The Sonoma County that we love!

Archive for March, 2009

I am Alligator Roast

So as a Sonoma County native, I’m doing my best to buy local, eat local, stay local. I own my own business which means I go on a lot of coffee dates. You say, “I’d love to get together with you to learn more about you and your business.” So then you decide where to meet. It had gotten to the point where I got myself a frequent coffee card from the biggest coffeeshop we all know of *hint hint*. I don’t want to support their corporation so I was at an odds with what to do.

As a disgruntled yut (“My Cousin Vinny” reference), I spent much time wandering/loitering in downtown Santa Rosa. There was a coffee shop named Sonoma Coffee Company that went out of business recently. It was dark and bohemian. Cool when I was 16 but had too many teenage associations for me as an adult.

Enter Cafe Azul. This new business takes over the old SoCoCo spot and has done wonders with what they had to work with. I think my favorite thing is their decor. It’s lighter, more open, airier and BLUE! My favorite color is blue and they’ve done it just right. I’ve now switched my coffee dates to Cafe Azul because I really like to go there and they are a new business that recently joined the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

So next time you are downtown and need a dark roast, I recommend the Alligator Roast.


It’s Ada Lovelace Day!

Today, March 24, was named after Ada Lovelace, who is considered the world’s first computer programmer. I just had to give my thanks to Suw Charman-Anderson for creating Ada Lovelace Day and to Linda Rodriguez for writing about it in Mental Floss (RT @thinkgeek). Please click the link to check out Linda’s great article.

I am on the peripheral of the technology field but I think every girl needs a woman to look up to regardless of their field of expertise. If not your mother, relative, teacher or friend, women do need examples of strong women to help us through the tough times.

Here’s to the strong and intelligent women in our lives!

I am the Dance

8pm showing 3/11/09
Ailey II, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts

Modern dance. I love dance but even modern dance can be a tough pill to swallow if one’s not in the right mood. But the Ailey II troupe definitely packs in the best as quickly as possible. I saw another variation of Alvin Ailey many years ago at the same venue but I really didn’t care for that production. I just didn’t connect and kept wishing it would end. This version wisely had a “pause” and two intermissions. Plenty of time for us to appreciate the numbers yet not feel trapped by the never-ending darkness.

There was one piece in particular where a young woman (dancer Megan Jakel) couldn’t leave her man alone, just wouldn’t be dragged away from him. She would run at him and cling to him as if her whole body were velcro. A piece that really seemed to capture an issue that is prevalent right now. I say, “If he doesn’t want you, stop fighting it.” It had strange parallels to the current social discussion of dating violence, a la Rihanna and Chris Brown. The weird thing is, as this woman couldn’t and wouldn’t let go (she grasped onto his legs like a petulant child), it became comical and obvious that her choice was ridiculous. It made me glad that a large part of the audience was teenage girls. I laughed but looking back I wonder what the thought process was for all those impressionable females in the audience.

Get out! Get culture! Get thinking!

Newbie in Town

6pm 3/11/09
Rendezvous Bistro, 514 4th Street, Santa Rosa

I heard that Rendezvous Bistro opened up last week but decided to wait until the hubbub had died down before checking it out (I also wanted to give them some time to work out the kinks). So I waited a whole six days before going!

Now my disclaimer is that I don’t really like French food, I didn’t realize that that was their category until minutes before I arrived. I figured I’d check out the menu and make a decision then. I found a few items that I thought I’d like and was seated in the main dining room.

First and foremost, the front and rear dining rooms were both packed and stayed that way throughout our meal, which is a good sign. The decor is really lovely but a tad contrived, kind of like a Disneyland version of a French bistro. But it was beautiful with rich colors. The tables are very small and I felt like (in the words of Chris Farley) “a fat man in a tiny coat”. I actually gave my server back my regular water because I needed the real estate and I’d ordered a bottled water and it would’ve just been duplication.

My friend and I both ordered the steak and frites. It was absolutely lovely. I don’t claim to be a restaurant critic but I know a good meal when I scarf it. The steak was tender, well garnished, with a dollop of spinach (thank you!) and I ate every last bite.

