Every modern restaurant, it seems, brags about locally sourced, organic, slow food. Those are all good words and dreadfully politically correct, but first and foremost the question arises: is the food good?
Our friend Ray Kaplan took us to the Fremont Diner, on Highway 121 between Sonoma and Napa. It an old fashioned diner with a modern sensibility.
There is nothing fancy here–we ate at a picnic table on the side of the building. It’s rustic, from stem to stern.
There was another couple who parked at the same time we did, and I was joking about racing them to get a good table. Gail instantly made a new best friend.
We had so much fun laughing with her that we invited Tawny and her husband Dan to have dinner with us. The live in Petaluma with their two sons, 3 and 5. Life is more fun when you’re open and adventurous.
The food at the Fremont Diner is mostly classic Southern, with a touch of California innovation. The first thing they serve is a bowl of boiled peanuts, which are too ugly to post a photo of–peanuts all dark and wet and soft, but once you get them out of the shell the peanuts are pretty tasty, ifsadly lacking in crunch.
The menu consists of meat. Ribs, brisket, sausage, roast MEAT. Order a platter, and you get to choose two sides. Besides the usual suspects like cole slaw and mac ‘n cheese, they offer a watermelon salad and a black eyed peas salad. I had to try those:
Cubes of fresh local watermelon in oil and vinegar, garnished with onion and cheese. Very tangy and different.
The black eyed peas salad had corn kernels and chopped jalapeño–which made it too spicy for me, but everyone else seem to like it.
Then came the main event–slow cooked spare ribs, served dry on a two slices of white bread with pickles and onions. None of us really understood the white bread thing, and nobody ate it. The meat, though, was another matter:
My ribs were moist, fall-off-the-bone tender and incredibly tasty. There is one kind of barbecue sauce available, and it’s good. Not too spicy, not too sweet, the sauce is the work of a master.
A southern restaurant would be nothing without a decent dessert selection, and Fremont Diner delivers. I managed to get the last of the peach cobbler:
Gail had a black cherry sunday, which is OK I guess , but can’t really touch a peach cobbler.
Service is down-home friendly. The ambience is great–besides the truck-driver chic of the diner, you get a sterling view of the vineyards and trees of the Napa Valley.
Are you sure you weren’t in Texas? It looks like Texas Barbecue to me! the only thing missing is they wrap your food in paper…..no plates.
I want to go there! Let me know next time you hanker for this kind of food and I will meet you and Gail xoxox times 2 for my dear friends! Sigrid