Shortly before I left on my 10 day “tour” of California, I found out that my friend Jen was going to be in Sonoma the same time as me. Jen and I went to college together at good ole UC Santa Barbara, but she now lives in the land of Disney in Florida. We’ve also decided to start a new blog together that combines our passions for food and fitness – more on that in the coming weeks – so our overlapping Sonoma time was both fun and fortuitous.
We decided to hash out our blog plans at one of our favorite restaurants in Healdsburg – Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar. Willi’s is situated on the Square in Healdsburg and in true bistro style has an outdoor patio perfectly positioned for people watching.
Willi’s also now takes reservations – you can book on Open Table – a fact we found out belatedly. Reservations are highly recommended – by me. Willi’s is popular and, without a reservation, we had to wait 45 minutes for a table, which offered us plenty of time to catch up over a glass of Albarino.
Once seated we got serious . . . about food that is. Local Marin Miyagi Oysters from Tomales Bay, California and a glass of Tianno Prosecco from the Veneto region of Italy made a starting combo that was the essence of summer. The Prosecco was crisp with notes of apple and pear and the Marin Miyagis had a sweet and buttery flavor with a salty tang. They were so flavorful that they were’nt overpowered by the accompanying mignonette or cocktail sauce. Oyster lovers take note, though, Marin Miyagi’s are on the small side of the scale.
The oysters were followed by Sweet Cortez Bay Scallop Ceviche. We got ours “screamin” style, which meant the accompanying oyster crackers were hot, hot, hot. The ceviche itself was flavored with red onions, red peppers, and blood orange.
Needing a veggie to balance our seafood feast, Roasted Skinny Asparagus with White Miso Butter was an obvious choice and a good complement to the Carmelized Butterfish with Miso Vinaigrette and Exotic Mushrooms. But then, is there any vegetable more delicious than asparagus?
Every meal needs a little bit of flash friedness and the Flash Fried Fresh Calamari served with an Orange Chili Gremolata fit the bill. Spicy, crispy, sweet and buttery, this dish engages all of the senses.
A meal isn’t complete without cheese and our meal ended with a Point Reyes Blue, a Gouda from Wisconsin and a flavorful goat cheese. The flavors of the cheese were complemented and heightened by an accompanying glass of 2009 French Colombard Woodenhead “Half Shell White” from the Russian River Valley.