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Napa / Sonoma on the cheap – Eats for $10 and under?

I’ve been bookmarking a few inexpensive places to get a bite in wine country north. These tips usually get lost in the middle of long threads with a brief mention.

It was today’s corn dog post that inspired this thread. Something that sounds like it shouldn’t be lost.

Sonoma – Corn dog guy on the corner of Napa Rd & Eighth Ave
“the most amazing corndogs I have ever tasted. Terribly out of the way, but I have often found myself driving through wine country and deliberately taking this route just to have one of his corndogs.’

Yountville – burger
“Lakeside Grill at The Vintners golf course makes a mean burger for under $10”

Napa - Michoacan taco truck on Salvador
“The al pastor is to die for and if you're getting a burrito, the chile verde is an indulgent treat with lots of crema”

Barbecue at D's Diner in Sebastopol
“An order of three ribs including two sides was only $6.95 ... The three ribs were very large and very meaty, with a nice smoke ring, moderate and quite good smoke flavor, and very tender ... Were the ribs perfect? No, they were too "falling off the bone tender" for my preference and there wasn't really any crustiness on the outside ... But nevertheless this is the real thing and a great deal, and better ribs than most I've had in the SF area”

Huevos Rancheros in the Yucatan style ($7) (Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa farmers markets
“The Huevos Rancheros starts off with a stone-ground corn tostada, broken into manageable pieces, as the bottom layer. This is topped with "strained" black beans, roasted tomato and habanero salsa, two farm eggs fried to order, and then some fresh market greens. Another layer of crispy tostada chips tops that along with more salsa, greens again, and a sprinkling of fresh Bodega goat cheese. The whole combination dazzles with fresh, generous, and satisfying flavors and textures, and I can't say enough about the dewy fresh cheese. Who would have thought I'd learn to crave wild arugula on my huevos?!?”

Yucatan Tamales at the Saturday Healdsburg Farmers market $3
”chicken, chili and cheese, CK lamb, and suckling pig ... I tried the lamb and the pig and was blown away by how good they were. These were very meaty with a smooth, fine-grained masa shell. The meats had slightly smoky nuances from roasting and great texture with the right amount of fat to add richness and keep them suave and moist ... the well-measured spicing of the roasted tomato-habanero sauce and the cinnamon-scented pickled onions hit just the right tones to complement the tamales “

I’ve got a ton of other notes ... buried ... somewhere ... What are your favorite bites for under ten bucks?

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  1. I might be cheating your definition of "wine country north," but you could get a pretty hefty plate of food for $10 at Black Bean BBQ in Santa Rosa.



    1. El Sombrero in Healdsburg is definitely worth a stop. You can walk around the town and then settle in for some very decent Mexican food.(It's across the street from Oakville Grocery).

      1. Tacos at La luna market across from Beaulieu Vineyards in Rutherford.

        1. On the way, on Sonoma Blvd in Vallejo, Bud's Burgers.

          1. The lunch buffet at Taste of the Himalayas, listed on their website for $7.95, (though I think it has gone up to $8.95,) is the most delicious bargain in Sonoma. Usually has pakoras, mint sauce, mismas tarkari, chana masala, tandoori chicken, naan and raita... and I'm sure I'm forgetting things. All you can eat with pretty indoor and outdoor seating in a pedestrian alley. You can get it for take-out too, which makes a nice picnic.

            Taste of the Himalayas
            464 First Street East
            Sonoma, California 95476

            daily- 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM & 5:00 PM a until 10:00 PM.

            1. Cafe Citti on Hwy 12 north of Sonoma (near Kenwood)

              1. Tacqueria Los Primos in Agua Caliente (between Sonoma and Glen Ellen). Fantastic carne asada. Zero atmosphere.

                La Dees on Arnold Drive in Sonoma. Order BBQ (weekends only).

                A nice picnic at one of the wineries (Gundlach-Bundschu perhaps) or on the Plaza in Sonoma.

                1. The Sunflower Cafe (they may spell it "Caffe") on the square in Sonoma for lunch.

                  Olive & Vine, 14301 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, 707-996-9150, for lunch. It's in the complex just south of town that also houses the Olive Press (well worth visiting also). Olive & Vine is a catering company that also has this storefront cafe. I've been pretty well stunned by the food each time, from the best French onion soup I've ever had to great sandwiches and much more. The menu changes often, maybe daily. But don't miss whatever soup they have. I'll add that it's a bit difficult to see and absorb what's available there. I've taken to just asking them what they have and getting in a conversation about it.

                  1. I'm beginning to sound like the old broken record but I have to say we love Breakaway Cafe in Sonoma for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Nothing fancy but always good food. A good family place - or eat at the bar single. Full bar, decent, affordable wine list and consistently good, well-priced food. I love their fish and chips, their fish tacos, and their breakfasts are large and tasty.

                    1. Totally forgot about the Mayo Reserve Room; not exactly $10 and under, but for $20 you get seven tasting bites of food with seven hefty pours of wine. That is essentially $10 for the food (for teetotallers) and $10 for the wine.

                      I think that should qualify for a cheap eat...


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Carrie 218

                        Wow, a tasting menu ... with wine ... for $20 ... of course, throw that one on the list.

                        1. re: Carrie 218

                          Can anybody comment on the quality of the wine or the food? This sounds like a really interesting option.

                          1. re: HMK

                            I've had it twice and can't believe the quality. Yes, the bites "seem" relatively small, but when all seven are done, a rather filling meal is accomplished and enlightening.

                            Being a red wine lover, I prefer the latter part of the meal as they tend to include more meat dishes and heavy red wines, but the culmination when I was there was a late-harvest Zinfandel served with both a dark chocolate truffle and a crouton with a slab of stilton. Fabulous.

                            Also, the chef (Oscar something-or-other) was trained by Joachim Splichal of Patina fame.

                        2. A sandwich from the Sonoma Cheese Factory on the north side of the square has been a long time standard for a cheap lunch. They do a good job and browsing around while nibbling on cheese samples is always fun.