Sonoma: La Dee's Diner - Texas chili, BBQ, cornbread and fried pickles
The Sonoma News had this recent mention of La Dee's Diner ...
"Owner La Dee Reichiling brought her nephew, Korey Kemp, all the way from Texas in January, to zip up the diner next to the golf driving range south of Craig Avenue, and indeed he has. With 20 years' restaurant experience under his belt, Kemp brings humor and fun along with great new recipes for a killer Texas chili (the real thing with no beans) and cornbread, slightly flaky buttermilk-soaked onion rings"
I ordered the two-meat combo (ribs and brisket) with two sides (beans and cole slaw).
I'm from New England so take this FWIW, but this is one of the better bbq's I've had in the Bay Area.
The meat perfumed the car with smoke on the ride home. Kemp isn't afraid of fat and uses it effectively to keep the meat moist and flavorful without being greasy. The ribs had a nice chew and were just right ... not falling off the bone but tender.
The brisket had a nice layer of fat and I was able to cut through the slices with a fork.
Sauce came in mild, medium and hot. I got the medium on the side. This is a thick ... but not too thick ... sauce which is indeed medium. There's a spicy tingle to it but it's not too spicy or too mild. This is mama bear bbq sauce ... just right.
The beans are tasty and not sweet. I like the irregularily cut and lightly dressed slaw a lot. It does what slaw should do, IMO, .cut some of the heat and balance out the richness of the meat.
I have learned I am not a fried pickle fan. These are battered and fried sliced hamburger pickles. They come with cups of ranch dressing. The problem here is there are too many of them. Six people easily could have eaten this. The price is $5.95 and I wish they had a single-serving size for less. I might go for that. some of the pickle slices puffed up nicely, but for me ... no ...just not something I'm interested in.
This report was originally going to have as its title "No BBQ, no fried pickles, no pie, no straws"
I went about a week ago for a late lunch. I started to ask about the brisket sandwich and the waitress jumped in with "We're out of all the bbq". OK. I ordered a burger and fried pickles. Order goes in. Waitress comes back. "We don't have fried pickles".
Homemade pie was on the menu.. "I suppose you don't have pie either?", I said. She informed me they no longer made pies. Well ... I read the shakes were good so I ordered a strawberry shake.
A lovely shake comes out topped with whipped cream with more shake in the metal mixing cup. I ask for a straw. They are out of straws.I was mentally having an Easy Rider moment and I'm thinking this is it for this place.
However, the burger was 50's diner good. It was large, thick and juicy on a nice classic bun topped with crisp iceburg lettuce and a tomato slice. The shake was tasty as well. So, I considered returning ... someday.
I thought I left my glasses there and called the next day. It was no surprise that there were no glasses found.
However, the man on the phone was really pleasant. I told him my story and he said the cook was late that day and arrived with supplies about an hour after I left. The pulled pork was in the oven curently and the ribs in the smoker. They do have a sign that says "Best ribs in town until we run out".
Well, given it is in Sonoma, that statement is certainly true. However, I think they are aslo some of the better ribs I've tried in the Bay Area.
He said they made pies but because they used all natural ingredients,they didn't keep well, so they stopped making them. They do make cupcakes though.
There are a few sandwiches, salads, fries and wraps. I noticed today there was a sign for a jalapeno burger.
Beer and wine are available. Three beers are on tap which inlcude Pabst.
It is the classic diner look ... red booths and stools with black and white tile floors. There's condiments on the table such as ketchup, mustard and Trappy's peppers. Old 45's decorate the walls. There's a nice large outdoor patio under large shady trees. It looks out on a driving range. About the only update to present day decor is a large screen tv on the counter.
I have their chili and cornbread on my to-try list ... and the pulled pork sandwich.
La Dee's Diner (I need to correct the spelling on the place record)
Closed Monday. Tue-Sun 11 am - 8-ish
La Dee's Diner
18709 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476
I stopped there this afternoon and had their brisket. They cook it in the pit out in back and it's the real thing. The sandwich was $9.95 and the "order" with two sides was $10.95 so I got the order, with slaw and onion rings. The brisket was definitely long pit-cooked, with a distinct though mild smoke flavor, extremely tender, and fatty enough to satisfy the Texas crowd. Is it as good as the brisket at Memphis Minnie's? Probably not (really, I prefer mine less fatty), but it's good and as I said, it's the real thing. Barbecue fans should give this place a try and see for yourselves how you like it. The onion rings were very good, if greasy (they're made right there) and the slaw (also made there) was a fairly bland mayo type that wasn't my favorite. I'd say this place is trying hard and probably does a good job on some things beside brisket. Oh, I forgot to specify the sauce on the side so it was on top of the large pile of large slices; not really a problem since most of the brisket was hidden underneath the top layer.
re: Mick Ruthven
I went there again a few days ago and again had the brisket order, this time with slaw and beans. Again, the brisket was quite good and also enough for two meals. The beans were very good, a not-too-sweet version. Sometime I'm going to have to try the ribs. Barbecue lovers, don't forget to try this place to see what you think about it.
We had lunch at La Dee's on Saturday, the patio was nice on such a hot day.
I learned that I do like fried pickles. They'll let you have them as a side for $1.95. My grilled chicken sandwich with BBQ sauce was good and very large, my husband's club sandwich was also good but not overly large (not a triple decker, which is what I think of as a club sandwich). Onion rings were tasty but messy and the PBR was cold.
We'd definitely go back and try some BBQ.