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Oct 2, 2006 03:21 PM

My Northbay Joints to Try

Breakfast & Chicken Fried Steak

Marvin's Restaurant
1112 Grant Ave
Novato, CA 94945-3114

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  1. Tapas

    Cafe Saint Rose
    465 Sebastopol Ave
    Santa Rosa, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: Eat_Nopal

      I wouldn't characterize Cafe St. Rose as a tapas place. For one, it's a breakfast and lunch counter and doesn't have a wine and beer license even. And, the menu has many other influences besides Spanish. But the two things I had there would certainly do a tapas specialist proud. Malicki's local anchovies were better than imported boquerones.

      Soft Opening for Mark Malicki's Café Saint Rose -

      1. re: Eat_Nopal

        (Cafe) Saint Rose has moved to Sebastopol!...this weeks menu is all small plates: tapas style. A faithful follower... new phone# 707-829-5898. Check it out!

      2. New York Style Pizza

        NY Pie
        Fourth & Brockwood
        Santa Rosa, CA

        21 Replies
        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          NY Pie - 65 Brookwood Ave, Santa Rosa, 95404 - (707) 526-9743

          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            Parry’s Pizzeria
            234 American Cyn Rd
            American Cyn, CA

            nice format

            1. re: rworange

              Thanks for the suggestion!

              Anybody have suggestions for really good:

              Fried Chicken (specially with Collard Greens)
              Hamburgers (now that Heavenly Hamburger closed in Santa Rosa)
              Authentic BBQ (was not impressed by Colibri Cafe)

              Ethiopian Cuisine (anywhere to purchase Injera?)
              Thai Cuisine (run by ethnic Thais not Chinese)

              Mexican Cuisine... particularly

              Nopales (Cactus)
              Calabacitas (Mexican Zucchini)
              Huitlacoche (Black Corn Fungus)
              Flor de Calabaza (Squash Blossom Soups, Quesadillas & Fritters)
              Black Bean Soup with Epazote
              Mexican Vegetable Soups (Chayote, Zucchini, Green Beans etc., in Dry Chile Broths)
              Birria (Barbecued Goat)
              Barbacoa (Central Mexican Lamb Barbecue)
              Mixiotes (Meats, Vegetables & Sauces cooked in enclosed pouches of Banana, Agave, Hoja Santa or Chaya leaves)
              Molcajetes (Seared Meats & Vegetables served saucy in volcanic molcajetes)

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                Oh man, did I have some outstanding birria the other day, but it was in San Pablo and it was de res ... but memorably good. I'll do another post about that. Also the East Bay is the only place I've seen a molcajete. You might look around in Vallejo though since they have some impressive Mexican markets ... and a great palleteria.

                If you do a search on Chowhound about hoya sante there was some discussion about whether it was legal or not. I think Rancho Gordo was going to look into it and see if he could grow some. Rancho Gordo is a farmers market vendor who sells exception Mexican beens and stuff. The only hoya sante I've seen to date was wrapped around a cheese from Texas that is sold at Cowgirl Creamery.

                1. re: rworange

                  Thanks a lot... what is the name of the Birria place in San Pablo?

                  Also, Hoja Santa should be perfectly legal... it actually grows wild all over Texas where it is known as Root Beer plant & which I guess they are finally finding culinary uses for.

                  In Santa Rosa, there is a gem of Mexican market called Lola's where you will find the usual suspects (Calabacitas, Nopales, Chiles etc.,)... but in addition they have a lot of hard to find produce, in great shape:

                  Xoconostles (Sour Cactus Pears)
                  Quelites (Lamb Quarters)
                  Verdolagas (Purslane)
                  Squash Blossoms
                  Papalo (Herb)

                  And a number of regional chiles.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Note that Lola's has two locations (Petaluma Hill road and Sebastopol Road) in Santa Rosa, and you may find slightly different selections at each.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Thanks Melanie... I have only been to the Petaluma Hill Rd location... I hear its the newer, cleaner more convenient one. Which is not surprising since it is sparkling and spacious by ethnic market standards.

                    2. re: Eat_Nopal

                      Very cool. The birria place is La Loma #11 (don't go to #5). They may or may not have this every day. It is strictly Spanish. There's a place around here that makes terrific soups, and I suspect this is it, but I seem to hit the place on birria day or too late for soup. Occasionally on the weekend they sell empanadas with rompope. I could kick myself for not snapping one of those up when I saw it since I haven't seen it since. It was in the stratospheric price range of $1.39. Most of the pan dulce there is 25 cents. I'm really getting into these scone-like pan dulce with raisins. They taste exactly like scones and ... 25 cents.


                      1. re: rworange

                        Thanks... the rompope empanada sounds excellent! (I think I am going to make rompope from scratch this Christmas...I better start thinking of what I am doing with the leftovers)

                  2. re: Eat_Nopal

                    For traditional burgers, Super Burger on 4th street in Santa Rosa. In Sonoma, Happy Dog (Hwy 12 and Verano Ave), or Babe's just east of Schellville.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      Hamburgers: Phyllis' Giant Burgers on the "Miracle Mile" (4th St. extended west) in San Rafael. If you ask, you get grilled onions on the burger. Still my favorite burger.

