Yummy Sonoma

Helping you decide where and where not to eat!

Food at Home – Layer Ducklings!

So I FINALLY got my layer ducks!  They are White Layers.  White Layer ducks can produce up to 300 eggs a year, but even when their production is on the low side, they produce more than most chickens, which is great!  Their eggs are also great for baking and have a richer yolk and firmer whites.

Lookie how cute!

White Layer Ducks

White Layer Ducks

Aren’t they soooooo adorable?

Pinterest Social Media Posts

This is totally unrelated to food, but I want an A in my Social Media class so oh well and here we go.

Hana Japanese Restaurant Slideshow

So this is just a precursor to my eventual review of Hana. But anyway, anyone who knows me knows very well that I’m overly pretentious (isn’t all kind of pretentiousness overly pretentious?) when it comes to sushi. If a restaurant serves me horrible traditional sushi (nigiri and very simple maki), I will rip them a new one. On Yelp.

More on that later.

This is a slideshow of many of the photos I have taken at Hana Japanese Restaurant in Rohnert Park. And you will probably see them again at a later date. Enjoy. 🙂

Curious (& Mean) Baby Chickens

Dana and I got some new meat chickens about a week ago. Yes, I know, how could we possibly eat anything so cute. It’s quite simple, really: they’re delicious.

So here is an extra horrible video for you to attempt to enjoy. DON’T FAIL ME. ENJOY IT.

Forestville – Backyard

I’m super stoked to promote this restaurant. It’s one of my favorite places to eat. 🙂

My friend Sarah and I went for a nice nature walk in Sebastopol this past Friday, which was appropriate considering our restaurant choice. I had been to Backyard in Forestville four or so times before, and I was so excited to go to again. Backyard is a farm-to-table-style restaurant and by definition features much of the produce and meat grown and raised (or caught, in fish’s case) in Sonoma County, including from my roommate’s farm, The Giving Gardens Project (website coming soon).

The chef at Backyard is a master of flavors. Everything I have eaten there is absolutely delicious. Some of my favorite items are their polenta, whatever pork dish they have on hand, and the flat breads. Because Backyard relies on the local farms, the menu is always changing. One week they could have cod, and the next week they might have halibut. However, it doesn’t matter what’s on the menu that week because the chef always manages to excite my taste buds.

Devoto Orchards Apple Cider

Devoto Orchards Apple Cider

A bonus to living in Sonoma County is definitely all of the great local wine, but this area also used to be the home of many more apple trees. Some apple orchards still exist today. One of the most popular apples in the area, the Gravenstein, is great for making juices and ciders. We were lucky enough to be able to try some of the locally-brewed cider, specifically from Devoto Orchards. The flavor was just to my liking: not too sweet and not too sour; just right.

House Pickle Plate

House Pickle Plate

One of the first dishes we shared was the house pickle plate featuring locally-grown produce pickled to perfection.

Starting from the bottom and going up, we have:

  • Romanesco
  • Kimchi
  • Cucumber
  • Pear
  • Melon
  • Arugula (and possibly some other green… I was too busy eating, sorry)
  • Pineapple Guava
  • Cauliflower
  • Mustard Seed

It gets more specific than that (as for the variety of pear/melon/cauliflower/etc), but I can only remember so much. I love pickled anything, so for me, this dish was tasty, tasty. If you like pickles and happen to eat at Backyard when they have something like this, definitely order it! I’d say my favorite was probably the kimchi.

Radishes, Fermented Butter, Sea Salt

Radishes, Fermented Butter, Sea Salt

Oh, man. If you love radishes and blue cheese, this is definitely something worth trying. The fermented butter is like a much creamier and fluffier blue cheese. This dish is so simple, yet so amazing. Just dip the radish into some fermented butter, dip in the sea salt (it’s hiding behind the butter dish), and enjoy. It’s a perfect blend of flavors.

Spicy Lamb Meatballs

Spicy Lamb Meatballs

I knew as soon as I saw “lamb” and “meatball” in the same menu item that I wanted it. And I was not disappointed. The meatballs and cheese were a perfect mix of salty and savory, and the tomato jam just brought the perfect amount of sweetness. Would order again!

