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Sonoma/SF Report (long)

Sku | Jul 8, 200408:32 PM

LA hound and Sonoma native sku here, with a report from my almost over bay area vacation.

I was based in Sonoma so did most of our dining there. A few notes and comments on special places I went:

Sonoma Saveurs - Wow! Sonoma Saveurs, which is operated by the owners of Sonoma Foie Gras serves truly astounding Foie gras dishes. I had the trio: tourchon, turrine and seared. It was lucious, the best fg I've had. All of the dishes were perfectly seasoned, with fruit compotes on the side rather than drenched on top so you could enjoy the pure fg. It's hard to find words to describe the creamy terrine, the perfectly seared slices - you will savor every bite and wish it could last forever. Sandwiches (smoked duck and chicken/bacon) were fine, but if I went again I would have fois gras and salad (which had a nice light vinegary dressing) and skip the main dish. For a remarkable though non-politically correct culinary experience - check it out!

Girl and the Fig: This was my second visit the G&F. They do some of the best duck confit I've had, perfectly crispy without being greasy. Unfortunately they weren't offering their fabulous pot de creme.

Sonoma Market: When I was growing up, Sonoma Market, on West Napa street was called Valley Mart and was a good basic grocery store with a good meat and fish section. In the late '80s it was bought and turned into Sonoma Market and every time I revisit it, it has improved. This time I found beautiful serres ranch blueberries, huge sweet and flavorful in what I thought was out of season. And they carry two of my favorite SoCal ice creams: Dr. Bob's and McConnells, which I would have to travel to two different stores to get in LA!

The Cheesemaker's daughter: New cheese store on Napa, small but nice selection. I picked up an excellent Robiola.

Tonight we hit La Selette, which was one of my favorites but I haven't been in a few years, not since they moved to the Sonoma plaza location.

Juanitas still serves great non-greasy Mexican food at Grove and Arnold. Chorizo, chili verde and carnitas were all great, plus crispy chips and a nice homemade salsa verde.

Random bay area notes: We did some excursions into SF/East Bay, here's the best:

XOX Truffels on Columbus and North Beach. Wonderful, melt in your mouth truffels, skip the flavors and get dark chocolate (though both Amaretto and Creme de Menthe were tasty).

Tokyo Fish Market on San Pablo in Berkeley: picked up some wonderful sashimi here: the best was a domestic albacore tuna.

D&M Liquors (Filmore at Sacramento): wonderful selection of single malts with knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff.

Tom Kian (spelling? - Geary and 22nd). I'm a dim sum addict. I know y'all San Franciscans know and love the dim sum here and I'd been a few years ago, but now, having tried a wealth of places in our own San Gabriel valley I can report that even with that competition Tom Kian is among the best dim sum that I've had in California - we went twice. My favorites: snow pea greens, string beans, shrimp and chive dumplings (look like little buttons).

Thanks to all SF and North Bay hounds for maintaining a fabulous dining scene.

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