Win Dinner on BiteClub

Win $50 in restaurant gift certificates to favorite SoCo restaurants

Pizza from Rustic in Geyserville

Congrats to winners: Rhonda, Paul and Beth.

We all have Food To Do List. Some are ambitiously long, others unmanageably brief, but any eater worth their pink Himalayan sea salt has an ever-changing list of Sonoma County restaurants they’ve been meaning to check out.

Eaters rejoice! Here’s your chance to try something on BiteClub. I’m giving away $200 worth of Sonoma County restaurant gift certificates ($50 each) to four lucky winners who convince us that they need a fork lift in honor of Sonoma County Restaurant Week, February 21-27.

On the menu: Gift certificates to Blue Label at the Belvedere ($25) & Fresh by Lisa Hemenway ($25) given away as a pair; Peter Lowell’s ($50); Syrah Bistro ($50) and Bistro 29 ($50).

Just tell me in the comments below which of the 100-plus Sonoma County Restaurant Week participants you’re most excited to try this month. Skip the sob stories, and wow me with your passion for local foods, chefs and dining.

I’ll pick my four favorite comments and hand over these tasty gift certificates randomly (who knows which of the four you’ll receive, but enthusiastic eaters never turn down a free meal). And stay tuned for more details on Restaurant Week, including some of my top picks.

Full rules here. Contest ends Wednesday, February 16, 2011. Enter today!

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92 thoughts on “Win Dinner on BiteClub

  1. Having lived in Sonoma County most of my life, I know it is a bounty of food experiences, as well as a source of so many fresh local ingedients. The opportunity to try a new place is exciting and compelling. I tend to go back to my favorites, so to expand my horizons is an opportunity I can not pass up. My family and I are very adventuresome diners, always willing to try something new.

  2. Oh I’m so wanting to win this!

    I used to date a chef and loved experiencing all the wonders that the restaurant which he worked at, Antidote in Sausalito, now closed, had to offer . I no longer get to experience such great wonders or a perfectly cooked scallop as much. I was spoiled with after hours, just made chocolate ice cream concoctions, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, or whatever else the chefs decided to cook up.

    I have been to Rustic thanks to Bite Club letting me know this place existed and to my work for letting my boyfriend and I work a little OT and loved it! The caeser salad is to die for, the ribs with the coleslaw…words cannot describe it’s yummyness! Would love to go on a Tuesday when they have family style night. My son would love it!

    I’ve been to Henweighs, thanks to a deal from and them giving my boyfriend and I a 2 for 1 for brunch certificate. I had a panini like no other and the homemade chips inspired me to make some myself when my boyfriend and his roommate decided to make beerbattered fried hamburgers one weekend. Wierd but really good! The brunch was a fresh and lite quiche and his vanilla french toast was awesome!

    And Bistro 29, of course thanks to, the service was ok but the food was wonderful. My chicken was cooked perfectly and my boyfriends steak was juicy and the sauce was out of this world.

    See the trend now…I only get to eat at great places if I get a gift certificate or a deal. It really kinda sucks but hey if that’s the only way I get to enjoy these wonderful places then I can’t complain or I just need to get a second job. I would love to experience more places and the best time is of course during
    Restaurant Week. The more the merrier!

  3. Ok, I’m most excited about SEA Thai Bistro. I mean, Duck Pot-stickers in Asian sauce? YUM! They are also locally noted for awards in Best Thai, Best Asian and Best Seafood. Yes, a definite visit there this coming week.
    Cattleman’s, Santa Rosa, is also a fore-runner because they are kid-friendly and you just can’t beat their menu price (especially for prime rib). Then when you think your 3-course dinner is the best deal of the week, they also toss in a whopping 1/2 off discount on your bottle of dinner wine! Fantastic.

  4. I am a native santa rosan having lived there half my life. Growing up, my mom raised my brother and I herself. She finally met and married the man I have called dad for nearly 2/3rd of my life. They raised us and did with out for themselves. Now that we are out of the house, they are still there for us. I would really like to give this gift to them since they did without for so many years. I am grateful every day that they are still alive and well.

  5. I would really like the gift certificate. I am a native Santa Rosan having lived there for half my life. If i won, I would give the certificate to my mom and dad. They raised my brother and I and struggled for so many years. They did without a lot of things to give us what we needed. There never was a shortage of love tho. Now that my brother and I are out on our own, it would be a nice gift for my parents. I am so grateful they are still with us and I count my blessings everyday that they are alive and well.

  6. Heather,
    For 5 years now we have been getting together with friends for a “gourmet dinner group” that is willing to try creating and making great food for adults and kids alike. However going out to dinner is always fun too and with so many selections in Sonoma County, it is hard to choose when we are able to make it happen.

    Last year during restaurant week we took the opportunity to dine out 4 times. Many menus we tried will keep our business and help us recommend to visitors and friends coming to town. This year we have two main restaurants at the top of our list after readeing EACH and EVERY one. Both places we selected we have never tried and look forward to visiting.

    1. Bistro des Copains
    With the selections being offered it is hard to pass up this menu. I haven’t seen a better selected menu. The first course offerings sound terrific and with Liberty Duck, PEI Mussels, Sonoma lamb burgers, and butternut squash risotto it is sure to please. I especially like the dessert choices.

