Bodega Bay | Best Sonoma Restaurants http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub BiteClubEats Restaurants in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County and Wine Country Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:55:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/cropped-512_logo-32x32.gif Bodega Bay | Best Sonoma Restaurants http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub 32 32 Gourmet Au Bay a required Bodega Bay stop http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/gourmet-au-bay-a-required-bodega-bay-stop/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/gourmet-au-bay-a-required-bodega-bay-stop/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 16:34:13 +0000 http://www.biteclubeats.com/?p=33496 Gourmet Au Bay's wine tasting and wood-fired grill is worth a stop in Bodega Bay

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The new location of Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay isn’t easy to find. In fact, Google maps can’t quite place it. And maybe that’s a good thing because this hidden gem that’s part wine shop, part restaurant, and part gift shop is one of our favorite secret finds this month.

Sissy Blanchard (husband Bob in the background) at Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay, California. Heather Irwin/PD

Sissy Blanchard (husband Bob in the background) at Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay, California. Heather Irwin/PD

Owners Bob and Sissy Blanchard recently moved and expanded their longtime wine tasting shop from Bodega Highway to the last available waterfront property in Bodega Bay. Tucked away in a tiny cove in Bodega Harbor, the revamped Gourmet Au Bay is more than twice the size, and now has a wood-fired oven and full menu Thursday through Monday (the kitchen is closed Tuesday and Wednesday, though tasting is daily).

While the Blanchards serve up flights of wine on their signature wine glass surfboards, Chef Sam Badolato is at the 900-plus degree wood oven creating roasted mussels, wood fired prawns, crab cakes, and creative flatbreads, in addition to their signature clam chowder. It’s worth mentioning that Rocker Oysterfeller’s Chef Brandon Guenther helped put together the opening menu.

Clam chowder from Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay. Heather Irwin/PD

Clam chowder from Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay. Heather Irwin/PD

We asked the secret to their rich, tasty chowder, and it includes sherry and bacon, but that’s about all we could weasel out of the kitchen. We also know that they make it in-house, which is more than we can say for some other chowder spots (who order it in cans or bags from commercial companies) — something that’s absolutely heartbreaking when seafood is so plentiful on the coast.

Gourmet Au Bay is a flip flop and shorts casual affair, with comfy bar tables, a protected outdoor patio and a deli-style menu where you simply check the selections of food, wine or beer and drop it off at the bar. Chances are Sissy will intercept you, welcoming you in and answering any questions almost before you can ask them.

Flatbread pizza with red and green grapes, herbs and Gorgonzola at Gourmet au Bay in Bodega Bay. Heather Irwin/PD

Flatbread pizza with red and green grapes, herbs and Gorgonzola at Gourmet au Bay in Bodega Bay. Heather Irwin/PD

Though the food and wine are trip-worthy, it’s the stunning views that will keep you coming back, even on blustery days.

Fave bites: Crab cakes with lemon aioli ($18); Winemaker Flatbread with fresh herbs, Gorgonzola, and grapes (surprisingly delish, $16). Make sure to try their Wine Surfing  experience ($15) with a selection of whites, reds, rose and a few other offbeat choices.

Chef Sam Badolato at Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay. Heather Irwin/PD

Chef Sam Badolato at Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay. Heather Irwin/PD

Weekdays tend to be less busy, and things really get hopping after 1p.m. Gourmet Au Bay shares a patio with another newcomer, Ginochio’s Kitchen, where you can get hearty fare including burgers, pasta, and bbq. Family-friendly and dog-friendly patio. Kids are welcome to dine inside as well.

1412 Bay Flat Road, Bodega Bay, 875-9875, gourmetaubay.com. Open daily from 11a.m. to 8p.m., kitchen closed Tuesday and Wednesday. There are explicit directions on the website coming from both north and south.

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http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/gourmet-au-bay-a-required-bodega-bay-stop/feed/ 2 hi0916_gourmetaubay_sissyblanchard_lr Sissy Blanchard (husband Bob in the background) at Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay, California. Heather Irwin/PD hi0916_gourmetaubay_clamchowder_lr Clam chowder from Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay. Heather Irwin/PD hi0916_gourmetaubay_flatbread_lr Flatbread pizza with red and green grapes, herbs and Gorgonzola at Gourmet au Bay in Bodega Bay. Heather Irwin/PD hi0916_gourmetaubay_chefsam_lr Chef Sam Badolato at Gourmet Au Bay in Bodega Bay. Heather Irwin/PD
Duck Club Restaurant Most Beautiful View in America? http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/bodega-bay-restaurant-duck-club-most-beautiful-view-in-america/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/bodega-bay-restaurant-duck-club-most-beautiful-view-in-america/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:22:56 +0000 http://www.biteclubeats.com/?p=30322 Bodega Bay Restaurant Duck Club: Most Beautiful View in America?

