Friday, June 20, 2008


Would you think I was crazy if I told you I found my restaurant soulmate? Because I think I may have. There are two restaurants in northern California that I feel a deep affinity for. The only thing is, I've never been to either one. (OK, now you really think I'm crazy.) I can't even remember how I found out about sister restaurants Zazu and Bovolo, but I think they are places where I could go again and again and never get bored. I subscribed to their email lists just so I could read about their monthly specials and imagine I'm not thousands of miles away from there.

If I were to list everything I love about these places, you'd be reading this for 45 minutes. So I'll just touch on the best points. Chef/owners John Stewart and Duskie Estes grow much of what they cook and serve and are considered pioneers of the slow food movement. They use local artisinal cheese and local wine (they're in the Napa Valley), and they make their own salumi (which may be my favorite part). The food at both looks uncomplicated and fresh. But really, I think the best part about these restaurants is that they just seem friendly. Bovolo holds family-style dinners once a month. They offer reasonably priced bottles of wine (many under $30, and always a
$5 glass of red and white). And they make their own salumi! (I know I already said it, but I can't hide my passion for cured pork.)

mean, how can you not fall head-over-heels for a place that serves stuff like this...

zazu cured duck prosciutto - charentais melon, hand torn basil
grilled sweet corn, cascabel chili butter
j.b.'s slow roasted balsamic pork shoulder - melting onions, mashed potatoes
apple fritters, maple crème fraiche

grilled tiny octopus on a fat slice of grilled bread, preserved lemon
pork cheek sandwich

And almost every delicious morsel comes from somewhere within a 50-mile radius of the place. It just doesn't get much better than this. Sigh. I must make it to nothern California sooner rather than later to eat at Zazu and Bovolo. I may buy a house around the corner. There's no telling.

(all photos from and

1 comment:

Lytle said...

Katie, I just looked at Zazu's menu. Five words for you: Green. Apple. And. Prosecco. Fritters. Take me with you!!