I just got back from a trip through Mendocino and Sonoma. I had picked up restaurant recommendations from Chowhound before visiting and here's how it went...
Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino
This was our first stop and got us off to a great start. We had some local wines and we were able to visit one of the wineries as we drove through the Anderson Valley the next day. (Navarro) The favorite dish we ate was the spinach, goat cheese and bacon salad. The duck and the sturgeon were also excellent.
Manzanita in Healdsburg
This was the one restaurant that we came upon without a plan and it was not the favorite. We had a pretty tasty pizza, but the burger was overcooked. It is a pet peeve of mine to get a well done burger after the server has gone out of the way to ask how we want the burger cooked (medium).
Cafe La Hait in Sonoma
The whole meal was great, but the best part was the perfectly balanced scallop appetizer with shaved brussel sprouts, golden raisins and mustard. We were here on an off season Tuesday night and the place was very busy, even later in the evening. Any other time we wouldn't have been lucky enough to get a table with short notice.
The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma
We had lunch here: omelette with duck confit, grilled onion and goat cheese; moules frites and an arugula salad with fig, chevre and pancetta. The salad was the highlight, but everything was good. We also enjoyed a few different wine flights which included local wines with French versions of the same style or varietal. A good way to showcase wines and point out the local flavor.
The General's Daughter in Sonoma
We had a few great meals, but this was by far the best. This place is well organized and the staff float through the rooms in a brilliant display of cooperation. We had four courses with wines very nicely paired by the sommelier. She came by just before each course with a brief explanation of each wine and why it was chosen for its dish. The food was carefully prepared and there were many combinations that were slightly unusual, but perfectly balanced. The very best dish was the huckleberry souffle with citrus custard. The custard was a perfect counterpoint to the intensely berry flavored but perfectly light souffle. It was a beautiful thing... one of the best things I have ever eaten.
Thanks for all the great recommendations Chowhounds. I can't wait to come back.
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