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North Bay Biscuits & Gravy: Novato to Hopland (N=16)

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  • Melanie Wong Nov 30, 2002 04:33 AM
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Last summer’s mention of biscuit and gravy nirvana close to home in Castroville (Biscuits and Gravy Quarterly, http://www.americanfolk.com/bgq/) and reading The Grapes of Wrath by Salinas native son, John Steinbeck, set off a few months’ worth of B&G evaluations. Revisits to old favorites and the search for new pointed me toward rural backroads, to truck stops, along the waterfront, and to warehouse districts to find the eateries frequented by working folk. My notes from these encounters are presented below in order of least to most favorite.

#16 COUNTRY WAFFLES, Vallejo – Giant-size, chewy and tough biscuit. Gluey gravy with a few fly specks of flavorless meat-like bits, hyped on the menu as an old and famous recipe. Infamously bad, I’d say, this to-go B&G was inedible and went straight into the garbage can.

#15 JOY OF EATING, Vallejo (http://dinerboard.com/restdetails.pht...) – Really wanted to like this busy breakfast counter and booths surrounded by railroad tchotchkes. While known for its house-baked bread, this expertise did not extend to the biscuits, which were spongy, rather tough and over baked. The satiny gravy with a few browned nubs of country sausage had surprisingly little flavor. [Note: the French toast orders made with the famous bread looked pretty good and the one omelet that passed by was a dried-out looking, thin, three-fold topped with a melted square of American cheese artfully placed dead center.
]
#14 HANK’S CREEKSIDE BISTRO, Santa Rosa – This is the split-personality restaurant - as Hank’s serving Americana for breakfast and lunch (6am to 2pm), then at dinner time becoming Emile’s with a French accent. Very popular for breakfast, there was a long line when I showed up on a Sunday. But the four counter seats were open and I cozied up to watch Aaron and Nathan, the short-order cooks in action. Omelets, hash browns and cottage potatoes, eggs, and pancakes were their domaine. When I heard one of the cooks ask the woman next to me whether she’d have her “usual” B&G, it raised my hopes that something special might be uncovered. Unfortunately, my dreams were dashed. The high-rising and feather-light biscuits were quite good – the split halves were over an inch high and airy. But the gravy was too thick, overly pasty and, despite the many nubs of country sausage, the flavor had been leeched out. When I reached for the jam jar to try to salvage the biscuits, the strawberry preserves were sugary and too stiff with excess pectin. B&G with a couple eggs was $6.25. Looking around for what might be more appetizing for a return visit, I noted that plates of hash browns were barely browned and looked soft and overdone, as did the cottage potatoes. Sitting over the bubbling bain marie of hollandaise sauce, I could tell that it was over-stabilized and floury with a dull sheen. Likewise, I watched the cooks defrost frozen, pre-breaded chicken fried steaks in the microwave, then hide the evidence under the pasty country gravy. The wait staff and cooks were warm and friendly, yet I’m not sure what I would come back here for. The biscuits tempt, but I’d have to bring my own jam.

#13 THREE COOKS CAFÉ, Petaluma – Famous locally for cheap, hearty and gigantic servings of food, here B&G can be substituted for toast on any of the breakfast combos for $1.75 more. Choosing the 2 eggs with home fries @ $3.50, plus the B&G option, a huge platter of food was soon plonked down on my table. A daunting breakfast spread for only $5.25. Two large fluffy-style biscuits split and arrayed in a half circle were topped with thick and starchy gravy. A bit of sausage meat and a little ham give some interest, but all in all the gravy was much too heavy, lacking richness and tasting of undercooked flour. I reached for the Tabasco bottle for the only flavor. However, the very good home fries cut in smallish cubes were well-seasoned, parsleyed, crusty brown all over but not overcooked into mushdom, saved the day and are worth writing home about. The homemade corned beef hash on the menu also intrigues – maybe next time. [Try a seat at the counter or a walk down the 2’ wide outdoor corridor to the bathrooms for an extra dose of ambience.] Open Wed-Sun, 6am-2pm and Fridays until 8:30pm.

