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Okay, so not everyone has what could be defined as an outdoor kitchen. But just about everyone has some means of both cooking and entertaining outdoors. And Napa Valley offers some of the choicest views and scenery for hosting an outdoor get-together.

And when it comes to outdoor cooking, you can never go wrong with barbecue.

The reality is that even the smallest outdoor living space can be transformed into an attractive space for entertaining outdoors. And, while not all spaces can accommodate a full-blown outdoor kitchen like Guy Fieri’s out in Sonoma County, even a humble barbecue grill can become the centerpiece of a compact “designer” outdoor kitchen area.


Some Quick Tips for Designing or Improving Your Outdoor Kitchen Set Up

Of course, as real estate professionals and residential contractors are well aware, outdoor kitchens have been something of a home improvement trend for a while now.

According to Forbes magazine, for example, “outdoor kitchens and living areas are trending strongly and richly, with more enhancements than ever before”. And a recent American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey highlighted the popularity of outdoor kitchen additions.

But what if you have a small space or a small budget? No worries! There’s much you can do to create a veritable outdoor cooking paradise for your outdoor entertaining.

For example, here are some great tips we like from The Spruce,

Assess the Available Space

If you live on a sprawling lot with lots of acreage, then your challenge might be making sure you don’t have to walk too far from the house to fire up the grill. Most properties are smaller, presenting fewer choices for the location of a grill and an outdoor kitchen area.

Choose Between Permanent and Portable Options

If you rent or plan to move in the next few years, it’s best to equip your outdoor kitchen with appliances and features that can move with you. If you don’t see yourself moving (or you simply love DIY projects), then an outdoor kitchen might be a satisfying project for you to design and build.

Understand Your Preferred Cooking Styles

Do you love grilled fish or a hamburger cooked over a charcoal barbecue? What about pizza cooked in an outdoor brick oven? Is a tandoor or a smoker preferable? An outdoor kitchen can include anything from a gas, propane, electric, or charcoal grill to various ovens, stoves, and griddles. If all preparations will take place in your outdoor kitchen, you’ll likely need to save room in the budget (and your space) for a counter and a sink.

And the folks over at HGTV have a few recommendations, as well:

  • Select low-maintenance materials and equipment designed to withstand the rigors of an outdoor kitchen.
  • Extend the outdoor entertaining season with heaters, shade, and rain shelter.
  • Incorporate music and other entertainment so the homeowner doesn’t face the design challenge of adding it later.
  • Provide adequate task lighting as well as ambient lighting to accommodate after-dark cooking and entertaining.

Outdoor Entertaining Napa Valley Style

We understand that this can mean many things to many people, but one thing that is quite likely a common factor is fine wine.

And choosing the right wine for your outdoor festivities should be fun – especially if you’re serving up some barbecue dishes for your guests.

As an article from Decanter advises,

“If you’re going big on the spice, then you could lean towards fruitier reds or whites with a touch of sweetness, such as off-dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer for example. Grilled salmon works well with a number of wines, from sparkling rosé to a light Pinot Noir or even a glass of chilled Manzanilla.

As outside temperatures warm up, you may be reluctant to pair beef with a full-bodied red, but a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or Shiraz could still work well providing it is served no warmer than room temperature.”

When entertaining outdoors at night, there are few things that can enhance the ambience than warm and varied outdoor lighting. While tiki torches may strike one as a bit gauche, a few of these scattered around the perimeter of your outdoor space can actually be quite festive.

Throw in some hanging lanterns and plenty of string lights and an otherwise pedestrian backyard can be magically transformed into a nighttime wonderland!

And don’t forget the music.

With the plethora of Bluetooth-compatible speakers available today it is quite possible to create your own surround-sound set up on a budget with a few speakers strategically places throughout your space.

Then there is the food…

Celebrate the Spirit of Napa Valley at Your Outdoor Get-Together

Outdoor entertaining almost always involves food and, oftentimes, the more the better.

But an informal get-together need not break the budget nor require days of preparation. Simply focusing on the elements of a great menu will make the entire event as enjoyable for you before and after as it will for your guests while they’re there.

For starters, your choice of appetizers will set the stage for what the main event of your menu. And a great Napa Valley style choice is a gourmet cheese board or charcuterie platter.

Agriculture of all types are the heart of Napa Valley so bringing seasonal produce to the table as much as possible is a great choice, as well. In fact, many fruit and vegetable items can also serve well as appetizers in addition to sides for your main course.

And when it comes to the main event, just think casual, informal, and easy-to-eat when it comes to main dishes – pizza and salads, for example can be relatively easy to prepare and make for great outdoor eating choices.

Finally, but just as importantly, consider sprucing up your tables and entertaining spaces with some seasonal décor.

Whatever is in bloom or handy in your garden can be used to dress your table, and a trip to Cal Mart can provide you with plenty of fresh flowers and plants to supplement whatever else you come up with on your own.

Your Local Source for Great Outdoor Entertaining Food and Supplies

Local Napa Wines and Craft Beers

You can find Cal Mart in the heart of Calistoga, in Napa Valley. Over the last five decades, Cal Mart has become a popular shopping destination for both locals and visitors.

At Cal Mart, we are quite proud of our legacy as a family-owned and independent grocery store. And Cal Mart has continued to provide an enjoyable, unique, and memorable shopping experience for our customers for over half a century now. Which we believe is a big part of why we are known as “Napa Valley’s Finest Grocery.”

In addition to our gourmet cheese department featuring dozens of premium imported cheeses, we also offer a wide variety of quality wines and craft beers, along with specialty foods items that are unique and hard to find, and beautiful gift baskets.

Cal Mart invites you to stop in soon and take some time to explore all that we have to offer. And while you’re here, please feel free to talk with our knowledgeable staff and then treat yourself to a cup of coffee or tea from our Coffee Bar.

And remember that at Cal Mart, you will always find something that is unexpected, unusual, and uncommon!