I’ve finally had a chance to sift through the rubble of our recent West Coast tour, and am pumped to write about my experience at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in the Sonoma County hamlet of Healdsburg. We were meeting The HoseMaster of Wine for a fireside chat about wine, the roaring 90’s, and where he gets all the nudie pictures for his blog.
There was a lot to like at Dry Creek Kitchen, but the wine list is what really blew me away. For starters, it had an identity in that is nearly all Sonoma based. (I say nearly all because I recall a Port on the list). Palmer is an outspoken advocate of using local products in his cooking, so the old saying of “If it grows together, it goes together” applies when it comes to pairing.
The list itself is extensive with over 600 selections and beautifully laid out, with nice descriptions about the different sub-AVA’s (American Viticultural Areas) of Sonoma County.
Also, if the $20 corkage fee isn’t reasonable enough for you, then how about bring in up to two 750 ml bottles of Sonoma wine for NO FEE! Yes, these people mean business.
The cherry on top of the Dry Creek Kitchen’s list is its library section, offering back vintages of some of Sonoma’s top wineries at quite reasonable prices.
Palmer has taken his involvement with wine to the next level with his Next Vintage Wine Shop, a wine shop that exists both on-line and in a physical location in Costa Mesa.
The cocktail program is equally inspired; I actually ended up going with a cocktail as I had been sipping Sonoma wine all day during tastings and was ready for the hard stuff.
For food, we snacked on a charming charcuterie plate along with some fois gras that came in both seared and terrine versions…very tasty and less expensive than I expected. Dry Creek Kitchen is an outstanding restaurant all around.