#12 OWL CAFÉ, Cloverdale – In business since 1933, “The Owl”, as it’s affectionately called by the locals, was founded in the midst of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. The menu calls it “historic” – what finer place to celebrate The Grapes of Wrath could there be? The interior is filled with owl-themed bric-a-brac and illustrations, as well as an extensive collection of beer can airplanes. During the long wait for my order of B&G, $5.95, I could hear the soft metallic sound of a whisk at work emanating from the kitchen. The end result of this hand labor was a plate with two split biscuits piled with chalk white gravy. And, I do mean piled, like in a small mound. The gravy had the most unique texture – almost mousse-like, airy and whipped up enough to hold a soft peak and stand up on its own. The taste was milky (almost like nonfat milk powder) and greaseless with some bits of well-browned ham, in essence, very bland. The dense biscuits were on the tough side, almost rubbery. The price seemed steep for the quality and quantity. Open every day, 7:30am to 9:30pm.

#11 MARVIN’S RESTAURANT, Novato – On a sunny autumn morning, sitting outside at a sidewalk umbrella table suited me and several other patrons just fine. My first time here, I was excited to see platters heaped with good looking hash browns, home fries, fluffy omelets, and abundant breakfast meats. Seemed like a good non-trendoid spot to order biscuits with homemade country gravy, $4.95. However, the B&G had the toughest biscuits anywhere, needing a knife to break them open after a fork failed to do the job. I suspected they’d been overnuked in the microwave among other abuses. The gravy was very tasty, hinting of the chorizo and linguica on the menu, plus bacon, ham, breakfast sausage and oozing with pan drippings, but was thick and stiff enough to stand up a straw. It was strangely overly pasty even though it tastes like it’s made with half and half . The coffee’s good, served with cream, and the fresh, frothy orange juice is room temp and squeezed to order. With this attention to freshness and quality, I’d certainly return, but not for B&G. Open Mon-Sat, 5:30am-3pm; Sun, 7am-2pm.

#10 MR. MOM’S CAFÉ, Petaluma (http://www.sterba.com/petaluma/mrmom/) – The array of contractors’ pick-ups parked in the lot and slightly run down exterior perked up my B&G radar to try Mr. Mom’s for the first time. With a brown interior and booth and counter seating, this had the ambience of a truck stop that got caught in the path of urban development. Since it was lunchtime, I went all out to order the chicken fried steak with hash browns (home fries or mashed potato patties offered too), a couple eggs over easy, and biscuits substituting for toast. The waitress had recommended it, saying that they bread their own CFS here and don’t use pre-fab. A good call, the CFS has a crispy filigreed breading and a light seasoning of salt and pepper. While a bit tough in a couple spots that needed more pounding, this was a good example. The eggs were harder than they should be, and the hash browns were very crunchy and browned but oddly gooey in the middle. The biscuits had a nice irregular top surface from being patted gently into shape rather than rolled and a tender crumb. The gravy was too thick for my druthers, but didn’t taste starchy, and had a comforting country taste from the pan drippings and specks of ham and sausage. While this was a decent deal, the place lost points for offering margarine instead of butter, strong disinfectant smells and the excess of flies buzzing over my food. Open Mon-Sat, 6am-3pm, closed Sunday.

* * *
If you’ve made it this far, you’re almost half-way done and have waded through the worst of it. The remaining places are all recommended.
* * *

#9 MY CAFÉ, Vallejo (http://dinerboard.com/restdetails.pht...) – Near the waterfront and ferry terminal, this ‘50’s era coffee shop sports lots of vinyl and yards of formica counters. The location and signage boasting “homestyle cooking” caught my eye as a good candidate for B&G. Two puffy largish biscuits were split in half and covered with a generous amount of very smooth and creamy white gravy ($4.95). I got these to go, yet the moist and tender style of biscuit had the substance to hold up. The tasty gravy was studded with many cross-cut slices of nicely browned breakfast link sausage and dominated by the flavor of black pepper. Maybe a little plasticized, over emulsified and stabilized from an assist from a packaged gravy mix, but the gestalt was so much better than a lot of what’s out there. This was a substantial and a credible effort, and one of the few times I didn’t reach for the hot sauce for more flavor punch.

