The stand-alone building on Dry Creek Road near the freeway occupied by Wild Sage Delicatessen has been home to a mishmosh of delis and lunch counters through the years. None left much of an impression on my taste memory, making it understandable that I was in no hurry to try out the current occupant. Then this sign offering “Coffee & Empanadas from 6:00 AM” showed up in the last year. Still, even that teaser was too easy to ignore.
Then this month, Wild Sage came to mind for a grab-n-go savory snack for an early start to a road trip. Stepping inside, the first thing I noticed was that the deli was busy on a Sunday morning and seemed to have regulars, unlike its predecessors. The interior was lighter and brighter with neat display cases of freshly prepared food, including many types of empanadas. And what a difference it made to be waited on by the friendly owner, who answered my questions about the empanadas and explained that they had a catering background before opening here and that they baked and prep from scratch.
Described as an Argentine-style salteña on the menu, I asked if the beef-filled empanada was indeed a traditional salteña with broth inside. The answer was "no". But this is a tasty picadillo filling flecked with diced potatoes, a bit of red pepper and gently seasoned. I’d had one bite in the parking lot before starting the car, and liked it so much I polished off the rest before heading out.
The Chorizo and egg empanada was rather mild in taste, but revved up with the accompanying chili-ginger aioli.
The empanadas have an egg-washed shine on the bread-y crust and taste freshly baked. A couple thoughtful touches show these people understand how to pack take-out. The paper envelope for the empanadas were marked so that I could tell which was which, and a wooden coffee stirrer was tucked in as a utensil for spreading the aioli.
The deli’s website is still under construction but the sandwich menu can be viewed at http://www.healdsburgmenus.com/html/d... . While I haven’t had a chance to return yet, I have a good feeling about this spot. The location certainly makes the deli a convenient stop to pick up provisions for a day of wine tasting in Dry Creek or Alexander Valley. Even more important, the quality of food is the reason to check out Wild Sage Delicatessen.
Wild Sage Delicatessen
177 Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448
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