I will be in Santa Rosa for a few days next month and am hoping to do some serious eating there and in the bay area. I usually try to read through boards before posting, but I'm completely overwhelmed by how big the area is and how much awesome food there is. So I figured I would post as much info as possible about what I like and see if you all could help me out.
I will travel great distances for good vietnamese food and neopolitan / New Haven style pizza. I also really like cocktails, both classics (aviation, jack rose, manhattans) and newer stuff (in particular all of Lucy Brennan's drinks at Mint & 820 in Portland). I love spicy food, esp. indian and szechuan. Oh, and I would definitely like to get some good bread while I'm there. Boston is slightly lacking in this department. I don't like sourdough (sorry, San Francisco!), but I love rustic breads, ciabatta, baguettes, etc.
I am setting aside some money for food in CA, but generally prefer more casual places. So fun cheap eats and moderately priced places would be best. I don't mind if a place is a bit of a dive or hole-in-the-wall.
Places I've enjoyed on previous trips to the bay area include A-16, Pizetta 211, the cafe at Chez Panisse, LeCheval.
I think I'd like to go to Zuni Cafe, since I love the cookbook so much. I wouldn't mind going back to A-16. But I definitely would like some new ideas (and cheap ideas) as well as suggestions for places in Santa Rosa, Napa, etc. Even though I'll only be able to hit a couple places on this trip, I definitely will be back to visit, so I very much appreciate any suggestions for this trip or future ones.