Amy’s Drive Thru- Sonoma County Fast Food

Amy’s Drive Thru is the world’s first ever fast food vegetarian, vegan, and no GMO restaurant. Amy’s opened Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 10am. They will be open everyday for service from 10am until 10pm in Rohnert Park, near the entrance of the Graton Casino. This is a seriously healthy alternative to the fast food restaurants available now.

You may know Amy’s kitchen as the premier purveyor of frozen foods that are available nationally in stores. Amy kitchen has been producing fine frozen foods for the busy families who want to eat more healthy. NOW, instead of stopping at a fast food burger joint, or picking up some greasy tacos, families can swing into a,us drive through and pick from fresh made salads, 5 different pizzas,  fresh burritos, or turkey burgers, and more. Almost everything is organic {95%}.

The prices are right too, and approachable for nearly every income:
The burgers range from $2.69-$4.29
Burritos are $4.69
Mac n’ Cheese are $4.69
Pizzas are $5.89-$6.50

Amy’s staff produces everything from scratch and really believe in the locally grown and farmed rule {some refer to as the 100 mile radius rule}; they support local farms, growers, and purveyors for most, if not all of their foods. Sour cream for the burritos and chili come from the Clover Stornetta Farms, the pickles are brined at the local Sonoma Brinery and fair trade coffee is served. Amy’s is strictly non GMO, period. They make all of their tortillas, buns, pizza sauce, veggie burgers, pasta, and tofu from SCRATCH! That’s way cool! That is the kind of fast food I want to feed to my own kids!

Amy’s concept is hopefully going to change Sonoma County for the better, changing the way people think about the food they put in their bodies, and hopefully go beyond our county.

Not only is the food healthy, but they recycle everything too. There is a living roof and solar panels to help conserve energy, a water tower for reclaimed water to feed the living roof, take out boxes are printed with non GMO inks, and environmentally friendly tableware is used and recycled correctly. They’re certainly doing their part.
This concept is a great example for our community and visitors alike; it really presses the point to feed yourself and your family well and healthy {when in a rush} and treat the environment with respect. Be mindful of what you need and don’t need, and try to do your part to support local business to keep the economy thriving and do your part to use all of the pieces of the land-no waste. I am excited to see them be successful with the drive thru and dine in restaurant here.

The Commonwealth: tantalizing for both eyes + mouth

Looking for an exciting experience for both your palate and your eyes? Check out Commonwealth in San Francisco. It’s delicious, well done, the service is top notch, and it’s classy.

The chef’s tasting menu is priced well and worth it: at $75 per person for six courses. They allow you to substitute any of the courses {typically} for something off the al la cart menu too.

Each course was beautifully presented and tasted equally as amazing as it looked. I wanted to have a beer with the meal but it’s not always easy to find one beer that will or can carry you through your entire meal. This one, the Almanac Golden Gate Gose did. It was pure bliss. Nice and light for the seafood and with enough body to pair nicely with goat cheese and even the pork. Great beer AND local.

My favs: 

Dungeness crab crepe. Brilliant.

Lobster and mushroom {Cioppino like} soup

Asian pear salad with mixed bitter greens and soft goat cheese

Celery sorbet {weird but oddly delightful}

I highly recommend this for a nice date night. It’s right on Mission so easy to get to and easy to get a taxi from too.


Eleven Madison

Eleven Madison was by far the best dining experience thus far. From the moment we sat down, not receiving a menu, being completely surprised, sitting next to my hubby and enjoying every single bite- this restaurant was like a dream!

The Picnic Basket of cheese made especially for the restaurant, as well as the craft beer made from Ithaca that is only available at this restaurant!

Each course was incredible, from the surprise in the box to the 140 day dry aged beef and the palate pleasing beef broth we were given to sip on to get us ready for the beef course! WOW.


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Eleven Madison Park on Urbanspoon

Los Gatos Brewing Company

In the heart of the beautiful downtown Los Gatos is a great spot that was converted into a brewery from an old car mechanics building. They have old photos of the cars being worked on, lifted up on the rafters. The inside has a sort of salon style feel with the big booths and the leather top bar stools and small round bar tables. The bartender was extremely attentive; he heard our conversation about what we were thinking about ordering, came over and confirmed and put the order through.

This was by far one of the high end eateries when it comes to breweries: Thai sausage lettuce wraps, crispy calamari {thick rings} and pepperoni pizza. The pizza was under cooked, so a bit disappointing but the lettuce wraps and calamari make up for it.


The beers were listed and served in the sampler in a goofy order but anyone that knows brew could figure out not to taste the dark ones before the Hefeweizen. All had quite interesting flavors, the Hefeweizen had flavors of banana cream, the stout was very coffee like; all good. They do not sell growlers, so unfortunately we were unable to go home with anything. The city of Los Gatos sees growlers as an open container {interesting} therefore, illegal.


