BiteClub, Food + Drink, Sonoma Restaurants, What's New in Wine Country

What to Eat Right Now in Sonoma County

From banh mi tacos to perfectly cooked burgers to "dirty fries," here are our dining editor's top eats in Sonoma County right now.

Personal anecdotes about everyday meals are one of the best things about the myriad food newsletters that clutter my inbox every morning. Maybe it’s a great eggs Benedict at a local diner, an unexpectedly tasty margarita or a friend’s towering Hawaiian burger.

Looking through my photo reel, I realized that so many of my own delicious moments end up on the cutting room floor, getting held up for a later print story or just forgotten altogether. What a tragedy!

So, this week, I’m sharing a few recent stops worth checking out. Let’s call it a peek behind the curtain while I’m crafting longer stories. If you like this format, let me know at heather.irwin@pressdemocrat.com.

Onto the eats!

Lagunitas Brewing Company Taproom

I’ve been to quite a few breweries lately for an upcoming story on food trucks. Even though I’m more of a wine girl than a hops girl, I’m amazed by some of the IPA-ternatives like sour beers, seltzers and thick smoothie hybrids. Oh, heavenly summer, I fell in love with Lagunitas’ Sumpin’ Tiki-ish and summer Mai Tai beer cocktail last weekend. These light and fruity fizzers are tasty, packing a walloping 9.2% alcohol content. The taproom menu is super approachable, with fish and chips, tacos, burgers and sandwiches. But the banh mi tacos with smoked short rib, soy glaze and sriracha aioli were the perfect pairing with an IPA and lemon drop DogTown seltzer. The large outdoor dining patio is dog-, kid- and bro-friendly.

Open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, 1280 N. McDowell Blvd., 707-778-8776, lagunitas.com.

Buns Only

This new-ish food truck is a marriage of burgers, hot dogs and tacos. Perfectly cooked burgers with cheese and bacon and a laundry list of other goodies are some of the most satisfying we’ve come across, along with wacky hot dogs (ours was loaded with elote and crema) and a mound of “dirty fries” with sweet al pastor, guacamole, onions, cheese, escabeche (pickled carrots and jalapeños) and crema. Seek this truck out.

Instagram @bunsonlysr for locations. (If you’re looking for the best way to track local food truck schedules, check out @socofoodtrucks on Instagram.)

Lila’s Streetside Eats

I’ve been tracking this truck for a couple of years but only recently sampled Lila Mathia’s eclectic pub-grub at Parliament Brewing (I’m loving their apricot sour beer). Lila’s Mojo Nachos are a messy mountain of deliciousness with smokey pulled pork, pickled jalapeños, sweet corn, black bean salsa and homemade lime-cilantro crema. The food lineup changes frequently, but her browned butter chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches are a warm-weather version of cookies and milk.

@lilasstreetsideeats on Instagram.

Tips Roadside Test Kitchen

On the fourth Tuesday of each month, this Kenwood roadhouse makes a special four-course dinner on the patio for 50 guests (by reservation only). Long communal tables are a convivial way to try off-menu dishes paired with local wines. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to try Tips’ new pitmaster Damian Brugger’s tasty smoked meats. The next event happens May 24.

8445 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-509-0078, tipsroadside.com

Foie Gras

After the on-again, off-again ban on foie gras in California, it’s been hard to follow whether the fatty goose liver is legal. We must have missed the news during the pandemic: as of 2020, it is legal again. California still bans the sale of foie gras within the state, but it can be purchased and shipped from elsewhere. Before my first bite of foie gras this week, it had been years since I last experienced the silky taste. If you see it on a restaurant menu (it’s cropping up frequently again), you can rest assured that you won’t end up in jail.

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