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Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Er€z _ L.
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#201 Post by Er€z _ L. » June 4th, 2015, 7:43 am

I wanted to highlight from the recommendations here a dinner at dry creek kitchen, Healdsburg. On the upper scale (dollar wise) but they have excellent choices, wonderful tasting menu (will try next time) and good wine list (actually we did half a bottle that worked really well). IIRC, they do allow to bring wine for a corkage fee (can someone double-check me next time?)
For Kenwood, I'd like to vote as well for St. Jean visit (the private library tasting is not on the cheap side, but is well worth it, and effectively you get a private tour because it is hardly ever booked in full). I would add a vote to Littorai and Stonestreet. I would recommend Rodney Strong, especially when certain tour guides are there (great knowledge), but I would recommend skipping J vineyards (too crowded usually and was not impressed by the tour).
Great thread, keep it update!
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#202 Post by Brian Tuite » June 4th, 2015, 7:46 am

Er€z _ L. wrote:I wanted to highlight from the recommendations here a dinner at dry creek kitchen, Healdsburg. On the upper scale (dollar wise) but they have excellent choices, wonderful tasting menu (will try next time) and good wine list (actually we did half a bottle that worked really well). IIRC, they do allow to bring wine for a corkage fee (can someone double-check me next time?)
For Kenwood, I'd like to vote as well for St. Jean visit (the private library tasting is not on the cheap side, but is well worth it, and effectively you get a private tour because it is hardly ever booked in full). I would add a vote to Littorai and Stonestreet. I would recommend Rodney Strong, especially when certain tour guides are there (great knowledge), but I would recommend skipping J vineyards (too crowded usually and was not impressed by the tour).
Great thread, keep it update!
I have yet to eat at a restaurant in Sonoma County, or the Bay Area for that matter, that did not allow BYO. It's common practice out here.
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#203 Post by Jeff Allison » June 21st, 2015, 9:25 am

Just got back from a couple days in Sonoma;

Gaige House in Glen Ellen - Amazing place to stay, especially in the Suites along the creek. Great pool and hot tub, nice breakfast every morning, spa services, wine and cheese tasting every night.

Girl and Fig - Great for lunch

Glen Ellen Market - Amazing selection of sandwiches for grab and go.

Sante @ SMI - Loved the meal, nice environment for a quiet delicious meal.

Glen Ellen Star - WOW. Can't wait to get back. Loved everything we tried. A must go to if in the area.

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#204 Post by Andrew Demaree » June 23rd, 2015, 9:24 pm

My wife and I visited Fisher Vineyards, on the Sonoma side of Spring Mountain, today and we highly recommend it. The property is simply gorgeous; our host, Jen, and the 4 members of the family whom we met were all warm and welcoming; and the wines were terrific.

As a cab guy, I was drawn to the three cab/cab blends we were poured (including an '06 Wedding Vineyard cab). But, the Syrah and Chardonnay were also excellent...and I say that as a guy who rarely gets excited about either of those grapes.

Definitely one to put on your itinerary if you're anywhere in the area.

Andy

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#205 Post by Brian Tuite » July 13th, 2015, 8:54 pm

Updated OP. Added Wind to Wine Festival (Petaluma Gap Winegrowers) in August
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#206 Post by Robert Kenney » July 30th, 2015, 6:19 pm

Jeff Allison wrote:Just got back from a couple days in Sonoma;

Gaige House in Glen Ellen - Amazing place to stay, especially in the Suites along the creek. Great pool and hot tub, nice breakfast every morning, spa services, wine and cheese tasting every night.

Girl and Fig - Great for lunch

Glen Ellen Market - Amazing selection of sandwiches for grab and go.

Sante @ SMI - Loved the meal, nice environment for a quiet delicious meal.

Glen Ellen Star - WOW. Can't wait to get back. Loved everything we tried. A must go to if in the area.
LOVE Glen Ellen Star, and I just heard that Valette is lighting-up Healdsburg. I'm eager to go there, and to get back to Glen Ellen Star.