Porcini Mushroom Ravioli

Porcini Mushroom Ravioli

Sarah ordered the porcini mushroom ravioli, which was a great choice! And she was nice enough to let me taste. The filling was a little thin, but delicious, and the pasta tasted so fresh and homemade. This was definitely some of the best pasta I’ve ever eaten.

Lamb Moussaka

Lamb Moussaka

I ordered the Lamb Moussaka, even though I had no idea what moussaka was at the time. When the server explained it to me, it sounded perfect! Moussaka is a bit like a shepherds pie casserole which always has eggplant and/or potato. This moussaka included ground lamb and both key ingredients as well as cheese. It was absolutely divine, and I’m so happy I got to taste it. The moussaka also came with braised greens which were yummy and perfectly seasoned.

Dessert Wine

Dessert Wine

I forgot to take a picture of the dessert menu, so for the next few items, I will be describing from memory.

We were surprised with a complimentary dessert wine, and I forget which kind it was. 😦 I am also not at all familiar with dessert wine so take these next few sentences with a grain of salt. It was absolutely delightful, and while it tasted sweet plain, it tasted nice and tart after taking a bite of dessert, which I imagine is the whole point of dessert wines.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches

Sarah and I decided to share some desserts, and the first item we split was the Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches. This is definitely one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. The cookies were so soft and delicious and the ice cream had the perfect amount of peanut butter, not too overpowering (which can happen with peanut butter desserts!)

Chocolate Budino

Chocolate Budino

I am a huge fan of salted caramel, which was included in the chocolate budino, so I had absolutely no choice but to order it. (Okay, I had a choice… I just took the less-healthy-but-tasty path). And I definitely made the right choice. My goodness, it is so incredibly sweet, but so chocolatey and salty and creamy and… oh, it was just so good! Please order any custard or pudding-like dessert if you eat here!  And sorry, not the best picture!  I realized that after we had eaten it all!

Candy Cap Mushroom Ice Cream

Candy Cap Mushroom Ice Cream

And the last dessert item we had that night was the candy cap mushroom ice cream. If you’ve never had candy cap mushrooms before, they definitely live up to their name. The flavor reminds me a bit of maple syrup. And the ice cream, as usual, was awesome.

Please, please, please give Backyard your support! They are doing a lot of right in the world by only (or mostly?) using local ingredients, and the food is delicious to boot. And for the type of restaurant it is, I believe it is fairly priced. And they just received a Michelin Bib Gourmand award, which is incredible for a fairly new restaurant!

Food: 5 stars

Service: 5 stars

Decor: 4 stars (overall a good look and feel for Backyard but could use a little more decorating)

Backyard Yelp Page

Backyard Website

Santa Rosa – Abyssinia (Featuring a Guest Appearance from Sebastopol’s Screamin Mimi’s)

It was a very exciting Friday as I had just gotten paid. YAY! What a better way to celebrate than have a few beers and go out to Abyssinia?

Located in Santa Rosa, Abyssinia features some great Ethiopian food–something one would only expect to find in larger cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. I was quite excited when I discovered Abyssinia as the first time I had Ethiopian food was in Reno, and I loved it!

So two of my friends (we’ll call them George and Charles because I don’t know if they care if I use their real names and I’m too lazy to find out) joined Dana and me for a yummy dinner. This was my fourth time at Abyssinia, and I was very excited for my return!

honey wine

Honey Wine

As my beverage choice, I ordered the honey wine.  Honey wine tastes pretty much as you would expect: like fermented honey with a similar finish as grape wine or rice wine (sake). I actually really love it, which is rather surprising because it is sweet, and I much prefer dry wines and sakes. I suspect what I enjoy about it most is that it tastes like honey!

