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Russian River Chow?

Ruth Lafler Jul 28, 2011 12:12 PM

A friend and I rented a house for a week outside of Guerneville. I know nothing about the immediate area -- I know there's lots of great chow in Sonoma County, but it's a BIG county.

We probably will shop and cook rather than eat out. So I'd love some recs for:

(1) places to shop for food, especially local artisan foods, and/or buy prepared foods (delis, bakeries) and casual lunch spots (especially dog-friendly ones), and

(2) any "destination" places (farmers' markets, etc.) worth driving up to 45 minutes for, and

(3) any foodie related activities (farm tours, etc.)

Thanks!

  1. m
    ML8000 Aug 5, 2011 10:48 AM

    Last time I went to the Russian River I stopped at Willie Bird Restaurant in Santa Rosa...in all its 70s faux tudor splendor. The food was excellent for what it is. I had the turkey lunch plate and everything was like homemade. Also in Duncan Mills there's Cafe Fear which has a nice dog friendly patio. The food is okay...brunchy stuff.

    -----
    Willie Bird's Restaurant
    1150 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

    1. Ruth Lafler Aug 5, 2011 09:24 AM

      I'm heading out today -- anything to add?

      1. s
        stanbee Jul 28, 2011 09:14 PM

        Stop by Joe Matos' farm for his Portuguese cheese. Santa Rosa

        1. c
          Columba Jul 28, 2011 08:04 PM

          Photos & story from local newspaper
          http://www.biteclubeats.com/2011/07/guerneville.html

          Sonoma County Farm Trails
          http://www.farmtrails.org/

          Tour d'Organics 2011 bicycle tour
          August 14
          http://www.seb.org/event/250477-2011-tour-d-organics
          (you could just steal their route and drive it

          )

          French Garden, Sebastopol
          Sunday 10-2 Farm Market
          http://www.seb.org/event/250477-2011-...
          (in the past they've had wonderful co-vendors

          )

          Chloe's French Cafe in Santa Rosa is off 101 at the exit before River Road
          Great pastries to go.

          Nightingale Breads is in Downtown Forestville.

          Agree with Wild Flour Bread, but only open Friday-Monday. The garden is fabulously beautiful just now.

          -----
          French Garden
          8050 Bodega Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472

          Sonoma County Farm Trails
          Santa Rosa, CA 95406, Santa Rosa, CA 95406

          Chloe's French Cafe
          3883 Airway Drive 145, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

          Wild Flour Bread
          140 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone, CA

          2 Replies
          1. re: Columba
            BernalKC Jul 29, 2011 12:52 AM

            One more vote for Wild Flour. And recognizing that its a trek from Guerneville, you should add another destination to your route, like Andy's Market. An hour of driving, but really quite beautiful, and worth it. Try this route: http://tinyurl.com/3eo8w3h

            1. re: BernalKC
              Ruth Lafler Aug 13, 2011 03:15 PM

              Great suggestion -- we followed that route (including going all the way into Sebastopol for the farmers market). Andy's was great -- lots of organics and local products at good prices (oh, and fabulous olive bar!).

              We actually stopped at Wild Flour three times (Saturday, Monday and Friday -- if they'd been open the other days we were in that area we probably would have stopped in those days, too). The scones are phenomenal, but the olive loaf with nigella seeds and zataar and the bread with cardamom were the real stars. And the garden was beautiful.

              The other repeat stop was Screamin' Mimi's Ice Cream in Sebastopol. Not really a destination, but worth a stop if you're in the area. I like the way the sell their ice cream by weight, so you can have as much or as little of as many flavors as you want. My favorite was the ginger almond; my friend's strawberry rose sorbet was also excellent.

          2. moto Jul 28, 2011 04:24 PM

            Mateo Granados has one of the best brunches in the world at the Sunday Sebastopol farmer's market. The market itself is one of the best small town farmer's markets we've visited in the state and sometimes we take a day trip just to eat and shop there.

