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Jul 24, 2014 12:31 PM

Santa Rosa to Mendocino

Flying into Santa Rosa and driving to Mendocino. Get in around lunchtime. Any suggestions for lunch along the way? Restaurants or gourmet food to go and picnic along the way would be great!

Any winery recs for Mendocino?

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  1. My favorite winery along the way to Mendocino (and coincidentally, one of my favorite picnic spots) is Navarro. But that would be a pretty late lunch--it's about 1 1/2 hours from Santa Rosa.

    1. Lots of options in Healdsburg. Plenty of Healdsburg topics on this board.

      If pizza or charcuterie appeals to you, Diavola in Geyerserville (just north of Healdsburg) is fantastic.

      If you want to pick up some picnic supplies Big John's Market in Healdsburg is great. Deli, cheese selection, bread, salad bar, etc. It's north of the main Healdsburg square near the Dry Creek exit off Highway 101.

      4 Replies
      1. re: pamf

        Heck, even the Bear Republic brewpub in Healdsburg is a great place to eat, and the beer they serve is terrific.

        1. re: pamf

          Here's a link to the past 12 months of Healdsburg topics on the San Francisco Bay Area board,

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Mmm yes. We've been to Healdsburg and had some great meals there. Would it be crazy to drive up 1 instead of 101?
            Any Mendocino wineries besides Navarro that we should check out?

            1. re: keena

              Highway 1 wouldn't be crazy--it takes longer (maybe 1/2 hour, 45 minutes) but it's spectacular--but it would bypass both Healdsburg and the Anderson Valley (Navarro and other wineries). What we usually do when we go up that way is take 128 (through the Anderson Valley) up and return via 1.

              Been a while, but I recall Husch having some good stuff. Also, Sharffenberger, if you like sparkling wine.

        2. I'm happy to report back that we had a great trip and any thanks for the advice on this thread and Dottie May's thread.

          Stopped at Big John's in Healdsburg for some wonderful items for a picnic. Wish we had a place like that here! Made it to Navarro winery before we had to stop and dig in while enjoying a bottle of their fabulous Rose.
          We also stopped at Toulouse winery which was just a welcoming, family run place. Enjoyed some fine Pinot Noirs there.

          In Mendocino, we agree that Wild Fish in Little River was our favorite. Very small, only seats 20 so you need reservations. Best black cod and halibut we've ever had. Spectacular, unusual dessert of Blueberry Lavender creme brûlée. Loved this place. Family run and they make sure to take care of you.

          We also went to Ledford House in Albion. Food was very good but kind of surprised that the fisherman's stew had no shellfish at all, just salmon and a whitefish (more bouillabaisse like in Cassis I guess) but was definitely under seasoned with salt and I usually complain things are too salty. But what made it wonderful and why we'd return was the awesome view and live jazz which just made it a great Mendocino experience. Owner was a really nice guy too.

          Spontaneously stopped by Albion River Inn for dinner without reservations and got a window table which again was just gorgeous for ocean views. We were not too hungry and just had some apps and shared a burger and delicious wines. The service was extremely warm and friendly and we'd certainly return.

          Piaci's in Ft Bragg is also very small essentially a bar with a nice selection of beer on tap and quite a pizza selection as well. Very good salads. Enjoyed our lunch there but I felt the bartender/waiter couldn't care less about whether we enjoyed our lunch. My husband didn't mind and just said well it's a local place, that's what you get.

          Had lunch at the Mendocino Hotel because...starving. It was ok. Cold day so we had chowder and their version of ramen noodle soup (obv not authentic in the least but warm). Despite what I'd read about service, the server here was very efficient and friendly.

          Only tried 5200 in Little River for breakfast as we were staying at Heritage House. Selection was mediocre, service was lacking (had to ask everyday for coffee refills, or milk for oatmeal or something). So with so many excellent options for dinner, we didn't risk it. They still have a bunch of kinks to work out with service.

          On our way back to Sonoma we had very tasty panini and iced tea in Boonville at Mosswood Market. Tried the grilled eggplant with goat cheese panino and the salami panino, both excellent and served with salad and a smile. The chef came out to make sure we were enjoying her panini.

          So all in all a lovely trip, didn't even go over how much fun we had doing non-foodie things. I see everyplace there accommodates for picnics and that is what we will do more of next time in addition to revisiting Wild Fish, ARI and Ledford House for dinner and sunsets! Thanks for all the advice, hounds!