Since this isn’t a food review blog I can’t really figure out how to talk about restaurants because I sooooo want to review their foooooood!! Alas, that isn’t the premise of this blog, so instead I’ll try to stay on-topic and talk about the other stuff. Harumph.
I can’t really start talking about restaurants without telling you about The Parish Cafe, in Healdsburg. They happen to be my business neighbors and so I eat there an unimaginable amount, and they love me for it – even though now when they see my number on their caller ID they answer by shouting “WHAT?!”
Like I said…they love me.
Luckily I never really jumped on the feminist bandwagon, so being whistled at in the parking lot or called ‘sweetheart’ and ‘baby’ when I visit or phone in a to-go order from these folks doesn’t ruffle my feathers in the slightest. In fact, I’m kind of a sucker for the pet names (not so much the catcalls, but hey, whatever, we’re all friends here), so I’ll take them where I can get them. Sure, it took some getting used to, but then I remembered that these people are from New Orleans, so…I guess that’s just what they do there. Or something.
I’m a very neighborly person, so I like it when I go to pick up my food and the chef and owner, Rob, waves and asks “how ya doin’, darlin’?” I LOVE that when his wife and co-owner Karla once saw that I’d posted something grumpy on Facebook, she brought me a glass of sparkling wine to cheer me up (sparkles always work!). And, Bradley the manager often hand delivers my food with a “here ya go, sweetheart, how’s your day goin’?” It’s sort of endearing, if you’re into that sort of thing. Which I TOTALLY AM!
Since, again, this isn’t a food review blog, I won’t go into detail about their delicious New Orleans style cuisine. However, I will volunteer that I’ve gained about 10 pounds since they opened their doors, so you can take from that what you will. Ahem.
In an attempt to branch out a little, I used the excuse of an upcoming special occasion – that being my sweetheart Paulie’s birthday. I took him out to dinner at Zazu, in their new location in Sebastopol’s newest weird metal shopping/eating/doing stuff mecca, The Barlow. I love the local produce and vendor focused, snout-to-tail concept behind this restaurant and I wish I could afford to experience them more than once every six years or so. But I can’t, hence checking them out for a special occasion.
The fact that Paulie was trying to hide that he probably had a low-grade flu may have been the reason we found the whole experience a bit lackluster. The food we shared (not reviewing the food! NOT. Reviewing. The. Food.) was great, and maybe the waiter wasn’t being terribly friendly or helpful because he could see the shine of fever in Paulie’s eyes, which I myself was choosing to ignore. Given this possibility, I’ll just give the overall restaurant experience a simple pro and con until we can go back in better health.
The pro: when asked, the food runner was able to recommend a glass of wine to pair with the dinner we shared that did, indeed, compliment the flavors. Sometimes these things are a wild-guess crapshoot, as we all know, so I got lucky in that she actually knew what she was talking about.
The con: while I initially thought it was super cool that my go-to karaoke song was playing in the restaurant, I quickly realized that I was dining on the patio, a seemingly safe distance away from the terrible acoustics provided by the confines of all the metal and cement inside. If I were dining in there, I can imagine that hearing Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer at crazy full volume might not complement my $120 (one beer, one vodka & tonic, two appetizers, one glass of house wine, one vegetarian entree) dinner for two quite as perfectly as I’d like. Call me nit-picky, but when laying down that kind of cash I like to be able to hear the words coming out of my dinner companion’s mouth. Luckily, since we were outside I could not only hear my date, he could hear me as well…and so I was able to put on a very subtle air-Bon Jovi show for him, which I’m pretty sure might be the best gift anyone could ever give. Granted, he was too out of it to notice, but whatever – it rocked, to say the least.
Even so, I think next time we’ll just kick it at home, where the food is only so-so, but the service is out of this world.