            1. t
              TonyVelebil Jul 28, 2011 01:46 PM

              Would agree with Wildflower Bakery. Well inside your 45 min radius.

              1. k
                Kathleen M Jul 28, 2011 01:20 PM

                There's a new food store that just opened in Guerneville, Big Bottom Market. I haven't been yet, but have heard really good things. They specialize in local artisan foods. The farmers' market in Occidental, maybe half an hour at most from Guerneville, is my favorite farmers' market. It's on Friday afternoons beginning at 4:00. There is tremendous produce at very reasonable prices and some absolutely delicious prepared foods. I especially like Casa la Belle breads, Lata's Indian food, the brick oven pizzas, and Salt Side Down chocolates, and The Hummus Guy among the prepared foods. I have to go, but will write another response soon!

                -----
                Big Bottom Market
                16228 Main St, Guerneville, CA 95446

                7 Replies
                1. re: Kathleen M
                  k
                  Kathleen M Jul 28, 2011 01:39 PM

                  Naughty me for posting on Chowhound while working! Anyhow, check out Sophie's Cellars in Monte Rio, just about four miles west of Guerneville on Hwy 116. They have a large selection of mostly local cheeses, Casa la Belle bread, a few other local delicacies, and of course wine. Ask John for recommendations. He is familiar with many local and foreign producers and can steer you to a fantastic bargain or to an expensive bottle that will blow your socks off. Many of our local restaurants offer free corkage for the first bottle purchased at Sophie's, they will be happy to give you a list if you're interested. For casual lunch, in Guerneville I love boon eat+drink. They use locally sourced ingredients and some very creative preparations. I've never had anything there that I didn't love. Coffee Bazaar, also in Guerneville, is casual and very basic (sandwiches, salads, etc.) and is dog friendly at the tables outside on the street. Back in Monte Rio, Don's Dogs make really great hot dogs with delicious chili, and is VERY dog friendly. Across the street there is Holey Cow, only marginally less casual than Don's Dogs. They are open for breakfast and lunch. Everything is prepared in house and very fresh. The Village Inn in Monte Rio serves lunch on Sundays on their patio, overlooking the river. I think the lunch menu could use some work, but I ate lunch there recently and the soup and fries were just perfect. It's a little more elegant, but I've seen people with their dogs on the patio. Finally, the concession stand on the beach at Monte Rio is also dog friendly, certainly the most casual of the places I've mentioned, and they make quite good tacos. Do report back, I love to hear what people like around the area.

                  -----
                  Village Inn
                  20822 River Boulevard, Monte Rio, CA 95462

                  Sophie's Cellars
                  20293 Bohemian Hwy, Monte Rio, CA 95462

                  Coffee Bazaar
                  Armstrong Woods Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446

                  Don's Dog Cafe
                  20396 Bohemian Hwy, Monte Rio, CA 95462

                  1. re: Kathleen M
                    Ruth Lafler Aug 13, 2011 03:50 PM

                    We ended up mostly shopping and cooking -- Sonoma County is a great place to be a locavore! We did have a couple of lunches out -- both unplanned. One was at Apple Trees in Sebastopol when we ended up there the wrong day for the farmers' market (I mixed up the days for Healdsburg and Sebastopol). Apple Trees had outdoor seating where my dog was welcome and served up decent if unexceptional food at reasonable prices. I thought the inclusion of Joe's Special was a nice touch -- it looked good and my friend enjoyed it.

                    The other lunch out was at Spud Point Crab Company in Bodega Bay ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8007... ) when I decided on impulse that I had to have crab.