Best,

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#207 Post by M. Sai » August 3rd, 2015, 3:50 pm

Interesting - We visited Glen Ellen Star twice within six months of opening and thought it was nothing to write home about. I guess we should revisit.

One 'new' place that isn't mentioned in this thread: Aventine in Glen Ellen. They opened last year in the very cool Grist Mill building. Well done Italian, great atmosphere.

There have been whispers in Sonoma that the people behind El Molino Central are in the planning stages for a wood fired pizza place...

I wait with bated breath. [swoon.gif]
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#208 Post by Brian Tuite » August 3rd, 2015, 4:34 pm

M. Sai wrote:Interesting - We visited Glen Ellen Star twice within six months of opening and thought it was nothing to write home about. I guess we should revisit.

One 'new' place that isn't mentioned in this thread: Aventine in Glen Ellen. They opened last year in the very cool Grist Mill building. Well done Italian, great atmosphere.

There have been whispers in Sonoma that the people behind El Molino Central are in the planning stages for a wood fired pizza place...

I wait with bated breath. [swoon.gif]
Thanks Mike, I'll add them when I get a chance.
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#209 Post by Robert Kenney » August 3rd, 2015, 6:20 pm

M. Sai wrote:Interesting - We visited Glen Ellen Star twice within six months of opening and thought it was nothing to write home about. I guess we should revisit.
...[swoon.gif]
If this matters [cheers.gif] : http://www.sonomanews.com/lifestyle/377 ... AmbOEoY.97

Not sure it does, but in any event, there it is.

Best,

Kenney

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#210 Post by M. Sai » August 4th, 2015, 4:06 pm

Robert Kenney wrote:
M. Sai wrote:Interesting - We visited Glen Ellen Star twice within six months of opening and thought it was nothing to write home about. I guess we should revisit.
If this matters [cheers.gif] : http://www.sonomanews.com/lifestyle/377 ... AmbOEoY.97

Not sure it does, but in any event, there it is.

Best,

Kenney
Thanks - we'll have to go back. Our main issue was how they utilized the pizza oven. They were roasting veggies (padron peppers, etc) in the oven next to the pizzas. It sounds like a great idea until you think about all the thermal energy that's being taken away from the pies. We found the pizza to be almost raw in the center on the first visit - however that was about a month after opening. We gave them the benefit of the doubt 4 or 5 months later and while it was better, still not fantastic.

We are spoiled by too many restaurants around here competing in the $100-per-couple price range...and we can count on being satisfied for $50 a few doors down at the Fig Cafe. Free corkage!
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#211 Post by Brian Tuite » August 4th, 2015, 5:43 pm

M. Sai wrote:
We are spoiled by too many restaurants around here competing in the $100-per-couple price range...and we can count on being satisfied for $50 a few doors down at the Fig Cafe. Free corkage!

Gospel! [worship.gif]
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#212 Post by Er€z _ L. » September 11th, 2015, 12:34 pm

I wanted to stop by the thread to say thank you for all the good input [cheers.gif]

My few thoughts of some of the listings-
Not showing up but highly recommend, Rodney Strong @ healdsburg
Shows up and highly recommended:
Fisher Vineyards (highly recommend in every aspect, shape and form) , Stonestreet (picnic! customer service!), St. Jean (library tasting is usually ending up being a private tour), Littorai (if you have patient with some over-excessive bio-dynamic explanation, well- they have very good wine and great views),
Showed up and are nice: Arrowood (It's hard for all to be at the very top. Maybe a library tasting would have made a difference), Ridge (I found them to be very crowded and they even overbook tours occasionally which was a surprise for me)
Showed up and I would not really recommend: Kenwood (sorry, not my cup of tea, nor my cup of customer service)

Food- Dry Creek Kitchen is a great deal. Lots of good places at the center of Healdsburg.
Sleep- The hyatt @ Santa Rosa provides surprisingly good QPR.