Something you should know about Ethiopian food before we get to the actual food part of this entry is that it is usually served on a communal (large sharing) plate with a type of bread called injera, which is made from a grain called teff. This is my limited understanding of Ethiopian food, as people in general have a tendency to modify any ethnic food they are unfamiliar with. Anyway, back to how Ethiopian food is eaten (at least in the USA). A group of hipster foodies gather round to talk about their hipster trophies and how they were the first of their friends to eat Ethiopian food. They take turns dipping the injera into individual dishes.

sambusa

Sambusa

I insisted that we order an appetizer as this is a restaurant review blog, and I am trying to eat off of as much of the menu as I can afford and fit into my growing tummy. So, I decided on beef sambusas (because who cares what anyone else wants). It tasted a bit like a hamburger in a pastry, if you can imagine that. There were lots of spices and it tasted great, though it’s nothing that I would absolutely have to order next time.

vegetarian combo

Vegetarian Combo

abyssinia combo

Abyssinia Combo

As always, we ordered a Vegetarian Combo and an Abyssinia Combo because it lets us taste a bit of everything. The Abyssinia Combo includes samples of chicken and lamb dishes while the Vegetarian Combo is made up of mostly samples of lentil and garbanzo bean-based dishes.

Vegetarian Combo:

  • Shiro We’t – Roasted garbanzo beans simmered with berbere, olive oil, and Ethiopian spices
  • Miser We’t – Lentils stewed in a red-pepper sauce and Ethiopian spices
  • Yater Kik Alecha – Mild split peas flavored with garlic, ginger, turmeric, & green pepper
  • Yabesha Gomen – Collard greens cooked lightly with tomato, garlic, and rosemary
  • Miser Alecha – Lentil stew flavored with garlic, ginger, and a touch of turmeric
  • Tikel Gomen – Cabbage, carrots, and potatoes lightly cooked with ginger.
  • House Salad

Abyssinia Combo:

  • Doro We’t – Spicy chicken stew simmered with berbere, garlic, onion, and nitre kibe; served with hardboiled egg
  • Yebeg Key We’t – Lamb cubes stewed with awaze and onion (by the way, am I the only one who thinks “cubes” should never be used to describe meat?)
  • Yebeg Alecha – Lamb strips seasoned with garlic, onion, turmeric, and ginger
  • Tikel Gomen – See above
  • Miser We’t – See above
  • House Salad

I love food with lots of spices (like curries, as I’ve mentioned before), so I enjoyed everything.  My favorite item of all time there is tikel gomen (cabbage, carrot, and potato), which is a bit odd for my meat-lovin’ self. I also particularly enjoy the yabesha gomen (collard greens), and the yebeg alecha (lamb strips). Overall, I love both combos and would order them again and again. However, I think next time, I will actually order individual items instead since I am finally starting to figure out what I like most.

Dana, George, and Charles (I’m cracking up at these names…) all enjoyed their food, but not as much as I did! I think Dana prefers the restaurant in Reno, but I don’t remember that meal as well as he does.

After we finished the combos, we didn’t feel like sticking around at Abyssinia for dessert, so we decided to go to Screamin’ Mimi’s in Sebastopol instead.

hazelnut & pumpkin ice cream

Hazelnut & Pumpkin Ice Cream

I was so excited that Mimi’s had pumpkin ice cream because I love pumpkin-flavored desserts! This ice cream tasted just like pumpkin pie, mmm mmm mmm. The hazelnut ice cream was also great, and it tasted like–you guessed it–hazelnut! It was an odd night for me since I did not have chocolate! My favorite ice cream flavor from Mimi’s is probably the Midnight Menthe (chocolate ice cream with mint), which is not there every night (for those who don’t know, Mimi’s rotates their flavors). Another big plus about Mimi’s is that all of the ice cream is homemade, and they use real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup (I’m looking at you, Honeymoon).

Please go give both Abyssinia and Screamin’ Mimi’s a shot!

Abyssinia Yelp Page

Abyssinia Website

Screamin’ Mimi’s Yelp Page

Screamin’ Mimi’s Website

Cotati – Mai Vietnamese Cuisine

Hello, hello!  I finally got to eat some pho again last night!

I wanted to get my blog entry done a little earlier this week, so last night Dana and I were debating on where we should go.  There were a few options up for consideration, such as Old Chicago, where I have never been, Shige Sushi Japanese Kitchen, or a Vietnamese restaurant of our choice in Santa Rosa.  After some discussion, we decided to eat at Mai Vietnamese Cuisine.

