food road trip: eating to drink more in wine country
A weekend in wine country, what better way to celebrate a birthday than drinking copious amounts of wine! You wander from winery to winery trying to find the right balance of flavors all while seeing if you can make a wine steward cry because your palate is kind of narrow. Or maybe that is just me? Either way, when you head out to hit some wineries you need to make sure you have a good food base in your stomach to absorb all the alcohol you will be imbibing. Again, maybe it's just me, but I do find it is good to have a hearty breakfast before heading out.
Since me and the SO are in Sonoma/Santa Rosa I scour the internet for an interesting breakfast spot we can get our grub on at. The initial spot I chose had an unfortunate line waiting for a table and I'm like, what is this, SF? I didn't think we'd find brunch lines outside of the city. But fear not, with my trusty phone I was a able to zero in on another place that we seemed to get to right before they got super busy. At Dierk's Parkside Cafe, we were able to find a parking spot and get a cute little table out front in no time!
It is one of those charming little spots you might find in neighborhoods in the city--right up my alley. They have a standard but hearty breakfast/brunch menu to choose from and I'm quite sure I can fill my gut for wine.
As I'm scanning the menu I can't think of a better filling meal than corned beef hash and eggs. Grilled chunks of corned beef mixed with hash browns, cheddar cheese and two eggs cooked to order. This was definitely a giant plate of food with copious amounts of hashed browns and meat! I liked how the meat was not in small cubes but strips of salty, tasty cured meat, yum! The hash browns were crisped up on the outside and soft inside and the cheese just oozed and melted over all of it. I asked for over medium eggs and that is exactly what I got. This, folks, was a hearty and delicious pile of food for sure. Both me and the SO were quite impressed.
I also felt like I couldn't pass up the opportunity to complete this meal without the addition of a pancake with a HUGE side of butter. Super big and thick it was a wonderful side to a "healthy" breakfast (ha!). Crisp outer shell, soft bready inside slathered in butter and maple syrup. Mmmmm...after all that any regular human would be ready for a nap. Me? I'm not quite so normal, I was filled to the brim after eating all of it and ready to hit the wine trail.
Though, after going inside to the check the place out, I could just as easily had one of the below.
Chocolate cake with cream cheese icing and iced cinnamon rolls. That's right people, I passed up both of these knowing we were about to have a full day of wine tasting! Yeah, I couldn't believe myself either because the cake look very moist with tons of my favorite frosting. Somehow, I was able to curtail my sweets urges even though they looked good.
They have a great patio area along with a gourmet deli and brick oven pizzas. We order up and sit outside, since it isn't all that hot, and enjoy a thin crust prosciutto, shaved parmesan and arugula pizza with a cold glass of their chardonnay where they've done away with the malolactic fermentation and mixed it with some Viognier and some other thing to create a chard that doesn't have that buttery aftertaste but a semi-sweet smooth finish I was happily surprised with. The meat was salty, the cheese sharp, the bread crunchy and filling and the arugula...well, having some kind of green is a way to make it look healthy and colorful if nothing else.
It was a nice way to relax in between wineries and fill our stomachs back up with some heavy meat and carbs before hitting the last few wineries we randomly stopped at like B.R. Cohn, Little Vineyards Family Winery and Imagery, the last two of which had some super fun wine ladies and bridal parties we got to know! Yes, that is how we roll.
What is that, six wineries? Yes, not including the the two we hit that were too busy to get a taste in edgewise. Granted, not the most we've hit in a day, but more than enough to get our drink on. And, we limited ourselves to only nine bottles of wine! A good hearty breakfast, a cold glass of wine, some meat, cheese and bread in pizza form, what more could we ask for. All together, a great day and enough wine to fill a cooler. Now, what's for dinner?!!