THE LONG & WINE-ING ROAD
The Girl & The Fig
You know those annoying Carl’s Jr. ads where the poor guy who wants a grilled cheese instead of a burger is given a kid’s meal while the waitress and his ‘macho’ buddies snicker… the ad then goes on to claim that a ‘real’ grilled cheese eaten by ‘real’ men is just another one of the chain’s endless burger variations. Well, pooh on them! Real men really do like grilled cheese sandwiches. Real women, too, and I had a great one on day 6 of our long & wine-ing road trip through Sonoma county.
We saved this day for the town of Sonoma where an old friend of Bob’s lives. She recommended The Girl & The Fig for lunch
but there was a half-hour wait, so we decided to explore this lovely village w/ high-end shops surrounding the town square (I love town squares), but soon the drizzle turned to rain so we rushed back to the restaurant to wait in its comfortable lounge surrounded by two ‘bars’...
one for liquor… one for cheese. What’s not to like about a cheese bar? But, before I could “start a tab”…
… we were led into the first of three cozy dining rooms. Ours was decorated w/ warm mustard colored walls atop dark wood ‘craftsman-style’ wainscoting & chair rails that surrounded the tables and banquettes. One entire wall was covered in the dark wood behind a display of wine bottles. Describing the art on the walls I’d say ‘a little bit country, a little bit rock’n’roll’… translation: a little bit Matisse, a little big Gauguin (w/ Picasso faces). Dark green drapes added to the warmth of the dining rooms.
The Girl & The Fig is decidedly French w/ cheeses from Bearn and Macaye, Nantes and Franche-Comte, plus an artisanal cheese plate from the Pascal Beillevaire farmstead, one of France’s best fromagiers. Local cheese makers are also represented w/ selections from Sonoma County, including cheese made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. Pick one or go for the ‘big cheese’ - a fromage tower of six cheeses, fruit, mano formate cured meats & sausages w/ house-made charcuterie, nuts, olives, fig food condiments & a baguette – wow!
Note: “Mano formate” means hand-formed and is the name of the restaurant’s in-house cured meat program.
But cheeses are only the starting point on this wonderfully diverse menu.
Bob’s friend chose a soup made from a chicken broth base w/ kale, roasted tomato and pancetta. Perfect for a rainy day.
Bob ordered the fig & arugula salad w/ Laura Chenel chevre, toasted pecans, mano formate pancetta and a fig & port vinaigrette. To quote Fanny Brice (well, Streisand’s version)… “Hello, gorgeous!” It tasted as gorgeous as it looked.
Richard originally ordered the open faced roast lamb tartine sandwich. But, surprisingly (at least to us) the lamb was served cold so he switched to the duck confit w/ garlic & parsley, roasted French fingerling potatoes & frisee salad. He was glad he did. (This was his 3rd duck confit on the trip… insert lame quack joke here.)
And what did I order? You guessed it - the grilled cheese w/ tomato confit & matchstick frites. Now this was a grilled cheese sandwich! The bread toasted to golden perfection, the cheeses oozing ever so slightly over the edges… the tomato confit a delectable addition… And the matchstick frites? Matchless!
Loved the town. Loved this restaurant and we spent almost the entire day w/o any wine. It was time to fix that.
The Girl & The Fig
110 West Spain Street