    2. SpoonBar!
    The local food selection is amazing and the offerings are great for a group. The menu will not disappoint! Smoked bacon pork terrine…YUM!! California Sea Bass, Gleason Ranch brick chicken and gnocchi with duck ragout…how can you go wrong? What entrée should we choose? The desserts are not bad either.

    We look forward to visiting a few new restaurants during the week. The gift certificates you are offering Heather are coming from some great places too. We are so glad to see FRESH open and doing so well. They do not disappoint. We look forward to “Petite Syrah” and hope it carries on the wonderful tradition of great food!

  7. I would love to try Rustic – I am hearing a lot of great things about the quality of the service and the good food. My friend swears by the Tuesday night family-style dining. I’ve been missing that since the days gone by at Dinucci’s out in Valley Ford (things there just aren’t the same that they used to be). I love the family-style serving where everyone gets to try a few items and share in the experience.

  8. I am dying to try Blue Label at the Belvedere! I wanted to go to Humble Pie, but just never made my way down to Penngrove, and I am so eager for the weather to get nice so I can hop on my cruiser and peddle down to the Bel for dinner upstairs and drinks downstairs!

    As a midwestern transplant who loves to cook, I have truly arrived in my mecca. Grocery shopping isn’t a necessity – it’s a hobby, as is eating. All kinds of eating. Outside of doing work and exercising, my mind is always focused on my next meal. Seriously. While eating breakfast, all I can think about is what I’m going to have for dinner, and while I’m eating dinner, I can’t wait for breakfast the next day. Restaurants here give me pause – I close my eyes and savor each bite, as truly, I can’t think of a bad meal I’ve eaten since moving to Santa Rosa 9 years ago.

    How lucky are we that even the diviest place gets fresh greens for a side salad? That artisan breads come with every breakfast? That this is truly a place where chefs are celebrities and are followed around like teen idols?

    I want to eat – somewhere, anywhere. As long as it’s in Sonoma County!

  9. Heather,
    Hello. I posted a response yesterday but, do not see it.
    Is there a delay or do all the responses get reviewed before they are posted?
    I do not want to miss out:)

  10. I would love the opportunity to try any of the restaurants. Been in Santa Rosa for 5 years but with 2 under the age of 7, dining in Sonoma County has been limited if not at a standstill at times. I really like Sea Thai Bistro in Montgomery Village, Starks burgers great, Carmen’s burgers underrated er…almost always. Rustic a hit with me and an eh alright with the wife. Monti’s Pre Valentine’s on Sunday both thought it was good not super great, but the Pomegranate Fizz before was great although my man card got a crease on the corner. Need some help to get off the Papa Murphy’s train, what the kids love it and we eat the delight (thin crust), we’re not cannibals. Throw me a bone please I promise to chew with my mouth closed. Cheers!

  11. Love to win as I have not been to any of these restaurants – lived in So Co since 1964 and have seen restaurants come and go….now Sonoma County has some fantastic restaurants – Zazu, Farmhouse, Johnny Garlics (Love Guy) and Flavor….but would welcome a night out with my hubby as I’m a full time 24/7 caregiver to my 87 year old mom!

  12. Honestly, never even heard of restaurant week, although I think it is a great idea! I have not had the pleasure of eating at any of the places listed but would love to! Lived in Sonoma County almost all my life but I also have a big family, two teenagers to feed so there is never any extra money for all of us to enjoy a night out to eat. Knowing my two cents are no reason to be picked, I still hope, to whoever does win, a delicious evening out! ;o) I will keep all these places in mind just in case there is a day we can enjoy the experience also.

  13. Ever lose 25 lbs in 2 weeks as a result of a parasite cleanse? I’M FREAKIN’ HUNGRY! I mean, I’d gnaw my arm off it wasn’t painful…
    I’m a foodie… no… I LOVE it. The problem is to get the really good stuff you have to go out and get it yourself. Ever try wild boar? Awesome (though YOU HAVE TO COOK IT TO WELL DONE – duh!)

    Apart from the above reasons I’m extremely good looking and a charmer, will praise your family name the rest of my days AND have the good sense to understand what a real give-away is. Free food on bite club? My gold laced taste buds already thank you.

  14. Why should I get a gift certificate to restaurant week? Glad you asked. I think the main reason is because getting the chance to enjoy Blue Label during this oh so anticipated week would be an absolute treat. I have even put off the possibility of going there as I want to make Restaurant week my introduction to Miriam and Dan’s newest venture, and, only you Heather can make that a reality.

  15. Hmm…am I a foodie? A fanatic? Actually, I just love to read reviews & compare menus, I revel in ambiance, and, I, appreciate how the placement of flatware, linen and glassware all fit in symmetrical perfection on the table? But really, I’ve been reading the reviews about Blue Label since it came out, and my hubby and I would love to try some of that tasty meatloaf! SEA Thai Bistro- I’ve heard its all about flavor and freshness and that their plates are full of color! Josh Silver is making tasty food at Jackson’s but from what I’ve read Syrah Bistro is his masterpiece. Basically, my husband and I cook all the time, we love wine, and we love to dine and will enjoy Bite Clubs forklift to the fullest.