#8 PEARL’S “HOMESTYLE COOKING”, Sonoma – Always busy and tucked away in a strip mall, this is a popular spot with locals for bountiful breakfasts. The retro look of chrome and red leatherette is echoed in the diner style comfort food menu options. B&G comes with a couple eggs and choice of hash browns or home fries. Ordered extra crispy, my hash browns were a beautiful crusty golden brown and the rich buttery taste almost made me forgive the mushy interior. The eggs were not over easy, having been rushed in a too hot pan with tough brown-edged whites and yolks harder than they should be. The split biscuits were sinkers - too dense and flattened with a spongy texture. But what carried the day here was the delicious country gravy. The thinnest body of any tried, this was a guilt-free version made with lean chicken apple sausage, savory minced onion and milk, and while noticeably grease-free, still packed with flavor. [Note: while the menu offers fresh orange juice, what I was served was not.
]
#7 CANYON CAFÉ, American Canyon (http://dinerboard.com/restdetails.pht...) – A favorite stop for biker clubs touring the Napa Valley with shaded parking so welcome on hot summer days. One smallish biscuit, split, in a half-order, $2.95, was tender, light and verging on flaky. Smooth and creamy, the country gravy had a golden tinge and a smoky ham fat flavor dotted with some fried pieces of ham. This had a distinctive taste and was definitely made here. A bit too greasy, but quite decent and acceptable. [A pretty good burger can be had here for lunch or dinner – chuck is fresh-ground daily and hand-formed into loose almost fluffy patties.
]
#6 SARDINE CAN, Vallejo (http://dinerboard.com/restdetails.pht...) - Located on the docks across the inlet from Mare Island, diners can sail up to the picnic tables in the drafty, lean-to dining area. Decorated with maritime gear, beer ads and 49er momentos, this is a hang out for plenty of salty types. A side of B&G, $3.95, included one biscuit topped with made to order country gravy. The biscuit was rough-hewn and a bit overdone, but in a good way, making it crusty and crunchy on the outside and more crumbly inside. In this firm state, it was an excellent textural foil for standing up to the richly meated gravy. Thick but not overly so, the gravy had the smokiest bacon scent of the many versions tasted, chockfull of chopped lengths of breakfast links and bacon pieces. Great flavor but unfortunately way too greasy, as the meats had not been adequately browned or rendered and had many pieces of soft, white fat. This one needed the vinegar snap and heat of Tabasco to cut through the fattiness. But for the grease factor, it could’ve been a contender.

* * *
The final five are more like a four-way tie for second place with one clear winner on top. The quality levels are well-matched with rankings assessed by personal style preferences, YMMV.
* * *

#5 BLUEBIRD CAFÉ, Hopland (http://wwwc.catalog.com/cgibin/var/me... ) – A chowhound pick and a few miles north of the Bay Area in Mendocino County, Bluebird is the picture of what a country cookhouse should be – seats at the counter, baskets of housemade breakfast pastries, a variety of pies in the case, local farm fresh ingredients, and good strong coffee (Thanksgiving brand). On the weekend brunch menu, chicken fried steak and country gravy with two eggs, home fries and a basket of pastries is priced at $8.50, then I added a couple biscuits for another buck. The biscuits were airy wonders, very light and delicate with a fine-grained, almost powdery crumb. Once again the jam jar disappointed with overly sweet and stiffly pectinated strawberry preserves. The gravy was savory with lots of black pepper, flecks of country sausage and bits of onion. Almost brown and too tan in color and taste to suit the purists perhaps, the gravy was just a tad too heavy and pasty, and the onion component dominated. The big coarsely cut pieces of home fried potatoes looked good with golden brown edges, but were overcooked and too mushy. I did like the chunks of bell pepper tossed into the mix. The CFS had a good crunchy breading that was well-seasoned and tasted of poultry seasoning herbs. While I have to mark off for the overly tenderized and chewed up meat, it was pretty tasty, all in all. I packaged up the two pieces of breakfast pastries and nibbled them a few hours later to tide over the slight hollow at lunch time - the raspberry streusel bar was nice, but the cinnamon roll was doughy and undercooked inside. Can’t say enough about those biscuits though.