Dessert was another matter. We ordered the special but there may have been some kind of kitchen mishap and it took awhile to learn that they were going to give us a dessert on the house to make up for it. When I told them we were trying to make a showtime, they stepped up the speed. They served us a crepe with, I believe, rum drizzled over the top, it was set aflame and in front of me. Needless to say, I did not bend over the plate until it had extinguished itself. Unfortunately, the alcohol didn’t really burn off and after two bites I had to retire my fork. I felt I was breathing fumes of ethanol out of my nose, it was so strong.

Our server, Manuel, was not only excellent but well spoken and very helpful (cute too!). The owner, Justin, met us at the door and escorted us out. I couldn’t help but mention the note I had on the crepe. He was very open to suggestion and lovely to talk to.

I look forward to sitting at their bar, enjoying an espresso or a drink with my friends. I know all whom venture downtown are happy to have the wonderful location up and running again.

Support our local establishments by Buying Local/Eating Local/Staying Local!

I am an unexpected Girls Night Out

7pm 3/3/09
Mary’s Pizza Shack, downtown Santa Rosa

It’s been a heck of a day. My girlfriend, Malia, asked me to go out for a drink tonight at Mary’s. Not your typical drink location but I’ve been on a 30 day caffeine and alcohol ban so it was nice that I wasn’t tempted to break my ban.

I had the mud pie and a San Pelligrino orange and lemon. They didn’t really go together but they were both really yummy.

We sat in that restaurant for 3 hours. They never bugged us or pressured us to vacate. She and I have a problem, once we start talking, we have a hard time stopping. The manager (I think) even stopped in to make sure we’d had a good time.

I’m going to keep doing it….buy/eat/stay local.

I am Hungry!

3/2/09 12pm
East West Restaurant, Santa Rosa

I had the pleasure of eating at East West Restaurant this summer. My husband and I had no baby, the sun was out, we sat on their patio and….chilled. It was wonderful. The food was good and I’d been thinking about it ever since. Every time someone asked me where I wanted to go to lunch, I mentioned it but no one took me up on it. So, I finally got someone to go there with me yesterday. Update: Gayle Lash from WSI treated me for sending a referral her way. I was so excited!

Someone once called me predictable in my food choices (that’s an insult!) and I took it as a lifelong challenge. Ever since, I’ve made a habit of really trying to sample new things. I review the menu and whatever calls to me I order.

East West’s first specialty is Mediterranean food and secondly is Vegetarian. I love veggies but I can’t quite get all the way to vegetarian. Every time I order a strict veg meal, I’m disappointed. I ordered their Veggie Wrap and it came with soup or salad. I’m sick (so soup) and already had a plate of veggies (not salad) so I went with the soup. Broccoli, to be exact. I’m not really a soupophile but it was either that or lentil. Bravery taken in small steps, I’ve eaten more broccoli than lentil and found that to be the safer choice. It was really good, the wrap, but it was HUMONGOUS!!!!! There was no way I could’ve eaten all that. I would’ve liked it better as an appetizer. Oh! With a tangy dip would’ve been even better! The soup was alright but my taste buds are a little off while being sick.

I will return. I love the concept. I love their logo (I’m partial to butterflies). I loved their teriyaki chicken when I had it before. Their servers are pleasant and helpful. It’s a great restaurant to be daring and brave. And their fries are organic! Beat that!

I am Goat Rock

Goat Rock is a classic destination for those from this area. I used to drive to the beach just for the drive, the view, and would pick up trash while I was there (I think I’m trying to balance my karma on that one). I don’t have anything to add about it that hasn’t already been said. It’s simply beautiful and peaceful. We were out there last weekend right before the rain came. Crisp and cold but worth the drive.

If you’ve ever taken a picnic out there, you know to protect your food. I’ve never met seagulls as smart as the ones out at that beach and I’ve met quite a few. They can smell your crackers and chips from anywhere on the beach. I recommend an actual picnic basket that closes. We always bring a backpack or cloth grocery sack and those simply leave the food too vulnerable. One of us always has to watch our bag for fear that a bird will come by and fly away with our G&G sack full of goodies! We were eating grapes and ended up burying some in the sand after they fell. And we learned that seagulls love grapes! They are truly Sonoma County birds 🙂

Random fact: the final scene from “The Goonies” was filmed at Goat Rock. Betcha didn’t know that!

I am Goat Rock
I am Goat Rock
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