There are lots of great places to eat and drink (outside of the plethora of wineries) and we visited a few interesting places on this trip.
Belly Left Coast Kitchen – Planning to go to Russian River for a snack, we happened upon the last day of the Pliny the Younger release with a line down the block. Instead of waiting we wandered down the main street a bit to Belly. With over 20 beers on draft and a nice pub menu, we had no trouble filling up. My High Water Brewing Campfire Stout was advertised as s’mores in a glass and it did not disappoint. Eric jumped on a chance for a gose on draft with Almanac’s Golden Gate. My “black and blue” pizza was pretty good but Eric got the best deal with his happy-hour-priced pulled pork tacos. To finish up the food, we split a Uinta Baba (schwarzbier) that had good flavor.
Stumptown Brewery – Located only a few minutes drive from our hotel we managed to get our order of chips in with five minutes to go before close! We grabbed a comfy seat under a deer bust decorated with Christmas lights and ordered a Moonlight Death and Taxes (dark lager) and an Anderson Valley Winter Solstice. It was quiet on a Thursday night and a good place to unwind after a long day traveling.
Russian River – The next day we returned to Russian river and we were lucky to grab a stool at the busy bar. I had the Shadow of a Doubt (imperial porter) and Eric got one of his favorites, Supplication (brown sour). For some reason the bartender gave me a half-pint even though I didn’t ask for one. Maybe because I’m a girl? We love their beer, but so does everyone else so the place was packed and loud and we’re glad we only stayed for one beer.
Bistro 29 – After Russian River we walked down the street to our reservations at the small Bistro 29. We were seated at a great corner table by the window which allowed us to enjoy the lively atmosphere inside and out. Eric surprisingly ordered (and enjoyed) a Kobler pinot noir to go with his steak frites. I got the mussels and a local sauvignon blanc.
Sift – Our parking spot was next to this bakery so we stopped in to take a quick look before heading back to the B&B. The Samoa cupcake (coconut cake with chocolate and caramel frosting) was calling to both of us, so we took one home to split. It was quite the sugar bomb, very sweet, but the flavors were good.
Moustache Bakery – I had read about this place on another blog and I am so glad we stopped in! Eric thought the chocolate chip cookies were amazing… so good, in fact, that he made me come back to bring a few home! I sampled the chocolate caramel macrons and a bacon maple cupcake. Both were also very tasty.
Oakville Grocery – A famous grocery/deli in Healdsburg, we grabbed a baguette and some cheese for Friday lunch while heading through town. The food choices were solid but we found it quite pricey, a little too Napa-esque for our taste.
Bear Republic – With a hop-heavy reputation Eric needed some convincing to go in, but we were both happy to find a few non-hop options. I ordered the Heritage (wee heavy scotch ale) and Eric couldn’t resist the Tartare Rouge (sour red). Both were great, and the food moving through the place also looked enticing. The bartenders were moving at break-neck speed and due to my location at the bar, I happily brokered orders and payment for people who couldn’t quite get close enough.
Chalkboard – We made reservations for Saturday night dinner several days before our trip, and those were quite necessary as the restaurant was busy with a trendy crowd. I ordered a glass of crianza and the duck mousse and gnocchi appetizers. Eric kept is simple with a lager, pretzels and delicious sliders with a bacon aioli, blue cheese and short rib spread. Unsurprisingly, very little of his food made it to my side of the table!
Woodfour Brewery – We were looking for a place to have a snack before driving out to the coast and through a tasting room recommendation at Moshin we found this brewpub. The snacks are very eclectic, each with a twist. We ordered the potato chips that were dusted with seaweed (I liked them, Eric was neutral) and horseradish-spiked deviled eggs. Eric ordered the Sour Farmhouse Ale while I opted for the Imperial Black Ale. Solid beers and a great outdoor space with good people watching of people going to the nearby market, plus lots of dogs.
Beer Revolution — Traffic wasn’t too bad heading back into Oakland on Sunday night, so we had time for a beer before meeting our friends for dinner. At first glance the place seemed packed but we easily found two seats at the bar and poured over the large draft menu. Almost everything was $6 so it really came down to what we were in the mood for. I opted for a Heretic Torment Dark Belgian and Eric went all out on the Iron Springs Belgian Quad. Both are local breweries and it made me want to check them out the next time we were in town.
Marica — Located in downtown Oakland, this place seemed a little disorganized when we arrived. Even though we had reservations, it took a bit for anyone to even acknowledge us standing in the front entrance. After a twenty minute wait, we were finally seated and ready to order. My sausage main was tasty but it was a ton of food. I ate about 1/3 of the dish and wished I could have taken it home, but alas, we were flying back to NC the next day.