Wine Bar
Folio Enoteca & Winery
The Oxbow Cheese Merchant
Five Dot Ranch (natural, holistic beef)
Roli Roti permanent location
Anette's Chocolate Factory
Three Twins Organic Ice Cream
Taylor's Automatic Refresher
Fête a party planning store
Heritage Culinary Artifacts
Kitchen Library
Tillerman Tea
The Model Bakery
Whole Spice
The Olive Press

Farmers that are so far scheduled

Bera Ranch
Products: Vintage stone fruit, citrus, vegetables and honey

Big Ranch Farms
Products: Seasonal summer vegetables, strawberries & stone fruit

Farmers Market Seafood Company
Products: Fresh local seafood, smoke roasted salmon

Full Belly Farm

Grandpa Jack's Farm
Products: Organically grown corn, melons, beans, eggs

Morningsun Herb Farm

Nana Mae's Organics
Products: Certified organic heirloom apples, fruit sauces, juices & products

Rancho Gordo
Products: Dried beans & chiles

Sun House Flowers

The Wild Pear Company
Products: Jams & jellies

Wine Forest Wild Mushrooms of Napa
Products: Wild mushrooms, truffles and truffle products and wild berries

More info on the website (link is in Place record). From the website it doesn't seem to be open, but I thought I'd ask.

Oxbow Public Market
610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

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  1. Some great choices it appears but the place isn't even close to opening. Not sure what they are now advertising as an opening date (was fall of '07) but it looks like Jan/Feb at the earliest.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

      I drove by this morning and a lot of progress has been made. The metal roof is complete and the exterior siding is up -- sort of a terra cotta-like tile -- giving it a yellow/orange warmth and glow. Local paper says the market will open by year end, Taylor's a bit earlier. To the untrained eye, Taylor's looks a bit further behind.

      A NorCal beef producer is now listed as a new tenant. It's "5 Dot Ranch." Anybody know about them or have an opinion on their products? I am not familiar with them.


    2. Latest update from Taylor of the Fatted Calf:

      Construction is finished. At this point, they're just waiting for PG&E to show up and turn on the power. That probably wont happen until January, or February at the latest.

      Taylor's been working on his pastrami recipe for the last few years. I can't wait to try it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        I went to the Oxbow Public Market today. It's open, but in a "rolling way." That is, the vendors will open as they will over the next 30 days or so.

        Pico Pico is not open. Annette's chocolat is open as is Tillerman Tea, Hedgerow florist, Fete, and about 5 others. Two outside vendors were selling beautiful oranges and other citrus products at the stalls (ie. small external spaces on the exterior with sinks and a rolling door to close after business) after the OPM shuts down.

        Decent crowd today after press in the Napa Register this morning. Can't wait for the full opening of Fatted Calf, Model Bakery, Taylor's Refresher, etc.

        1. re: cortez

          Stopped in today and even the places that are open aren't fully. I wouldn't recommend a special trip to anyone yet.

          1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

            No kidding. Places are starting to get there but they are still training staff and lots of it still isn't open. A few places that have opened

            Anette's Chocolate

            The Olive Press

            Tillerman Tea

            Unfortunately no outdoor vendors today. I suppose the building will look more inviting with them. With the doors rolled down the building looks stark.

            Then there is the weird thing about the building being backwards. The back of the building faces the street. The front is at the back of the lot.

            I was starting to get up in arms about handicapped access because there is a flight of stairs into the building. However once you figure out the building is in reverse all is well.

            I forgot where I read it was next door to Copia. That helped me a lot since I'm not that familiar with Napa. It was easy to follow the signs to Copia from the First Street exit on 29

      2. I've heard from my old Napa sources that most of the eateries won't be open until sometime in January.

        1. Virginie Boone's article reported that Pica Pica was slated to open last weekend,

          However, I called Mr. Sosa and he says that it will be opening January 2.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I visited Oxbow on Wednesday the day after Christmas and checked out some of the stores that were open. There were only a few people strolling around in the morning. I think there's enough stores to visit and enjoy shopping, but it's true that none of the eateries are open yet, except for the ice cream spot. I really like the tea shop. It looks like other shops are progressing and should be opening up in the next month.

            One thing about visiting now is that you get to talk to the store owners face to face since they're all trying to put the best face forward in the beginning. Who knows if they'll always be at the store in the future. So this is a good time to meet the vendors.

