Northern California, we are desperately Seeking Ramen. Ever since Doug Keane shuttered his haute Japanese noodle bar, Shimo, the North Bay has suffered an appalling lack of decent ramen. There is, of course, Hana Japanese in Rohnert Park, but we’re talking casual, slurp-at-the-table ramen. Well, we’ve finally found it.
~SHIGE SUSHI~ in Cotati is the absolute real deal. The tiny Japanese kitchen simmers pork bone, chicken, and dashi over several days, concentrating the flavors into a cloudy, deeply pork-flavored broth. Slices of pork, a soft-boiled egg, strips of mushroom and green onions, and chewy ramen noodles—all served piping-hot (with a dash or two of togarashi)—make this a sinus-cleansing, soul-warming meal.
Ramen isn’t available every day, so call ahead to make sure they’ve got it. If not, you’re still covered. Shige’s sushi, sashimi, and home-style dishes (like kara-age) easily stand up to the food at Hana Japanese, Hiro’s in Petaluma, and Bennett Valley’s Yao-Kiku. Just don’t tell anyone else about this awesome find, or it’ll be standing room only. Open Tues-Fri, closed Mon. 8235 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, 707-795-9753.
Last-Minute Mom’s Day Ideas: Really? You waited until now to figure out where to go for Mom’s special day? Oops, so did we. Here are a few spots where the deliciousness of the meal will redeem your lack of planning.
~ZAZU KITCHEN + FARM~: Fried green tomato BLT Benedict with Tabasco hollandaise, “Momosas,” hot chocolate with housemade cinnamon marshmallows, maple-glazed doughnuts with bacon jimmies, corned beef hash, and more. 9am-10pm. 6770 McKinley St., #150, Sebastopol, 707-523-4814.
~FORCHETTA BASTONI~: Bottomless mimosas entertain Mom; face painting entertains the kids. On the menu, Vietnamese doughnuts, Monte Cristo, loco moco, juk (Asian-style rice porridge), gravlax flatbread, deep-fried waffles, and a Big Ole’ Salad for Mom (fresh from the farmers’ market). 10am-3pm. 6948 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, 707-829-9500.
~SHED HEALDSBURG~: The recently crowned James Beard Award-winning space will host a Mom’s Day fest for the locavore. Heirloom-grain Belgian waffles with fresh strawberries, rhubarb compote, and whipped crème fraîche; and poached eggs with asparagus, smoked trout, tiny potatoes, and tarragon persillade. All Moms will also receive a fresh herb bouquet that dries beautifully and might enliven a meal she could make from scratch just for you—if you saw her more often. 25 North St., Healdsburg, 707-431-7433.
~SILVERADO RESORT~: Impress Mom with the local bounty of Napa’s spring harvest, including pristine sustainably caught seafood, hormone-free beef and poultry, farm-fresh eggs, and local fruit. Silverado’s pastry chef will also create a dark chocolate fountain. $60 adults, $25 children ages 4-9. 10:30am-2:30pm. 1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa.
The owners of the high-profile ~RENDEZ VOUS BISTRO~ in downtown Santa Rosa (as well as Flipside Burgers, Flipside Steakhouse & Sports Bar, and Lakeside Grill) are planning a “fresh market concept” in the former Rendez Vous Bistro in Courthouse Square, which judging by the name, Flip a Crêpe, will include, uh, crêpes? Reps aren’t talking yet, but it’s slated to open this summer, along with Flipside Brewhouse in Rohnert Park, which was formerly Latitude Island Grill.
~LAKESIDE GRILL~, the outdoor restaurant that opened last year in Spring Lake Park, will open with a limited menu on Saturdays and Sundays from May 17th through Memorial Day, then offer weekend breakfast and brunch, daily lunch and dinner, and a happy hour starting at 2pm all summer long. Hours are 10:30am until the park closes at sunset. 393 Violetti Road, Santa Rosa, 707-523-1406.
~FARM TO FEAST 2014~: On Saturday May 17th, Farm to Feast, the annual food and wine event, pretty much sums up what it’s like to live in Sonoma County. Held at the Summerfield Waldorf School’s breathtaking biodynamic farm, top Bay Area chefs and vintners come together (many of whom are alums or have children at the school) to feast under the stars. Among the feast-makers: Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière, Jon Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu, Nick Peyton of Healdsburg Bar & Grill (and formerly of Cyrus), Lowell Sheldon of Peter Lowell’s, and the school’s own chef, Mat Petersen. Vintners pouring include Claypool Cellars, Coturri, Davis Family Vineyards, Littorai, Truett Hurst, Roederer, Small Vines Wines, Porter-Bass, and Martinelli Winery. 3:30pm-10:30pm, $90, all proceeds go to scholarships. Tickets at farmtofeast.org. 655 Willowside Road, Santa Rosa.
~BOUVERIE PRESERVE’S ART OF EATING PICNIC~: Inspired by the life of culinary author M.F.K. Fisher, this annual picnic presented by the Audubon Canyon Ranch invites guests to the limited-access Glen Ellen reserve for a day of eating, drinking, and exploring. Benefitting the ranch’s Nature Education Programs for schoolchildren, the Art of Eating event runs from 12:30pm-4:30pm, with chefs from Brown Sugar Kitchen, Rivoli Restaurant, and Taste Catering providing the food. $150. 13935 Sonoma Highway 12, Glen Ellen.
By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin including all photo credits.