First Night Out :: Zazu

Day 1 of a little long weekend adventure in Sonoma…

After a crazy morning where our flight wasn’t at the time we expected and the slowest rental car pick-up ever (that was topped off with their offer to upgrade us free of charge to a minivan – NOT!), we connected with Tonia & Keith for a late lunch. And discussion about the best Bond films.

As we drove across the bay and turned into the Sonoma valley, the sun was setting and lighting up the hills. We found our rental cottage and after a quick freshen-up, we headed out for dinner on the outskirts of Santa Rosa.

We started with a bottle:
We narrowed our wine choices to the Sonoma Coast as we knew that we won’t make it tasting up in that area.

And the winner is:
Pinot Noir from Eric Kent titled “Small Town”
Sonoma Coast 2010

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes
Building on last year’s success (one of our favorite blends to date), the 2010 Small Town starts with our two Freestone vineyards, then adds a good dose of Roberts Road from the Petaluma Gap and finishes with a touch of Russian River Valley Stiling from the slower-ripening bunkhouse block.
After a generally temperate growing season, 2010 experienced some famous heat spikes, but the cool area of Freestone was relatively protected. In the end, the vintage produced a dark, full, expansive wine that remains true to it’s cool-climate roots with an exuberant nose of savory spices, herbs and impressive fruit, carried on by a silky, rich palate of black cherry and wild berry chutney. Perfectly ripe tannin and balancing acidity provide structure and extend the complex and lingering finish long after the sip is over. In short, we’re absolutely thrilled with this delicious wine!

Due to our late lunch, we decided to graze for dinner.

Black pig bacon wrapped date + saba
Total sweet hit with savory
Oh, and note to find a Saba recipe and try to recreate the sauce

Artisan cheeses A little cow, a little sheep, a little goat.

Wild boar salumi,  house made
Turmeric cauliflower

Stuffed pork belly filled with chestnuts

Note:   When we return, try tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwich

Dessert
Peanut butter ice cream sandwich with warm dipping chocolate fondue. All we can say is “more”.

And to go:  Jar of house-made Pickles,  Black pig bacon lollipop (for the girl)

While waiting for a table, glimpses of Chef Duskie. {{Not a good sign for how she faired in the Iron Chef Redemption Series.}} Our chef’s profile:
Duskie Estes, a graduate of Brown University, began cooking at age 5 using her Easy-Bake Oven. She has worked at Lucky’s/Al Forno, 21 Federal and Kinkead’s, Green’s and Glide Church, Baywolf, Share Our Strength, Dahlia Lounge, Etta’s Seafood and Palace Kitchen. Chef Estes and her husband, John Stewart, own and operate ZAZU Restaurant + Farm in Santa Rosa, Calif., and BOVOLO in Healdsburg, Calif. The couple also owns MacBryde Farm, named for their daughters, Brydie and Mackenzie. Chef Estes was a fierce competitor in the third season of The Next Iron Chef, during which she won the first secret ingredient challenge but was eliminated by Celina Tio in episode four.

We finished the night over a beer with college pal, JV. It was good to catch up – but it reminded us we are too old to talk over a live band!

The location:

Zazu | 3535 Guerneville Road  | Santa Rosa, CA 95401 | 707.523-4814 | Website

Author: sheilashultz

Search marketer by day, full-time Mom by night...always looking for ways to find a few moments of "me" time.

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