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May 27, 2011 10:25 AM

Oakland to Ft. Ross and back - where to eat and drink?

Am just realizing that I may not have enough time to obsessively research the way I like, so I need to call on the board for a little help today.

Am headed to Ft. Ross late-ish tonight to do some abalone diving in the morning - am just staying overnight. Planning to take a meandering route back to the East Bay with lots of stops for eating and drinking.

On the way there - it will be late (anticipate a 9 pm departure from Oakland) - any good spots on the way, or are we better off grabbing a burger/tacos/burrito out here before we go?

On the way back - looking mostly for simple food, a good burger, soup, pastries, tacos, etc. Wild Flour Bakery is the only thing I have figured out so far. Would like to avoid downtown Sonoma.

Wine preferences - I like lean, acidic pinots, and zins that taste like pinot. The BF loves jammy zins, and pinots that taste like zin. That should cover most of the offerings in the area, so am open to all suggestions.

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  1. I don't think there's much of interest past Richmond that will be open on your way north.

    If your meanderings take you near Santa Rosa, it's worth a detour to taste some wine at Natural Process Alliance / Salinia / A Tribute to Grace.

    On the way back, I'd stop at Bud's and maybe Della Fattoria.

    Della Fattoria
    141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

    Bud's Custom Meats
    7750 Petaluma Hill Rd, Penngrove, CA

    Salinia Wine/The NPA
    3350 Coffey Ln, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

    1. Not too far from Wild Flour, make a stop on Saturday for dinner at the Casino Bar & Grill. The fabulous and CHEAP, local/sustainable menu is posted every day on FB. I've noticed that Chef Malicki has taken it up a notch in recent weeks. You might call ahead to find out how late it serves on friday night, but you risk the best things being sold out. Not much of a wine list here but you can get beer on draft.

      Graffiti in Petaluma is open until 1am. It's been a while since my last visit there, which was good but not really special.

      Where I've been recently is Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol, which could also be on your way if you take the Bodega Hwy to the coast. I posted about the sliders during Pliny fever. You should check the website as there can be a stiff cover charge when there's a live performance, I'm told.

      Edited to add: Here's tonight's (thurs) menu at the Casino,
      thursday supper

      white corn soup
      roasted poblanos & crema
      goat cheese souffle
      garden lettuce salad

      those hella turkey leg’s like you get at the fair
      black eyed peas, bacon aioli, okra

      lobster and mussel stew
      kale,, hamhocks and turnip cream

      chocolate cake
      warm toffee sauce, crunchy peanuts

      101 2nd St Ste 190, Petaluma, CA 94952

      Casino Bar & Grill
      17000 Bodega Hwy, Bodega, CA

      Hopmonk Tavern
      230 Petaluma Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472

      1. I meandered back from Ft. Ross to East Bay several weeks ago and found pinot paradise along route 128/Anderson Valley. Navarro Vineyards tasting room (no charge) was a special treat--friendly, knowledgeable staff, 4-5 pinot noirs to taste and beautiful grounds (resident llama, alpaca, sheep, lambs and two herding dogs), tours-by-appt at 10 and 3 (Chris is an enthusiastic guide with encyclopedic knowledge of wine in general and the vineyard and its approach to vinification in particular). Roederer also excellent even if you're not crazy about sparkling wine, also Husch, Handley (for zinfandel).

        Appellation map listing Anderson Valley wineries, tasting room hours etc. at this helpful website:

        3 Replies
        1. re: dordogne

          A fun stop in the Anderson Valley is Jimtown Store, for lunch or a snack or just to look around.

          Jimtown Store
          6706 Hwy 128, Healdsburg, CA 95448

          1. re: foodeye

            Jimtown Store is in Alexander Valley near the town of Healdsburg.

            Anderson Valley is much further north in Mendocino County.

            Jimtown Store
            6706 Hwy 128, Healdsburg, CA 95448

          2. re: dordogne

            I love Anderson Valley, but going through there would add two hours to the two-hour trip from Fort Ross to Oakland. Maybe more on a holiday weekend, traffic can get backed up on the two-lane roads. That's Mendocino County, so discussed on the California board.

          3. Another thought for wine tasting --- when I attended a special event at the Timber Cove Inn last fall, I noticed that there's a shared tasting room showcasing Peay, Flowers, Hirsch and other wineries on the Sonoma Coast. I've loved every Peay wine I've tried to date and they'll be more along the lines of your tastes. Flowers goes for more extraction to keep the BF happy.

            Here's a recent piece about it in the Bohemian. I didn't have time to taste there, so I hope you will and let us know what you find.

            P. S. I had to put in Jenner as the city for the new record to take in the database. It's actually quite a bit north of Jenner and very close to Fort Ross.

            Timber Cove Inn
            21780 North Coast Hwy 1, Jenner, CA 95450

            1. Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions - I should really plan a longer trip next time so I can loop through Anderson Valley as well.

              Melanie, I will be staying right by TImber Cove Inn, so that tasting room will be a perfect way to kick off the homeward trip. Has anyone eaten at their restaurant? The menu's pretty straightforward and looks like it would satisfy the post-diving, burger and soup requirement.