Thanksgiving. This is meant to be the time of year to reflect on all the many reasons we have to be thankful. Of course, I immediately think of how grateful I am for my many amazing friends and my big, wonderful family.
Even though I am thankful everyday for my beautiful, cozy cottage and my little white Mini, I remind myself to be extra thankful for these things this time of year. I ponder this year’s experiences and people that have come and gone from my life — whether they were good or bad, hateful or loving, crazy or sane — and I am thankful at least for the lessons I have learned. Mostly, this time of year, I am utterly thankful for living in this truly special place. There can’t possibly be a more delicious place to live… and here are 50 of the yummiest reasons why!
1. The corniest, rustic corn tortillas handmade fresh each and every morning at El Molino.
2. Velvety, perfectly prepared lattes from Crisp Bake Shop.
3. The girl and the fig’s ever-changing, but always to-die-for, duck confit.
4. Two words: Ham. Biscuit. My absolute addition from the Fremont Diner.
5. The best margarita in town: mine, with a splash of blood orange juice, at Maya.
6. Insanely delicious corn and flour tortillas made right in front of your eyes at Jalisco, our own little tortilla factory.
7. Straus Dairy’s thick, tangy, perfect, soft-serve frozen yogurt sort of secreted away behind the coffee counter at Whole Foods.
8. Every single, wonderful thing about meandering through the Friday Farmer’s market.
9. The delicate, tender, beautiful Paul’s Produce lettuces; you will never, ever eat grocery store lettuces again.
10. Mike the [bejkr] and his heavenly breads.
11. The Hot Box’s courageously wonderful use of duck fat.
12. Any of the super skillfully prepared, gloriously presented, wood oven roasted seasonal vegetables from Glen Ellen Star.
13. Bacon waffle. Seriously. At the Sunflower Caffe.
14. The pork-inflected collard greens and not-too-sweet cornbread at the Fremont Diner. With a splash of pepper vinegar, it soothes my Southern soul.
15. Suite D, Sondra Bernstein’s stunning new Eighth Street event space, sure to be where many of my best future food memories happen.
16. The Red Grape’s “farmer’s market” pizza invented by the marvelous Mrs. Megan Clouse.
17. The whole Branzino roasted to a heavenly state of perfection in the wood-burning oven from La Salette.
18. Chef Rob Larman’s simply decadent chocolate mousse.
19. Sipping perfect Blue Bottle lattes surrounded by gourmet goodies at Sonoma’s Best.
20. Bubbles on the deck. At Gloria Ferrer.
21. Bubbles on the deck. At Domaine Carneros.
22. Complete and total happiness on a plate, when the monstrous Wolfe Ranch quail are on the menu at Cafe La Haye.
23. The rare occasions when the Hopmonk taps a keg of the infamous Pliny the Younger.
24. All the deliciousness of Napa being just right over the hill.
25. Dungeness crab season in all of it’s crabby, buttery, glory.
26. The awfully obliging (and cute) meat counter guys at Sonoma Market.
27. The sweet slices of fresh mango and sticky rice for dessert from E-Saan Thai.
28. The beer tasting flight at Sonoma Springs Brewery, when it’s okay to have six glasses of beer in front of you at one time.
29. Friends with fig trees.
30. The Patch. Particularly their gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. Oh! And their beans. And peppers. And red onions. Alright, every beautiful piece of produce from the Patch.
31. The little fried chicken sandwich at the Fremont Diner with its doughy soft, tiny white bun slathered generously with mayonnaise, perfectly crisp, juicy hunks of chicken, and vinegary tang and crunch of house-made pickles, a combination so utterly awesome I could just cry.
32. Local olive oil. I mean olive oil, from olives. Grown right here! How amazing is that?
33. The most unlikely spot to find Sonoma’s most incredibly delicious fish tacos, Murphy’s Irish Pub.
34. Rainy nights tucked into the ridiculously cozy banquette at the Taste of the Himalayas sharing little copper pots of spicy Tikka Masala and cold, crisp glasses of Gundlach Bundschu Gewurz.
35. The olive oily, yeasty, lemony, herby goodness of Della Fattoria’s Meyer lemon rosemary bread.
36. A glass of sparkling wine and a gargantuan pile of skinny truffled fries and homemade aioli while sitting at the bar at EDK.
37. Mato Formate Charcuterie: every awesome pork product, from the bacon to the Coppa, made in-house, at the girl and the fig.
38. Sunny Sunday mornings on the back patio at the Sunflower Caffe with the gang, giggling with the girls while sipping “Monster Mimosas.”
39. The best kept secret breakfast in town, the “happy dance” inducing, hangover curing, chilaquiles, soft scrambled eggs, and avocado at El Molino Central.
40. Shiso Sushi’s crazy, creative sushi rolls.
41. The spectacular, gourmet pancake breakfasts at the Sonoma Valley Grange.
42. Thick, old-fashioned milk shakes in modern flavors like salted caramel and Mexican chocolate at the Fremont Diner…if only I ever had room for one.
43. All the new deliciousness of Petaluma being right over the hill.
44. The creative cocktails dreamt up by the talented bar staff at EDK, particularly the ginger-filled Moscow Mule.
45. Just about everything about Glen Ellen’s mega charming fig café, especially the free corkage!
46. Friends that forage. Mushrooms, just sayin’.
47. Sonoma’s modest group of passionate small farms and the tireless group that farm them.
48. Oak Hill Farm’s Red Barn store in all of it’s picture perfect beauty.
49.Buttery, gooey goodness in the form of Mt. Tam cheese from Cowgirl Creamery.
50. Our very own dedicated chapter of Slow Food Sonoma Valley.
Kristin Jorgensen is one of Sonoma’s most passionate, food obsessed residents. In this weekly column, she covers all the delicious happenings, foodie events and restaurants in Sonoma, the rest of Wine Country and beyond. Email her with comments, questions, or your food related events at [email protected]