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Sep 25, 2012 06:43 PM

Philly Chowhounds coming to SF, Mendocino & Sonoma

My wife & I are spending 4 nights in SF, 3 in Mendocino & 3 in Sonoma (Glen Ellen to be exact) in Mid-October. I know Mendocino is the CA board, but would like your input on our ideas for SF and Sonoma. We're staying near Union Sq and come in late Wed, so any suggestions for a late (9 - 9:30) lite dinner near our hotel. We tend to like casual places with the emphasis on the food, not so much the decor. We thought we would spend a day in the Mission - ideas for eating were Delfina Pizza for lunch and possibly Foreign Cinema or Flour & Water for dinner. Any other suggestions?
We want to go to the Ferry Building - I know there's a farmers market on Saturday - is it worth the extra crowds or better to go Friday?
Other ideas for meals (gleaned from previous posts) were Il Pollaio, Bar Tartine, Sweet Woodruff for breakfast, OTD in Japantown, Barbacco and maybe we can get in as an early walk-in at State Bird Provisions. Any places that don't take reservations & worthwhile - hard to plan our days far enough in advance for reservs. for some places. Any thoughts on these or other ideas.....

Heading to Sonoma from Mendocino, we go through Geyserville & Healdsberg. We were thinking maybe Jordon Winery - any other (better) ideas, as well as places for lunch. Our ideas for closer to where we're staying are Benziger for the tour, BR Cohn and maybe Chateau St Jean. We'd like to do a paired tasting - Mayo and St Francis both sound nice- any thoughts of one over the other. We're actually more beer people than wine (part of reason to go to Mendocino), so we aren't necessarily looking for the best wines, more the best learning experience.

Food ideas were Glen Ellen Star, La Salette in Sonoma, Fig Cafe, maybe Cafe Citti for a lunch. Any thoughts.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. For late night dinner on Wednesday by Union Square: Gitane, Cafe Claude, or Fifth Floor

    As to wineries by Glen Ellen, I would switch out one of these:

    BR Cohn and Chateau St. Jean (I think you should try one winery that isn't huge)

    for one of these:

    Deerfield, Landmark

    Also, if you want to stop by a simple tasting room Audelssa is in Glen Ellen proper.


    For wineries by Healdsburg, Jordan is a fine choice (note they may be appt only). Some other possibilities by Jordan:

    Robert Young

    1. lunch for us in Sonoma would mean el Molino Central (Boyes Hot Spring Rd/hwy. 12). it has numerous reports on this board.

      1. As a fellow tourist, I'd say the Sat FP farmers market is worth the candle. Really quite something with all the produce and local products on offer at a time of year when we have NOTHING MUCH back home. The Ferry Building is indeed beautiful and worth a visit but you can check it out while you are at the market and kill two birds. Really good to go early if you can, especially if you want to sample the ready-made foodstuffs which is a good thing to do. Roli Roti porchetta and Primavera chilaquiles are two things I dream about...

        1. Well, if you've never been to Sonoma (city of) it's a lovely and charming city square. But you might also want to check Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma (1280 N McDowell Blvd, Petaluma, CA 94954). We have good friends who are beer lovers and they love this place. Note they aren't open Mon/Tues, however.

          Also open Wed-Sun is Yanni's Sausage Grill in Penngrove, 10 min north from Petaluma and only 5 min off 101. The food is simple but homemade, and John and his wife Francesca are charming hosts. If you are a first-timer and it isn't the lunch hour rush, they will hand you sample cups of their Greek chili, Greek salad, and tzatziki dip to try. These are the best grilled sausage sandwiches you have ever had. I grew up in Chicago's South Side where old Polish and German butchers offered their grilled sausage sandwiches only on weekends, and Yanni's is the only place in the Bay Area that brought back that childhood memory (and flavor) to me!

          2 Replies
          1. re: jaiko

            Lagunitas does have its charm. The tour is low-rent and mighty cool. Maybe the best brewery tour I've ever been on.

            1. re: jaiko

              if you pass through the uptown part of oakland, give the sausages at Telegraph a try. along with Yanni's they're our favorites (have not been to Rosamunde).

            2. Philadelphia has an interesting food scene these days which leads me to believe Tartine Bakery would be a better stop off rather than a dinner at Bar Tartine.

              I also can't imagine Delfina Pizza will impress. At it's best, it's not as good as a South Jersey, Philly type place.

              1 Reply