#4 FLAKEY CREAM COFFEE SHOP & DO-NUTS, Healdsburg – Nothing fancy here, just wholesome work-a-day breakfasts and lunches at low coffee shop prices. Haven’t been crazy about the breakfast potatoes or the coffee at Flakey (sic) Cream, but the chocolate old-fashioned donut is the best of type. B&G-wise, two big, high-riser biscuits with a couple eggs and a cup of gravy on the side are $4.75. Baked to order, so be patient, these hot biscuits were meltingly tender and crumbly, and almost flaky. I couldn’t resist eating one of the halves in its pure and simple state slathered with whipped butter (skip the packaged preserves). Richly flavored bright white cream gravy with a dash of black pepper and browned bits from the pan drippings plus a couple small pieces of ham, it flowed like a silky dream when spooned over the biscuits. Would have liked more meat, but at this price, it’d be easy to add a side of sausage to soothe that urge and still call it low budget. With a dash of hot sauce on eggs over easy, this was seriously close to the mark and a bargain to boot.

#3 MAGGIE’S HAMBURGERS, Vallejo – A local institution (pictured below) that’s been around for more than 40 years, the inside features Betty Boop, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe posters, 49er memorabilia, and several video game stations. Most of the seating is along the L-shaped counter, plus a couple small tables. Burgers or breakfast seemed to be the things to order here, so I tried to kill two birds with one stone on my initial visit. The country breakfast, $5.79, includes three eggs, hash browns, sausage or beef patty, one biscuit, and country gravy. I ordered this with the hamburger patty, extra crispy on the potatoes and had them hold one egg. The big biscuit was soft, tender, and very lofty. The slightly ecru in color, creamy gravy napped smoothly over the biscuit halves. Intense homemade flavor from pan drippings, not too greasy or tasting of uncooked starch, right amount of black pepper, and only a few bits of browned sausage, but this meal didn’t lack for protein. The beef patty was nothing special - maybe the sausage would have been a better choice - I won’t be ordering a burger here anytime soon. What will definitely bring me back would be the excellent hash browns. Spread very thin on the flat top with a bit of butter and crisped to golden brown perfection with al dente texture in the middle – some of the best I’ve been served in years. For B&G alone, an order is $3.49.

#2 ROB’S ROADHOUSE GRILL, Windsor – The ability of this kitchen to take a fresh look at American classics continues to amaze and delight. As much as I loved the eggs Florentine and the superlative hollandaise sauce here, the chicken fried steak with potatoes, two eggs, and biscuits and gravy, $8.50, may displace it in my brunch affections. The thoroughly original CFS starts as a slice of smoked tri-tip, pounded out, battered, and then fried in a skillet. The breading was too greasy and softened under the gravy, but the flavor of the CFS resonates deep. The eggs over easy were cooked slowly in butter to tender, runny goodness. The body and weight of the pale beige gravy seemed to come from a reduction of cream rather than relying on roux. Rob’s talent for butterfat showed its hand here. The multitude of thin, browned cross-cut disks of little smoky sausages added another layer of smoky complexity. The lightly colored biscuits had a crisp thin shell and a melt-in-the-mouth tenderness.

