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Nov 19, 2012 05:26 PM

S.F./Mendocino/Sonoma Trip Report

Spent 10 days last month in CA & we had a great time. Stayed off Union Square at Handlery Hotel, which was OK. First night's meal was at Barbacco - great restaurant. Favorites were the "angry mussels' and the farro risotto.
Next morning had breakfast at Sweet Woodruff. Wife had their oatmeal with fresh berries and figs & I had breakfast egg sandwich - both very nice. After some time in Japantown, we went to the Mission. Coffee break at Four Barrels. They take their coffee seriously. Had a single estate Honduran as a pour over - very good. Dinner at Delfina Pizzeria - very good pizza; really enjoyed the Brussel Sprout appetizer. Desert at Bi-Rite Creamery down the street. A good eating day.
Next day was Saturday, so we headed to Ferry Building Market. Breakfast consisted of smoked fish sandwiches - smoked salmon and smoked tuna, followed by Korean tacos. I've had Korean tacos here in Philly, but never in a shell of nori. Excellent. Some baked goods and lots of fruit samples rounded out breakfast. The farmer's markets near home almost never have samples out.
Early dinner at the bar at Sotto Mare for cioppino. A little different than other versions I've had, but we enjoyed sharing the pot.

Next day off to Mendocino. On the way, stopped at Lagunitas Brewery for lunch & tour. Food is nothing special, but they brew some nice beers. While I know it's a different board, I must recommend the B&B we stayed at if anyone travels up there. Brewery Gultch Inn is just outside of Mendocino and besides wonderful breakfasts, they have a daily dinner buffet with local beer and Anderson Valley wines. The food was imaginative and delicious.

On the way to Sonoma, we stopped at Goldeneye Winery to taste Pinots and Chardonnays. Lunch at FF Coppolla's winery - food was good. The place with the collection of olive oil tins, movie props, etc was more interesting than the food & the wine.
Next day went to B. Cohn Winery, wines were OK; more interested in their vinegars and olive oil. next had wine/food pairing at Mayo Family Winery. Seven tastes paired with 7 of their wines. We were the only ones there, so got a nice lesson on food/wine pairings from the chef. Very enjoyable. Next to Ledson Winery - beautiful building, nice wines. Dinner at La Salette in Sonoma, which had been recommended on CH. Wife had the heirloom tomato salad and I had the sardines. Entrees were the blue nose sea bass and the Feijoada. Thanks for the recommendation - it was great.
Final day we went to Benziger for the tour, which was very interesting. Their wines aren't bad either. Went to Chateau St Jean to check out their demonstration vineyard. They have about a dozen rows of vines, different varietals, different trellis types. It was very interesting tasting the grapes after 2 days of tasting the wines. Everything was ripe to slightly over ripe. Most wineries had harvested just days before we arrived, though some still had grapes on the vine. Dinner was at Glen Ellen Star, which was very good, though not up to the class of La Sallete or Barbacco.
Overall a great trip. Thanks for recommendations.

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  1. Nice report! I still think about the farrotto at Barbacco, so good. And the SO says the best thing he ate on our recent trip to SF was that Irish oatmeal at Sweet Woodruff. Must do some homework on what makes it Irish :-).

    1. Very nice report.

      I remember when Mayo had just opened and were trying out the tasting concept so I'm glad it is still going strong.

      Also pleased that La Salette continues to impress...

      1. while it's not a destination food spot, i've always enjoyed the food i've had at lagunitas - simple, well-executed, and reasonably priced - and a refreshing contrast to most other breweries that try way too hard with their food menus to be something they're not.

        1. Thanks for the tip on Mendocino - several of our fine dining favs closed up due to the recession so it's good to hear about a B&B we hadn't heard about before.

          One of these days I really must try Barbacco. We've been to Perbacco three times but haven't hit the sibling yet. I would love to try the farro risotto - I'm the only one in my family who likes farro so I never get to cook any at home!

          2 Replies
          1. re: jaiko

            Enjoyed our time in Mendocino area, but the B&B really made it special. Every night they have what they call a wine & light dinner buffet at 5:30. If you don't mind eating early, it's a full meal. As an idea of what's served, one night there was heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella & frisee salad; hercot vert & grilled endive w/balsamic glaze; penne w/roasted oyster mushrooms; duck breast w/black beans & a cilantro lime sauce; mocha chevre cheesecake; plus local wines and beer. Another night had beet and feta salad w/roasted pumpkin seeds; grilled radicchio & oyster mushrooms; parsnip puree; a winter vegi ragout w/pork; pork tenderloin; marsala sabayon. Breakfast is made to order with lots of interesting choices.

            1. re: rsgdmd

              Awesome. I am actually planning a Mendo trip for nex weekend, thanks for the recomendation!