Let’s just get the bad out of the way now: the service at this restaurant is absolutely abysmal.  Dana has an issue with a previous experience we had, so convincing him to go here last night was a bit difficult.  About two years ago, one of the managers refused to honor a gift certificate.  I do not remember why, but it was a problem.  That left a bad taste in our mouths, which is a shame because we really enjoy the food.

I also had a somewhat negative experience when my sister and I went recently.  The same woman who would not honor our gift certificate was taking our order, and when we ordered a bowl of pho that we had decided to share, she asked, “Is that it?”  “Yes.”  And in a response, we got a very disappointed, “Oh…” from her.  She was not intentionally rude, but she got a little too emotional about us ordering one item, at least for my taste.

And of course last night… while we overall enjoyed our meal, we had some problems with our service.  First, when we arrived, we were not given menus for a good five minutes until I said something.  Secondly, I had to remind them to bring me my beer.  It did not show up until after our appetizer.  So, in general, the service is pretty bad.  I do not think anyone working there is trying to be rude, but they could probably use Gordon Ramsay for a day to set things straight.  Fortunately, Mai makes up for their bad service with great food.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way…

Bi Cuon - Shredded Pork Rolls

Bi Cuon – Shredded Pork Rolls

The appetizer we ate last night was a plate of shredded pork rolls.  I found them delicious, but Dana was not impressed.  One aspect we both agree on is that the pork was very, very dry and flavorless.  I would have much preferred a vegetarian spring roll.  The herbs, veggies, and sauce saved this dish from being a complete disaster.

33 - vietnamese beer

33 – Vietnamese beer

I finally got my beer when we were halfway done with the pork rolls! Hooray! This was my first time having 33. It tastes like any typical wheat beer, except it has a very different finish that tasted of some kind of spice, and I just could not put my finger on what it was. The beer was not so bad, if you enjoy beer with little flavor.

Bun Cha Gio Tom Thit Nuong - Vermicelli Egg Roll, Prawn with BBQ Pork

Bun Cha Gio Tom Thit Nuong – Vermicelli Egg Roll, Prawn with BBQ Pork

Dana decided to order the Bun Cha Gio Tom Thit Nuong. I have no idea what that directly translates to. I do know that we both love pork, shrimp, egg rolls, and vermicelli noodles. I got to taste the pork, which much more flavorful, although fattier (which is not really a bad thing), than the pork in the shredded pork rolls. I also was able to taste the noodles and veggies mixed together and they were really tasty. I would order this myself next time I come back if I am not feeling pho (which is a rarity).

Pho Tai - (Pho with eye of round steak)

Pho Tai – (Pho with eye of round steak)

pho veggies

Pho Veggies

Yes! My pho arrived a little bit after Dana’s entree (another issue with this restaurant). And just like last time at this restaurant, it was so incredibly delicious. I am a bit new to loving pho, but last time I had it was at Noodle Mania in Sebastopol, whose pho just tastes like store-bought beef broth! Here, you can taste all of the spices, and it actually tastes homemade, and that is probably because it is!  It was so refreshing, and I cannot wait to enjoy it again!

Fruit-stuffed Fried Wontons with Whipped Cream

Fruit-stuffed Fried Wontons with Whipped Cream

Holy $#!^! This was so yummy. I think it is really difficult to screw up deep fried sugar with cream, however.  I am not entirely sure what the fruit was, but it tasted like berry jam.  The fact that it only says “fruit-stuffed” on the menu is a bit suspicious.  But like I said, it was tasty, so I cannot complain much.

That about wraps up our meal.  If you really love pho or Vietnamese food in general and you can tolerate lousy service, give Mai Vietnamese a try!