                      Authentic BBQ: Can't remember the current name (was called Stim's) in Santa Rosa. Supposed to be authentic Texas bbq. I thought it was quite good. Very juicy brisket. Give it a try. If no one provides the name, I will in a few hours.

                      1. re: Mick Ruthven

                        I think Black Bean BBQ is the new name.

                        1. re: jmarek

                          Thanks, that's right.

                          Black Bean BBQ
                          557 Summerfield Road
                          Santa Rosa

                          1. re: Mick Ruthven

                            Yeah..that joint replaced Clo's Parkside Grille, which I am sad for. I haven't tried Black Bean yet because it looks kind of it has a bad vibe. But the other day I was running past it and they had a smoker outdoors, and it was certainly tempting.

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              The nice thing is they still serve Clo's ice cream for dessert.

                      2. re: Eat_Nopal

                        Birria is not hard to find on weekends. In Vallejo, I had a lovely pozole that was either green or white but definitely not red and mostly tasted of vegetables, mixiote wrapped in an avocado leaf (if I heard/understood correctly), and lamb barbacoa at a tiny place in a strip mall in a residential neighborhood but the name escapes me...maybe a woman's name. The Delicias Elenitas truck parked on Sebastopol Rd. in what used to be a gas station used to make huaraches, gorditas, and huaraches from fresh masa, sometimes with huitlacoche or squash blossoms. But after the owner opened the restaurant across the street, these are no longer available at the truck and only at the restaurant. I've only been into the restaurant once and find the same item as good as the truck, but that was a couple years ago and you might want to investigate further. I recently had barbacoa in Santa Rosa at Antojitos La Texanita. It surprised me that it was beef and not lamb, but it was tasty nevertheless.

                        Beef barbacoa at La Texanita -

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          On Friday I cruised through Vallejo on my way to a meeting in Napa to see if I could find the place mentioned above. It was called Joann's, but unfortunately, the storefront on Mini Drive (~320) was vacant. Previously it was located in the restaurant connected to Los Primos market on Benicia Road that's now Thomson's. I would give anything to find the sweet abuelita who manned the stove there and made such delicious treats for me.

                          The restaurant on Sebastopol Road is La Fondita, here are a couple reports on it.
                          La Fondita (Santa rosa) posts -

                          I've had some really great hamburgers at Western Boot Steakhouse and Zin in Healdsburg, both lunch time only for the burgers.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Sounds good but I am usually annoyed by restaurants with misleading names.... like Maya Palenque with no Mayan cuisine... or places called La Fonda that do not serve the food typical of a Mexican Fonda.

                    2. re: Eat_Nopal

                      With this format, it wasn't clear to me if you were recommending these places or asking a question. You should definitely try NY Pie. It has 2 locations in Santa Rosa. Here's my last post on the place.

                      But also check out Downtown Bakery in Healdsburg for the pizza served at lunch time. The chewy, crisp, thin crust is very NY. Also for breakfast, but I haven't had those yet.

                      There's also a NY pizza place in Petaluma over by McNears, but I've not tried it. For a thin crust Chicago-style pizza, don't miss Bricks in Petaluma.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Melanie...this thread is my personal to do list. As I find enthusiastic chowhound recommendations, I record them here and now I am getting the added benefit of people coming in & deliberating about the various spots.

                        Since we just moved up to Sonoma County from West L.A.; I am trying to rebuild our menu of essential places by category etc.,

                        My local finds so far are:

                        Lola's Market - Petaluma Hill Rd
                        Bob's Fruit Truck - Highway 12 (near Mission Rd)
                        Graffiti Restaurant - Petaluma
                        Annapurna - Santa Rosa (Himalayan)

                        And some reliable, good enough places:

                        Hunter's Steakhouse (Prime Rib & Bailey's Cake)
                        Cilantro - Watsonville (Grilled Red Snapper in Guajillo Sauce)
                        Daphne's (Greak Chain)
                        Rubio's (Fish Taco Chain)

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                          Here's some shopping ideas. Looking forward to you adding to them. I should add the fig pantry that recently opened in Sonoma.

                    3. Gelato & Casual Italian

                      106 Matheson
                      Healdsburg, CA 95448

                      1. California Cuisine

                        344 Center St
                        Healdsburg, CA

                        1. >Breakfast & Chicken Fried Steak - Novato<

                          I'd sure like to hear your (or anyone's) opinion of the CFS there. I had it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was one of the worst things I had ever eaten. Hard and dry, seemingly more crust than the very thin meat, and only the good gravy made it edible. In contrast, Marvin's in Cotati had great (to me) CFS about a year ago when I went.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Mick Ruthven

                            Personally I think Chubby's Dinner has FANTASTIC breakfast & CFS!

                            Chubby's Diner
                            8776 Lakewood Drive
                            Windsor, CA 94592