#1 GARDEN COURT CAFÉ & BAKERY, Glen Ellen (http://gardencourtcafe.com/) – I hadn’t been here since the place was sold some four or so years ago. It now feels more down-home and less yuppified than under the previous owners. Still I found it amusing to spot the wino locals swirling their fresh OJ absent-mindedly in the wine stemware. The motto here is “If you leave hungry, it’s your own fault!”™ I got the point when I spied the big soup bowl serving of “Granny’s sausage and gravy” coming toward me. Lots of pride in the old family recipe here and deservedly so – ivory white with creamy mouthfeel, perfect weight and coatability, not floury. Note this is sausage AND gravy, not sausage gravy, and loaded with bulk breakfast sausage (made here), and just the right amount of black pepper and grease. For $6.25, it came with two good-sized drop style biscuits that were a marvel of crunchy craigs and valleys, tender and crumbly, very short and almost cream scone-like. I broke one into the bowl of gravy and nibbled on a bit of the other with the whipped butter and very good strawberry preserves. This was a more than filling breakfast (glad I skipped the eggs and grits!) that got a bit salty in the second half and needed to be washed down with a glass of water and two cups of strong coffee (excellent, btw, served with real half and half). This unadorned and pure expression of B&G was unquestionably Number One of the bunch.

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  1. I think you hit everywhere but Highway 29 Cafe.
    I was just in Healdsburg yesterday - forgot all about previous posts on Rob's (another senior moment?)
    Just might have to try Maggie's this morning since it's not too far from home.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Steve N

      I was so happy to discover Maggie's. As much as I loved the B&G at Garden Court, it's a bit of a frou-frou setting, and I wanted to find some honest, good quality B&G in a decidedly downscale place in grittier neighborhood. At Maggie's the B&G is not an "homage", but its stock and trade, every day food. The waitress there was terrific - she actually made my hash browns on the flat top behind the counter, not the cook. But she told me that she'd given notice and would be moving to Colorado before Thanksgiving. But I did see the cook come front and make the hash browns the same way (and part of the secret not doubt is in the prepped materials), so I had no doubts about continuing to recommend it. Please let us know how you like it.

      I have been to Highway 29 Cafe many times, since it is the closest food to one of my client's offices. While I've not had the B&G there, I avoided it because few of my meals have had much appeal. The pork chop and eggs are coated with tinny, oversalted food service type brown gravy, the hash browns are mushy and overcooked, the steak sandwich is one of the worst diner versions in the area, the burgers are made from mystery meat, the rye toast is from scantly seeded bread, the daily specials have been uniformly disappointing, there's no excuse for frozen side veggies, and the mashed potatoes are flavorless. All are served in gargantuan portions and the waitresses are wonderful. My best successes here have been for a cup of soup and a side salad made of very fresh greens with a couple slices of cucumber, and I like that they leave a big cruet of salad dressing for you to serve yourself. I've had the homemade cakes a couple times with good luck, so I can imagine that the kitchen might do a decent job with biscuits. Please tell us about the biscuits and gravy.

      I was sorry that I didn't get a chance to try the B&G at Bab's Delta Diner in Suisun City for myself, but perhaps others can tell us about them. I also didn't get over to Martinez or Benicia where many TX/OK petroleum industry employees live to see what's available there.

      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I have only had breakfast at Hwy 29 Cafe - from your lunch experiences maybe that's a good thing. I have not had the B&G at Hwy 29 - but have seen them being served - the gravy looks a litle like cream of mushroom soup - hopefully better - but I am afraid it may be the same that was on your pork chops. I do like their breakfast - nothing special - large portions and the service is usually "homey" - a lot of regular customers.

        1. re: Steve N
          m
          Melanie Wong

          I agree with you, the place has a great feel to it. The sisters who wait on you and the crowd of happy regulars. I just wish the food were better - about 30% less in quantity and 20% better quality might do the trick. (g) At lunch time, it's really something to sit at the counter and see the giant beer goblets lined up full of tomato beer - tomato juice and Bud lite - that many of the clientele seem to favor for the vegetable portion of a 4-pork chop lunch.

          I might chance ordering a biscuit on the side the next time I have soup at Hwy 29.