Thank you Brian (et. al) for the input. Good work [thankyou.gif]
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#213 Post by Brian Tuite » September 11th, 2015, 3:53 pm

Er€z _ L. wrote:I wanted to stop by the thread to say thank you for all the good input [cheers.gif]

My few thoughts of some of the listings-
Not showing up but highly recommend, Rodney Strong @ healdsburg
Hold on there Bucko... [scratch.gif]

RRV>Healdsburg>Old Redwood Hwy>
image.jpg
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Glad you found it worthwhile!
[cheers.gif]
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#214 Post by Er€z _ L. » September 14th, 2015, 8:36 am

Okay, Brian, I take it back... my fading memory newhere
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#215 Post by Danny L. » September 16th, 2015, 10:53 am

I'm visiting Sonoma in mid October. Does anyone have recommendations for fresh apple cider and/or cider donuts?
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#216 Post by Brian Tuite » September 16th, 2015, 12:27 pm

Apple season is waning. Alc or non-alc?
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#217 Post by Danny L. » September 16th, 2015, 2:34 pm

Brian Tuite wrote:Apple season is waning. Alc or non-alc?
Non-alcoholic.
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#218 Post by Brian Tuite » September 16th, 2015, 3:10 pm

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#219 Post by Danny L. » September 16th, 2015, 3:24 pm

L = Lo

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#220 Post by M. Sai » September 21st, 2015, 11:15 am

Quick update on Glen Ellen Star – Lauren and I had a late Anniversary dinner there on Saturday evening. The meal overall was quite good, with the lamb ragu being the “wow this is great!” stand-out. We also enjoyed the roasted corn kernels with cotija cheese and peppers, I do that dish fairly often at home but they managed to take it to a higher level. We ordered a pizza as well – which was better than what we’ve had in the past there, but not special.

We ate at the counter which gave us a better view of the activities around the oven – it is wood fired, however I could see on the digital thermometer on the oven and it was only running at about 575f-ish. That’s pretty low for pizza; my guess is that all the other items the cook in the oven can’t do the super high temps required to do a 90 second pie. They’ve obviously decided to use the oven as a multi-purpose cooker – the negativity here is really just me being disappointed. They have the tools to be a legit competitor to Rosso, which something that Sonoma Valley doesn’t have.

But overall, I'd say they're in the Top 10 in Sonoma Valley - maybe the Top 5.
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#221 Post by Anthony Venable » September 24th, 2015, 1:54 pm

Thanks for the useful and detailed guide. Will be visiting there soon.
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#222 Post by Rich Salsano » October 5th, 2015, 8:43 am

I will post a more detailed review when I get back home but I will say that Valette is now must go territory on future trips to Sonoma. Probably one of the best meals I have ever had in CA wine country. We did the 'trust me' menu and were not dissapointed. We each received 5 different courses and each one rocked.
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#223 Post by Marlo M » October 19th, 2015, 1:40 pm

Brian,

Like everyone, I'm thankful for the work you put in on this forum. My wife and I have been going up to Sonoma for the past 30 years and we still look to your sticky for suggestions. It's been a few years since we last hit Joseph Swann so we went up this past weekend. Going there makes me remember all again why I like this winery and the people there so much. Of wineries I enjoy, I always like to ask the staff if there are any new wineries that they would recommend or have come to their attention. The staff recommended Paul Mathews Winery in Graton. I don't know if I can post a link but here one is: http://www.paulmathewvineyards.com/index.html

They said that the Paul Mathews Winery has a similar approach to winemaking as Rod B. and Joseph Swann. The Paul Mathews Winery is just a storefront with a bar counter in Graton, not far down the road from Dutton-Goldfield. The wine maker is Mat Gustafson. My wife and I really enjoyed their pinots, lower alcohol, lighter, "low input, using only native yeast fermentation and natural malolactic fermentation and minimal S02 in barrel...bottled without fining or filtering...Production at Paul Mathew Vineyards is modest, not exceeding 2,000 cases annually." [cribbing the quote from Prince of Pinot]. The staff and Barb Gustafson (who is also a sommelier and wife of Mat) were personable and gave freely of their time. We felt that we found a winery that makes a great addition to other worthy RRV wineries. Would you please add them to your sticky of wineries. Thanks.
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#224 Post by Brian Tuite » October 19th, 2015, 2:32 pm

