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Archive for the category “Bars”

Santa Rosa – Stark’s Steakhouse

Welcome back, foodies!

Today, I will be discussing an awesome restaurant in Santa Rosa called Stark’s Steakhouse.  I know many people who love Stark’s, but I do not know anyone who even remotely dislikes it!  In the past, I have eaten there for lunch or dinner.  Some dishes worth mentioning are the prime rib, the steak tartare with smoked chili aioli, the ahi tuna tar tare, and a burger.  But today I had a new experience with happy hour!

This past weekend, my sister, Cindy, came to visit me and join me in my culinary adventures.  We decided on trying Stark’s Steakhouse’s Happy Hour as I had heard positive reviews of it, and I know that I enjoy their dinner menu.  Dana (boyfriend) joined us on the outing.

beefeater martini

Beefeater Martini ($2.50)

My sister and I each started with a Beefeater Martini.  At $2.50, it was hard to resist!  I think this was actually my first martini, ever.   I have had Appletinis and the like, but this was my first plain one!  I did not particularly enjoy it aside from the obvious reasons.  But I am not a good judge of this as I am a martini newbie!  On to some food!

oysters on the half shell

Oysters on the half shell ($1.75 each)

I have always loved oysters on the half shell.  I am not very familiar with all of the different kinds other than knowing their names, but I know that I have never met an oyster that I did not like!  My sister feels the same way about oysters, so it was an easy decision to order one oyster each.  We were not disappointed!  They had a nice, smooth flavor and creamy texture.  I would recommend them to oyster lovers!

tuna tartare tacos

Tuna Tartare Tacos ($1.75 each)

Ah, my favorite item on the menu!  My sister, Dana, and I are all raw fish lovers, so we ordered some tuna tartare tacos!  If you love raw tuna, this is an item I highly recommend, especially at $1.75 a piece!  The “taco shells” are actually fried wontons, which always works well with ahi.  The flavors were fabulous and the fish tasted fresh (though my experience has taught me that most “sashimi-grade” fish served in restaurants is flash-frozen at some point)!  I would go to Stark’s every weekend just for this item.

mini cheddar burger w/ bacon

Mini Cheddar Burger w/ Bacon ($5.00)

Dana was not particularly interested in the oysters, so he got himself a mini burger with cheddar cheese and bacon.  The waiter did not ask how he wanted his burger cooked, so it came back medium, which he finds acceptable, but you guys know me and my love for raw meat!  I did not get a chance to try it myself, but he said he could not really taste the cheddar and the piece of bacon was miniscule.  He has had the burger from the dinner menu at Stark’s before and says it is much, much better and claims it is the best burger he has had in Sonoma County!

sweet chili chicken wings

Sweet Chili Chicken Wings ($3.75)

I am a sucker for chicken wings, and many people in the lounge around me were ordering these, and they looked delicious!  So, we agreed to order them.  The sauce on them was very tasty and the chicken was very moist.  However, the meat did not have much flavor under the sauce and could have stood to be marinated longer, if at all.

flatbread with gruyere, caramelized onions, apples, & truffle toney

Flatbread with Gruyere, Caramelized Onions, Apples, & Truffle Honey ($5.00)

Who does not love flat bread?  Crazy people!  We decided to share some flat bread, and man was it tasty!  There really is not much that says “wino yuppie” like cheese, fruit, and honey.  And I love me some wino yuppie food!  I was rather impressed with this flat bread and I would definitely order again.  There was a perfect blend of flavors: sweet, savory, salty.  Mmmmm.  Delish.

prime rib bhan mi

Prime Rib Bhan Mi ($3.75)

My sister loves her Vietnamese sandwiches, so she could not resist the bhan mi.  I am not very familiar with them because there is no Vietnamese sandwich place in Sonoma County that I know of.  Despite my lack of experience, I really enjoyed the bites I had from this sandwich.  The bread tasted fresh and the beef was so flavorful!  I would definitely order it again!

moroccan chicken meatballs

Moroccan Chicken Meatballs ($3.75)

