BY MAX AUGUSTINE
One of the first things I do before I travel is to find out where to get the best drinks once I am there. My wife and I were going to be stopping in Banff, Alberta on our trip through Canada so the search was on. A short search found a list of many places to go but we were only going to be in Banff for one night and so I had to choose wisely.
Fast forward to our arrival in Banff, we checked into our hotel and set out to explore what we could. The Fairmont Banff Springs is a beautiful hotel but the best part of it (in my opinion) is The Grapes Wine Bar (pictured). Found by chance, we were exploring the hotel before setting out to the Banff Park Museum and stumbled across this gem on the second mezzanine level. We took in the view from our window table while we sampled their wonderful wines, cheeses, and great charcuterie. Fortunately, we arrived during a lull in the day so our food and drinks came out in a flash and we were able to make it to the museum before it closed.
“Our Canadian neighbors know that beer is part of a normal lifestyle. After water, coffee and milk, beer is Canada’s favorite beverage. Smart folks, aye?” This is a quote from GreatClubs. Truer words never spoken. After the wine bar and museum, we set out to the place my wife and I both agreed on (I know, we agreed on something! No seriously, we did): the Banff Ave Brewing Company.
By Jennifer Kaiser
Congratulations to the team at Carpe Diem for reopening their beautiful wine bar in downtown Napa. The building, located on the corner of 2nd and Brown Street, was badly damaged in the August 2014 earthquake. Exterior scaffolding reminds visitors that the work to rebuild Napa continues. While the wine bar was closed for repairs, Carpe Diem opened a pop-up in the nearby Oxbow Market. That spot has now closed. Continue reading
By Jennifer Kaiser
The August 2014 earthquake in Napa shook up a lot, including restaurant locations. On a recent visit to the Oxbow Public Market I spotted what I thought was a newcomer: Carpe Diem, located near the front door. According to Jim Foster, the affable general manager, the earthquake damaged their downtown wine bar and restaurant at 1001 2nd Street. That business is closed now, but plans to reopen in just a few short months.
In the meantime, they are serving lunch and dinner in the Oxbow spot recently vacated by Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen (the Venezuelan eatery has returned to its spiritual home at 401 Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission District). Carpe Diem looks forward to reopening its doors downtown and, depending on the success of the Oxbow spot, may stay there as well. In the meantime, you can enjoy their vinegary short ribs on brioche buns (pictured, $4.75), fresh field green salads, steamed bun pork “tacos” ($4.75) and indulge in their famous harissa ($6) or black truffle French fries ($8).
Carpe Diem Wine Bar at the Oxbow Public Market, 610 First Street, Napa. Mon.-Sat. 11a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Happy hour daily, 4-6 p.m. For an update on Carpe Diem and its stylish new location on 2nd Street in Napa, please see Jennifer Kaiser’s report here.