I had my first Paul Matthew Pinot last night. It was the Ruxton Vineyard Designate. It actually came across a little ripe for me. In reading the descriptions on the website it was the one I really wanted to try. It was nice but not memorable. The label listed at 14.5 alcohol. Not what I would consider low. I'll have to try some of the others.
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#225 Post by Marlo M » October 20th, 2015, 12:01 pm

The ones I enjoyed the most were the 2012 Bohemian (12.8% alcohol) and Horseshoe Bend Vineyard (HBV, 14.3%) Pinots. You mentioned the 14.5% of the Ruxton. I looked at the alcohol level for the 2012 Ruxton from their website and it shows as 13.3%. I don't know if this means that you tasted an earlier vintage than the 2012's I tasted and the winery has subsequently moved away from higher alcohol/riper wines. If you have a chance, give a try to the 2012 Bohemian and HBV a try.
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#226 Post by Richard Albert » October 27th, 2015, 5:16 pm

Turn left off 101--Healdsburg it a good left launch
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#227 Post by Leonard Maran » November 4th, 2015, 10:13 pm

Great reading through this thread. There is a quiet winery on, I believe, Vine Hill Road that has two annual tastings for mailing list customers, and I guess some other tastings. I hope they stay on the down low as they seem to be doing just fine with a low profile approach. There is also a Gay "resort" in Guerneville which has very good budget cabins. They are straight friendly but it is most def not for families with kids.

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#228 Post by richsmock » January 17th, 2016, 11:33 am

Hello everyone! Longtime lurker,first time poster. Just wanted to add Kinsella Estates to this list. If you are ever in the Healdsburg /Dry Creek area, please feel free to drop me a line at rich@kinsellaestates.com and come visit the Ranch!

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#229 Post by Brian Tuite » January 17th, 2016, 11:47 am

richsmock wrote:Hello everyone! Longtime lurker,first time poster. Just wanted to add Kinsella Estates to this list. If you are ever in the Healdsburg /Dry Creek area, please feel free to drop me a line at rich@kinsellaestates.com and come visit the Ranch!
Another TRB wine. Shocking! Adding to the index!
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#230 Post by k i r k_crow » January 22nd, 2016, 3:00 pm

Last time we were in the area we were cruising through Guerneville and ate at Boon Eat + Drink. really enjoyed our lunch and their wine selections.

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#231 Post by Brian Tuite » January 22nd, 2016, 3:18 pm

k i r k_crow wrote:Last time we were in the area we were cruising through Guerneville and ate at Boon Eat + Drink. really enjoyed our lunch and their wine selections.
Updated, thanks!
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#232 Post by RobCrowther » January 26th, 2016, 5:42 am

Do you guys have any recommendations for a nice dinner spot in Santa Rosa? Staying there and will be keen not to drive far after a long day of tasting (booked Littorai and Copain, open to other suggestions winery wise in that general area too).

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#233 Post by Brian Tuite » January 26th, 2016, 7:43 am

Hip, up-tempo...
Bird & the Bottle - Downtown
Spinster Sisters - South A Street _SOFA
Jackson's Bar and Oven - Railroad Square

Wine and dine... best value wine list in the County
Walter Hansel Bistro - West side, rural Guerneville Rd & Willowside
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#234 Post by P Schmidt » January 30th, 2016, 9:42 am

Let me drop in a recommendation for Limerick Lane. Really down to earth people and terrific wines. If you like the Carlise or Bedrock style, give em a shot. Arista is also a beautiful property. Just make an appointment with them. The tasting room is a bit like the Miles spit bucket scene in Sideways. The private appointments are worth it.
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#235 Post by Alex Lallos » February 5th, 2016, 2:05 pm

Jeff Allison wrote:Just got back from a couple days in Sonoma;

Gaige House in Glen Ellen - Amazing place to stay, especially in the Suites along the creek. Great pool and hot tub, nice breakfast every morning, spa services, wine and cheese tasting every night.