Well, as soon as I saw “Moroccan”, I was sold.  I insisted we order the chicken meatballs.  And what a great choice that was: Great spices, moist meatballs, and a great dipping sauce.  If you love food with lots of spices, like curry, you need to give these a shot!

yam fries

Yam Fries ($1.75)

Well, I am not much of a french fry fan, but we decided to share the yam fries, nonetheless.  They were delicious, but nothing to write home about… I repeat, though, I could live without eating french fries.  Someone else would probably enjoy them much more than I did!

bbq oyster

BBQ Oyster ($1.75)

Toward the end of our meal, I decided that I really wanted… no… needed another tuna tartare taco.  So Cindy decided her last item should be a BBQ oyster.  I didn’t taste it, but she said it was delicious!  And I definitely trust her opinion on seafood!

Overall, this time around, I had a very pleasant and yummy experience at Stark’s Steakhouse Happy Hour.  I would return every weekend if it were that easy!  Head on down to Stark’s for a great happy hour!  Or if you feel like going out to eat, it is a great option for lunch or dinner!

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Sebastopol – Hopmonk Tavern

I had been to Hopmonk a few times before tonight, and I desperately needed some pictures for tonight’s blog, so I thought, “Aw, what the heck?”  I have always enjoyed the food there and I needed a beer.

My boyfriend, Dana, and I lucked out tonight.  It was “Hoppy Hour”, and beers were $3.  So I began my dinner with a relaxing HopMonk Dunkelweizen.   The menu describes it as having an “estery aroma” with “chocolaty wheat malt”, “strong banana”, and a “bit of clove spiciness”.

HopMonk Dunkelweizen

HopMonk Dunkelweizen

I tasted smokiness, but maybe I just need some practice developing my palate!  Overall, I enjoyed my beer, but I enjoy most Hefeweizen beers so it was not a difficult sell.

Dana and I shared five mini “Hoppy Hour” entrees, and it turned out to be a lot more food than I expected, so Hopmonk seems to be a great place to go for good beer and decent food if you don’t have a lot of money to splurge!

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

We each ordered fish tacos.  The fish tacos (two per order) were $3, and while they tasted pretty good and fresh, I have had way better fish tacos.  Of course, I am extremely spoiled by my friends who fish regularly and make delicious food from said fresh fish.   Plus, I prefer corn tortillas for my tacos!  Considering how much food there is on that plate for $3, though, it is hard to complain.

Sausage Bites

Sausage Bites

The sausage bites ($5) came fried with leeks and onions.  Unfortunately, much of it was burnt!  Rather than send it back, Dana and I agreed to not put up a fuss and just accepted the possibility that this is not a common occurrence.  Which I am sure was not just a fluke was the fact that the sausage was too salty!  I am usually the person who thinks an entree needs more salt, so when I think something is really salty, there is a problem!  Sausage is usually salty, but this was extreme.

Pork Slider

Pork Slider

The pork slider was just a mini pulled pork sandwich, which I have had in the past.  And I am no pulled pork expert, but I find theirs to be delicious!  The sauce is not too sweet, and even better, there is not too much sauce!  I really dislike when my food is drenched in barbeque sauce, and in many cases, I’d rather opt out of the BBQ sauce altogether!

Beef Slider

Beef Slider

This is a $3 miniature cheeseburger, which I have also had the entree version of at Hopmonk before.  We ordered the slider rare and it came out medium.  Why is it that when I ask for a rare burger, the only restaurant in the area that wants to give it to me rare seems to be Mike’s in Cotati?!  No, I don’t want my burger overcooked!  Give me that delicious tender mooing meat!  I really need to learn to send my food back when it is not cooked to order.  I am way too lenient… until I get to write about it later!  Regardless, it tasted pretty alright.  Not as good as Mike’s, but it is difficult to compare because Mike’s actually gives me what I want.

Overall for this visit, I was underwhelmed and disappointed!  We have had many great visits in the past, but this did not live up to my expectations.  One of my favorite items on their menu is the Hopmonk Reuben.  Not too greasy and not too salty, it is a great option for any Reuben fan!

At least we got out of there for $30 (including tip).  Oh, and the potato chips are homemade and pretty delicious!

Hopmonk on Yelp

Hopmonk Website

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