Highway 116 West Sonoma Farm Food Tour



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You've got to get to Sebastopol before noon to catch this country town's small but mighty farmer's market in full swing, and it's absolutely worth it. Local cheesemakers offer tastings, olive oil producers hand out slices of freshly baked local bread dipped in their latest batch. It's impossible to decide whose heirloom eggplants and tomatoes to buy, and if you get inspired enough, you'll end up, like I always do, going home with starter plants for your own kitchen garden. Fuel up with a stop at Hardcore Espresso (you can't miss it -- it's the tin-roofed shack that looks like a junk dealer,  bicycle repair shop, and Grateful Dead parking lot all in one.)  I always get the chai; if you ask for spicy, it really is spicy - a rare thing outside of India. I've heard other people swear by the espresso drinks, which come with a big head of foamy milk.Just north of Sebastopol is the tiny town of Graton, which is easy to miss. (Watch for the small sign on the right, then make an immediate left.) I found Graton years ago when a friend moved out there, and now I just have to stop to eat at WillowWood Market, which despite its name isn't a market but a wonderful café and restaurant. The interior of WillowWood is my fantasy kitchen personified; in fact the cucumber green and ochre color scheme is so farmhouse-elegant I once took photos, brought them to a paint store, and asked to have them matched. My only complaint about WillowWood is that they only serve their mouth-watering breakfast menu til 11:30. Since I tend to end up stuck at the Sebastopol Farmer's Market until at least noon, this means I always miss out. Still, I've never forgotten the one occasion I arrived in time to try their French folded eggs, slow-cooked in a double boiler with fontina cheese and fresh herbs. But the smoked trout salad with walnuts, apples and blue cheese, my usual lunch choice, is not-to-be-missed as well.By this point, of course, my mind has moved on to apple-related food, and I'm craving a slice of the incredible fresh Gravenstein apple pie served every year to hordes of pie fanatics at Mom's Apple Pie. A quick stop for a slice in the peaceful new garden gazebo, and -- not to be selfish --  I pick up a whole pie to serve the family later that night. The tart locally pressed cider they sell at the counter also makes a great take-home prize or hostess gift.While enjoying the warm October sun at Mom's, I made one of the new discoveries that makes this area so endlessly enjoyable for me. Just next door is the intriguingly named and can't-miss-it lovely Henweigh Café . The posted menu, which features a collection of eclectic small plates based around ingredients like local figs, prosciutto, and fresh-baked panini bread, was interesting enough to tempt me for a return visit soon.

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Author: Melanie Haiken


Day 1 - Sebastopol


1

East West Cafe

Location:

128 North Main Street
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Contact:

tel: 707- 829 2822
fax: 707- 539 4193


Day 2 - Sebastopol


3

Eloise

Location:

2295 Gravenstein Highway South
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Contact:

tel: 707-823-6300


Day 3 - Jenner, Occidental


3

River's End

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expert pick

Location:

11048 Highway 1
Jenner, CA 95450

Contact:

tel: (707) 865-2484


4

Inn at Occidental of Sonoma Wine Country

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expert pick

Location:

3657 Church Street
Occidental, CA 95465

Contact:

tel: 800-522-6324


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