Road Trip Dining — Sonoma LaSalette

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Second installment on our little mid-week road trip to Somona County. Imagine, a combination of light rain and serious storm clouds. After a robust breakfast, we planned a leisurely drive from Healdsburg to Santa Rosa to Sonoma via Highway 12, with a few winery visits along the way. Fortified by a great breakfast, delicious tastings and suddenly, our lunch was decidedly late.

We chose LaSalette, just off the plaza for our most incredible evening meal. Previously I have indulged in the mussel and chorizo preparation, cheese and wine flights while sitting at the bar watching the light flicker off the wood oven. The views of the efficient, passionate creativity of the cooking staff from the bar is both a visual and sensory delight. Remembering our first visit was cause enough to return. Those delectable sensations traveling from the tip to the back of my tongue made me want to see what else would be in store for us.

Arriving about five o’clock we entered the dining area through the lovely patio that will be incredibly delightful come later spring, summer and fall. For now, we’re just looking for the best place to stow our wet umbrella. Inside LaSalette we are greeted by gracious staff and quickly seated since we’re well before the dinner crowd. The walls and oven are decorated with traditional Portuguese tiles in red and ivory that are so pretty to look at.  Suddenly, the broad expanse of windows streams in light with a break in the clouds. Lucky us!

LaSalette Beef Sopa
LaSalette – Portugese Sopa

Over time, I’ve learned to listen carefully to a restaurant’s daily specials. This is the chef’s opportunity to exploit local farmer’s markets, family favorite recipes or indulged whims of creativity. Both my darling dear and I were smitten with the offering of a Portuguese Sopa of beef, cabbage, finely diced chorizo and sweet potato. Perfect for our rainy day meal. How can I describe such delight in a bite? The clear broth, so rich and flavorful and with a hint of cinnamon. The earthy family style Portuguese Sopa not only was homey, but pure and complex all at the same time. Imagine, a savory sample that make your lids slightly close, then flutter, while you roll your eyes appreciatively to the back of your head. It was that good. As a home cook, I can only aspire to create such a perfect broth. The braised beef, fork tender, not in the least mushy and the cabbage, sweet and earthy.  A generous slice of rustic bread soaked in broth… Ahhh,  this is what this day traveler was in the mood for.  Finishing with a fine 20 year old Graham’s Tawny Port, perfect.  I can’t say enough about the food, service and authentic ambiance that Chef Manuel Azevedo had created for his guests.  I felt I was visiting friends in Portugal.

 Mussels at La Salette, Sonoma
PAN ROASTED MUSSELS ” Na Cataplana”
Out of the wood oven, tomato-lobster fumet, chouriço, cilantro

If you get a chance of visit Sonoma, I would encourage you to include a meal at LaSalette.

LaSalette Restaurant
452 First Street East, Suite H
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 938-1927
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