Archive for the ‘Restaurant’ Category
When Palette Art Café in Healdsburg closed before I could even try it, I was bummed. So, I was glad last week to learn via Facebook that a new wine bar and restaurant had opened in the same space – Affronti.
You don’t believe Social Media helps small businesses? Think again. If it hadn’t been for the post about Affronti by the “What’s Happening Healdsburg” Group ( it may have been months before I found it. I decided to check it out Friday night after flying back from Portland on business. Since it would be late and I’d be hungry, cooking would not be on the agenda that night.
It’s in a good location in Healdsburg in that it’s only a block from the square, and right as you come into town. Although, it’s hidden mid-building, so signage, visibility, and word of mouth are going to be important for success. They have a website, and a Facebook fan sight just started. Initial buzz has been good.
I really like the layout of the place. Outside, there is a big courtyard (great in summer, and could be used as spillover in warmer nights, with heat lamps). The inside space is warm, open, and inviting. The bar is comfortable. There is also a section with cozy couches for hanging out with cocktails. If this place takes off, it will need more space like this….Healdsburg desperately needs more places where you can lounge on a comfy couch with a cocktail.
The server was prompt, courteous, knowledgeable, and attentive throughout the evening – as soon as a plate was done, or a glass empty, he was there intuitively to serve.
I really like the wine menu.
Huge kudos for offering mostly, but not all, local wines. And yet finding interesting varietals and blends to pour, instead of the standard tired list of Pinot, Chard, Zin etc. zzzzz.
These included a Roussanne/Marsanne from Arrowwood, Fiano from Seghesio, Grenache Noir from Unti, to name a few – Bravo. Their unique wine cocktail list looked great too with creative libations made from wine, and sake, like the Alexander’s cup – viognier, ginger beer, cucumber, and strawberry.
Chef-Owner, Jude Affronti, has quite the pedigree of experience, and doesn’t disappoint.
The menu offers something for all appetites. The ‘bits and bites’ are great single serving nibbles. I highly recommend the flakey tartines. The spinach salad was big and well done with nice chunks of savory bacon. Soup of the day was a creamy leek and parsley that was delicious and not too heavy. The only dish that didn’t float my boat was the rillettte slow cooked duck small plate. Besides the bits and bites, and the single small plates, the menu at that time had four choices for dinner-sized plates as well. Included was a local fish ‘en papiote’ that sounded tempting. The menu on their website as of time of this article only had a fraction of what the printed menu had, so don’t let that dissuade you. There were also some tasty look desert choices – the chocolate terrine has my name on it for next time.
Their description via the website: “Affronti brings a unique “mix and match” menu format to the downtown restaurant scene; allowing diners to experience a wide range of sophisticated, yet accessible tastes without breaking the bank. From the colorful eye appeal of bar bites and small plates to the intriguing combinations of flavors and textures found in ”something bigger to share” selection, Mediterranean cooking influences fuse with local ingredients to reflect both the bounty and heritage of Sonoma County.”
I’d have to concur with this – reasonable prices, quality food, good ambience, creative cocktails and wine selections – finally! They have “social hour’ specials 4-6:30 pm, Jazz brunch on Sundays, and live Music Thursday nights. This is my new hangout of choice – check it out, support it, so great venues like this stay in business. (p.s. check out my other new favorite in Windsor – Vine Tastings – I plan to review their great new menu next week.) 235 Healdsburg Ave, #105, Healdsburg.
It was a Sunday morning after a few too many cocktails. After a hike to try and shake it off, my out of town visitors and I were starving and wanted late (1pm!) breakfast combined with some sightseeing. To capture both, I chose Corks, which I have driven by many times, but have never stopped. I have also noticed their various fixed price events and have not yet attended. Plus, they had wine tasting, so we could kill 3 birds at once.
I made an Opentable reservation, and headed over. They have both inside and outside seating….so we sat outside to take advantage of a perfect mid 80s day. The patio has decent views, and is more casual than inside. The staff is super attentive and friendly. We were never forgotten, and things came out promptly.
Yummy cranberry scones were brought right away, and I promptly inhaled mine.
The wine list offers many of their own varietals, reasonably priced, as well as some good Russian River choices nearby, such as Woodenhead and Carol Shelton. While others ordered mimosas, I went for the undiluted bubbles. Given that the Non Vintage Brut was $5, I wasn’t expecting much. It was better used in a mimosa, big lazy bubbles, and also served too warm. It was pretty much the only downside of the experience, and a minor one at that.
The eggs Benedict selection was ordered all around, both veggie and regular. Each version was very good, served with potatoes and bell peppers. I forgot to ask for the hollandaise sauce on the side, but it wasn’t overpowering. The Canadian bacon was yummy, tender enough to cut with a fork, and not overly salty.
It was a simple breakfast: prompt, tasty and hit the spot. And, again, the service was excellent.
After brunch, we made a quick stop at the wine tasting bar. I was really just looking for the higher end Pinot, but that wasn’t being tasted. They had a varied list of varietals, mostly in the $20 range….I just wasn’t in the mood, nor was my palette, for slogging through lower end stuff. So, I just tried their 2007 Pinot, and moved on.
The tasting fee is a reasonable $5, and I believe waived with purchase.
I didn’t inquire if the wine tasting area is dog friendly. Given that it’s inside the restaurant, I doubt it.
I will come back for a dinner event, and try the rest of the wines…it would be a good way to warm up for dinner. Corkage, I believe, is a reasonable $15. (Sunday night they had bbq and a live music special.)
For you tourists cruising through this part of town, it’s a worthwhile stop for a bite, (and casual wine tasting) especially given that restaurants aren’t abundant. For us locals, the prix fixe offerings seem worth checking out, will come back and review again.
Corks features a complete luncheon menu, including vegetarian dishes, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:30 a.m to 2:30 pm on Sundays. A full dinner menu is served Thursday through Saturday, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., with an additional four-course, prix fixe option. The menu changes weekly to capture the very best of the seasonal produce from local purveyors.
On Monday night, Corks’ offers Pasta King Night, featuring the fine fare of Sonoma County’s ever-popular Art Ibleto. Enjoy a selection of Art’s Italian specialties, served buffet-style from 5 to 8 pm, for $12 per person, $6.00 for children under the age of 10.
On Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon, diners can enjoy a midweek treat with JB’s Barbecue, showcasing barbecued tri-tip & chicken, caesar salad, baked beans, corn on the cob and a selection of all-you-can-eat pasta. Served from 5 to 8 pm for $15 per person, $10 for children under the age of 10.