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The Duck Club in Bodega Bay, CA has been named one of the 10 Most Beautiful Restaurant Views in America according to People.com.

The Duck Club in Bodega Bay, CA has been named one of the 10 Most Beautiful Restaurant Views in America according to People.com.

People.com has chosen Bodega Bay’s Duck Club Restaurant as one of its 10 Most Beautiful Restaurant views in the US.

According to the magazine, ”The stone fireplace is the centerpiece at this cozy, clubby eatery, but the panoramic views of Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean deserve equal billing. Nestled in a dreamy bay, the restaurant overlooks a wildlife sanctuary, adding to the serene, natural beauty.”

Just another day in paradise.

The Duck Club in Bodega Bay, CA has been named one of the 10 Most Beautiful Restaurant Views in America according to People.com.

The Duck Club in Bodega Bay, CA has been named one of the 10 Most Beautiful Restaurant Views in America according to People.com.

 

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The Birds Cafe, Bodega Bay http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/the-birds-cafe-bodega-bay/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/the-birds-cafe-bodega-bay/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:18:45 +0000 http://www.biteclubeats.com/?p=30219 The Birds Cafe in Bodega Bay serves up casual food with a million dollar view

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The Birds Cafe in Bodega Bay serves up casual food with a million dollar view

The Birds Cafe in Bodega Bay serves up casual food with a million dollar view

You don’t have to pay a lot for a million dollar view in Bodega Bay. The tiny Birds Cafe, perched above the harbor, serves only a handful of items — fish and chips, salads, clam chowder, shrimp tacos — but may be one of my new favorite places on the coast. Order at the counter, then walk up the stairs (there’s also a handy ramp) to the concrete patio for a lovely view and a picnic-style meal for under $15. Best bets: Creamy chowder, artichoke fritters and a lightly-battered fish and chips plate. Spicy tartar sauce makes this red-basket special, well, special.

Open daily from 11:30a.m. to 5p.m., 1407 Hwy 1, Bodega Bay.

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Casino Bar & Grill | Bodega http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/casino/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/casino/#comments Thu, 27 Jan 2011 00:00:31 +0000 http://www.biteclubeats.com/?p=13341 Mark Malicki returns to Wine Country cuisine in Bodega

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It takes approximately five seconds to drive through the hamlet of Bodega — the town, not the Bay. There is no stoplight, but the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour makes for a steady glow of brake lights as beach-goers and dairy trucks make their way somewhere else.

It also takes approximately five seconds to give a mostly-incorrect retelling of the town’s claim-to-fame as backdrop for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. And though it’s true that the haunting spires of Saint Teresa of Avila church and the Potter School figured into the 1962 thriller most of the good stuff (like the fire) was filmed on a Hollywood set and no where near Bodega.

Enthralled by the story, however, you may ask about the funny old building with the neon sign leaning out into the road about two seconds into town. Chances are you’ll get a blank look and be told the building is a casino. The glowing neon 7-Up sign on the building says, “Casino”, as anyone can see. But that too would be incorrect.

“Casino” is actually Casino Bar and Grill. It’s a locals spot with creaky wooden floors, windows you can’t see into from the street, pool tables and a jukebox. It’s the kind of place you’d feel pretty silly asking for a glass of chardonnay, but if you did, they’d fix you right up. The crew from the Birds, so the story goes, used to hang out there and Hitchcock himself once ate there. Two stuffed bird “extras” still  hang out above the bar.

Amidst the avian ambiance, you’ll also find Chef Mark Malicki.

“I drove by probably hundreds of times and never went in,” said the grill’s new nighttime chef. You may remember Malicki from his days at Cafe Saint Rose, which closed several years ago. In the interim, the creative Wine Country chef has worked at The French Garden, as a caterer and in briefly in Benicia.

Acting as executive chef, griddle cook, waitstaff and busser, Malicki dreams up a new list of dishes each night that usually includes a couple of appetizers, an entree or two and dessert. Using mostly local, seasonal ingredients, he does his Mark thing. On the night we visited, that was a menu that included Dates with Manchego, Pistachios and Serrano ham; Griddled Brussels Sprouts with bacon and Goat Cheese Toast; Potato and Fennel Soup with Creme Fraiche, Oxtail Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, Fish Tacos, Caesar Salad and Flourless Chocolate Cake.

So how does a Malicki’s menu go over with the locals?

Oxtail stuff piquillo peppers with pomagranate seeds

“Never judge a book by it’s cover is what I’ve learned,” said Malicki. “I’ve learned that it’s impossible to sell fish to fishermen, though.”  Game goes over well, as does meatloaf. The other stuff he just tries out, like roast shoulder of pork with pig ear mushrooms, bbq pork shortribs or goat milk caramel flan. Few things are over $12, with most in the $6-$8 range. Our dinner cost $50 total.