Truth be told, I know food, I am passionate about it anyway. <3


Los Gatos Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Steel Head Brewing Company

Steel Head had all sorts of beers that were named for the San Francisco Giants which is always awesome to see because I’m a huge fan. The beers were alright, it really was the perfect anecdote for an insanely hot day {107 degrees}. However, we were sipping away on the sampler inside the brew pub that was even hotter than outside! The pub is huge {warehouse like} and the ceiling is very high with the fans mounted some twenty feet above us, deeming them useless. Perhaps they have air conditioning and were just not utilizing it, I’m not sure but it was definitely tough to concentrate on drinking beer in such heat. The Saison, however, is the perfect pairing for the hot summer day- light, fresh, clean and crisp with flavors of banana and floral aromas. I realized I am falling in love with Saison’s. The beers are delicious. The Raging Rhino Red was mixed with the Bombay Bomber IPA because they were out of one of the beers listed on the sampler menu and boy was that a nice surprise. That made me want to do a little #craftbeer mixing myself as the day went on.

Nachos and the Double Play IPA are a must try together. Spicy jalapenos, pasty black beans and loads of melted cheese are the perfect pairing for that bitter, hop-heavy and slightly zestful beer.

Our server was a really sweet gal. The bartender said he was out of one of the beers on the list. My love decided that he really had to have that beer and they must have some on the back so he guilted our server {of course}, so she went in the back and then miraculously came out with a pint for him. 😉

Truth be told, I know food, I am passionate about it anyway. <3


Steelhead Brewing on Urbanspoon

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

​After a long day in the warm sun with family and friends, we were starving. I read some reviews about this place and they all sounded pretty good. The food was rated well and that was our mission; good grub. We hopped in the car and headed over. At 6:50pm we approached the bar where a nice gentleman asked if I would like him to move over so the three of us could sit; kind, genuine totally Santa Cruz.

The bartender was not happy when we asked about food. Not having seen a menu, nor would he offer any information, we had no idea that 7:00pm was the cut off for food. He made it seem like we were putting him out by thinking we could possibly eat there. We pushed because like the guy at the end of the bar said, “it says they serve until 7:00pm so they need to serve until 7:00pm, not 6:50pm”. The food comes from the neighboring bakery and the time guidelines are their rules.

We ordered polish sausages that came on a fresh baked and slightly soft sour roll, ham and Swiss panini and a caesar salad; all delicious. The polish dog was probably one of the best that I have had yet and the bread was so warm and scrumptious. It just kept getting better and better with each bite {kind of like the bartender, he was more pleasant the longer we stayed}.


The beers on the other hand were nothing to really brag about. The flavors were bland and not really anything I like in beers. They were very light and some seemed so clear, almost watery {the wheat in particular}. The story and the way they brew the beer is cool. All of the beer is brewed organically and naturally so it is what is it. The do change it up and make different beers like a Lavender ale or one that Horchata flavored; definitely different.

The location is nice, it’s in a warehouse type area surrounded by shops and wine tasting rooms. They have a small patio and a tiny inside space but it’s cozy. Worth the stop.



Steelhead Brewing on Urbanspoon

Boulder Creek Brewing Company


​At the tail end of our brewery tour, we sought out for the charming little town of Boulder Creek {much like Geyserville}. Boulder Creek Brewing Company has the old school feel inside and the charming small town feel outside. As we approached, the man watering the plants with the old, dirty hose said hello to all the people passing by.

Nearing noontime, I knew fried food was definitely in order. Avocado fries? Yes, that’s right. Fresh house made avocado fries. Everything about this dish is fantastic; fried in panko crumbs. They were firm and yet soft at the same time.  Use the Crystal brand hot sauce for dipping; it is amazing with the flavors of the avocado. These fries are on the top of my favorites list for sure.

​Naturally I knew it would be difficult to follow the avocado fries but the sweet potato fries did well. Salty, crunchy on the ends, soft in the center and hot. Yum! Plus, we added garlic to them so that made every bite even better. Both treats were the perfect pairing with Boulder Creek brews. I recommend the sampler {of course} to start and then decide what best suits your palate.

I loved the American Blonde. In fact, I bought my very first growler of that beer, it was that good. My love has a thing for growlers so we purchase at least one at every place we stop {even if he’s not in love with the beer}. I had never loved one enough to want to take it home. This American Blonde, however, I felt I could not live without another taste! All of the beers are great: well made, balanced, full of flavor and not really available anywhere else. In close second was the dragon’s Breath IPA {we bought a growler of that as well}. I recommend sitting in the bar area. I always enjoy interacting with the bartender because you can find out good information about the area and the beers or just chat about “stuff” with someone new.

The music {Dorris Henderson & John Renbourn} was delightful and it paired nicely with the old time feel of the town and the brewery. There is definitely something here for everyone: the food is solid, the service is great and the beers to die for {really}.

I love this place.

Truth be told, I know food, I am passionate about it anyway. <3


Salt House

Salt house Restaurant

The atmosphere in the Salt House was warm and hip. They have this brilliant art on the wall that was actually painted on the wall- brilliant and really adds to the ambiance.

I enjoyed browsing their cocktail list. I ended up committing to the Boulevardier- woodford reserve, Campari and vermouth- delightful. This drink is right up my ally since I am a huge fan of the Maker’s Manhattan.



