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Lunch in Santa Rosa, CA

Before heading to the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco recently, I spent a delightful couple of days in Sonoma with Jon and friends tasting some of the best food and wine the valley had to offer.  Driving from San Francisco to the Sonoma Valley we anxiously anticipated a day of wine tasting, but thought it best to first have a little something to eat.

From the back seat of a Crown Victoria (really? thank you Thrifty Car Rental), our friend Janan (The Cake Diva [1]) frantically “goolged” restaurants in the area and came up with the girl and the fig [2]. What a delightful find!  The patio was covered and heated so we were able to enjoy lunch al fresco and sans coats, allowing our bodies to thaw a bit from the Minnesota cold.  Our waiter was a pleasure with which to chat and very knowledgeable not only with the menu that had been set before us, but other places to enjoy great dining in the area.  (I’ll post her suggestions on my blog sidebar.)

Ironically, but not surprising, I ordered a glass of French rosé from Domaine de Nizas 2011.  Hey it was the only rosé on the menu and with an 80 degree differential within hours, it felt like summer!  Of course after just a sip from my glass Janan had to order a glass for herself.  It was so delicious, bursting with fruit but yet with a balance of acidity.  It paired perfectly with the house-made charcuterie platter that was the entreé to our lunch.

Not remembering if we ordered the fig & arugula salad, but now looking a the menu, I wish we had as it included toasted pecans, dried figs, in-house pancetta, laura chenel chèvre with a fig and port vinaigrette. For our ‘plat principal’ David, Janan’s husband, and I both ordered the duck confit; one leg each not two with sweet potato lyonnaise, bacon and Brussels sprouts.  I confess I wanted to see if their confit was as good as mine.  I have to admit it was right on the mark – tender from the bone and full of flavor.  Jon savored the oxtail risotto and Janan enjoyed their signature beef carpaccio.

We had a tad more room to enjoy a cheese course. I was surprised that, of the ten choices of fromage on the menu, six were from France.  Looking at their website I now understand why as their by-line is “country food with a French passion”.  We were delighted with our choices which included L’Édel de Cleron, a pasteurized version of the famous Vacherin Mont d’Or, the famous Laura Chenel Chèvre with its creamy texture and delicate flavor, and the Petit Agour, a raw sheep’s milk, supple, smooth and pale ivory in color.

It was a difficult decision to not conclude our lunch with one of the desserts on the menu.  A few of our options were a Meyer lemon trifle with Meyer lemon curd, lemon chiffon, huckleberry compote, and almond meringue; a walnut clafouti with fromage blanc ice cream, brandy caramel, and candied walnuts; a chocolate caramel tart with salted caramel ice cream; or a lavender crème brûlée.  Alas, it was none of the above as Sonoma’s tasting rooms were calling. Reflecting on all the desserts we ordered in other restaurants during our bay area visit, I’m guessing any of these would have out-shined them all.  I would highly recommend this gem for lunch or dinner if you are anywhere near Santa Rosa, CA. 110 West Spain Street, Sonoma, CA 95476. 707.938.3634.

Next Blogs: Wine Tasting in Sonoma, Dinner at Bouchon, and Restaurants in San Francisco