los angeles guest suites

 

pom couscous

pom steak

The Other Secret in Napa is Food

by Laraine Newman
Print Email

laraine newman cameoI recently performed Celebrity Autobiography at the Wells Fargo Center For The Arts in Santa Rosa. I didn’t know where Santa Rosa was nor did I realize that the Welles Fargo Center was a hip destination and the setting for many legendary comedy albums. George Carlin and Bill Cosby to name a few.

barndiva frontMy plane ticket had me spending the entire next day there with nothing to do because there were no direct flights back to Los Angeles. I asked the driver who picked me up what the local places featured. For Christsakes I was in wine country!! And that was the thing to do; tour wineries.  The problem was, I don’t drink…any kind of alcohol. I know, I’m a sissy.  

So, I decided that I’d rent movies that were still in the theatre, (The Apparition, Jewish Ghosts) have room service, read my Stephen Kind novel and sleep late!! Heaven in my book.  But there’s only so long you can do that.  I got antsy and looked at the hotel ‘things to do’ book to see if there were any restaurants to check out.

There was a map showing what areas were close to the hotel and it looked like the closest  place for food and shopping was in Healdsburg. I’m always scared to venture out in a town I don’t know because I can and have gotten lost in a parking lot, but I planned my route there and back as if it were for a five year old. Success!

I should have figured out that where there is wine, there’s sophisticated food. Every place in the hotel book had menus that were so creative and intriguing I wanted to try them all…well, that’s pretty much any day of the week god help me I can’t stop eating….look away….look away.

I settled on a place called Barndiva.  When I read the description in the book I saw that it had been a barn, converted to a restaurant. Anyway, off I went with my Sikh cab driver telling me how to get the bus back so it won’t cost so much.

barndiva shoerackHealdsburg is small much to my relief and I knew I wouldn’t get lost  when I was dropped off in front of the restaurant. It really looked like a barn on the outside but inside was epic.

First of all the coat rack was an entire wall with wooden shoe forms (not the ones to keep your shoes from being crushed but the ones I imagine cobblers used to wrap leather around) placed at random spots for you to hang things on.  The bar was gorgeous with light pouring in from the high ceilings and flowers everywhere.  Quite simply, the ambience was wonderful.

I love places that have a sense of humor and the chalkboard listing the daily alcoholic beverages was pretty funny. Almost made me wish I liked the stuff. They have a drink called Ruling Class Lite made with house infused burnt orange tequila, a splash of lemon juice and ‘tempered’ by a light herbal tarragon syrup. Where’s my knife and fork?

barndiva winewallAll of their drinks are this creative with names like Golden Boy, Lady Penrose and Bitches of Seizieme, It made the ritual and the artistry and the event of drinking look so fun!


The restaurant itself, being in wine country and near many farming communities as well used all ‘dedicated’ products and it shows.

The presentation of the food and the flavors were exquisite. If you go to their website you must explore it because the owners have a beautifully holistic ethos behind this endeavor. 

Here is what I ate:

I started with Goat Cheese croquettes with tomato jam, with honey and tarragon. Then I had a duck leg on a bed of purple and white potato hash with a citrus and beet salad and I finished with a lemon bar (it seems so paltry to call it simply a lemon bar) with coconut ice cream and an almond crisp.

barndivaappbarndiva2

BARNDIVA: 231 Center St., Healdsburg, CA 95448

Laraine Newman is a founding member of The Groundlings Theatre Company and an original cast member of Saturday Night Live.  She lives in her hometown of Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.  

 

Comments   

 
0 #1 Californiagirl 2013-01-30 18:05
our favorite restaurant in this area (although) it's a bit further north is The Ledford House.
yum butterscotch pudding. home-made pate. california tequila a la sunset magazine with peppers sort of the way you make pear brandy. exquisite food -- which apparently bittman agrees with. what's your fave in the area?
Quote
 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Restaurant News

Hunan by the Falls
Ohio
by Nancy Ellison

lebron-james.jpg(Well two, if LeBron James leaves.)

While a little disappointed on a recent trip to this town by the pizza-by-the-slice on Mayfield Road (“Our Little Italy is better than your Little Italy”), we...

Read more...
Gauthier
London - British Isles
by Tracy Tynan

london6.jpgIn our effort to downsize but continue to have fun, we scrambled together all our frequent flyer miles and managed to put together two return flights to London and Italy. Then, by making a small...

Read more...
Church and State
Los Angeles
by Jo Stougaard

churchstateescargots.jpgChef Walter Manzke’s smile is infectious. Wait, maybe I shouldn’t say “infectious” since we’re in the middle of the H1N1 Flu scare (I refuse to call it the OTHER name because I love my bacon).

Read more...

Payards's
New York
by Sara Mohazzebi

painchocolat.jpgMy father has a way of making everything unforgettable.  He’s loud, temperamental, incredibly passionate, and a romantic to the core.  So it seemed completely natural to me when he took me to...

Read more...