I've been meaning to write about Lauren's Restaurant in Boonville for some time. Boonville is in the Anderson Valley. It is a small town of about 700 souls on the road to the Mendocino Coast. If you've ever driven to the town of Mendocino you most likely drove through Boonville.
Anderson Valley is now a big deal in the wine world, especially Pinot Noir. When the owner of Silver Oak Vineyard was still alive he told me that this valley may just be the greatest place to grow Pinot Noir in the country.
Fortunately, the town is not a big deal. Quite the opposite. That is what makes Lauren's restaurant so great. No phony airs like with the Boonville Hotel. I'm not saying the Hotel can't come up with a great meal, it's just that the menu hasn't changed much in the last fifteen years and the place is always for sale. Not very encouraging. At least to me.
As to Lauren's. Well, it is great food using local organic ingredients when ever possible. The pasta with organic tomatoes from local Brock Farms is to die for when the tomatoes are in season. There is a sliced steak dish with horseradish sauce and au Gratin Potatoes that will also knock you out.
Lauren doesn't take credit cards but she will gladly take a check so that is not a problem. Also, on Thursday nights at 9pm the locals play live music. Not great music but it is so much fun to hear them play that it makes up for not being great.
Several local wines are on the menu by the glass or bottle, plus you can order the great local Boonville Beer.
Take some time this summer to check out Boonville. Stay at the Sheep Dung Estates which is dog friendly or at the Hotel, or at the Anderson Creek Inn or just camp at Hendy Woods State Park. Also, be sure to visit some of the tasting rooms.
Try Lazy Creek, Black Kite, Navarro Vineyards, Goldeneye, Toulouse Vineyards, or any of the other dozens of first rate tasting rooms.