Mai Vietnamese Cuisine Website

Mai Vietnamese Cuisine Yelp Page

Sebastopol – Himalayan Tandoori & Curry House

I am so excited about this entry.  I inserted the images before I began writing, and all I want to do right now is call up this restaurant and order some masala… which brings me to my next point.  Masala is one of my favorite foods.  Curry, in general, is my favorite food besides authentic sushi.  That said, I am no expert.  The origins of masala are not even clear; some say it was created in the United Kingdom while others claim it was created in India.  Either way, I have heard several times that it is not considered traditional Indian (or any Asian culture’s) food!  It tastes damn good, though, and that’s enough for me.

I have ordered takeout from Himalayan Tandoori & Curry House many, many, many, many, many, many times.  However, Saturday night was the first time I have eaten at the restaurant.  Dana had to work that day, and I was ready to relax after a long day of housework and homework, so we met for dinner.  We took full advantage of this blog project and ordered more than we usually do.

Let’s start with the most important part of every meal: the alcohol (underagers reading this: stay in school and don’t drink)!

real gold - authentic nepalese beer

Real Gold – Authentic Nepalese Beer

The first time I had Real Gold was when Dana picked up some food at this restaurant for us and one of the managers sent a free beer home with him.  I love sweet beers and Real Gold is a bit on the sweeter side, so I loved it right off the bat!  Last time, we shared it straight from the bottle, so I had not seen its color before.  When it was poured into a glass, I was surprised by its very light color!  If you enjoy wheat beers or lagers or any beer that does not have an overly-bitter, hoppy flavor, definitely give Real Gold a try.  (Disclaimer: I am no beer expert… but I stay away from beers like Bud, Miller, and Coors.  Just a PBR every now and then.  No big deal…).

lentil soup

Lentil Soup

Ah, yes, the complimentary lentil soup!  This was a pleasant surprise as the only complimentary item we had ever gotten from takeout was a beer!  Ha!  I thought it was delicious, and I was so grateful for it when it arrived in front of me, as I was starving.  What a great way to begin our meal!

vegetable momos

Vegetable Momos

Now, I am still a Himalayan food newbie, so I had no idea what to expect when I ordered momos! They came with a delicious, sweet tomato-based sauce. The dumplings were so savory with the perfect, soft texture. I could eat ten more!

chicken biryani

Chicken Biryani

Dana and I had only ever had curries before so he decided to try something new and ordered the Chicken Biryani. I was fortunate enough to taste it and I would definitely order it again!  So many delicious spices were incorporated, such as cinnamon, coriander, and nutmeg.  I am so happy that I finally got to try something different at HTCH!

pumpkin lamb masala

Pumpkin Lamb Masala

Mmmmm, yes, on to my entree!  As stated earlier, I love masala! I usually order the lamb masala from takeout but I wanted to try something different.  So, I went ahead and ordered what I usually order… Plus pumpkin.  The pumpkin brought a slight sweetness to the dish, and I loved it!  I have had Thai curry with pumpkin in it before, but never Himalayan.  Another bonus of this dish is that the pumpkins are locally grown.  I definitely would recommend this dish if you ever make it to this restaurant.

garlic naan

Garlic Naan

This meal would just not be complete without some yummy, fluffy naan!  I love my garlic, so we ordered the garlic naan.  It was not terribly garlicy, but it was good nonetheless.  It was fluffy and soft, which is perfect for my tastes.

gulab jamun

Gulab Jamun

We were craving something sweet after a meal like that, so we ordered some dessert.  Dana decided on the gulab jamun, which are deep fried milk balls served in syrup.  They were very sweet and tasted much like a deep fried pancake would.  I enjoyed them, but I do not think I would order them again as I preferred my dessert.  I could definitely see how others might favor this dessert, though!

rice pudding (kheer)

Rice Pudding (Kheer)

Speaking of my dessert, I ordered the rice pudding (called kheer), which was so sweet and spiced!  I used to think that I did not like rice pudding, but I am always willing to try something again, and I figured this was the perfect time to try it.  I think I made a great choice, and I am now a fan.

That’s all folks!  If you love curry and lots of spices, give HTCH a shot.  It is a great treat, and many of the ingredients are local and organic (if you are into that, which I am).

Himalayan Tandoori & Curry House Yelp Page

Himalayan Tandoori & Curry House Website

Make masala at home!  Try Alton Brown’s recipe!

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!

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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