Fremont Diner – Sonoma

Fremont Diner is a small revamped diner in Sonoma that serves up tasty vittles like pulled pork, corn fritters, Oyster Po’Boy, mac n cheese and fried pies. Yes, another healthy meal for us! When we told a local we were heading over for lunch he said the food was good but then warned us about the service. When we arrived we put our name on the waiting list and joined the small mob that was standing in the parking lot (no seating area). It looks like it used to be open seating but it is no longer which means on a Saturday you got a good 30 minute wait for your name to be called.

When we were finally seated inside we were not only starving but knew exactly what we wanted because we had plenty of time to peruse the menu. Here is were the poor service thing comes into action. We sat at our table for at least 15 minutes before our waitress decided to come and take our order and it wasn’t like she was buzzing around helping others because the 3 tables around us had just left.

We started off with a milkshake because I had heard they were a “not to miss” item. We chose the salted caramel which had chunks of crystallized salty sweet goodness throughout. I agree, they make damn good milkshakes. Next up Mike ordered the Chicken and Waffles. Bonus was that is was a boneless breast so no dirty hands.

I went with the Shrimp & Grits which I enjoyed but it came with those tiny baby shrimps (I prefer the big guys) and was pretty spicy, but it was topped with an egg and bacon so I forgave them.
For dessert we had the peach bread pudding which wasn’t as good as I had hoped. It had the consistency of a quiche and was a tad burnt but we still ate it all. Stuffed we waited and waited some more for the bill to arrive. Our quick bite at a local diner turned out to be an almost 2 hour event. Good thing we were not in a hurry.
Overall, the positive did outweigh the negative so we will return — on a weekday– and give it another go.

Website: http://thefremontdiner.com/

Fremont Diner on Urbanspoon

VĂ©ritĂ© Wine Tasting – Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2009

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**GUEST BLOGGER: MIKE – THE WINE GUY**

I usually attend wine seminars with a bit of hesitation. Too many times I have been excited only to have my hopes dashed as I sit for an hour-long “sales pitch” of a particular winery. Nothing could have been further from the truth with the seminar “Vérité Winery – Bordeaux Blends from the Best Sonoma Terroirs” at the 2nd Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine weekend. Why was this one of the best wine seminars I have ever attended? Simple. Vigneron Winemaster Pierre Seillan. He was affable, funny, knowledgeable and so inspirational that I wanted to start planting my own vineyard ASAP. Not only did I get to taste 8 (yes, I said eight!!) wonderful wines, but I also learned a ton.

The Vérité name comes from the French word for “truth” and Seillan believes his job as a winemaker is to bring forth the truth of the terroir. In Sonoma, he has found some of the best terroirs in the world for growing Bordeaux-style reds that knock your socks off. And is he ever picky. For each vintage he selects grapes from nearly 100 micro-crus, hand selects the oak for his barrels from 10 different forests and uses up to five degrees of toasting on any one barrel. What are micro-crus? Well, Seillan doesn’t just settle for mico-climates, instead believing that within one vineyard there could be rows of micro-crus that each have their own separate climate/terroir combination that gives the grapes in that row unique characteristics. Walk 50 yards and you will find another micro-cru.

Each year, Seillan might start 40 different wines that lead to a release of just three Vérité wines per vintage. Why does he do this? To create a well balanced, complex wine that can be cellared for decades or enjoyed the day you buy it. The process always avoids any one overwhelming characteristic to the wine, thus allowing for sustained complexity as it ages.

I think the real reason I enjoyed listening to Seillan so much is best captured by something he said at the end of the tasting. He mentioned that chemistry shouldn’t drive winemaking, but that the farmer (that’s what he sees himself as) should let the soil, wind, elevation, rain, exposure (the terroir) dictate what to do. He related winemaking to raising a child, “feed them (the vines) well, keep a watchful eye and stick to the basics.” Well, Mr. Seillan, your children have grown up to be the leaders of industry!!

Here is what we tasted. Watch out for the 2005’s… as a group they were amazing!!
Each bottle retails for ~$200

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1998 La Muse (90% Merlot, 10% Cab Sauvignon)
Beautiful color, nice nose of chocolate and great sweet blackberry fruit with the first taste. Not too heavy, soft tannins.

1998 La Joie (70% Cab Sauvignon, 30% Merlot)
Much bigger, bolder wine than La Muse. Heavier tannins with rich dark fruity flavor.

2002 La Muse (92.5% Merlot, 7.2% Cab Franc, .3% Malbec)
Incredible nose of rich blueberry and herbs. Full bodied, yet soft on the palette.

2002 La Joie (64.2% Cab Sauvignon, 28.5% Merlot, 7% Cab Frac, .3% Malbec)
Wow!! This wine knocked me on my butt!! Big, bold and complex. Nose of blackberries and chocolate, with soft tannins and an explosion of dark, “jammy” fruit.

2002 Le DĂ©sir (52.7% Merlot, 41.2% Cab Franc, 4.5% Cab Sauvignon, 1.6% Malbec)
Wonderful berry and floral aroma with tons of juicy fruit up front. Smooth tannins leave you with a very refreshing sense.

2005 Le Muse (88% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc, 2% Malbec)
An outstanding wine. Great aroma of licorice and cherries followed by a burst of dark fruit through the middle. Tannins are a bit heavy but this wine is young.

2005 La Joie (67% Cab Sauvignon, 12% Cab Franc, 12% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec)
Another wow wine!! Great deep purple color. Incredible currant aroma and full of “jammy” dark fruit across your palette. Big, bold, well balanced, this will age exceptionally well.

2005 Le DĂ©sir (50% Cab Franc, 39% Merlot, 9% Cab Sauvignon, 2% Malbec)
Nice nose of dark cherries. This wine tastes “cool.” Very refreshing, fruit forward with a bit of spice in the aftertaste.

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