  16. My wife and I are quite excited about this food week. We do love to go out and try different restaurants in this great area of Sonoma county. When we moved up this way from San Francisco eleven years ago we thought we would never get a good meal again!! I am happy to say that is not the case and we have had many fantastic meals and now don’t get to the city that much anymore, for our restaurants anyway!! I am excited by many on the list, but my top three to try are Della Santina’s Trattoria, El Coqui Puerto Rican Cuisine and Sea Thai Bistro. All three have some fantastic choices. Happy eating everyone!!

  17. I’m really excited to make Restaurant Week my reason for finally checking out Rendez Vous Bistro. I happened to walk by there one raining Friday night on way to Christie’s and I HAD to stop and look…made me wish i was inside with friends or loved one, enjoying the foods and smells of Paris!

    First Course: Red Pepper Bisque Lump Dungeness crabmeat, brown butter corn froth

    Second Course: Duo De ‘Chauts Sunchoke & salsify ragout, handmade artichoke ravioli, smoked tomato and fennel consomme

    Dessert: Pot de Creme Rich chocolate pudding, fresh blueberries

    Maybe a lovely glass of Burgundy with dinner and a decaf espresso with my chocolate ending.


  18. Restaurant week in Sonoma County is a fantastic idea which last year put a dent in my County Retiree budget that limits my ability to eat at some of the finer dining establishments in the area (in spite of what your editorial page says about us public service retirees). My son is planning on coming up as he did last year and we will again enjoy some of the area’s finest. As he is a teacher in Los Angles Unified, he also makes little money and enjoys the area dinning with a subsidy from his father. Certainly two public service foodies would appreciate your subsidy.

  19. The blessing/curse of living in Sonoma County is the joy of discovering a new amazing restaurant and having it shutter shortly there after. I still dream of the egg yolk ravioli appetizer and duck cassoulet from Eloise and the refreshing options at Humble Pie. That being said – there are still so many restaurants to experience and no time to waste!

    Top of my list are Bruno’s – it just looks comfy. I’ve enjoyed the wonderful happy hour at Starks, but still haven’t made it there for dinner. If the potato fondue is any indication, I think I’m going to like it. A lot. Really looking forward to Blue Label and haven’t made my was to Santi yet. Luckily, my fiance and I are the hunt for a restaurant for our rehearsal dinner. Guess we’ll just have to try them all!

  20. I would like to win so I can re-gift the gift certificate to Fringe Aid as a raffle prize. I would then buy raffle tickets in hopes of winning along with lots of other raffle ticket buyers (therefore raising money at our fund raiser), & then, if I won, I would be so excited to try any of the four restaurants you are offering, Bistro 29, Syrah Bistro, Peter Lowell’s , Blue Label & Fresh, all of which I have yet to try but have heard great things about.
    Thank you!

  21. I would like to win so I can re-gift the gift certificate to Fringe Aid as a raffle prize. I would then buy raffle tickets in hopes of winning along with lots of other raffle ticket buyers (therefore raising money at our fund raiser), & then, if I won, I would be so excited to try any of the four restaurants you are offering, all of which I have yet to try but have heard great things about.
    Thank you!

  22. Heather

    What a Bright light to be cast upon someone.

    I moved here 5 years ago. I have been following Bite Club for about 4 years.

    I have come to know that I live in a culinary dream land among other attributes.
    Unfortunately, I have not been able to try even one of the fine Restaurants.

    I read about them. About the Chefs and about the extent they go to to furnish Garden Fresh vegetables, Seafood and the very best of beef, chicken, eggs and pork.

    I am a single person but that is not the reason for me not wanting to try one of these fine Restaurants.
    I have had my eye on the Syrah Bistro for ages.
    The article you wrote about their Crab Cakes made me want to go there at that moment.

    Also, I want to try their Duck. Both of these are among my top favorites.

    I didn’t make a New Years Resolution. Had I thought about it at the time, visiting Syrah Bistro would have been it.

    I would love the privilege to visit and eat at this establishment. I would love to write a review of my experience afterwords.

    Please let me make a belated New Years Resolution and send me to Syrah Bistro?

    I will love you forever.



  23. I love Rustic, Ume, Chinois. P/30 was my favorite. I was hoping to celebrate my 45th there on 3rd, but they closed just a few days before. I would love to try Bistro 29 and add it to my list of favorites.

  24. I would love to try the Bistro 29 in downtown Santa Rosa. Been a while since I’ve had delicious, mouth-watering food, after braking my hip (I know,I know-no sob stories) and being confined for 5 months, I am ready to join the wonderful world of food Sonoma County. The atmosphere is as important to me as the food. A few of my friends have recommended it over and over. Ah…. to be able to eat food again (instead of hospital food….

  25. I have had my eye on both Bistro 29 and Bistro M for quite some time and would LOVE to try them both. Unfortunately, every time I plan to go either place, something comes up to foil my plans, (relationship break-up, sick, no money…just to name a few)! Maybe an outside influence would change my luck and I would be able to sample their fare! Cassoulet or crepes – I don’t care…both places are on my “Bucket List”!

  26. Restaurant week is such a great idea! Last year we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Stark’s. This year, I might let my wonderful husband take me to La Gare, since he hasn’t been there since high school prom. I need to take my “foodie” husband somewhere special to console him on the loss of one of his favorite restaurants, Martini House.