            Here are photos of some of the places that are open: http://singleguychef.blogspot.com/200...

            1. re: singleguychef

              Folio Enoteca & Winery opened today

              Other than that is is what you reported in your great photo essay on your blog singleguychef. I was surprised how small the entire building is. I think the Whole Foods in Oakland has more space than Oxbow. The stalls and restaurants are more like stalls. Then again the area for the cheese shop and wine merchant was still blocked off.

              1. re: rworange

                I think the size is just a reflection of the expected foot traffic. This is a mini Ferry Building, so I think the developers knew it wouldn't have the foot traffic of the Ferry Building so it didn't mirror the size. Still, I like the idea of the Napa-related stores and it's just another option for the non-wine visitors.

            2. Made a detour to see this place 1/9 but, alas, was underwhelmed (unlike RWO, except for the "green" service ware!)

              Arepas from a pre-made mix and kind of boring.

              Beef place's brochure a triumph of advtisingese that managed to avoid saying anything concrete (which reminds me of the floor, which, I understnad, cannot match the historic Ferry Bldg, but still ....)

              I hope it will have a great farmers' market in the adjoining, still-unfinished space to compensate for the mallish, touristy/kitchy choices in the rest of the building.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Fine

                From May thru Thanksgiving, the regular Napa Farmers Market will be in the lot between COPIA and Oxbow on Tuesdays and Saturdays so there will be lots of reasons to go.

              2. I went the other day. They really need to get some signage and plants or something. It feels very temporary. the wine/cheese shop isn't in the main hall and I left before seeing it. I only remembered it as I drove away. Fatted Calf is actually around the corner but the smells coming from the shop filled the whole block.
                The most disappointing thing is the main hall. It feels like an airport and it's loaded with crap, not food. I wish this place were bulging with good food purveyors but it seems like calendars and gifts. I'm sure it won't be so bad when it's fully open but the impression now is not so good.
                I hope they pull this off!

                5 Replies
                1. re: Earl Grey

                  The cheese shop isn't open yet. I saw a few people walking into that room on Sunday, but when I went in, it was still a work in progress.

                  Fatted Calf opened since Sunday? I could have missed it though because I justt dropped by to buy something from Five Dot Ranch but they didn't have what I wanted.

                  There was only one outdoor vendor on Sunday ... someone selling citrus ... however, I'm so overloaded at home with that fruit I didn't stop. Twin Girls is having some sort of day giving out a free scoop ... I think Feb 02, but I might be wrong.

                  1. re: rworange

                    The Fatted Calf isn't open to the public yet but they're making all their stuff there now instead of the city. I couldn't see in but I could smell.
                    The cheese/wine place was supposed to open today I heard.
                    No vendors at all but I don't blame them!

                  2. re: Earl Grey

                    Agreed, the first impression is not good at all. I do think once Taylor's and Model Bakery, among others, are open, that it could be a great place. But I've had mediocre food at 2 places so far and am surprised by the bric a brac shops that they've included as tenants. I heard Taylor's opens next week from a local but I haven't seen it mentioned elsewhere?

                    1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

                      Judging from what I saw, that would be a miracle. But miracles do happen!
                      I'm sorry the food wasn't better. I wasn't even tempted by the Venezuelan place. How much of anything can they turn over at this point?
                      I'm sure there's a $$ factor but they should have opened the first day of the farmers market. Bam! That would have made an impression.

                      1. re: Earl Grey

                        Thanks. When I looked in recently what I saw was empty space. It didn't even look like Taylor's even started. I was surprised to read they might open so soon.

                  3. Just got an email from Taylor. Fatted Calf's stall will open this Thursday (January 31st). Looks like a day trip to Napa is in order this weekend.

                    1. I was there yesterday and found it quite busy, though Copia across the way was dead, despite being free in January and February. I bought some garlic sausages from the beef guy. I don't think I've ever had beef sausages, so I'm curious to try them. I liked the Pepeada Arepa -- the creamy avocado and bits of chicken in the thick, crunchy thingy. (Is Arepa the name of the flatbread or of the sandwich or both? I'm not clear on that.) Someone else said it was boring, but I shared one and didn't eat enough of it to get bored. I was starving; it was hot, and ready in twenty seconds. I agree that the building feels sterile, and I don't like eating in food courts anyway, so we took our food down the river path and into Copia, through the back gate. No one seemed to mind us sitting at a table on the lawn, overlooking the river and ducks. When they're charging admission, though, the gate probably will be locked. I didn't see any tables or chairs outside at Oxbow, and even if there are any, the view is of a huge building being built across the river. (Hotel? Condos?)

