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critique my food choices in wine country

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Hi Chowhounds,

I would love some help with the food portion of my itinerary (Wed July 16-Sat July 19). I've pored over previous posts but still have questions!

The first day (not even a half day), we have a 5pm reservation at the Mayo Family tasting room. I haven't seen a recent Chowhound review. Can anyone give me feedback?

We also have a 7:45pm at Glen Ellen Star. I was under the impression that Mayo wasn't really a lot of food - would it be overkill to do Mayo as appetizer and Glen Ellen Star as dinner? And is Glen Ellen Star all that?

We are staying in Petaluna, so breakfasts will probably be from Della Fattore and other bakeries, except that one day we'll venture to El Molino for chilaquiles (we are addicts). Has anyone been there for breakfast? Most lunches will be picnics we bring with us from Petaluma, or something quick we procure on the way. The one exception is the first day, when we'll be coming through Napa, and I'd like to stop at Oxbow. I was thinking the arepas place for lunch, would welcome thoughts.

We end our first day at Scribe, so was thinking about a 6:30pm at Girl and the Fig. Is it still top-notch, or are there other better places in Sonoma town? I adore figs but from what I see on the menu it doesn't appear I'm guaranteed them. Would welcome thoughts on the Sonoma night dinner.

Friday night we were planning on Central Market, so we could stay local to our hotel. Reviews seem to be great. Are we missing anything else in Petaluma? (I want to pick up a sandwich with Dutch crunch bread somewhere along the way too).

Saturday is our Healdsburg/rose day. If we are up early might do Healdsburg shed for breakfast but haven't seen many reviews. We want to hit Quivira, Mauritson, and MacPhail. Any good lunch options along the way?

We are taking the redeye out of SFO Saturday night, so for dinner I was thinking Picco in Larkspur (based on the raves I've read on Chowhound). Would that leave us with full tummies and happy memories before heading back East?

I really welcome other suggestions and alternatives. We went to Ad Hoc 7 years ago and had one of the most memorable meals ever, but everything I've read suggests that it's gone downhill (and for some reason that extra fifth course they offer seems to throw the simplicity of the menu off). But you wouldn't have to work too hard to change my mind. Other delicious options welcomed! Thanks.

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  1. I think your choices are all stellar. There's one favorite casual lunch stop you may like, just northeast of Healdsburg, Jimtown Store.

    1. It all depends on what you'd enjoy most. I'd run up to Hole In the Wall/Sebastopol, a quick 15-20 min drive, for breakfast or lunch. No reservations, same menu for lunch and dinner. We feel chef/owner Adam Beers is doing an amazing job at this modest little cafe.

      We're not lovers of Central Market. We found the deep-frying uniformly greasy and the flavors unbalanced. The chef comes out and glad-hands endlessly, something we rarely approve of, since we trust line cooks without supervision about as far as we can throw them. Petaluma is not a great restaurant town. We enjoy Le Bistro, which is more Continental than French. Portions are small, but his execution is classic. Again, we would rather go to Sebastopol, where French Garden and K&L Bistro are both beautiful and do terrific food.

      Sonoma Square: Girl & Fig is good. So are Cafe La Haye, La Salette, and although no one else seems to like them, Depot Hotel Restaurant, just off the Square.

      H.Shed is an odd duck that is a little bit kitchen store, a little bit deli/bakery, a little bit gourmet foodstuffs, and fully one-half meeting/classroom space. It, and Downtown Bakery, are right on Healdsburg Square, so your choice for breakfast. We get our coffee at Flying Goat, near Downtown Bakery, as we love their coffees and espresso drinks. If you are closer to lunchtime, go to Shed; they'll have more lunch items than Downtown, which is a true bakery and not so cafe-like.

      Hole in the Wall
      972 Gravenstein Hwy. South, Sebastopol, CA
      http://www.holeinthewallsebastopol.co...

      Le Bistro
      312 Petaluma Blvd. So., Petaluma, CA
      No website; Yelp reviews http://www.yelp.com/biz/le-bistro-pet...

      Cafe La Haye
      140 E. Napa St., Sonoma
      www.cafelahaye.com

      La Salette
      452-H First Street East, Sonoma, CA
      www.lasalette-restaurant.com

      Depot Hotel Restaurant and Garden
      241 First St. West, Sonoma, CA
      http://www.depotsonoma.com/Depot-Menu

      Downtown Bakery & Creamery
      308 Center St., Healdsburg
      www.downtownbakery.net

      Flying Goat Coffee
      419 Center St, Healdsburg

      1. Since Jaiko mentioned Sebastopol, if you are interested in taking a scenic ride north of Petaluma and west of Sebastopol, Wildflour Bakery is a really great spot. http://www.wildflourbread.com/

        In that same area, I have not tried this place, but I think the CH reviews have been positive: http://www.rockeroysterfellers.com/

        There have also been recent positive review of this place, a bit north of Healdsburg: http://www.diavolapizzeria.com/

        1. Thank you all for your replies! Upon considering the wealth of top notch eats in Glen Ellen, we're actually thinking of staying there for one or two nights instead of Petaluma. What would be top choices there - Glen Ellen Inn/Fig Cafe/Olive and Vine? And any good bakeries or place for picnic supplies?

          1. I don't know the other restaurants in Glen Ellen, but note there is a great grocery store for picnic supplies, Sonoma Market, there is a brand new restaurant, Aventine, in a pretty and historic setting, and there is a local's/tourist's bar with a pool table, the Jack London. The "downtown" wine tasting rooms are good, but do not stay open late. The Jack London Park is also worth a visit, if you need an activity besides dining and wine tasting. It's a very small town - one night/two days may be enough. It is nice to stay and enjoy the wines at Glen Ellen Star and a night cap at the local bar, and just walk to your lodging.

            Glen Ellen is about 5-10 minutes away from El Molino Central, too, so it is very convenient to overnight and then have Mexican brunch the next day (El Molino has Blue Bottle Coffee, too).

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodeye

              Awesome! I think I have to make this a reality!