Friday, August 26, 2011


Sonoma Bento: CocoCarina and I decided to head north to Healdsburg this time. I suggested either Shimo or Spoonbar. I've been to Shimo (and LOVED it), so Coco said we should try a place that was new to both of us. I know that Scott Beattie is the mixologist there, and I have been wanting to try his special artisinal cocktails ever since I first heard of the Huck Yu cocktail he created for Cyrus.

CocoCarina: I'm always down for a good cocktail, so when Sonoma Bento told me about Scott Beattie and his amazing alcoholic concoctions of goodness... I was in! Plus, everyone I talked to about Spoonbar said we HAVE to go there. So we did!

Sonoma Bento: Spoonbar has a fun wine/drinks menu. We skipped past the wine entirely in order to try out specialty cocktails. We also ordered two of the items from the small bites menu to share while we figured out what main dishes to get.

CocoCarina: Yeah, we know what wines are all about so we decided to go straight for the specialty drinks... there were so many to choose from! I asked our waiter for a delectably sweet and salty beverage. Luckily I thoroughly enjoyed his choice... La Nuit du Maroc - and so fun to say too!

Sonoma Bento: I did have some questions about one of the menu items, so I asked our waiter what "fresh scamorza" was, as it was listed as an ingredient with one of the pasta dishes. He hesitantly said it was a sauce. When I waited for him to elaborate on what kind of sauce it might be, he said, "Tomatoes, onions, you know... it's good." Hmmm. He didn't seem too confident, so I decided to get something else. After some research today, I discovered that scamorza is not a sauce, rather an italian cheese. I think it's kind of odd that he would make something up, instead of just saying he didn't know and would find out from the chef. This happened again later in the evening.

CocoCarina: Yeah, our waiter didn't seem to know too much. Even though I was happy with his suggestion of what cocktail I should try, I honestly think it was just a lucky shot in the dark on his part. He pretty much referred to every cocktail on the list as "yeah, ya know... they're all good". Thanks buddy! Really informative. I'd hate to see him try to bluff in a game of poker.

Sonoma Bento: The small bites we ordered were mozzarella balls marinated in crispy prosciutto, and crispy stuffed olives. Both tasted fine to me, although it was a bit weird at first to bite into a hot olive. I loved the face CocoCarina made when she asked me what the olives were stuffed with, and I said it was probably pâté. When I assured her that pâté was probably not made from cows, rather goose or duck liver, she was fine with that. Coco, you are funny.

CocoCarina: Haha... well, that's why I go out and eat with Sonoma Bento... so she can tell me all about these foods I've never tried before! The olives were good, but maybe a bit too salty. I loved the mozzarella balls and actually liked eating the mozzarella balls with the olives... it made for a tasty treat!

Sonoma Bento: Our drinks arrived after our small bites were gone, which is too bad because it would have been fun to have them together. But I do understand that it can take longer to make a complicated cocktail. Coco's drink was lovely with a little flower and in a perfect small cocktail glass.

CocoCarina: Yes, my La Nuit du Maroc was quite delicious! It was made with orange blossom vodka, lime juice, essence of cardamom, and local pomegranate juice - oh. so. yummy! Sonoma Bento's cocktail was decorated with a fun flower too... I think they must have been edible flowers... but no, that's not my thing. So I just left the flower alone and drank the delicious beverage.

Sonoma Bento: I loved my drink, which was called a Dark n' Stormy. It is a rum based drink with lime juice, ginger essence, bitters, and ginger beer. The presentation was beautiful and the drink was well balanced and refreshing. You can order these by the pitcher (5 drinks worth) and it is probably a good idea that I didn't tell Coco that, since we may have had to sleep in her car if we had ordered pitchers.

CocoCarina: Yeah, Sonoma Bento told me we could order by the pitcher AFTER we already ordered! But like she said, it was probably best not to order a pitcher or we would have had to stumble back to my car and sleep uncomfortably - haha. Either way, I was very satisfied with my sweet, citrusy, delicious drink!

Sonoma Bento: We had seats along the sidewalk. Spoonbar has sliding glass doors that they open up onto the street when the weather is nice. It's fun to people watch.

CocoCarina: I actually loved where we were sitting! It was a beautiful day and even when the sun went down the weather was still nice enough to not wear a jacket. It was great people watching... we even saw a guy walk by with a bird on his hand... random!

Sonoma Bento: I ordered the salmon with fresh pea cream, wild mushrooms, broccoli di ciccio, and rhubarb chutney for $20. It was ok, but really didn't blow me away. I think that the rhubarb chutney (which was too sweet, but nicely spicy) should have been served on top of the salmon, because the salmon was better when I topped bites of it with the chutney. Otherwise, this dish was kind of blah.

CocoCarina: Sonoma Bento shared some of her salmon with me, unfortunately at the first attempt, she dropped some on the table... you'll hear more about that later. I've only tried salmon a couple of other times, both times though I enjoyed it... this time however... I could have passed. I don't know why, but it didn't taste that great. It was a bit too fishy and you really needed the chutney to make it taste somewhat pleasurable.