  27. I have been longing to eat at any of those locations in my Home town. I have not been there since 1976. I grew up in Sonoma when it was just a little country town of just a few blocks. I went to Elementary, Middle School and High School in this quint little town. Now I am back in California and just want a fantastic reason to visit the new Sonoma that I am hearing about and try some of the fantastic food that I heard rumored!!!

    Missing Home My Sonoma

  28. Being a cook in Sonoma Co. Limits my time to enjoy the fruits of the wonderful part of the world we are so lucky to share. But when I do dine out it is hard to beat dinning in Sonoma. One place I’ve been itching to try is Girl and the Fig. I’ve only li ed here for three years and I’m not really in the right valley to eat there so this would really inspire me to do so.

  29. I would love to try Starks! I’m a very big steak fan and have always wanted to try Starks. It’s always on my list of restaurants to go to, but I never seem to make it 🙁
    It seems like we get so caught up in life, we forget the simple pleasures of just going out and enjoying a nice rare steak from a quality restaurant.
    I think winning a contest would give me that much needed push to ‘get out there’ and try it out!

  30. I lived in Sonoma County for 24 years and then moved to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii for two. I missed everything about Sonoma County, but especially the variety of restaurants. I recently moved back home (YEAH!) and am looking forward to visiting many of the restaurants listed in Sonoma County Restaurant Week. When I saw El Coqui Puerto Rican restaurant on the list I thought it was perfect. In honor of the Coqui, which is taking over many parts of the Big Island, I would like to visit El Coqui.

    1. I too lived in Sonoma all my growing up years and I too bought a house in Pahoa on the Big Island I would loved to hear about the food on that side of the Island.

  31. Having lived in Sonoma County for 25+ years – I have heard the name Lisa Hemenway for many years now and always wanted to try her food. Never had a chance before due to one thing or another but this could be my chance. There are countless other restaurants I would love to try as well but the economy has made that difficult to do. Hoping to get to some before they close like Humble Pie did!

  32. Well…I love good food and was laid off at my job that I had worked at for 8 1/2 years here in Sonoma County. I am a single Mom helping my son through college and cannot afford the luxury of going to a nice restaurant. I would love to go out for a good meal with my best friend Karen who often has me over for dinner.

  33. My lovely wife is a great cook to our three beautiful children. Unfortunately she never gets to enjoy her creative dinners without attending to the kids needs. It’s been her whole life dream to visit France and to enjoy their culinary arts. I would love to whisk my beautiful wife to France one day to make her dreams come true. We have been dying to try Bistro 29 since we heard that they strive to make traditional and untraditional dishes using old world techniques from France. We would love to be able to pay attention together to the richness of the infinate creativity of our local culinary arts that has been derived from France.

  34. I would LOVE to be the lucky recipient of a gift certificate to Peter Lowell’s.
    The produce is soooo fresh — and so carefully and lovingly grown by Daria and Tony, former Petalumans and beautiful, dedicated farmers now in Sebastopol.
    And — Peter Lowell’s kindly gave a gift certificate as a donation last year to our nonprofit’s annual fundraiser. I wanted to be selfish and outbid all the guests to get the certificate myself – but decided to step back and be true to what we were doing – which was giving our guests the opportunity for some great silent auction items. The couple who won the certificate loved their meal.
    The atmosphere at Peter Lowell’s is also quiet and peaceful, and I could really use that with a friend and enjoy a delicious nutritious meal – I’ll spare you the details – but let’s say I’m hard working, care for animals, am a vegetarian, and could really use a delicious Peter Lowell meal to help keep me going!
    Thanks for considering me for Peter Lowell’s!!!

  35. We are very lucky to live in Sonoma County. Just count our blessing…Top ten
    1. World class wine
    2. Best Breweries
    3. Happy Cows for their cheeses
    4. Delicious Gravenstein apples
    5. Fresh catch dungeness and oysters from the bay
    6. Plump and free range Chicken from Petaluma
    7. Citrus from Cloverdale
    8. Santa Rosa plum
    9. Gourmet mushroom farms
    10 Guy Fieri

  36. As a lifelong Sonoma County resident I am always excited to discover new restaurants in our food- and wine-rich area, as well as the ones that have survived the years.

    Syrah is one restaurant I’ve always wanted to dine in. As a lover of food and wine, it seems the perfect place to realize the pairing of the two.

    Alas, my new bride and I don’t get out much, but Sonoma Restaurant Week gives us an opportunity to visit these local restaurants that we wouldn’t normally visit.

  37. I love good food so much, I….

    -Grow three acres of produce myself.

    (OK, fine. My husband helps.)

    -Bought 25 chickens so I could enjoy & share the best eggs ever.

    (And then 50 more so I could meet the demand for the eggs.)

    -Bought three miniature dairy goats so I could make my own cheese and yogurt.

    (And then 10 more goats… I don’t need more milk, but it turns out good goats are as addictive as good food.)

    -And finally: right now, I have an injured ten-pound Blue Orpington Rooster in my living room that I am personally providing with top-notch round-the-clock nursing care. Because, well, I bought a livestock guard dog to protect my heritage sheep but instead he half-ate my heritage rooster, and the heritage rooster is really worth saving because… well, he’s quite a gentlemanly rooster, very nice to his hens and all that, but more importantly… his sons are sooo delicious.