                      BTW, if anyone grows fruit trees, the trees in Copia's garden have just been pruned. I found myself studying them to remind myself of how properly pruned trees should look.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Glencora

                        The flatbread is an arepa, but they're usually filled. Same word either way.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          "Same word either way." I thought that was a palindrome.;-)

                      2. I have to admit I was very dubious about the whole Oxbow thing but I went yesterday and I have this feeling it's going to be great. I'm sorry to see the non-food shops (antiques and crap, it seemed to me) but there was a nice feeling overall and I think this could be great. The cheese in the wine shop is TOP NOTCH and I think only second to Dean and Deluca and not as overpriced.
                        I also went to Whole Foods and it feels like a huge morgue. There's no life in it. The produce was insanely priced and it's much cheaper at any farmers market. I didn't check the meats or fish but the general store seemed much like Vallergas, without the charm. It's too big. Maybe the take out food is good but I have a hunch i'll be doing my Valllergas-farmers market-Trader Joes routine unless I find a compelling reason to go to Whole Foods.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Earl Grey

                          I think most people who go back will see the possibilities of Oxbow. They are having their official grand opening this weekend with lots of samples and some future vendors like Ritual making an appearance

                          Once the cheese and wine shop settles in it will probably be much bettter than Dean and Delucca.

                          1. re: rworange

                            I went last Sunday....place looks good but I have doubts if the business will be there....summer months may be OK with all the tourists but rest of the year???? Location is the key to any operation and IMHO this will be a challenge....I like FattedCalf but not enough to drive to Napa for their products...will be interesting to see.....

                            1. re: Pollo

                              Taylor assured me they would continue to come to the farmer's markets.

                        2. Adding a link:

                          Pica Pica Maize Kitchen
                          610 1st St Ste 5, Napa, CA 94559

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            We ate at Pica Pica today. I didn't "get" it. I think I'm so used to Mexican masa that this thick, sweet corn was kind of a shock. It's not nixtamalized, just ground corn, some sweet and some starchy. It seemed very heavy but not so indulgent. I think we may have ordered wrong and I'll try again and insist on some help making a meal.

                            1. re: Earl Grey

                              Did you have an arepa? Was it crisp on the outside? Did it look anything like this (from Caracas Arepa Bar in Manhattan)?

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Yes. It was the last thing I tried. It was filled with avocado and vegetables and I was underwhelmed, firmly, by this point.
                                I should stress, I know nothing about this food and I'm ready to admit i ordered poorly. We tried about 5 things.

                                1. re: Earl Grey

                                  The arepa I had there was much less "filled" than the one in RL's picture, so I can see that unless you liked the taste of the corn you might have found it heavy and/or boring. I kind of liked it, though.

                                  1. re: Earl Grey

                                    I dont think avocado and vegetables are the best filling to appreciate the virtues of an arepa. My favorite at Caracas was one stuffed with chorizo, cheese, and jalapeños. Does Pica Pica have something like that?

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Nothing quite like that. It has one with scrambled eggs, sofrito, and a choice of bacon, chorizo or cheese. Also a couple with skirt steak and even a tofu verision. (!) I don't think anything is particularly spicy.

                            2. I spend a lot of time up in Napa and have been interested in Oxbow. It's slowly but surely coming to life. To specifically report on Pica Pica...it's good. The Arepas are delicious...we had the ham and cheese with a Venezualan hard and salty cheese and smoked ham. We got a side of the tostones (fried plantains) with a hibiscus sauce. The arepa was great...even when eaten ten minutes after it was cooked. The tostones were less than mediocre. No flavor and no salt.
                              The complaint both my boyfriend and I had was that the cook took about 25 minutes to cook our food. there were only three other people ordering, nothing in front or behind him. He was completely disorganized...I really wanted to jump behind and get him going! I wouldn't wait for the food that long again. I'd just got over to the ice cream and get some of that, or to Taylor's

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: wolfe

                                  Taylor's Refresher IS Open! I saw a full house when I went Sat 2/23/08.