Enjoying a glass (or two) of lovely Pinot Noir in Healdsburg on the Dry Creek Kitchen patio is a good way to start the week.
Open 7 days a week, even Monday, a rarity in the foodie biz, Charlie Palmer’s restaurant is sure to please. On this particular Monday , we had opted for an early dinner to enjoy watching the sun go down on the patio.
The patio of the restaurant overlooks downtown square, recently voted one of the top ten city squares in the U.S., Healdsburg square is full of character. Under the direction of Chef de Cuisine Dustin Valette, a Sonoma County native who grew up in rural kinship with area farmers, the kitchen excels at sourcing and showing off its regional ingredient diversity. Yum.
Looks like it is time to open our bottle of Sojourn 2011 Pinot Noir Sonoma County. Twist my arm. We decided to decant the wine before drinking and enjoyed a elderflower St Germain cocktail while we waited for the oxygen to go to work. It seems that every restaurant I visit in Sonoma County recently has an elderflower infused drink on the specialty menu. Not that I am complaining.
It really adds a punch when combined with citrus and vodka or gin and I am quite the fan. In fact. I was in Oliver’s Market trying to purchase a bottle of St Germain liquor and they were out. Running into the wine and spirits buyer who was checking inventory, he asked why I was looking for this particular item. I explained that I had a fondness for the stuff after having enjoyed it in local bistros. The liquor buyer said that he could not keep it on the shelves in recent months and was looking for a reason for the popularity. Mystery solved.
Point of the story folks, give elderflower liquor a try in your martini, you won’t regret it.
Back to the wine. The Sojourn Pinot Noir had a spice to it and a dark berry flavor, maybe cherry. It drank beautifully once our meal arrived. It could have used perhaps another year of waiting in the cellar and would have been even more delicious. On to the food. Charlie Palmer’s is a favorite of mine anytime of the week. Chef de Cuisine Dustin Valette had some lovely dishes waiting for us I was sure.
I have tried the Chef’s Tasting menu many times so decided to order off the dinner menu. My dining partner had the salmon osso buco which was on special that evening as his main entree. The presentation along with the shiny egg side which is a signature of Charlie Palmer was lovely. Colorful and also looked like a traditional osso buco, sweet. He started with a lovely scallop based pot pie that presented beautifully as well. With a golden brown flaky crust, reminded me of comfort food at its finest of course.
I choose the corn chowder for my first course, a favorite of mine and wonderfully rich. The waitress executed the display of the soup perfectly, pouring the hot liquid over the finer ingredients at the table to heighten the senses, especially tantalizing the nose.
Enchanting. Next was the halibut main course for myself. Chef Dustin Valette had outdone himself again. The service, attention to the diner and the experience one has as a guest is second to none at the Wine Country Healdsburg location.
From the website:
“Under the direction of Chef de Cuisine Dustin Valette, a Sonoma County native who grew up in rural kinship with area farmers, the kitchen excels at sourcing and showing off its regional ingredient diversity in dishes like Scallop En Croute with spring onion fondue, celeriac bacon, chardonnay beurre “vert,” and Liberty Duck Breast with pinot noir-braised cabbage, scarlet turnips, and pearl onions.”
We enjoyed the meal, the rest of our wine and spent the next hour and a half sipping on cocktails and watching the sun set. An espresso finish while taking in the sights of the downtown square finishes this scene. Life is rough. Overall I have been to Dry Creek Kitchen more than 4 times now and plan to go again and again. It is high on my list of enjoyable evenings…
Chin Chin until the next visit.
Charlie Palmers Dry Creek Kitchen – Website Here
317 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Restaurant Reservations: 707.431.0330
Private Events: 707.922.5243