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Wine and Swine bbq, Valley Ford

moto | Sep 11, 201303:00 AM

early last Fri afternoon we were in Freestone on the Bohemian highway, returning on foot from Owen Mueller's artisan cheese shop (reviewed on this board), and saw a truck with a fairly long trailer consisting of bbq smokers headed toward Occidental. figured it was going there for the Fri farmer's market, and we'd spot it when we headed over.

we were already committed to getting a plate of Gerard's famous paella, still only ten bucks for a big heap. we arrived shortly before the final assembly of the chicken-seafood paella (he was doing two, the other vegan), so there were three pans simmering, one with calamari going separately from the bigger pan with the rice, chick peas, peppers, chicken. the finished dish included the calamari, as well as shrimp and mussels (a single mussel was in our serving). it was perfect and balanced as always. my wife doesn't care for the taste of saffron, and Gerard's light touch makes this her favorite paella by far. whether it's his superior technique or the size of his pans that give him an advantage, his paella is also less oily than other very good versions we've had in Oakland restaurants. our wine for the evening, a godello from Bierzo, was an ideal complement for the paella, and its refreshing acidity and complexity made it compatible with the other courses from the market as well.

as for the Wine and Swine bbq, everything they offered looked good, but only sampled the 'Texas style' beef brisket and the roasted sweet corn on the cob with cotija cheese and a dusting of chili spice mix. two sauces were offered on the side, chose the spicy one which was tomato based and acceptable though essentially superfluous. a generous heap of tender, moist, flavorful brisket was eight or nine bucks, and the two slices of white bread with it were not the usual commercial, soft and spongy things that many bbq places serve. the corn was outstanding too. the home base of Wine and Swine is Rocker Oysterfeller in Valley Ford, whose dinner menu features a couple of their meats including the brisket.

we also tried an excellent grilled peach salad from another stand that we've encountered at the Healdsburg (Sat.) and Sebastopol (Sun.) farmers' markets. their featured dish (not sampled) was a spectacular looking, three inch thick heirloom tomato b.l.t. featuring heritage bacon.

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