In a town with this much history, its yet to be seen whether Malicki will stand the test of time at this rural outpost, or if this is merely brake light in his culinary career. Either way, this Bodega way station is worth more than a five second glance on your way somewhere else. Just watch out for the birds.

+++++++

Malicki is currently in the kitchen Thursday through Tuesday night and has recently extended the dining hours until 11pm. Casino Bar and Grill, 17000 Bodega Hwy, Bodega, 876-3185. Children are welcome until 10pm.

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Sonoma’s Lunch Aquatic: Pool, river & waterside dining http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/coastal-dining/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/coastal-dining/#comments Wed, 19 May 2010 09:50:25 +0000 http://www.pourme.com/uncategorized/sonomas-lunch-aquatic-pool-river-waterside-dining Where to eat by the water in Sonoma County

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nickscove.jpgThere are few better dining companions than water — running, tinkling, crashing or merely reflecting brilliantly — it’s a built in backdrop and entertainment that turns even every day food into an event.

With the big, golden orb suddenly reappearing in the sky (after how many months of rain?) it suddenly seems like a good time to head outside again and enjoy some poolside, oceanside or riverside dining.

Here are some top spots for dipping your toes in while nibbling away the day…

Snuggle up to a serious burger and local brew at Petaluma’s riverside favorite: Dempsey’s.  The outdoor patio is has a tableside view to the local river, which babbles and laps along quietly as you eat. 50 East Washington Street, Petaluma, 765-9694.

Across the river, Water Street Bistro continues to be a favorite breakfast and
lunch spot for locals, with Parisians bistro-inspired daily specials, solid soups, fresh bread, and a homemade touch to everything. The cozy outdoor patio overlooks the water, but bring a jacket because it can sometimes get chilly! 100 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma, 763-9563.

A bit more upscale is Calistoga’s Sol Bar, the in-house restaurant for the Solage Spa. But don’t expect just iced tea and lettuce here, Gary Danko-alum Brandon Sharp oversees a ying-yang menu that respects the health-consciousnesss of the spa-set (beet and orange salad, tuna carpaccio, grilled salmon) while also offering heartier fare after a long day of poolside lounging (confit of foie gras, pork belly, shortribs). The zen-like surroundings will put you at peace while the kitchen feeds your soul. 755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, 226-0850.

Located in Sonoma’s the swank El Dorado Hotel, El Dorado Kitchen is tops for cocktail hour nibbles and drinks. Head out to the garden courtyard for a poolside retreat with seasonal juice martinis (berry cosmo, peach jalapeno) and tasty bar bites. 405 First Street West, Sonoma, 996-3030.

Under the radar is the Water Tower Restaurant at the ultra-luxe Fairmont Sonoma Misison Inn. Whether you’re post-peel or just relaxing by the pool (you can buy a day pass to use the facilities if you’re not a guest), there’s plenty to love about the fresh salads, wraps, burgers bbq pork and frothy cocktails. 100 Boyes Blvd. (Greger St.), Sonoma, 938-9000.

Don’t let it’s shabby looks deceive you. Inside the Marshall Store oyster shack are some of the best oysters to be found in the area. Barbequed, Rockefellered or raw (or all three), they’re prepared while you wait and served up with hearty local bread for dipping all that juice. And the best part? The view is free. Located on Highway 1 in Marshall, Open seven days a week, 10am to 6pm.

Nearby, if you’re feeling adventurous (and have made a reservation well in advance) Hog Island Oysters sells fresh-from-the-bay oysters onsite and has a popular picnic spot right on the bay for grilling them up yourself. Not lucky enough to get a picnic spot, it’s worth crunching over the oyster shells in the parking lot and stopping in just to see the “Farm” where the oysters spend their last 24 hours in huge tanks getting cleaned. Note: You can’t buy prepared oysters here (aw shucks!)

The Farm: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm; located on Highway 1 in Marshall, about 15 minutes north of Point Reyes Station and
45 minutes south of Bodega Bay. (415) 663-9218.

Sea Ranch: There’s no quick way to get to this remote ocean-side resort, so chances are you’ll be starving by the time you arrive. About thirty miles north of Jenner, along scenic Highway 1, Sea Ranch Lodge hugs the rugged northern California coastline, offering panoramic views from the restaurant and more casual solarium. If you’re just stopping by, grab an exceptional burger from the tavern menu and warm up in the bar. Overnight guests and residents of the seaside community can linger at the white-linen restaurant for grilled pork chops, rib eye and local seafood. Highway 1, Sea Ranch, 785-2371.

Cafe les Jumelles, recently relocated to the charmingly ramshackle riverside restaurant formerly known as Nit’s Thai, is a morning beacon for locals and weekenders looking to recharge. Huevos rancheros and omelets are top vote-getters, along with the banana split. Don’t expect to eat and run, however. Here things go at their own pace and everyone knows that you’ll get your breakfast when you get it. Consider the wait part of the charm. 15025 River Road, Guerneville, 869-9511.

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