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Chowin’ at Copia (Napa)

Melanie Wong | Apr 11, 200403:23 PM

While Copia has taken a lot of hits for the management of its events and exhibits, it deserves some praise for its dining programs. The menus from a couple meals have gone missing, so I can only share general impressions (and some pictures). But perhaps the part I still remember is what’s worth recommending.

In September I attended a seminar at Copia that included a light buffet lunch provided by the American Market Café. The simply dressed garden greens were beautiful. I tried a couple sandwich sections served on airy ciabatta – one with roasted eggplant and goat cheese and the other with house cured meats – both delicious. The white chocolate macadamia cookies were good too. This was a tasty and satisfying lunch.

At Christmas time, I enjoyed lunch at Julia’s Kitchen. While I had eaten here before, this was my first time since the Patina Group assumed management. Service was much smoother than the other outings, although the dining room was less than half full on a weekday. Several of us tried the daily chef’s tasting menu, which includes four courses for $40.

To toast the holidays, we ordered the 1998 Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc. Our server brought out the 1999. It’s a better year, so the switch was fine with us. However, I pointed out the difference in vintage to him, whereas it should have been mentioned by the server.

On the day’s tasting menu, the first course was a mold of Dungeness crab with baby artichokes and asparagus with white truffle oil and a garnish of peppery microgreens. The choice of out-of-season asparagus was odd. Artichokes and asparagus are usually wine-killers, but the addition of truffle oil made these friendlier for our sparkling wine. Of six mouthfuls of tender and sweet crab, five of them contained bits of shell that marred the enjoyment.



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