Recently folks have been asking me where to find some very specific foods they’ve been craving. Here’s installment one…
Boudin Sausage: Franco Dunn, Chef Emeritus of Santi Restaurant serves up different salumi each week at area farm markets (Santa Rosa, Healdsburg and Sebastopol: 1st/3rd Sundays). Sign up for his weekly email to find out what he’ll be selling. Recently he’s done chorizo, ciccioli and Tuscan chicken liver pate. http://www.tavernasanti.com/sausage.htm#
Ethiopian/Eritrean: Downtown Santa Rosa’s Abyssinia serves up spicy, earthy, stew-ish African cuisine that’s eaten without utensils. Instead beef, lentils, chicken and veggies are scooped up with giant pieces of injera (a plate-sized, tart crepe/pancake). 913 4th St
Santa Rosa, (707) 568-6455. You can also find Ethiopian food at the annual Glendi Festival, which usually happens each September. www.saintseraphim.com
Vietnamese Sandwiches: If you’re not familiar with Bahn mi, then you should be. This delicious grab-no-go meal is simply a fresh baguette piled with pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, cucumber, hot chilies, sliced pork and some sort of mystery meat that you try not to think about too much (most often head cheese). Both sides of the bread are spread with a sweet mayo and fish or soy sauce. The crunchy veggies, soft bread and combination of meats makes for a sweet, salty, savory bit of heaven on a bun.Once you’re hooked you’ll never look at tuna salad or turkey on white the same again. Lee’s Noodle House, 1010 Hopper Ave., Santa Rosa, 707.523.2358. Get it with a side of Durian shake.
Southern Cooking: There are two great southern cooks in Sonoma County. Jeff Mall of Zin often has Southern-inspired dishes at his Healdsburg restaurant, including a jambalaya I recently tasted and Sunday night fried chicken. Call ahead to see what’s on the menu. Maria Vieages, a New Orleans transplant is the other. She’s been working at local wineries, but you can taste her food at cooking classes she teaches around town. On June 16, she’ll be teaching at the Glenelly Inn doing Oysters Bienville, Andouille Stuffed Chicken Breast, Dirty Rice, Smothered Sonoma Greens and Cherries Jubilee and frequently teaches at Sur La Table. Craving Chicken and Waffles: Red Rose Cafe
Norwegian Food: BiteClub hasn’t found any restaurants serving up the smorgasbord, but on Wednesday, June 24th you can learn how to make it at the Glenelly Inn with Kristi Hallamore Jeppesen. “Norwegian Food with a California Twist” with Marinated Cheese; Festtorsk (Party Cod); Agurk Salat (Cucumber Salad); Ertestuing (Stewed Peas); Potet Salat med varm dressing (Potato Salad with a warm bacon dressing); Soet fondu (Sweet fondue for desert). Class info.
Fried Plantains:El Coqui Puerto Rican cuisine is scheduled to open in the coming weeks, and a sneak peek at the menu shows there’ll be plenty of plantains on the menu. 400 Mendocino, Santa Rosa.
Polish Pierogies: Mother Xcena is the force behind A Divine Affair’s handmade Ukranian style dumplings ($16) filled with either potatoes and cheese, slow roast pork, oxtail or sauerkraut. Daughter (and owner) Kahleen Nowak’s mans the stove, pan searing them with plenty of butter and onions — an upscale version of my Ohio favorite. Decorated with little ribbons of sour cream.
Potato Pancakes: Best bet is Cafe Europe, an out-of-the-way little spot that’s quietly been serving up wiener schnitzel and spatzle for years. Their potato pancakes are the best in Sonoma County. Also try Chicken Paprikash at Little Switzerland in Sonoma, 401 Grove St, (707) 938-9990.