CALIFORNIA DINNER #7 – CHARCUTERIE (HEALDSBURG)
Our main reason for dining here on a Friday evening was that our first choice, The Dry Creek Kitchen, had no tables available until 10:00 P.M. Still, it looked like a good place and had lots of good reviews so once seated at our window table we looked forward to our last meal in wine country,
We had just completed a wonderful day which included a great tour of Bella Winery and Caves followed by a visit with our friend, Scott Lindstrom-Dake at his Thumbprint Cellars Tasting Room just across the street from Charcuterie .
We picked up a couple of bottles to have with our dinner as corkage here was a reasonable $15.00 per bottle. We had the 2007 Thumbprint Cellars “Threesome”. This erotically named wine contains equal parts of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cab franc. Our other bottle was the 2007 Thumbprint, Ramazotti Vineyard, Syrah. Both of these wines were very good although Thumbprint wines can quite often be found back East at lower prices that what they are sold for in Sonoma.
We began the meal with a couple of enticing appetizers. I have to confess that two weeks after the actual dinner I can’t recall exactly who ordered what but on the left is the Baked Nut-Crusted Brie with roasted garlic served with crostini. It wasn’t bad. On the right is “The Charcuterie Plate”, featuring Rosette de Lyon Salami, Duck Rillette, Pork Pepper Pate, Garlic Salami, olives and cornichons. I’m not a big “charcuterie” fan so I can’t tell you whether this was good or not. I did not hear raves from around the table.
Each of our dinners came with a choice of soup or salad. I believe the soup was another pumpkin squash which seems to be on most menus out here at this time of the year. Both the soup and salad were fine. As for entrees the six of us found three that drew our interest.
A couple of folks chose the Chicken Strips Piccata over Rigatoni Pasta with white wine lemon, tomatoes and caper sauce. It looked good but no one seemed excited about it and I think there was an overall disappointment with this dish.
Whatever degree of disappointment was shared by the Chicken Strip Piccata people, it could not match the disappointment that my wife, Kathy felt toward her choice which was one of the “specials” on that evening. She had ordered the Roasted Double Cut Pork Chops, stuffed with sweet corn, roasted Bermuda onions, tomato and fresh herb and served with brussel sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes. She had to send the entire meal back as the pork chop was undercooked. She waited a lengthy time for its return and her only regret is that it DID return. She clearly remembers this dish as the worst of the entire trip.
It would only be fitting that I join the others in bashing my entree but I’m afraid I can’t do that. I absolutely LOVED my choice of the Fusilli Pasta with Smoked Chicken, sun-dried tomatoes served in a basil creme sauce. It may just be one of the more memorable entrees of the entire trip. The sauce was perfect, the chicken tender and flavorful and the pasta cooked perfectly. I’m hungry all over again just writing about it.
We closed out the meal with a few yummy desserts, chocolate cake with mocha ice cream, some nice chocolate profiteroles and some mocha chip ice cream on its own.
Not the best meal of the trip for many but, I thought my entree was certainly a contender.