Monday, May 13, 2013

A Couple Restaurants

During the California trip there were a couple of restaurants  that I found more than good - so let's look at them in reverse order starting with Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar in downtown Healdsburg, California.  The name should tell you what you need to know about the cuisine, but the unique part of this restaurant is that it specializes in small plates meant to be shared among everyone at the table.  That allows for eating a wide variety from the menu while still keeping the price very reasonable.  Our table of three shared a plate of raw oysters and clams and some boiled shrimp.  That was followed by three entrees, a small plate of fish tacos, a lush macaroni and cheese filled with delicate bay scallops and my personal favorite pictured above, fried Ipswich clam strips with Shishito peppers, parsley and a lemon lime aioli sauce for dipping.  I would have been perfectly happy to eat three servings of those clam strips.  With drinks the tab was still less than $90. 

The previous day we were in Point Reyes Station in western Marin County north of San Francisco en route to beaches and a WWII era lighthouse.  This town could be used for filming a spaghetti western but it had a great restaurant in Osteria Stellina.  This is a small place across a side street from The Cowgirl Creamery, a producer of some of the best cheese in northern California.  The theme here is modern, rustic Italian inspired.  I opted for the pasta dish of garganelli, caramelized English peas, pancetta and Straus Family cream.  Warm, filling and flat out tasty.  A meal for three here was just under $75.  Interestingly, before returning home the Sunday edition of the San Francisco Chronicle put Osteria Stellina on its list of the top 100 places to eat in greater San Francisco. 

Full menus for both restaurants are at the links provided.

Still to come - wineries, wines, wildlife and two dogs.

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