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russian river weekend

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We're planning a 5th anniversary weekend on the Russian River at the end of August. What is our best bet for the anniversary dinner itself: Farmhouse, or Mosaic? Is Farmhouse really worth it? Is it more the kind of place to go for your 25th anniversary rather than your 5th?

Also, what is your advice for one other less expensive dinner:
Underwoods
Bistro des Copain
Wildwood

or something else?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. For the celebration dinner, definitely Farmhouse Inn. Yes, it is worth it. Mosaic is also good, but there's really no question in my mind that for a special dinner, Farmhouse Inn is the right choice. The atmosphere is gracious, much like being a guest in a beautiful country home. The service is knowlegable and warm. But the star is the food. Everything I have ever tasted there has been spot on. The speciality of the house is the rabbit three ways, which my husband has ordered every time we've gone. I've tasted his, and it is a revelation of how delicious rabbit can be. Last time I was there I ordered halibut, and I've been trying to duplicate the lightly crisp outside and tender moist inside at home, unsuccessfully, ever since.

    As for the less expensive dinner, Bistro des Copains is lovely. I've not been to Underwood, but heard good things. I've never heard of Wildwood, but if there is another fine restaurant nearby, I hope other chowhounds will chime in and tell us both about it. A couple of other recommendations would be Cafe des Jumelles (in Monte Rio) for a much more casual meal. I like it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but if you have other plans for dinners, try it for breakfast or lunch. It's a small operation and it can take a while to get your food out, but everything there is excellent. Bread is house made, as are the salad dressings. I'm very fond of the burgers (if it's a weekend, ask about the chef''s burger of the day) and the corned beef hash is the best I have ever eaten, hands down. If you are interested in wine, you should stop by Sophie's Cellars in Monte Rio. John knows everything there is to know about the local wines, and there are a number of local restaurants that will waive corkage on the first bottle if you purchased it at Sophie's.

    Finally, the Occidental farmers' market, on Friday afternoons, is a wonderful place to pick up fresh produce, and you can also pick up a great meal. Gerard's paella is justly famous - he was on Throwdown with Bobby Flay and won! And the wood fire pizza is great. For a snack, I can't resist the samosas at the Indian booth. Have fun and report back to us!

    1. I tried Underwood for lunch one afternoon, and it was solid. Friendly, comfortable, relaxed. Pretty bar. Had the Niman ranch burger and it was very good-cooked perfectly medium rare. Interesting wine by the glass and bottle selection. They didn't mark up the Merry Edwards Pinots nearly as high as Bouchon did.

      SWS

      1. Farmhouse Inn.

        Please do a search on Russian River and Healdsburg for your Number Two spot.
        I love Willi's, Ravenous, and several others in Healdsburg.