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Jul 23, 2001 03:45 AM

Rocky Rangers @ Oliver's

  • m

My friends apologized for "throwing dinner together" tonight on the patio of their hilltop home. I wish that more people had such good aim!

They'd picked up a couple of rotisserie-grilled Rocky Ranger chickens at Oliver's Market (560 Montecito Center, Santa Rosa). Redolent with rosemary and garlic, these birds were done to a turn with tender flesh and crisp golden skin.

The chickens were hand-shredded and combined with red leaf lettuce, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes from the garden for a hearty salad served room temperature. All pulled together with a tangy dressing of Meyer lemon juice and zest, local EVOO, a bit of mustard and lots of fresh ground pepper. Accompanied with warm slices of summer squash off the grill, this was a complete meal served with a glass of 1994 Kuentz-Bas Reserve Personelle Pinot Gris and the fruity and the exuberant 2000 barrel sample of Cabernet Franc from their vineyard.

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  1. j
    Jennifer Fish Wilson

    Melanie: Sounds great. Let's have our next Chowhounders' dinner @ your friends' house! Seriously--would anyone be interested in getting together at one of our houses and cooking a meal?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Jennifer Fish Wilson

      i am definately game and would be willing to offer my home. i probably should check with the "other", but we have room and a yard with a weber, only drawback is it's summer in san francisco. maybe a warmer sept. date would be in order here. but no i think the idea of getting together and sharing a home cooked meal is a great one.

      We've also been seriously bouncing around the idea of getting together in gg park for a big picnic where we could accomodate a much larger gathering with everyone contributing a dish, grilling, games, etc. so that's another option as well.

      1. re: Rochelle

        Rochelle and Jennifer, a pot luck is a wonderful idea, especially with so many good cooks on this board. It does take more coordination than getting together at a restaurant, but also gives us more time to visit and the chance to share food in a different way. We're lucky to have such great take-out options, those who don't know how or are not inclined to cook can easily buy something for their contribution.

        I would vote for a bigger public space to let the children run around. Also, chowhounds who might be a little shy about joining an event at a private home would be more likely to attend. Maybe we can tie this with the launch of the ChowMarket, t-shirts, badges, etc.

        One suggestion for a picnic area is Hog Island Oysters in Tomales Bay (link below). This destination is a chow outing in itself. Stop at Cowgirl Creamery on the way for cheeses and picnic supplies, grill by the sea and slurp the area's best oysters by the bucket.


        1. re: Melanie Wong


          great idea about hog island. i've got a little time this week so may be able to take a little trip out there to check it out. without seeing it my only concerns are that there be plenty of room to accomodate all the hungry hounds i would hope would attend, that the pups have a place to run around (as you mentioned) and that we really be able to make a day out of it so as to have time to get to know one another better. i'll get back to the board re: my scouting as soon as i'm back from the adventure. ah, the thought of fresh oysters....


          1. re: Rochelle

            You and I could probably split a 100-count bucket between us!

            Here's another account, written by Vanessa Barrington of the Jimtown Store who used to post here.


    2. r
      Randy Salenfriend

      Just polished off a fabulous grilled chicken sandwich from Oliver's in Cotati. They use the chicken from the attached taqueria, marinated in lime juice, redolent with fragrant Mexican Oregano. Loaded into a sourdough roll, with dijon, mayo, lettuce,tomatoes, pickles and pepperoncini. It felt as if it weighed over 1 lb. I must confess that I ate it all at my desk and managed to escape without even a trace of a spill on my shirt.
      I know it was just a sandwich but oh the quality and the flavors.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Randy Salenfriend

        Boy that sounds good! Congrats on being so neat, you must do your own shirts. (g)

        I'm glad I mentioned Oliver's which hasn't been discussed on this board much if ever. MarkB posted on it too.

        What else do you like there?

        1. re: Melanie Wong
          Randy Salenfriend

          Thanks for the props, would that I could be so neat when eating blueberry yogurt! Unfortunately, I do not get a chance to visit Oliver's as often as in the past. This was my first opportunity in quite some time.

          I have enjoyed their burritos, both carne asada and the aforementioned pollo asado,with a nice fresh salsa cruda, choice of tortillas and beans and on a couple of occasions, a salad from their above average salad bar.

          Their wine selection though small, does feature a couple of hard to find selections, for example I noted a Cline Roussanne today which is an immensely enjoyable wine, as well as some small production pinots. On the whole, a fun place to shop and an especially good spot to pick up quality products for dinners, Diestel poultry etc.

          1. re: Randy Salenfriend

            Quite a bit of bulk products-several oils, a couple of honeys, more than one vinegar, and a lot of pastas, grains, both organic and not. About a year ago, Oliver's was carrying Niman meats, especially pork chops. Alas, insufficient customers cared and they gave it up. So, a question of mine is where to purchase Niman pork products in Sonoma County for the individual consumer. Any tips?

            1. re: MarkB

              The Niman Ranch website lists Sonoma Market in Sonoma as carrying selected cuts (not the full line) of Niman meats. If they don't carry the pork chops, I know that they're pretty responsive and might order them for you.

            2. re: Randy Salenfriend

              Thanks, I've only been in the Santa Rosa location a couple times - very friendly staff. Neither are near my place.

              Now you've raised the Willy Bird vs. Diestl debate, and Thanksgiving is still so far away!