Sonoma Bento: CocoCarina ordered the moorish style brick chicken with wild fennel, padron peppers, and couscous for $19. It looked like a hot mess when it arrived, and I had to turn it around a bit to try to get a good angle for the picture. Coco let me try a bite of the chicken and I was disappointed. It was tough and not juicy at all. It was even kind of hard to cut through. I did get to snag two of her padron peppers (which I love!) and was happy that my second padron had some kick. I rarely get padrons that are spicy.

CocoCarina: The chicken wasn't that great. As Sonoma Bento said, it was not juicy... at all, and it was very difficult to cut through. The couscous was good, but I could get just as good of couscous coming out of a box I paid $3 for at a grocery store. Needless to say, I wasn't that thrilled with my meal. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either.

Sonoma Bento: Coco wanted fries, so we got the fries with aioli. They were fine, but I think the aioli had been in the little sauce container for a while. It had a bit of a skin on it.

CocoCarina: I love fries! How could we not order them! They were good and crispy... but again, nothing amazing. Not even the sauces.

Sonoma Bento: And now we come to the story of Simon the Salmon. I offered Coco a bite of my salmon, and as I was transferring this bite to her plate, it slipped off my fork and landed on the table. Coco has germ issues, so I cut another bite for her and left this bite of salmon on the table. When our waiter came by to clear our drink glasses, he left the bite of salmon on the table. Then when a busser came by to clear our plates, he also left the salmon there. Our waiter came back to ask if we wanted more drinks or dessert, and again, failed to pick up the piece of salmon. In all, this little chunk of salmon was ignored about 7 times by 2 different wait staff. We felt so sorry for the salmon, that we named him Simon. For all we know, Simon's still waiting to be picked up.

CocoCarina: Haha... so yes, now you get to hear all about the dropped piece of salmon on the table. It was kind of hilarious because both the busser and the waiter acted like the piece of salmon had teeth and was going to bite them if they got near it. Seriously?! I've never gone to a nice restaurant, or even to a mediocre restaurant like Chili's before and had a waiter or busser act like that. It was weird, but kind of funny... at least we can find humor in bad service.

Sonoma Bento: Now this is just kind of funny. After looking at the dessert menu and not seeing anything enticing, Coco and I decided to order drinks for dessert. I was trying to decide whether to get the provocatively named Corpse Reviver #2, or the Cucumber Collins. I asked our waiter what one of the ingredients was, namely "Cocchi Americano." He said it was a fruit, then elaborated that it was a Japanese citrus and since it was grown here, that's why it was called 'Americano'. Really, dude? Ok, I can smell bullshit, and that's exactly what it was. Cocchi Americano is in fact an italian aperitif, similar to Vermouth. What the hell?!? Why not just admit that you don't know, and go ask the bartender? The guy who created the damn drink menu was over in the bar, it's not like it would be hard to figure out what the ingredient was. So weird. I decided to order the Corpse Reviver #2 anyway. I like to live dangerously.

CocoCarina: Again, I never want to see this waiter's Poker Face... he would completely lose. I tried a taste of her Corpse Reviver #2, how could I not with a name like that and boy did it live up to it's name. One little sip was good for me!

Sonoma Bento: I didn't get a chance to try Coco's second cocktail, the Geisha. It sure did look pretty. Even next to poor little Simon.

CocoCarina: I decided to try the Geisha which was made with Buddah's Hand Citron vodka, gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, coconut milk, dehydrated pineapple chip, cinnamon, nutmeg - the drink was good, but I liked my first beverage much better. This one was a bit difficult to finish, but it was good. If I ever go to Spoonbar again I'll order my first drink again La Nuit du Maroc because it was so enjoyable!

Sonoma Bento: My 'dessert cocktail' packed quite a punch! The Corpse Reviver #2 contains gin, an italian aperitif, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and absinthe. The first sip was a doozy, but once I had the flavor down, it was really nice. I like Pernod and other anise flavored drinks, so this was really refreshing. I think I prefered my first cocktail, but this one was really good too.

Sonoma Bento: Ultimately this is a place to go for a well made cocktail. It is not a place to go for dinner. The wait service was either bizarre (making up ingredients?!) or way too slow. After we had our dessert drinks, it took about 25 minutes to get the bill. It was fun to chat with Coco, so I don't mind so much, but they could have dropped off the bill much sooner. And for the price of the dishes, I would expect something much better than what we got. The decor is nice, and it is fun to sit on the corner and watch people go by.

CocoCarina: I agree with Sonoma Bento. I would only come here again for the cocktails and maybe a couple of appetizers. The service wasn't great and neither was the food. I did enjoy the atmosphere and sitting in the window by the sidewalk, but it isn't work paying good money for not so good food. However, the cocktails... maybe next time we'll have to get a pitcher as they are Spoonbar's saving grace.

219 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-7222

Dinner 5pm-11pm, Nightly
Lunch Noon-5pm, Thurs-Mon
Brunch Sat and Sun 11:30am-4pm

1 comment:

  1. Not being a drinker, I think I'll pass on Spoonbar! Loved the tale of Simon the Salmon. Who knows...maybe the wait-staff had a traumatic experience of picking up a piece of food from the table and being screamed at by a crazy lady who was saving it for her dog.