          Another thing about Maggie's - I did ask about the chicken fried steak, and didn't order it after the waitress truthfully told me it was Sysco product even though she said it was good. Maybe it is. Also wanted to mention that Maggie's is a stone's throw off Hwy 80, an easy stopping point for breakfast or lunch (dinner on Friday and Saturday only) if you're passing through on the way to the snow.

        2. re: Melanie Wong
          c
          Christine Vallejo

          I'm not one for biscuits & gravy (I like one or the other, but usually not both together), but I'll be glad to check out Bab's Delta Diner either Saturday or Sunday of this next weekend and will let you know.

          1. re: Christine Vallejo
            m
            Melanie Wong

            Hey, if you're looking for an excuse to have breakfast at Bab's, you've got it, Christine. (g)

      2. j
        jenniferfishwilson

        Melanie--what an epic! This post is definitely one of the Top Ten Chowhound Posts (along with some of your original Taco Truck posts). Mark my words--within 4 weeks we will read about biscuits and gravy in a local publication. Why not beat them to the punch--any other author will lose the "flavor". Time for you to do a little moonlighting. Who can help Melanie get her Biscuits and Gravy masterpiece published?

        6 Replies
        1. re: jenniferfishwilson

          Thanks much, jennnifer. It was a good contrast to the quantities of dim sum explored and consumed these past few months. (g) Don't know that I stumbled upon anything approaching Ma Joad's biscuits and gravy, but I enjoyed seeking out the local version of the eating places, gentle Southern twangs and country foods of my childhood in the Salinas Valley. If it helps broaden the food reporting of our local media, fantastic. Remember that Chron's Tara Duggan won a James Beard award for her piece on taco trucks, and she was courteous enough to cite Chowhound.com in her article for the inspiration.

          The post linked below from our own Miss Lone Star, Rochelle McCune, helped me hone in on what my own tasting standard would be. Interestingly, when I searched through the Texas and Southern boards for more info on this most basic of foods, it seems that the art is dying in their restaurants also with too many relying on mixes and the doughboy.

          Let's hear from other chowhounds on their favorite B&G and why. You sleep with a Texan, jennifer, surely you have an opinion about this.

          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            It's not north bay, and it doesn't exist anymore, but the best B&G I ever had -- and the one I try and replicate at home -- was served at a restaurant called Peregrin on Irving at 9th Ave in the inner sunset. Nothing else was too special there -- breakfast, lunch or dinner, but the B&G!!! (tearing up...) Lots of sausage -- sausage and gravy, just like you said -- served in a bowl, smothering two big, flaky biscuits. Alas, it's a mexican restaurant/bar now. Haven't checked, but I'm guessing they don't serve it... ;-)

            I'd have to get a map to find Glen Ellen, but I may make the trip just to try Garden Court's version. I'll be hungry after the drive!

            1. re: bubbles
              m
              Melanie Wong

              Closer to home, 'hounds rave about the biscuits at The Meetinghouse, which are also served at Hotel Utah with a ham hock stew. (link below)

              Go to the Garden Court's site, http://gardencourtcafe.com/, for a link to a map and directions. If there's no traffic congestion, you can be there in about an hour from the City, and it's a beautiful drive through the rolling vine covered hills of Sonoma Valley. Also in the hamlet of Glen Ellen is a bakery/cafe called Finlandia which has biscuits. They make sausage gravy some but not every day, and I was never in the neighborhood on the right day. If you time it right, you can satisfy your hunger with a back-to-back tasting. (g) Let us know how you like it!

              Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Back in SF and I'd eat these again: Biscuits & Gravy at The Pork Store, 1451 Haight St. for $2.95. Pan gravy made with milk, just the right consistency, not too thick, flavored with sausage flecks and ladled on two biscuits. To make it better: add a pat of butter and a generous dash of black pepper at the table. Good B&G is divine and when it is bad, it is a nightmare and a sad excuse for food. Most offerings seem to fall somewhere in the middle. Now, I'm happy to have a listing for new searchings out there on the road, again.

