Stepping out of the car after an hour's drive from Berkeley, I was greeted by a brisk autumn breeze. Golden leaves littered the ground, and a medley of savory aromas invited me inside the quaint marketplace. I couldn’t wait to dig in.

Flora Huynh

Oxbow Public Market, located in the heart of downtown Napa, is a bustling hub for local food vendors to showcase their specialty creations. The aisles are stocked with a bounty of colorful produce and artisan goods. Gourmet delis, breweries, cafes, and the like offer a wide range of lunchtime options under one roof—a food lover’s dream. As a foodie myself, I was on a mission to sample as much as I could.

Fall Pizza

Remi Tateishi

My first stop was Live Fire Pizza. The menu displayed a variety of artisan pizzas, all wood-fired and a step above your ordinary pie. Unique flavors such as Calamari and Napa Vegan caught my eye; but with so many appetizing options, I finally opted for the seasonal Fall Pizza.

Topped with thinly sliced pears, blue cheese, walnuts, spinach, and a balsamic drizzle, the first bite of this pizza bursted with fall flavors. Each slice was incredibly well balanced: the soft pears and crunchy nuts made for a nice bite, while the salty-sweet combination of smoked mozzarella and balsamic tied the dish together. It’s safe to say that I’ve never had a pizza like this before. But after such a tasty experience, I wondered why more pizza joints don’t take advantage of seasonal produce.


Remi Tateishi

Aside from the delectable pie, I was also intrigued by Live Fire’s burrata antipasto. The starter dish paired pomegranate seeds, diced pears, and burrata cheese with toasted crostini and a drizzle of olive oil. I’d never tried burrata, and as a self-proclaimed cheese lover, ordering it was a no-brainer.

The crisp pear enveloped with rich, creamy cheese was one of my favorite bites of the day. Once again, fall produce shone in this dish, proving that the marker of a great restaurant is its ability to highlight seasonal fruits and vegetables in its recipes. Both pears and pomegranates are autumn staples and combining them with fresh burrata at their peak ripeness made for a mouth-watering moment of satisfaction.

#SpoonTip: Scoop some burrata on top of the pizza for an extra cheesy bite! To break up the savoriness, sprinkling on some pomegranate seeds adds a bright pop of flavor.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Flora Huynh

After devouring my decadent lunch spread, I desperately craved some dessert. Luckily for us, Model Bakery offered a warm assortment of freshly baked goods. I decided to go with a classic chocolate chip cookie to end the day on a sweet note. This nostalgic delight was slightly crisp on the edges, soft in the middle, and all around ooey, gooey, chewy goodness (as well as sugary relief from all the salty cheese from earlier).

Also, I couldn’t complete my fall food rounds without an iced pumpkin latte. While I’m not usually a fan of pumpkin spice, I’ll admit that this sweet, earthy drink put me in an autumnal mood. Hints of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon enhanced the coffee’s sweetness and cleansed my palate—these subtle undertones made for a refreshingly festive rendition of the classic milk and cookies duo.

With a long day of eating behind me, I returned home with my fall cravings fulfilled. On my next trip up north, I'll be sure to sample from the vendors I missed, such as Anette’s Chocolates and El Porteño Empanadas. Oxbow Market is a must-see for my fellow food enthusiasts. Whether it be this season or next, a foodie day trip to Napa should definitely be added to your fall bucket list.