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Restaurants & Bars 8

Two nights and three days in Sonoma (Maya, General's Daughter, Sonoma Market and EdKs)

Cecelia | Nov 30, 200505:55 PM

Let me start by saying, “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” This to rworange whose many reports I’ve loved but one in particular I have to disagree with. But to the beginning.

My husband and a couple of friends spent Sunday through Tuesday at the Sonoma Mission Inn and ate at four different Sonoma fooderies: Maya on the Plaza; General's Daughter off of Spain Street, the Sonoma Market on the main drag and EdK on the Plaza (the old Piatti’s space). Of these four meals, if you took bits and pieces from each, you’d have one brilliant dining experience.

First, Maya. Pretty recently opened, I think. South of the California border food. Not near the quality of Fonda in Albany/Berkeley or Tamarindo in Oakland. The chips were hot and crispy but didn’t seem home made. And everything, absolutely everything, was bland. I ordered Tortilla Soup. It had a nice limey tang to it, but was otherwise missing any Umph. The same went for the Chicken Nachos, the Tlacayos (chicken mode verde filled massa with queso fresco), and the chili relleno (pasilla pepper stuffed with habanero (?) jack cheese. On the plus side, the house margaritas were great—no mixes here. And, they have a large selection of tequilas (but not one of my favorites, Tres Generaciones).


That evening we had dinner at General’s Daughter. I’ve been avoiding that restaurant for a while, but I read some pretty hot reviews here, so I dragged my husband and friends there for dinner. O’k, maybe we shouldn’t have ordered fish/seafood on a Sunday night. But at this caliber of a restaurant, we really didn’t have any misgivings.

The service was terrific. Our waiter was friendly and attentive. The bread was to die for. GD’s serves these warm rolls with a cheesy butter that’s drizzled with an amazing, fruity olive oil.

We started with the oysters on the half-shell. I was a bit surprised that the waiter didn’t identify the varieties being served because they were not identified on the menu. They weren’t sweet. Not bad fishy, but not that sweet freshness I love in a good oyster.

My husband and I shared the Romaine Salad with smoked bacon, roasted garlic, and a blue cheese vinaigrette. The greens were crisp, but the dressing had no flavor.

My girlfriend ordered the fois gras as her first course and the romaine salad for her second. Served “turchon” style, the fois gras (accompanied with figs and a port reduction) was amazing. Thank god I sat next to Kristen—I totally bogarted her f.g. In fact, my husband and I recommended that she cancel her romaine salad and go for another order of fois gras, which she did and I am eternally thankful. The second order of f.g. came with a different accompaniment – quince paste, I think, and a pomegranate jelly – but was just as fabulous. BTW, the wait staff had no problem with the order change.

My other friend ordered the rock shrimp and grits for her first course. Again, the shrimp were perfectly cooked, but lacked the sweetness I look for.

For the main course, I ordered the Flat Iron steak with pommes frites and a béarnaise aioli. Pretty tasty aioli, but the meat wasn’t very tender.

Kristen ordered the Orange Chipotle Glazed Sonoma Duck Breast with corn, bacon, and shitake mushrooms. The duck was perfect. The risotto over which it was served, however, was lumpy, a bit undercooked, not creamy, and tasted overwhelmingly of dill.

My husband ordered one of the specials for the night: Petrale Sole. It was breaded. ‘Nuff said.


The next day, Steph and I walked to Sonoma Market. Now, there’s a place to eat…and eat…and eat. After wandering around for the good part of an hour, we settled on a grilled chicken taco (nicely spiced and with a good tomatillo salsa, but tortillas not homemade), a roasted turkey breast sandwich with cranberry sauce on sour dough (moist meat and great pickles) and a salami and provolone sandwich (again tasty).


That evening we ate at Ed K. I think another recent entree to the Sonoma eating scene. I started with a Prickly Pear Margarita which Kristen says is the best margarita she’s ever had, and I agree. You could actually taste the different flavors in the drink: triple sec, tequila, pomegranate juice and prickly pear (liquor?).

We shared the Curry Frito Misto and all of us loved it. Apples, cauliflower, broccoli and squash were crispy with a curry aioli. We also shared the white truffle and parmesan frites. To. Die. For.

We also tried the Caesar Provencal—romaine lettuce, marinated cucumbers and nicoise olives. The cucumbers were an odd addition and the dressing was very mayonaisy.

I ordered the forest mushroom pizza. It arrived late, was cold and the crust was soggy. I asked that it go away and the wait person agreed without demur.

My husband’s entrée was the gnocchi. Served with mushrooms, pomegranate molasses, pumpkin seeds in a pumpkin sauce, it was actually very good (if a bit odd)

Jill ordered the sirloin beef and glazed short ribs. According to J., the ribs were brilliant.

We went overboard on the desserts. I had the cheese plate. The cheeses weren’t id’d on the menu and the wait person didn’t know what they were when I asked. Hmmm. But they were very tasty. The pecan tart, the pot de crème and the warm chocolate cake were demolished.

(I couldn’t find the website)

So, if I could pick and choose:

Drinks: several drinks, one from Maya and the Prickly Pear from EdK;

Bread: the rolls with butter and olive oil at General’s Daughter;

Appetizers: the fois gras turchon from General’s Daughter; the curry fritto misto and the parmesan fries from EdKs;

Main course: turkey sandwich and the salami sandwich from Sonoma Market;

Dessert: Ed’s Pot de crème.


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