    (If he survives, scarred and battered, he will forever be known as Cogburn for his grit: so no, it’s not a sob story, but rather more of a Western.)

    1. Update: Cogburn the rooster is doing well, and recently moved out of the living room and into the small “hospital coop.” Listening to a rooster crow in the yard is quite a different thing from listening to a rooster crow in the house… scared the living $%#! out of my housecat.

      Also, I completely forgot to say — I’d love to try out Peter Lowell’s, since he’s all about farm-fresh food. I’ve only ever been there for a quick lunch.

  38. I really did not begin to appreciate food until our kids were born. It was only then that I realized the magic of gathering around the table sharing stories and good food and cheer. Sometimes, we would extend that magic by following with dessert at Humble Pie. I miss that place because it was like being at somebody’s warm and welcome home (with wonderful food!), but I am so excited about Blue Label. All the restaurants listed are great, but I would love to try Blue Label to get some of that magic back!


  39. I’ve been wanting to try Cafe Europe ever since I read about it in the PD. If it’s really like a slice of Europe in Santa Rosa then I’m there! Schnitzel and sauerkraut? Yes please! I’m a foodie to the core and wish I could afford to eat out every night. Instead I must settle for trying out a new resto once in awhile. Heck, if I win this then I’ll take Biteclub to eat with me!

  40. I have a love for food and the way it is presented. I rarely get to go out to a nice dinner. I work fulltime and go to school fulltime and spend alot of my free time doing homework and studying. I have been wanting to go to Jacksons Bar and Oven for so long. Sometimes at work I go online and look at restaurant menus and dream. I already know what I would order at Jacksons, I’d get the big bowl of wood oven roasted mussels, salad, and the truffle parmesan fries. YUM I hope I get this but if not hopefully my schooling will pay off and I will make great money to dine at the wonderful establishments in Sonoma Valley. Good luck to everyone.

  41. I guess of all the wonderful places listed, I would like to try Zazu. It’s been on my “to try” list for a while, but we’ve just never made it out that way. Reading some of the comments, I’m glad I was able to try P/30 and Humble Pie before they closed–both were wonderful and homey in way I imagine Zazu will be too.

  42. Before we were married, La Vera’s Pizza was our little spot. Many a pesto special pizza’s were consumed over a glass of wine and new relationship conversations. After we were married, when I was on hour 32 of labor with my son, my husband went out with a friend and at a pesto special pizza at La Vera’s (who does that to his laboring wife? can you imagine my reaction when he came in and breathed on me!) It’s been a long time since we’ve gone to La Vera’s, the kids have never gone…my son is now 9 and my daughter is 6 and we’ve been talking about needing to take them for a pesto special pizza to add another layer to our La Vera connection.

  43. Hi Heather!

    Me and My boyfriend! Have champagne taste on a beer budget! We live a few blocks from syrah and we really want to try it! I hear nothing but great things and I smell it from my living room lol please help out some starving gays 🙂



  44. I LOVE TO EAT!!! Rustic, Zazu, Bruno’s on Fourth, Bistro 29 etc! I love them all!! I can’t decide where to go!!! I am seriously struggling with this issue! I look at the website every day…dreaming…drooling…. HURRY RESTAURANT WEEK, I am starving!

  45. I am so excited to try Blue Lable at The Belvedere. I love restaurants that focus on local ingredients since we are blessed to live in this amazing area of the country. As parents, my husband and I rarely get out, but when we do we do it big! We live near downtown and love to walk to new restaurants every time we go. There is so much variety of really great restaruants within walking distance that we are always surprized by what we find. Please help us go on our next big adventure to Blue Label.

  46. There are so many wonderful restaurants in Sonoma County. P/30 was may favorite. I was hoping to celbrate my 45th birthday there on Feb 3rd, but they closed just days before. A few of my favorites are on the list: Rustic, Ume, Chinois, Barndiva. I am hoping to visit Zazu this weekend, or return to Barley & Hops Tavern in Occidental. From the restaurant week list, I would love to try Kenwood Resaturant & Bar

  47. I have been wanting to try Jackson’s and Flavor as I have heard good things about them from friends. I LOVE Fresh and Bistro 29…….such fab giveaways! YUM!

  48. I would call myself a foodie in that I enjoy food. The taste, variety, old and new flavors, combinations I never heard of, and rare items that happen to be in season. I am by no means wealthy, but I have a balanced life where I am sure to not overspend on things or pursue things beyond my means which allow me to enjoy eating out a few times a month. I came to Sonoma County in 2004 from NY where I was able to enjoy alot of diversity in restaurants there and then their adoptpion of Restaurant Week.After moving here I hoped it would come along and enjoyed the inception of it last year. Aside from Restaurant week, because I work downtown I enjoy restaurants like Abyssinia, Dierk’s, El Coqui, Mac’s, Nonnis (and previously Saigon Bistro) the new Torch of India, Stout Brothers, Flavor and more! For my after hours enjoyment I try to keep it local in SoCo. I have nejoyed Duck Club, Barndiva, Dry Creek Kitchen (for an anniversary dinner) Cafe Citti, Bacchus, Bruno’s, Jacksons, Sea Thai, Jack & Tony’s, Syrah (another anniversary) Mary’s, Cattlemen Josef’s (for another anniversary before they closed)……..soooo many places and many I haven’t included. But this is all over a 7 year period and I have sooo many more to try. I LIKE FOOD AND I’M HUNGRY FOR MORE EVERYDAY!

