A couple of years ago I was trying to set up a lunch meeting with someone. When I asked them, they said they really didn't "eat lunch" - for them food was just fuel. I was shocked.

For me, food is an experience. A journey. And a quest. So here are my thoughts. If you eat to live, you may not be interested. If you live to eat, you may find some ideas for places here. I went back to the first of this year, as opposed to diving back multiple years and started there. These are my thoughts on everything except for burgers. They deserve their own page and it is here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Girl and the Fig, Sonoma, CA (October 2011)

One of the most pleasant food stops on our visit to wine country was the Girl and the Fig in Sonoma.   We were staying in Napa and while checking the reviews for restaurants in the area, the Girl & the Fig kept being mentioned.  On Monday evening we took the drive over.  Sonoma is a "cute" little town: shops bordering a town square, wrapped around a courthouse, in a tree-lined park.  On the corner opposite where we parked, stood the red door and entrance.

Entering, you walk into the right side of the establishment - the bar, bakery and waiting area.  After telling the young lady our name, she took us to a window-side table in the restaurant.  The view to the right is from the far left corner, back into the restaurant.

The menu was very interesting, knowing that we were heading into a French restaurant, I wasn't sure what exactly to expect.  The variety of choices was surprising.  What we didn't order, that we should have, was the heirloom tomato salad.  Doesn't every place have a tomato salad?  What could we be missing?  We wouldn't have known except the order from the table next to us arrived.  The tomato salad was five half-inch slices high and a palette of myriad colors.   It looked amazing!  It's a good thing that pictures would not have done it justice, as it would have been awkward trying to snap a photo of someone else's food <g>.

So on to our choices.  Going out and ordering cheese in a restaurant was similar, at least in my mind in level of pretentiousness, to paying for bottled water.  But next thing I know, I'm that guy.  We decided to start with "the works" - three cheeses, cured meats, apples, house-made fig cakes, spiced nuts and a baguette.
Wonderful start.  But the heirloom tomato salad looked so good, these good cheeses paled by comparison.

Jo had a grilled fig and arugula salad with Laura Chenel chevre (a Sonoma area cheesemaker), house-made pancetta, toasted pecans and a fig & port vinaigrette. 
She said that it was very tasty.  But being the carnivore that I am (technically, I am an omnivore, but I prefer carnivorous pursuits) I had to follow that dream.  I chose pork belly and scallops.  The pork belly sat atop grilled scallops, on a bed of sunchoke puree. 
In seems in vogue to substitute other pureed vegetables for a place where you would normally serve mashed potatoes: sunchokes (here), cauliflower (one night at home) unnamed root vegetables (at 4th & Swift), etc.  It was served with an apple-pancetta vinaigrette.  The sunchokes were fairly nasty.   The scallops were good, although I'm not a great fan.  But the pork belly was awesome.  Overall, a nice night out at a very tasty place.

Girl & the Fig on Urbanspoon

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