Sonoma - the fig pantry – I LIKE IT !!! – Fatted Calf, Sweetie Pies, Rancho Gordo beans, ice cream twinkies etc ... dinners to go with wine
- rworange Sep 11, 2006 04:33 AM
I might even like it more than Sonoma Market. I might ... even like it more than any other store of this type in Napa/Sonoma ... like The Jimtown Store, Oakville Grocery, etc. etc.
The best has to be mentioned first ... Alexander Valley pickles ... sold each ... FINALLY tried them. This is one of the top pickles I’ve eaten in my life ... perfectly crunchy, fresh tasting with a butter flavor and not overly salty. I’ve been eating it with the tiniest bites to make it last.
The smallish shop has a little charcuterie case near the door with some Fatted Calf, Fra'Mani and items like that. A little cheese case is to the left of that, but I didn’t check it out closely. The deli was selling the fresh mozzarella made at the girl and the fig.
There’s a bakery/coffee bar in the rightmost corner that sells about a half dozen flavors of San-Rafael based Fiorello's gelato. They sell what is called a frozen twinkie which looks like a small chocolate covered yule log with a white squiggle on top. I want one.
Coffee is by Graffeo (YEAH!) and bags of whole beans are also for sale. Some of the baked goods are by the girl and the fig, some bread is from Basque Bakery, but the majority of the sweets are from Sweetie Pie of Napa. They have moon pies, moon-pie sized oreo cookies and in late September and October there is a seasonal cabernet grape pie
The fig pantry has lots of samples and I had a bit of their crispy deeply caramel bun. This is a major bun, so probably best shared ... by a family. From the girl and the fig bakery was zucchini and banana bread. I got the banana bread which was moist, buttery and had a nice banana flavor.
Bagels are from Sonoma’s Homegrown Bakery. Not sure about them because the bagel was bought late in the day ... and it was spinach (they had more traditional flavors). The single web review on Homegrown said the baker learned to make bagels in Israel. The outside was nicely chewy, but the interior was slightly bready ... but again, it was the end of the day. Here’s a picture of the coffee/baked goods section.
In the room next to the bakery is the deli. This picture only shows half of the deli. There is a cold soda/beer/drink case and some premade salads and stuff along one wall where you can buy things like six types of aoili (one was red pepper), roasted peppers, olives, house-made bread and butter pickles (nice crunch, too acidic) and all sorts of salads.
I am HEARTBROKEN. I didn’t look closely and the container of fig salad (arugula, toasted pecans, laura chenal chevre, pancetta, figs, fig & port vinagrette) ... well, the bolognese container was snagged by mistake. Nice though, and mostly meat ... but ... sob. It’s good in one way because there were samples of the piperade meatballs and they were nice, but they didn’t catch my attention like the bolognese.
There’s a nice selection of soft drinks and beers, nothing extensive ... Lagunitas, Mendocino Brewing, Anchor Steam, imported beers like Belgiums. Sodas like Fizzy Lizzie, Thomas Kemper ... etc. Odwalla Juices and various waters.
The catering menu on the site gives you a good idea of the sandwiches, salads and desserts. There was also red pepper soup available.
One of the sandwiches not on the list above is a hot applewood bacon, arugual, fig jam, blue cheese and onion on ciabatta.
There is a separate in room in the back of the store with a small but nice and reasonably priced selection of wine. The Bonny Doon frambroise is calling me now. Should have bought it. This picture on the site is of their Rhone wines, so it might give an idea of the size of the wine room.
There’s a cooler in front of the wine room with chilled bottles, milk (Clover), eggs (Clover organic), and other perishables.
The room to the left has all sorts of jarred food, olive oils, jams, those packages of Rancho Gordo beans and other items like that. Nice selection of cookbooks too. There was a beautiful heirloom tomato cookbook I should have bought. Lot’s of samples and some decent items if you live in the area or for visitors to take gifts back. Here are pictures of that area:
The center of the room has the register with candies like New Tree Belgium chocolates and Jones Soda Co carbonated candy. IMO, both can be skipped. There are others to choose from. The New Tree ginger didn’t have enough of a ginger kick and the Jones tasted like SweetTarts.
The website mentions that dinners to go are available $14. Add dessert for $3. Add $15 for a bottle of the wine of the week with dinner.
The Dinner menu for this week:
Grilled Salmon Filet
Summer Corn - Gypsy Pepper Relish
Roasted Red Skin Potatoes
Optional Dessert: Peach Cobbler
Optional Wine of the Week: Wellington Roussanne
Outside there are some picnic tables on a wooden deck shaded by trellises. The only catch is that they don’t have a license for liquor, so any wine and beer bought in the store can’t be consumed in this area ... stick to coffee, tea, juice and soft drinks.
One of the best parts was the staff. They were just SO nice and helpful and pleasant ... quite different from the staff at the restaurant which I’ve found to be a little indifferent. I really felt welcomed and was encouraged to sample. My questions were answered. It was so different from my later stop in Marin at Bay Breads where I was totally ignored and blown off by one of the staff.
I really enjoyed my first visit here. The selection might not be as large as Sonoma Market or some of the others, but it is plenty big and well thought out. Parking is easy and it is a quick in and out. Great place to pick up picnic supplies. They also have little cottages in back that can be rented, so the store would be convenient for anyone staying there.
1190 E. Napa St., Sonoma, CA 95476
It’s a mile or so out of town at the spot at the Napa turn.
Daily: 7 am – 7 pm
re: Melanie Wong
Yep. I know they sell them at Sonoma Market, but they are large tubs. Either the plain variety has been sold out or I wasn't going home.
The fig pantry sells the tubs as well, but they sell little bags of single pickles fastened with a red pipe cleaner .. 60 cents each for a smallish pickle.
I don't want to mislead anyone about the butter. This was a dill pickle, but there was this sort of butter taste to it ... can't describe it ... nothing like a bread and butter pickle.
Actually the pickle was free. They forgot to ring it up with the rest of the order and just threw it in the bag. Next time I'm getting a tub of those pickles ... and I want my fig salad.
Excellent food day ... palettas & chongos ice cream in Vallejo, terrific Mexican market, the wonderful Hardin Gardens farm in Sonoma, an interesting African market with canned sardines from Casablanca, Bay Breads & Spanish Table Marin.
BUT ... the fig pantry won.