  49. There are certainly restaurants on the list I’d love to try – Rocker Oysterfeller has been on my must-try list for a while as I adore New Orleans cooking and am a big fan of oysters. That said, the list seems to miss the boat on a few places that are a Sonoma County MUST eat – One is the relatively new LUMA in Petaluma. Their menu is amazing, their specials tantalizing, and the staff stand head-and-shoulders above. Their roasted brussels sprouts are fabulous, and their meatball app is 5 star. Recently, they had a Mac and cheese with truffle oil that I could have eaten daily for a month. The owners are very personable, and very community-oriented, and they’ve chosen an amazing staff who are friendly, fun, and fabulous.
    Another must-try that is absent from the list is the new Petaluma Pie Company. Again, even if the food was only half as fabulous as it is, the endearing couple who own this little treasure would more than make up the difference. That said – the food is simply devine. They use local and sustainable ingredients – sometimes from their very own garden – and they support local businesses, like the Straus Creamery. They excel at both sweet and savory pies, and they offer vegan and gluten-free options. Their pie blog is entertaining and educational, as they often highlight historical figures tied right back into their pies – like offering Jamaican Hand Pies in honor of Bob Marley’s birthday (while noting that Bob Marley was a vegetarian and wouldn’t have eaten the pie!). Can’t say enough good things about Petaluma Pie.
    Honorable mention for a few other Petaluma restos that will amaze: Gohan – Owner/Chef Lee offers a great combination of fusion and traditional sushi with a winning personality behind it all; Taps for a vast offering of beer plus pub-grub to die for; the Lagunitas TapRoom – for being as great as their beer, with an ever-smiling wait staff; Central Market – hands-down some of the best food in Sonoma County…
    Eat Local! And get to know your owners and chefs – you won’t be disappointed!

  50. Oh man. I adore the Blue Label! Went there last night and had some tasty, earthy mushroom soup, a light and delicate meyer lemon salad….and of course a killer slice of chocolate cream pie. My husband and I hail from Penngrove and were avid Humble Pie fans and we are so happy the team has resurfaced in the character filled Belvedere house. It’s a local gem of a restaurant, with great music too. We got primed for the Wynton Marsalis show with a little Martin Denny Exotica at the Blue. Places I’d love to try are Henweigh and Fresh. If only I was rolling in dough with nothing but time on my hands for exploring all the fantastic food eats in our area.

  51. I”m most excited to try and take my new fiance to Bistro 29! I work In food service at a bar/restaurant and because we are saving for our life together, don’t eat get to eat out anymore!! I always read your blog, and was raised a foodie by my mother (I was eating cream puffs out the womb). Luckily, my place is participating in Restaurant week but am DYING to try Bistro 29’s buckweat pancakes. It’s right by my house. Thanks for reading.

  52. No sob story here. I am a part time caterer(mostly no-time now) working in a new tasting room, So I love food and wine, especially SoCo food and wine. We have some of the best of everything. I have been so busy lately and we very rarely get out to sample any of the brand new eateries. I appreciate anyone who sticks to local purveyors and a local wine list. It would be nice to have a reason to stop and eat local, no matter where….it’s ALL good.

  53. I am a downtown Santa Rosa girl, who married a Kenwood boy, and we both are old enough now to treasure our nights out, reveling in the cornucopia of beautiful food our Sonoma County abounds with. Our home now is in the valley, Rincon that is, and I would love to linger over wine and nighborhood intrigue with my honey at Fresh , and then, maybe ride our bicycles home. Plus, as a vegan and a carivore, we constantly hunt for establishments that can wet both our whistles, and I think Lisa could accomdate! Thank you and here’s hopin!

  54. Ok, no sob story, I would love to try Blue Label. I’ve had some of my favorite meals at Humble Pie and my in-laws almost cried when they came to town a few weeks ago and we told them it was closed! Our dining out budget is virtually non-existant, but we love awesome food AND it’s my birthday next week!

  55. My husband just had oral surgery last week, all of his wisdom teeth plus one molar extracted, the day after he was laid off from work ..that’s the sad story…but the sadder part of the story is —where can I take him to partake the So Co Resto week with just his front tooth for chewing?…hmmm I guess a steak dinner is out of the question. We have not been to Oyster Rockerfeller and checked their menu. Oh boy, he can choose from wide array of amazing seafood galore. I can see him devouring those tomales bay oysters, a “no-teeth friendly” meal…haha! Thanks Heather for reading our entry. I love biteclub! … ;-P

  56. I would love to try Blue Label as we live very close to it and excited its in the neighborhood. We have lots of great places to eat in Sonoma County and Santa Rosa, we are very lucky. I was impressed with the new Sazon in Roseland for good ol’ Peruvian.

