Ready, set, raise your fork, and go!
The owners of El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma and REDD in Yountville have debuted this tribute to the Iberian Peninsula in downtown Napa. The menu tempts with flavorful bites such as spicy chorizo and clams with toasted noodles and lime, grilled flatbread slathered in pumpkin seed spread, oxtail tamal with trumpet mushrooms and cilantro-lime butter, and what’s sure to be chef Esteban Escobar’s star: whole fried branzino framed with saffron braised baby fennel, creamer potatoes and peppers. // 790 Main Street, Napa, basaltnapa.com
Take a stroll down American Alley in downtown Petaluma, and you’ll come across this salute to all things English in a tiny café and grocery. Traditional teas and Soreen “squidgy” malt loaf are imported from the U.K., while afternoon tea is available by reservation Tuesday-Friday, from 1 to 3pm. Expect all the goodies such as English crockery (pinkies in the air, folks!) tiny cakes, quiche and itty bitty sandwiches. Fresh-from-the-bakery items include hot sausage rolls, eccles “Squashed Fly” cake, and scones. // 122 American Alley, Petaluma, 2londonfoodies.com
Shanghai pork and shrimp steamed dumplings at Persimmon in Healdsburg. (photo via the restaurant)
Offering Chinese pancakes served in crispy nachos style, chef-owner Danny Mai is creative with his east and southeast Asian classics. Savory Shanghai pork-shrimp steamed dumplings arrive on a plate as colorful as the hip eatery, trimmed with bright pink sliced watermelon radish in shoyu chile sauce. Meanwhile, Asian bouillabaisse shimmers with prawns, purple clams, lightly breaded fried red snapper fillet, julienne carrot, fennel and zucchini bobbing in fiery gochujang Korean chile broth that we sop up with grilled bread. // 335 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, persimmonhealdsburg.com
Co-owners Carlos Mojica and his son Carlos J. Mojica have reinvented the former Ravenous Café and Lounge in Healdsburg, bringing us instead golden pupusas stuffed with crab, pork or vegetables and decorated in homemade curdito (pickles) and salsa. The dishes’ names can be unusual to gringos, but pastelitos de cangrejo is simply crispy sautéed crab cakes slathered in ginger-cilantro aioli, while pescado con coco is sautéed fish of the day in sweet coconut, persimmon and white wine reduction atop jasmine rice, crispy yucca and spinach. Paella, we all understand, but theirs is extra good, stocked with chicken, prawns, mussels, chorizo, veggies, saffron rice and beans in white wine-smoked garlic sauce. // 117 N. Street, Healdsburg, facebook.com/Guiso-Latin-Fusion