We began our evening of heavy eating with Fanny Bay oysters on the half shell. Simply cannot go wrong with oysters. We followed up with Foie Gras with a strawberry rhubarb sauce. We thought we may as well indulge since that tasty treat is going onto the black market soon. This particular piece was not exactly the way I prefer, it was firmer and more dense than I like. The rhubarb did add a nice component to the overall taste of the dish.

The corn chowder was amazing, every bite {after I added a good amount of salt}.

The steak was cooked very well and just to our liking, again, salt. I was surprised that we had to add salt to each dish considering we were at the Salt House…..


The best and worst part about this restaurant was the chef in the OPEN kitchen. They certainly were giving us quite the show, with my love in the food business and well, me loving food, we watched the open kitchen like hawks. From one of the guys licking the sauce spoon, putting it in a water container and then using it again, to eating in the open or wiping their faces and not washing their hands. It truly was a sight to see.

My guy went to use the restroom and peaked over into the kitchen to see if there really was just one container with water to rinse the serving spoons before we jumped the gun and became disgusted; there was. The cook platting and drizzling the sauces onto the plates reused the same spoon three times that we watched, after licking them clean.
I understand tasting the food because it should be sampled, BUT with a Tasting spoon that is disposed of after each use.


All of the staff were eating around the bar while they waited for their plates to come up. The cooks touching all of the food and preparing things that we {the paying consumer} ate, all wiped their face, nose, cleaned the sweat off their head and not once washed their hands.

One cook who seemed to be the leader {but we were unable to tell} was setting a good example just before we were about to leave by wiping his face with his sleeve. That was great, we thought, well, there is hope for this crew yet! No, that’s when he took off his bandana and wiped his entire palm all over his sweaty forehead just before going back to the stove. I was so glad we saw all of this after we ate.

When working in an OPEN kitchen, people need to remember that just because it may seem the guests are engaged in their own conversations, so satisfied with the delicious meal to think about anything else; they may still be watching. Open kitchens are open for a reason, for the show. It adds a different element to the whole eating experience. It’s not meant to make the patrons lose their meal after. While the food was good and the service was wonderful, after seeing the “show” we will not be back to the Salt House.


Salt House on Urbanspoon

Geyserville Mud

The Mud Coffee shop has been a longtime favorite of mine. From the minute I walked into the whole in the wall, closet sized spot to watching it grow into a beautiful “real” coffee shop. The shop sits at the head of town. walking in reminds me of being on the show “Cheers”; everybody knows your name, everyone wants to know what’s going on, what’s the word, or if they don’t know you, they want to know you.

I first feel in love when I was dieting and no longer allowed myself sugar. Val made me one of her special cold pressed coffees and I died after learning it was totally unsweetened! This is brilliant, the best thing since…sliced bread! It’s sweet, flavorful and can be made as strong or as light as you’d like.

Next up we have the breakfast sandwiches: biali, English muffin, sour dough; whatever your pleasure, the breaky-wich is the bomb. The sausage is made next door at Diavola; flavors of fennel seed and delicious pork compliment the tomato, onion, melted and melted cheese that oozes out over your finger as you take the first bite.

This bagel-wich is my new favorite: that same sausage from Diavola, so thick and juicy on top of a toasted pesto bagel with loads of cream cheese, tomato, avocado, onion and salt and pepper. Divine. It satisfies every craving you can imagine at 2:00pm on a day when you just feel the hunger taking over your body. I know I should be careful of how many of these I can or should eat in a week, but something tells me I may have to ask Val to sub non fat cream cheese. 🙂

Truth be told, I know food, I am passionate about it anyway. <3



Geyserville Mud Coffee & Pastries on Urbanspoon

Ausiello’s 5th Street Grill

A local favorite and easy to find for passers-by; Ausiello’s 5th Street Grill is a great spot to enjoy an ice cold beer from the tap and a hot dog, hamburger or my latest favorite: a BLT! Thinking I would pop in for a quick Racer 5 and something perhaps a little less fattening than a burger, I opted for the BLT. well, less fat was not the case but I surely was not going to complain. Piled high was more bacon than I have seen on a sandwich made outside the comfort of my own home in…well, ever!

Crispy bacon with fresh tomato, lettuce in between two fresh, toasted, buttery pieces of sourdough bread is about the best thing I can think of on a slow, chilly Tuesday afternoon.

The staff at the grill are attentive, kind and helpful. They seem to really enjoy working there. The family are huge Giants fans, so during the baseball season, it’s a blast going to watch the games.

On a rainy day, the inside is appealing, where eating the peanuts and throwing the shells out on the ground is just what you do. Sitting outside under a heater in the cool afternoon or enjoying the warm summer air, it’s a great place to people watch. Then of course, on a Monday for football, it can be amusing going for a bite to watch all the suits of the downtown financial & courthouse square come to let loose.

This by far is one of my top favorites in Sonoma County.

Go Giants!

Truth be told, I know food, I am passionate about it anyway. <3


Ausiello's 5th Street Grill on Urbanspoon