  57. What a cool idea! We’ve really been cutting back on eating out lately, but a $29 three course menu is a great excuse for my husband and food-obsessed me to get out and have a great meal at someplace other than a taqueria (although I can’t complain about eating at La Texanita or the taco truck outside of La Fondita). There are sooooo many restaurants I want to try, but the one I want to try the most at the moment is Blue Label. My husband and I played our very first music gig together at The Black Cat in December 2009, and beforehand we had the BEST meal at Humble Pie. We’d been to Humble Pie before, when his band played at The BC, and we went to Humble Pie after that time as well….it was one of our favorite places. However, that particular night was particularly memorable both because of the anticipation of playing in public together for the first time, and because of the meal we completely stuffed our faces with. I had this amazing meatloaf and he had this lamb-pie and we shared a bavarian pretzel and blue balls beforehand and this apple/berry pie afterward that was so incredible that I asked them if they could make a pie for our wedding which was a couple weeks later. I was feeling a lot of love that night – for my husband, for the food, for the music, and for all our friends who came out to see us. I was so sad when The Black Cat closed, but I was comforted by the fact that Humble Pie was going to stick around….and then they closed! HUGE bummer. I was super excited when I heard that Blue Label opened. It’s right across the street from where I work even, so I see it every day and am TOTALLY going the moment we feel flush enough to have a special night out. A $25.00 gift certificate would be even more incentive to try it sooner rather than later….and paired with a certif from Fresh….how cool would that be! Lisa Hemingway is another one of my old-time favorites – I used to get small bites from Tote Cuisine like every week when I worked at Bank of America in the early 90’s. I remember these awesome foccacia bread pizza bites and mini crab cakes…yum! I am dying to try Fresh as well! But….if I am one of the four winners chosen and I end up with one of the OTHER gift certificates….I can’t say I’d be disappointed. All those places sound amazing, and the only one I’ve been to is Syrah…..but it has been years since I’ve had the enough disposable income to have dinner there.

  58. Oh Fresh would be my choice hands down. I drool when I think of the wonderful dinners we had at her restaurant, I still yearn for an appetizer she served that reminded me of dim sum, oh yum.

    We even did Dinner my Way for a while knowing that Lisa had come up with the menus.

    Please, please pick us foodies for Fresh, we’ll even bring friends!

  59. Rustic Francis’s Favorites

    I would love to try Rustic Francis’s Favorites as straight out of the old country Italian meals bring me right back to the days when my Noni (Italian grandma) used to me make bowl after bowl of pesto gnocci and veal stew with polenta. I like that the menu offers a variety of items in case someone is not particularly interested in traditional Italian fare of meat & pasta. Plus, the man made the Godfather movies so it has to be delicious, hopefully delicious enough to make me forget there was a third one.

  60. Food worshipper

    I long to try Bistro 29
    There is no other place I want to dine
    I am a hardcore foodie there is no denying
    I have to go and I’m sure not lying
    The crepes are making my mouth drool
    And the $5 dollar wines are awesome too
    Please make this little wish come true
    And something good will come to you.

  61. I lost my job, have a rash on my balls and face, home in foreclosure, haven’t been laid in 2 years, no friends, car doesn’t run, never tried the Pliny, my son has 4 step dads, heckled by 7th graders on my jog yesterday, Juan joined the dodgers, watching springer today, 12 beers and I feel nothing, dad never calls, mom is self absorbed, brothers assume I’m drinking and watching springer, life is out of control but I would love to give heather a hair cut and eat something besides rice. Sob, sob, sob.

  62. I recently had the opportunity to assist in clean up efforts down in the Gulf of Mexico for the BP Oil Spill. I was able to try many great new foods and eateries of which I would have never had the opportunity to try, however, coming back to Sonoma County I’m finding myself missing many of those wonderful foods. Surely with all the culinary talent and traditions in Sonoma County there must be a place one can obtain a great helping of Jambalaya, Boudin, a Shrimp Po’boy or even a simple Muffaletta!

    I’m excited about the challenge of using the Sonoma County Restaurant Week to find these gems of the culinary world in our own backyard. I refuse to believe there isn’t at least once place out there able to serve these up with wonderful southern hospitality!

  63. Being a single Mama is Hugely challenging financially…..but I do have my fav’s and my new squeeze Tony and I are working down the list. Being a relatively new transplant Tony’s eyes widen and mouth salivates as we try all the yummy ones…Jackson’s is where we had our first date..and I would love to take Tony to Syrah…
    How about it, will you make me Queen for the Night????
    P.S. Living in Geyserville for almost 20 years has seen alot of changes, but now that we have Diavola & Catelli’s all of you on the Bite Club are coming to my “hood” more often!!!
    Have you reviewed Catelli’s yet? I can’t remember seeing your comments..if not be sure to try Dominica’s ravoli…some of the best on the planet…(and that includes Italy)
    Tell Nick…Deborah says to try the Happy Hour Martnin!!!

  64. I’m sorry – I was warned not to PANIC but, I am panicking after readying the recent news in the rumormill regarding Syrah’s revamping of our favorite restaurant in Sonoma County. But, will be very eager to see the new changes in the spring- Change is a good thing, right? We are die hard fans of Syrah Bistro and will take every opportunity to visit before the change. Looking forward to our 7 course meal before the revamp. The service and quality food/presentation at Syrah is superb each and every time. They never disappoint.

      1. No worries…I read from GM Ken that the chef tasting menu isn’t going away so, I’m reassured. Any new creations from Syrah’s kitchen will be a can’t miss! Need to make my reservations!