                    -----
                    Spud Point Crab Company
                    1860 Westshore Rd, Bodega Bay, CA 94923

                    Apple Trees Restaurant
                    124 S Main St, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      Ruth Lafler Aug 13, 2011 04:01 PM

                      Link: Screamin' Mimi's -- it's on the corner of Hwy 116 northbound, right around the corner from where they hold the farmers market. Also in that area: Infusions Teahous -- a nice selection of teas and chocolates. I bought both. :-)

                      -----
                      Screamin' Mimi's
                      6902 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                      Infusions Teahouse
                      6988 McKinley Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                    2. re: Kathleen M
                      a
                      ammck63 Aug 21, 2011 02:56 PM

                      Here's a second recommendation for Sophie's Cellars. The owners (John and David) have put together a great wine shop (and their cheese selection isn't bad either!). Absolutely ask John for suggestions. He's pointed me at some really amazing wines at good prices. I love the fact that he doesn't just push the high end stuff. I'm also a big fan of Nightengale Breads over in Forestville. Their Forestville French is simply amazing. Combine these two with a stop over at Big Bottom Market in Guerneville and you have an amazing picnic.

                      -----
                      Sophie's Cellars
                      20293 Bohemian Hwy, Monte Rio, CA 95462

                      Big Bottom Market
                      16228 Main St, Guerneville, CA 95446

                    3. re: Kathleen M
                      c
                      celeryroot Jul 28, 2011 02:00 PM

                      opps you are correct
                      I like those big danish type things with apple

                      http://www.occidentalfarmersmarket.co...

                      1. re: Kathleen M
                        Ruth Lafler Aug 13, 2011 03:17 PM

                        I was disappointed by Big Bottom Market -- I thought the selection was very thin. Went in, looked around and went out without even being tempted to buy anything.

                        -----
                        Big Bottom Market
                        16228 Main St, Guerneville, CA 95446

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                          a
                          ammck63 Aug 21, 2011 02:46 PM

                          While I agree the selection at Big Bottom Market wasn't great (note that I went there just after they had their "official" opening on the 5th), everything I tried there was amazing. I definitely think they are a welcome addition to Guerneville and western Sonoma county.

                          -----
                          Big Bottom Market
                          16228 Main St, Guerneville, CA 95446

                      2. Robert Lauriston Jul 28, 2011 12:23 PM

                        On the way up, I'd stop at Bud's Custom Meats, Della Fattoria, and on a Thursday or Sunday the Marin Civic Center farmers market.

                        The only really worthwhile food shopping we found last time we were up there was the excellent Raymond's Bakery in Cazadero, worth the drive from Guerneville.

                        Tierra Vegetables is about half an hour away.

                        Food for Humans has some decent produce and whatnot in a pinch.

                        -----
                        Della Fattoria
                        141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                        Tierra Vegetables
                        651 Airport Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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

                        Raymond's Bakery
                        5400 Cazadero Hwy, Cazadero, CA

                        Food For Humans
                        16385 1st St, Guerneville, CA

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          c
                          celeryroot Jul 28, 2011 12:37 PM

                          There is lots of good food shopping
                          A great area is Forestville very near
                          Great grocery there with lots of local farm stuff, can not remember name but cant miss.
                          http://www.kozlowskifarms.com/
                          yummy pies
                          Wild Flour Bakery in Graton is wonderful
                          You wiil probably pass Willow Side meats on way , make sausages there
                          I stop in at Willow side and Buds abt once a month each , both good but WS much closer for you
                          Look at Farm Trail map , lots of farms in the area
                          for abreak..... fun little place
                          http://willowwoodgraton.com/about.html

                          1. re: celeryroot
                            k
                            Kathleen M Jul 28, 2011 01:27 PM

                            Wild Flour Bakery is indeed wonderful, but it's in Freestone. They make the best scones I've ever had.

                            1. re: Kathleen M
                              Ruth Lafler Aug 7, 2011 07:51 PM

                              Hit Wild Flour on Saturday -- we got a pluot scone and a rhubarb scone and they were awesome! They have a really light, tender biscuit quality that puts those rocks that most places call scones to shame. The only complaint I have with Wild Flour is that it's impossible to decide what to buy!

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