There’s no road map to what makes a dish iconic. Instead, it’s a roughly sketched record of personal experiences, memorable moments, and collective consent. We worked as a team to hash out these winners, striving to represent the people, the land, the ingredients, and the point of view of our foodie paradise. At times, a truly outstanding pick came from little more than a gut feeling. Take the humble fried chicken sandwich, for example. Folks make them all over, but Belfare Sonoma’s super-snappy, wolf-it-down-fast version, enjoyed with a glass of rose along the side of the highway outside Three Fat Guys tasting room – that’s true Sonoma style.
Sonoma Coast Seaweed Salad – Sushi Kosho: Forget about slippery strips of neon-green seaweed that could double as dental floss in a pinch. Chef Jake Rand sources from our own coastline for a mix of fresh red, white, and green seaweed ribbons with all kinds of delightfully bumpy, lumpy, and tickly textures. Marinated in an orange-yuzu vinaigrette, this East-meets-West salad gets a Cali touch with avocado and fresh cherry tomatoes.
Mount Lassen Trout Salad – Blue Ridge Kitchen: You’ll find similar salads at a handful of other restaurants round the county, but this clever take on a Nicoise is our very favorite. Instead of tuna, chef Matt D’Ambrosi uses hickory-smoked trout alongside plenty of farm-fresh vegetables for a perfect summer dish.
Vegetablicious Melt – The Farmer’s Wife: Is it an exaggeration to call Kendra Kolling’s sando the Gucci of grilled cheese? Stuffed with gently braised seasonal greens, roasted vegetables sweet as candy, fresh chevre, aged cheddar, and an egg so yellow it outshines the sun, this melt is bougie-er than a stretch Hummer. And thats how we do grilled cheese Sonoma-style.