  65. I LOVE So Co eating!! I basically do what you write and try as many of the resto’s you recommend here on Bite Club. Five Guys is my next stop on Monday. ;0) So no sad story, no crazy one either, just a die hard Santa Rosan (born & raised) who would love a gift card to enjoy another place to eat here in Wine Country. Pick me! pick me! Pick me! (That’s the best I could do.)

  66. My retired sailor man loves beef but our budget is limited. To celebrate his birthday on Feb 21 we are going to try the prime rib at Saddles Steakhouse at MacArthur Place in Sonoma! Sounds like a great date night!

  67. I would love to try any of them! We live in Mendocino county and would love to start working our way down to the bay! It is always fun to watch Guy on t.v. on show all the local restaraunts on t.v. and how passionate he is. I love how all the new places are using fresh, local and organic! It taste sooo much better and is healthier for you plus the taste!

  68. Although I am STILL dying to try Barndiva, I must must must have those crabcakes at Syrah Bistro. I have been working my way west for years going from Texas to Colorado and finally to Sonoma County just so I can have fresh seafood and locally-grown food. I feel so lucky to live in a place where such wonderful food like crab is so readily available. And so fresh!!! I have been in search of the perfect crabcake and your review of Syrah definitely makes my mouth water.

  69. I spent the last two years in graduate school watching my bank account dwindle. I lived on coffee, bread, and soup. If I felt like splurging I would go for a bowl of $6 pho from simply Vietnam. My days were a a culinary wasteland.

    Food, especially good food, is a luxury. I am now able to afford to have a decent meal out once and a while, but with my significant other returning to school there is a lot of pasta puttanesca being made at home.

    I would happily eat at most of the restaurants featured for Restaurant week, as a local downtown Santa Rosa resident, I have never tried Syrah. I have walked past in the evenings and look in at the happy patrons, but I have never been able to join them. Maybe some day!

  70. I am most excited to try the French Garden! I always drive by and gaze at it longingly because I miss being in France and eating the fresh delicious produce. Given that they have a sustainably grown produce garden on location, their food has a reputation that proceeds it! I can’t wait until more local food establishments follow suit and join the fresh revolution. The taste is so full and the satisfaction diners feel after eating a wholesome and nutritive as well as delicious meal can not be beat. I can’t wait to try it!

  71. I love sweetbreads and I have only been able find the once at John Ash as an appetizer. I want to find a restaurant that serves them as a main course and go there durning restaurant week. That’s the restaurant I want to try durning restaurant week. Let me know who serves them. Even if I don’t win.


  72. I’m dying to get back to Rustic……the food is outstanding…the ambiance is incredible….the views are awesome….and my date will be my wonderful husband of 25 years… can’t get any better!!!

  73. As one of a few vegetarian Sonoma County folks, I must say I am extremely excited about the menu at Peter Lowell’s. I hear about them at Sonoma County Restaurant Week last year and it wasn’t until a month ago that I got the chance to visit. THIS is what I would like to see more of in Sonoma County. Simple, organic food straight from the producers. (well, and as a vegetarian, it leaves me feeling satisfied.. ).

    Oh, and I am finally going to try Syrah. Shockingly enough, I have never been!

  74. I have been anxiously awaiting So.Co. Restaurant week for the awesome deals at the Starks Restaurants! I dine at some anyway but they do such a great job with all the food and the deal is such a steal I cannot wait to go to Willi’s Wine Bar! The setting is inviting and romantic, the experience great and the food Amazing! For $29 each, how could I not go there?! Willi’s Wine Bar is on my for sure list this year and I do hope to make it to a few more as well. Restaurant Week is such a great idea and an awesome way to try new places. I may have to try Saddle’s (ONLY $19 each!!!), growing up in Sonoma, I cannot believe I have never been there. For only $19 a person I think I have to try their awesome steakhouse!

  75. I would love to try so many restaurants, where to begin?? I would love to see what the students are cooking up the SRJC Cafe at the Brickyard, supporting up and coming culinary stars and maybe being able to say, “I ate (fill in the blank)’s food before they were famous could happen! Of course there are those out of reach for my budget restaurants such as Cyrus that would be amazing too! Then there are place like Worth Our Weight that would fill your heart as well as your stomach! I can’t decide, but would love a chance to try so many!

  76. I did not know Sonoma County had Restaurant week! What rock have I been living under? I have been reading online about NY Restuarant Week and was wishing we had something like that locally – wish materialized! Okay, which place am I most excited to try…. that’s a hard decision. Go with one you love or try something new?! Probably Rustic. I’ve been meaning to go up there and check it out and have heard rave reviews. I just looked at their menu and it sounds amazing – all for $39 But honestly, I’ll probably try something closer to home (Santa Rosa). Zazu is a favorite or ours.

  77. My wife is pregnant with our first child and we have been waiting until the third trimester to get a big juicy steak from Stark’s. She wanted to wait until the craving was nice and strong, and it is finally there. So we are obviously most anxious to satisfy this craving.

  78. I’m a relative newcomer to Sonoma County, having moved here from Oakland in 2008. I’m a devotee of a few restaurants in Petaluma (Della Fattoria, LUMA, Wild Goat Bistro), and I would be delighted to have an opportunity to expand my dining experience. I’m also very active on Twitter as @nextmoon and would be happy to share my new experience with the Twittersphere.

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