Thursday, April 29, 2010

THE LONG & WINE-ING ROAD - Day Four - Pt. 1 - Cha, Cha, Charcuterie


Day Four – Pt. 1
Cha, Cha, Charcuterie

Would you believe my brother pulled a muscle in his back while cleaning our condo patio grill? So badly, in fact, he was forced to stay in bed on day four of our Sonoma road trip. And since Nguyen was off to San Francisco to spend some quality time w/ her daughter and new grandson, we were “forced” to head out by ourselves in search of some good wine and good food. I know – it was a dirty job, but we felt we were up for the task.

Our first stop was back in Healdsburg for a free tasting at the Murphy-Goode tasting room in town… a room w/ a decidedly Minnesota Viking theme (the original owners are from Minnesota).

Though the Murphy family still owns the vineyards, the winery is now part of the Kendall-Jackson family. The tasting fee was $5.00 (we had a coupon – hence the “free” tasting) for six samples ranging from a sauvignon blanc to a Bordeaux varietal.

I really liked three: The 2008 Minnesota Cuvee – Chardonnay, ‘aged’ in oak barrels from Minnesota is an excellent buy at $20.00. I also enjoyed the 2006 Jackpot Zinfandel which had a nice spice flavor ($31.50) and the 2006 Malbec – Bordeaux varietal which is 100% malbec ($28.00). Sadly, these wines are not sold commercially, but you can order them on-line at

When we left that tasting room, our stomachs cued us that it was time to eat. We decided to try chef (and owner) Patrick Martin’s Restaurant Charcuterie a few steps away.

The restaurant is a charming bistro w/ a stone ‘pig’ bench out front.

Inside, more pigs! ‘Mobile’ pigs ‘fly’ from a brown painted industrial ceiling and metal pig sculptures stand proudly in the room. The walls are sponged cream & white atop white wainscoting – one wall sports a large chalk board listing the day’s fare – another has large mirrors framed in dark mahogany-like wood and shell/horn-like sconces are scattered around the room.

The food was as fun and ‘tasteful’ as the décor.

The lunch menu consisted of a few appetizers and sandwiches. We decided on sandwiches each of which came w/ a choice of soup or baby mixed greens w/ toasted almonds. We chose the salad. Adding the toasted almonds was a nice touch – that little ‘something’ extra too many bistros/cafes don’t bother with. The salad dressing choices were vinaigrette, poppyseed or gorgonzola cheese. Vinaigrette it was - a hint of sweetness that was a nice complement to this simple salad.

Being a burger ‘maven’ who ‘tests’ the burgers wherever I go – I ordered the Charcuterie Burger made from herbed ground chuck, fresh garlic & cheddar cheese, charcoal-ed and served on a homemade bun w/ a slightly roasted tomato and lettuce on the side. I passed on the mayo, catsup & Dijon mustard – That’s all fine for a “what is that meat?” fast food burger… but it’s a sin (IMO) to cover-up the flavors of a good, juicy burger. And this burger was juicy delicious. Roasting/grilling the tomato was another nice ‘extra’ touch that Martin does to take his simple dishes out of the ‘ordinary.’

Richard ordered the House-cured Pork Tenderloin sandwich w/ Mediterranean relish on a Costeaux Bakery bun. The smoky flavor of the pork blended with the tangy relish put a smile on his face.

Appealing appetizers on the lunch menu I wanted to try were the escargots in herbed butter and the baked nut-crusted brie w/ roasted garlic served w/ crostini. Next time. And, after sneaking a peek at the dinner menu, the baked red trout w/ tarator crust of tahini, pine nuts, cumin and garlic is definitely on my “bucket list” for that ‘next time.’

So, if you’re ever in the Healdsburg neighborhood, mark this Restaurant Charcuterie a “must eat here”…

Restaurant Charcuterie
335 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448


Barb said...

OMG... that Burger sounds so good I'm tempted to drive over there and get one. LOL

bobsaari said...

Yes, I missed out on a wonderful day. Did have an opportunity to do my taxes.......... Next time!

Butch said...

Do I see "Royal Danish" silverware on your beautifully set table? ;-)


ilona saari said...

Hi, Phil -- no it's Chantilly by Gorham. A very old pattern... picked it out when I was about ten years old back in the days when girls got 'hope chests' and then picked out her silver so she'd get a piece for b'days, Christmas, etc. til the time she married and she 'hoped' to have many placesettings