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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.

        Link: http://www.noevalleyvoice.com/2000/Ju...

        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.

            Link: http://www.sonomapicnic.com/03/figspi...

    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!