Restaurant Finds: Your questions answered

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.


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.
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.
Have more questions? Let me know.

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9 thoughts on “Restaurant Finds: Your questions answered

  1. Your article very interesting, I have introduced a lot of friends look at this article, the content of the articles there will be a lot of attractive people to appreciate, I have to thank you such an article.

  2. There is, of course very little true “Southern” cooking around here, but some really good versions of fried chicken, biscuits, grits, greens, and mac & cheese can be had at Rocker Oysterfeller’s, in Valley Ford. Their Southern Benedict is an amazing brunch option. Great people, too.

  3. Franco makes the BEST sausage and salumi and if you’re really lucky you’ll manage to pick up one of his fabulous meatloafs, YUM!

  4. Hey y’all!
    If you are looking for some delicious boudin sausage(Alligator, Crawfish, or Pork) you can find it at the Windsor Farmers Market on Thursday nights. Look for Louisiana Legacy Cajun Catering. In addition to the boudin they will also be serving some fantastic jambalaya and gumbo. They can be reached at

  5. I love Red Rose. We had the buffet for the first time Monday, and it was so yummy. I feel like I’m eating in the kitchen of an old friend. We were early so perhaps the buffet was fresh, but I had no complaints, except that I wanted to eat more and was stuffed. Plus, where else can you get Koolaid!?!

  6. I eat at Red Rose only because it’s one of the few places I can get the fried catfish I love so much (I’m from Mississippi). I just wish their service was more consistent and that buffet was refreshed more often. It’s always hit and miss on if I’ll enjoy my meal – my husband refuses to go with me now because so often they have brought out one person’s entree 5+ minutes before the 2nd .. isn’t timing part of being a chef?

  7. NB: “Pierogies” is a common, but incorrect attempt to make a plural out of a form that is already plural. Please help end this usage, which is actually painful to hear to those who know it’s wrong. “Pierogi” is already plural, whether the word is taken from Polish, Russian, or another Slavic toungue. The singular is pierog.

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