Culinary Resurection in Napa

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Sixteen years ago Copia opeed in Napa to great fanfare. A new temple to fine cuisine, with a museum, restaurant, classrooms and amphitheater.  It was a glorious idea, that led to glorious failure.  The place closed in 2008.

A facility that beautiful is too good to stay empty.  The Culinary Institute of America, CIA, has taken over the building and is now operating their school, a fine dining restaurant, a store, an event facility and anything else they can think of to pay the mortgage.

They had a big open house this weekend, so we piled into the car, drove to Sigrid’s house, picked her up, left the our dog with hers and went to see the show.

The building is beautiful, as it always was.  On First street, right next to the Ox Bow Market.  Parking is a huge pain.

Right by the front door is the store. Think of it as FAO Schwarz for grown ups.

Inside the central gallery, various wine makers had been invited to show off their wares.

copia-3Industrial design extends to the small items, like stand-up tables for the guests:

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Some people attended a class/demonstration on fancy cocktails, afterward staff was passing out tiny samples.  I decided to try a margarita:

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The cutest 1/4 ounce drink glass ever.

Overall, the building is pretty and the store could cause serious damage to my credit cards.  The CIA will be offering classes ranging from a couple of hours to an entire multi-year professional chefs school.  We are seriously interested in trying the restaurant ASAP.  I was unimpressed by their marketing efforts–there was no attempt made to collect email addresses, a simple standard action to keep in touch with potential customers.

After visiting Copia, we went back to Sigrid’s house for dinner.  I’ve shown plenty of third-rate meals here; it’s a pleasure to feature the first rate chicken we enjoyed Chez Sigrid. Good luck getting a reservation, you have to know the owner.

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Chicken with cherry sauce, ala sigrid

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2 thoughts on “Culinary Resurection in Napa

  1. Cool post! It’s nice to see such a festive and well-attended opening. We live in Napa but were up in Oregon this past weekend and missed all the fun. We’ve eaten at the Conservatory (at the main St. Helena campus) but haven’t tried the new restaurant at Copia yet. Anyway – thanks for sharing, and if you need any ideas what to do in Napa …check out our wine country blog: http://www.topochinesvino.com.

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