Girl and Fig - Great for lunch

Glen Ellen Market - Amazing selection of sandwiches for grab and go.

Sante @ SMI - Loved the meal, nice environment for a quiet delicious meal.

Glen Ellen Star - WOW. Can't wait to get back. Loved everything we tried. A must go to if in the area.
Honestly, not as 'posh' as some of these recommendations, be sure to try The Swiss Hotel in Sonoma (downtown) the food is EXCELLENT and well priced (so is the wine list). Mostly Italian food and California wines. Super cool ambiance and has a great bar!
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#236 Post by Brian Tuite » February 5th, 2016, 2:21 pm

Alex Lallos wrote:
Jeff Allison wrote:Just got back from a couple days in Sonoma;

Gaige House in Glen Ellen - Amazing place to stay, especially in the Suites along the creek. Great pool and hot tub, nice breakfast every morning, spa services, wine and cheese tasting every night.

Girl and Fig - Great for lunch

Glen Ellen Market - Amazing selection of sandwiches for grab and go.

Sante @ SMI - Loved the meal, nice environment for a quiet delicious meal.

Glen Ellen Star - WOW. Can't wait to get back. Loved everything we tried. A must go to if in the area.
Honestly, not as 'posh' as some of these recommendations, be sure to try The Swiss Hotel in Sonoma (downtown) the food is EXCELLENT and well priced (so is the wine list). Mostly Italian food and California wines. Super cool ambiance and has a great bar!
It's where a lot of locals go to hang out.
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#237 Post by Niv Nissenson » February 15th, 2016, 10:36 am


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#238 Post by Brian Tuite » February 15th, 2016, 11:54 am

Lime Stone is shopping. I'm not doing a shopping section but have at it! ;-)
The others are already in the database:
Bergamot Alley is listed under Wine Bars / Tasting Collectives - Hbg
Campo Fina and Chalkboard both listed under Restaurants - Hbg
Mauritson listed under Dry Creek Wineries
Pigs and Pinot listed under Annual Wine and Food Events - March

Thanks for sharing.
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#239 Post by Bud Carey » February 15th, 2016, 12:00 pm

Somebody's feeling a bit feisty today... :-) :-) :-)
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#240 Post by Brian Tuite » February 15th, 2016, 12:03 pm

Bud Carey wrote:Somebody's feeling a bit feisty today... :-) :-) :-)
[wink.gif]
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#241 Post by Kurt B e i t l e r » March 7th, 2016, 12:33 pm

Brian- I'm glad you've included one of my favorites: Peter Lowell's Restaurant in Sebastopol.

I find Lowell's food to be superbly crafted, delicious and wine friendly. Produce is often picked same-day and the house-made pastas are outstanding. Always a succulent beef/ lamb/ fish on the evening specials menu. PL's staff and atmosphere are friendly & inviting too. ;-)

Also, for those exploring Sonoma Coast area: Freestone Artisan Cheese is a must stop. Omar is a cheese savant and clearly loves sharing samples (gratis) and educating his customers. They also make savory and sweet crepes. A stone's throw from Phelps/ Freestone tasting room.
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#242 Post by M. Sai » March 7th, 2016, 5:05 pm

Brian Tuite wrote:
Alex Lallos wrote: Honestly, not as 'posh' as some of these recommendations, be sure to try The Swiss Hotel in Sonoma (downtown) the food is EXCELLENT and well priced (so is the wine list). Mostly Italian food and California wines. Super cool ambiance and has a great bar!
It's where a lot of locals go to hang out.
The best thing I can say about Swiss: I know a few local single guys who have been known to troll each week's fresh batch of bachelorette parties and bride's maids that end-up at Swiss...but that would be the only good thing.
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#243 Post by Oliver McCrum » March 16th, 2016, 11:51 am

Brian Tuite wrote:
Lime Stone is shopping. I'm not doing a shopping section but have at it! ;-)
The others are already in the database:
Bergamot Alley is listed under Wine Bars / Tasting Collectives - Hbg
Campo Fina and Chalkboard both listed under Restaurants - Hbg
Mauritson listed under Dry Creek Wineries
Pigs and Pinot listed under Annual Wine and Food Events - March

Thanks for sharing.
I am late to this thread, but I would add Scopa, in Healdsburg. Same owners as Campo Fina, different emphasis, same quality. Both Italian and CA wine.

