California Wine Country 2009 – The Restaurants

by irene on September 13, 2009

Scopa, Healdsburg

This article is one in a series of articles about our recent tour of California Wine Country. You can read about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, the Summary, the Winery Dogs and the Restaurants as well. 

One of the most pleasurable epiphanies of our trip to Healdsburg was that the restaurants there are world class.  We took advantage of this, as well as restaurants along the way throughout the trip.

First up was a trek to Tex Wasabi’s in Santa Rosa.  Guy Fieri is, in my opinion, one of the freshest and most innovative of the latest batch of Food Network stars, and this is where he began to make his name and his reputation.  Tex Wasabi’s is all about thinking outside the box and mixing and matching well-established dishes into a unique blend.  On this trip we tried the traditional Brisket sandwich with BBQ Beans, and the very untraditional Brisket Sushi.  It was strange, but very, very good.

Tex Wasabi's, Santa Rosa Tex Wasabi's, Santa Rosa Tex Wasabi's, Santa Rosa  Tex Wasabi's, Santa Rosa  Tex Wasabi's, Garlic Fries  Tex Wasabi's, Beef Brisket and BBQ Beans  Tex Wasabi's, Brisket Sushi  Tex Wasabi's, Santa Rosa  Tex Wasabi's, Santa Rosa

Once in Healdsburg we had a plethora of choices for dining, and yet the locals recommended the same restaurants time and time again.  You can’t go wrong with locally-suggested places, and we loved all of the restaurants that we tried.  First up, Willi’s Seafood and Wine Bar.

We’ve been to Willi’s before.  On our last trip we were just looking for a nice place to stop and have a bite to eat before we headed back to our hotel.  So we knew that Willi’s was the place to go for casual small plates in a relaxing outdoor environment.  We say outdoors because that is where you should sit when you go to Willi’s.  The patio is casual and the locals are prevelant.  And they bring their dogs, which makes dining there entertaining.  The thing to do at Willi’s is just order a plate or two and a time to share, and keep ordering until you get full.

Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar, Healdsburg Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar, Healdsburg Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar, Healdsburg Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar, Healdsburg Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar, Healdsburg

Cena Luna is a deceptively formal restaurant.  The tables, decor and service is upscale, and yet we got the impression that we could have arrived in very casual clothing and still have been welcome.  The Italian cuisine was also upscale, and very satisfying.

Cena Luna, Healdsburg Cena Luna, Healdsburg Cena Luna, Healdsburg Cena Luna, Healdsburg Cena Luna, Healdsburg Cena Luna, Healdsburg Cena Luna, Healdsburg Cena Luna, Healdsburg

As a self-avowed foodie, I do not completely fall in love with a meal.  But I can honestly say that I had the best dish I have ever tasted at Scopa, in Healdsburg.  This small restaurant did everything right, but the minute I put a bite of Nonna’s Chicken into my mouth, I was in love.  Nonna’s Chicken is baked in a cast iron covered pot, with polenta, tomato and chicken blending together for the most pefect blend of flavors and textures.  Bursting with flavor and yet sceaming comfort, I doubt I will ever experience love at first bite like that again.

Scopa, Healdsburg Scopa, Healdsburg Scopa, Healdsburg Scopa, Healdsburg Scopa, Healdsburg Scopa, Healdsburg Scopa, Healdsburg 

A unique place to dine for breakfast, Bovolo is hard to find.  Hidden behind a bookstore, this casual place shouldn’t be overlooked.  You order at the counter and they bring your food to the back where the tables are.  The menu is unique, and I am not going to complain about that.  How often can you order a Pasta Carbonara for breakfast? (and it was GREAT!).

Bovolo, Healdsburg Bovolo, Healdsburg Bovolo, Healdsburg Bovolo, Healdsburg Bovolo, Healdsburg Bovolo, Healdsburg Bovolo, Healdsburg

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