Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Taste of Napa: Dinner at Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

Duck Confit Tacos with Mandarin Ginger Asian Slaw - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
Duck Confit Tacos - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

This is the seventh post in my Taste of Napa series.

After a free afternoon and then an extremely enjoyable wine tasting event at Vintner's Collective, our Napa media group made our way down Main Street and over to Carpe Diem Wine Bar for the final dinner of our trip. Given all of the intriguing items on the menu, it seemed best to order several appetizers to share, our individual choice of entree, and then all of the desserts to sample at the end of the meal. That way we'd acquire solid knowledge about Carpe Diem's food before we went back to our respective B&Bs and crashed for the evening.


Truffled Popcorn - Carpe Diem - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
Truffled Popcorn - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

The Truffled Popcorn ($6) with Marcona almonds, black truffle salt, and white truffle oil proved extremely popular with our group, and we had to ask the kitchen to send out another basket (or two). Despite the use of both truffle salt and truffle oil, the truffle flavor wasn't overwhelming, which is why I think the popcorn disappeared as quickly as it did. I especially enjoyed the addition of the almonds for their extra-satisfying crunch.

Housemade Burrata - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
Housemade Burrata - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

Housemade Burrata - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
Housemade Burrata - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

Another popular appetizer was the Housemade Burrata ($14) served with roasted beet and pistachio pesto, fresh basil, sea salt, and grilled bread. On the menu, this dish is described as "Mozzarella Heaven," and that description couldn't have been more accurate. The smooth and creamy burrata melted slightly as you spread it on the warm, grilled bread, and the flavorful pesto made me reexamine the way I looked at beets.

Crispy Olives - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
Crispy Olives - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

House Fries - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
House Fries - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

We also ordered a few plates of the Crispy Olives ($6) and a couple of bowls the House Fries ($6) for the table. Even though olives aren't really my thing, I tried one for the sake of seizing the day (haha, sorry, I had to). The olives were filled with an herb goat cheese before being coated with Panko and fried to a golden brown. The combination was just too much for me, and I let everyone else fight for the last one. The House Fries, on the other hand, were right up my alley, and I loved combination of the harissa with the Parmesan and fresh herbs.

Shot of English Pea and Asparagus Soup - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
English Pea and Asparagus Soup - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

Now, depending on your mood, you can order Carpe Diem's Soup of the Moment one of three ways -- as a Shot ($2), in a Cup ($4.50), or in a Bowl ($7). The soup changes regularly and is inspired by seasonal and local ingredients. We were in Napa in April, so our soup was an English Pea and Asparagus Soups garnished with crispy pancetta. Ordering the shot allowed me a chance to try the soup without committing to an entire cup or bowl, leaving me room in my stomach for all of the other glorious dishes we ordered.

Duck Confit Tacos with Mandarin Ginger Asian Slaw - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
Duck Confit Tacos - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

Like my Chef's Selection of Tacos ($12). Just as the chef plays around with seasonal ingredients for the Soup of the Moment, he also routinely changes up the taco offering. We're not talking about your run-of-the-mill ground beef tacos piled high with cheese and guacamole (the way I do it). We're talking some serious gourmet tacos. On this particular occasion, I had the pleasure of eating one of the last available plates of Duck Confit Tacos served with a Mandarin Ginger Asian Slaw.

Um... just... wow.

These tacos were incredible, and although I found the slaw to be dressed too heavily for my tastes, I loved how all of the flavors came together and appreciated the little bit of spice on the duck. If the kitchen hadn't run out of the tacos by the time our group placed our orders, then I probably would have gone for another plate.

Meyer Lemon Gelato Sandwiches with Huckleberry Sauce and Housemade Meyer Limoncello Shot - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
Meyer Lemon Gelato Sandwiches with Huckleberry Sauce and Housemade Meyer Limoncello Shot - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

Beeramisu - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
Beeramisu - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

Housemade "Twix Bars" - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA | Taste As You Go
Housemade "Twix Bars" - Carpe Diem Wine Bar - Napa, CA

Now, believe it or not, we actually had room to go through with our dessert plan from earlier in the evening. Due to lighting issues, I wasn't able to get a clear photo of the Nutella Espresso Cream Puffs ($8), but I can assure you, they tasted delicious.

Of the desserts pictured in this post, I'd have to say my favorite one was the Housemade "Twix Bars" ($8). Shortbread cookie crisps are coated with chocolate and drizzled with caramel before being gently placed on top of small scoops of housemade salted caramel ice cream. What a fun deconstruction of a popular candy bar!

The Meyer Lemon Gelato Sandwiches ($8) and the Beeramisu ($8) were also very satisfying, but I didn't have much room left to savor them completely. And, in case you're wondering what's involved with the Beeramisu, this dessert was the chef's spin on a classic tiramisu made with Guinness and Kahlua. It was kinda heavenly... I'm not gonna lie.

I was absolutely spoiled when I was out in Napa, and I want to thank the Napa Downtown Association, again, for arranging such an amazing trip!

Carpe Diem Wine Bar
1001 2nd Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 224-0800 | Online Reservations | Map

Carpe Diem Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Taste As You Go Disclaimer: I was provided with the opportunity to travel to Napa on this press trip at no cost to me. I did not accept monetary compensation for writing about the trip or about my experiences while in Napa. All opinions expressed are my own.

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