In Geyserville, has Diavola been mentioned?
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#244 Post by Brian Tuite » March 16th, 2016, 1:59 pm

Diavola and Scopa are both listed in the restaurant section by city. Click the spoilers.
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#245 Post by Oliver McCrum » March 16th, 2016, 2:13 pm

Thanks.
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#246 Post by M. Sai » March 17th, 2016, 11:06 am

Updates on Sonoma Square:
For something different, Lauren and I ate at Delhi Belly (http://delhibellybistro.com/) for the first time a few nights ago. It’s located a half-block south on Broadway from the Square, next to the new Enkidu tasting room and across the street from the Williams Sonoma flagship store. The location seemed to be cursed in the past, with a constant rotation of ‘farm to table’ restaurants over the last five years. While not the typical cuisine that most are looking for while visiting wine country, the variety is a very welcome change for us. The food was great –a bit less spicy than I would like, but great flavor. We will be back, and hopefully they can take the heat/spice up a notch on request.

Also – Sonoma Grille opened a few months ago in the old Meritage Restaurant location, on Napa St., half block west from the Square. I’ve heard positive things, but we haven’t made it yet.

Updates on Off-Square Sonoma Dining:
Hot Box is closed. In its place is Cochon Volant BBQ Smoke House. The owner is an ‘interesting’ guy – read the Yelp reviews. BBQ style is crowd-friendly – I prefer a bolder style.

Rossi's 1906 – for something completely different. Texas BBQ and live music in the middle of a neighborhood in the ‘Springs’ area of Sonoma. The food is great (I prefer to Cochon Volant) – but don’t go if you’re looking for a quiet night, it gets loud once the band starts playing. There are a few nights a week with no music.

Update on Glen Ellen
I don’t see mention of Aventine in Glen Ellen – they’ve been open a year or more. The best Italian food in Sonoma Valley in a very cool historic building. The location is also quite large, so it’s one of the safest bets for getting a table last minute on the weekend.
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#247 Post by Brian Tuite » March 17th, 2016, 8:23 pm

Thanks Mike!

I stop at Rossi's occasionally for lunch. Quiet time at the bar. The Chicken Sando is great.

Image

Cochon Volante catered the 2nd HVS Tour and Dinner at Bedrock Vineyard a few years back. The brisket was tasty. O've been wanting to stop at the new location but it's always mid-late afternoon when I go past and that would interfere with my dinner.

I'll have to update the OP.

Stopped at WineBd today to pick up some stuff and almost stopped at Benchmark to pop my head in and say hi. Was running behind schedule though.
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#248 Post by M. Sai » March 18th, 2016, 10:07 am

Hey Brian - good call on Rossi's for lunch. I'm not a huge fan of loud music venues, but that would be a good way to go. I'm always a fan of the food when we go.

Cochon Volante isn't bad, the Carolina Pulled Pork is actually quite tasty. But there seems to be a sweet edge to almost everything - even the breading on the fried chicken. Give me spice before sugar!

You need to come by and browse the Bottleshop - stock levels go up and down, but there is usually some screaming deals to be had on drinkers that aren't posted on the website.
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#249 Post by John Oglesby » April 22nd, 2016, 4:54 pm

For Sonoma Square dining - has anyone been to Harvest Moon Cafe lately? I've always loved the place... but it's been forever since I've been there.
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#250 Post by Paul Luckin » April 22nd, 2016, 5:02 pm

John Oglesby wrote:For Sonoma Square dining - has anyone been to Harvest Moon Cafe lately? I've always loved the place... but it's been forever since I've been there.
yes. still very good.
\m/ >_< \m/

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