            2. re: Melanie Wong
              r
              Rochelle McCune

              Fabulous post, Melanie!

              What's the quote? umm, "There's no-one more zealous than a convert"? You're obsessing about biscuits, gravy & CFS while I'm scarfing dim sum like crazy.

              FYI - I just got back from T-Day in Texas. Sadly, I didn't make it up to West for Kolaches. Next year, I'll take more time so I can get tamales, kolaches and German sausage. I did manage to have a good CFS for dinner and a lovely biscuits and gravy breakfast - although I think you're right about it being a dying art even in Texas.

              1. re: Rochelle McCune
                m
                Melanie Wong

                Thank you for the inspiration, Rochelle, and sharing/celebrating your culture with me. Before this, I think I'd had B&G less than 20 times and mostly a long time ago. By the time I'd spoken with you in person about B&G and CFS, I think I had tried about 4 of these places of which only one (Rob's) was impressive. After that I was filled with the spirit, kept spotting more and more joints and just pushed ahead.

                Link: http://linkandthink.org/

                Image: http://linkandthink.org/images/badge1...

          2. Melanie,
            A truly glorious tome! Especially after turkey day! CFS and tips on off beat breakfast stops---perfect. THANK YOU for all those meals, ideas and taste descriptions. Enjoyed every word!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: christinet
              m
              Melanie Wong

              Gosh, thanks, Christine. Next time you're in Cloverdale, do stop by The Owl and see the collection of beer can airplanes strung across the aisle. I've eaten there a few other times - think the fried chicken in a basket may be the most palatable dish I've had there.

              Hope you had a wonderful t-day...I was with my parents in Salinas. I drove my mom to Moss Landing to buy crabs on Friday (posted on the California board), and on the way back I took the slow way through Castroville to see what's up with the late Bing's Diner. As jaweino reported, the new business is Trolley Car Pizza, now open and serving pizza and calzone. Sad.

            2. To all fellow B & G fans, here's a link to a site that you may enjoy.

              Also, if there are any SF B&G threads, a link would be greatly appreciated.

              Thanks.

              Alan

              Link: http://www.americanfolk.com/bgq/index...

              1. I have tried many of your recomended spots for B&G. Robs is gone, Garden court was good but not great. I found Three cooks to be the best, their gravy was great, I am unable to figure how they make the gravy? It is sort of sweet/sour...I have tried to make on my own but, no go. Anyone with a possible idea what the missing ingredient is?
                The owner says he uses Powered milk, touch of onion, but he is leaving out the main taste..any help out there?

                1. Saw this old thread and thought I'd add to it. My husband really liked the biscuits and sausage gravy he had recently at the Soscol Cafe in Napa. They're ridiculously cheap ( around $4.50 as I recall). I didn't taste them since b and g are the foods of his people, not mine, but my cheeseburger was excellent as well. Super nice people too.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: The Librarian

                    Thank you, I've been a fan of Soscol Cafe for many years, but have not been there for about 5 years now. Haven't spent as much time in Napa as I used to. But it is odd that I didn't include it in my original post. I know I've had the chicken fried steak with gravy there, and surely I had a biscuit with it.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1668...

                    My refresh on North Bay B&G was a visit to Bab's Delta Diner last year. Only took me nine years since it was recommended to me! It's funny how places pass from our collective memories. Bab's Delta Diner used to be mentioned with some regularity. When I posted about it, no one blinked.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787925

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Check out Napa Biscuit Company on Main Street. Just opened a couple of months ago. Yum.

                      1. re: allyoucanet

                        Please tell us more about Napa Valley Biscuits. I'd heard that it opened and then closed suddenly because it couldn't keep up with demand. I understand it has reopened again with more capacity. What are your favorites there?
                        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Napa-V...

                      2. re: Melanie Wong

                        I have to add the Fremont Diner for B&G
                        http://thefremontdiner.com/