It’s Germanuary in Sonoma County, and I’m a sucker for schnitzel (and sauerbraten, spaetzle and cabbage rolls). The combination of thinly pounded pork or veal, with crispy breadcrumbs and lemon — with potatoes, natch — is such a hearty dish it’s no wonder it’s the national dish of Austria (but Germany gets credit for the first cookbook recipe).
If you’re ready for some cheat-night fun, here are three spots to get great schnitzel…
Franchetti’s Woodfire Kitchen is celebrating their love for all things Teutonic — including schnitzel — throughout January. Their version of the breaded and fried veal cutlet is a bit less highfalutin, using co-owner Gesine Franchetti’s recipe for a heartier pork version from her southern German upbringing. Covered with wild mushrooms, spaetzle (a type of egg noodle), buttered bread crumbs and creamy sauce, it’s a winter winner of a dish that is easily enough for two ($18).
Franchetti’s will be continuing their Germanuary menu, with daily dinner specials, throughout the month. Another favorite is beef roulade ($19), a well-flattened steak filled with pickles, mustard, carrots, and bacon, then rolled tightly and cooked. With a natural au jus and crisp fingerling potatoes, we had a hard time deciding which we liked better. 1229 N Dutton Ave, Santa Rosa, (707) 526-1229, franchettis.com.
Tisza Bistro: Chef Krisztian Karkus isn’t sure if he wants everyone to know how good his wiener schnitzel is. He has a special recipe, sure, and it’s pan-fried in butter and pork lard with fresh lingonberry jam and homemade cucumber salad, but he isn’t a German chef, he says in a heavy Hungarian accent–and he doesn’t want his new restaurant, Tisza Bistro in Windsor, to be pigeon-holed as an ethnic dining experience. Trouble is, he already has fans coming in weekly for a plate of the breadcrumb-topped veal. You may also notice its the only photo I took after having several bites because it is that good, which anything cooked in pork lard tends to be. Tisza Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 8757 Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor, 707-838-5100, tiszabistro.com.
Golden Pig: The Pork Schnitzel Sandwich is owner Julie Golden’s favorite dish, based on her time as a consultant in Germany, it’s a sweet piece of breaded Dijon pork loin, Swiss, and onions on a soft Franco-American roll. The Golden Pig, 13380 S. Hwy 101, Hopland. Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, 707-670-6055, thegoldenpig.com
Mangalista Pork Schnitzel with confit potatoes, dijon, arugula, pickled mustard seeds at Backyard Restaurant in Forestville