Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Sucker for the Turntable - Humble Pie, Penngrove

Hey there.  Yup, things have been dark on the writing side lately.  Midlife crisis aside, I have been experiencing some pretty cool places up here in Sonoma County.   One of my current favorites is a tiny little place in Penngrove called "Humble Pie".

My friend K lives right down the street from this place and suggested we spend a Sunday morning checking out their brunch selections.  To the unfamiliar, Penngrove is a tiny 1 block town, (see photo above, I lifted it from Wikipedia, as my camera wasn't functioning properly...).  What you see there, well that is it.  Looks like an old western town, which is the case with all of these towns in Southwestern Sonoma County, a little clue as to why I'm so smitten...

Situated adjacent to the Black Cat bar (in fact, they share a pass through door into the dining room), Humble Pie is the brainchild of two couples (as far as I can tell):  Brooke and Dan McCann, Joshua Norwitt and Miriam Donaldson.  Their motto is to use food from their own farm, situated in Petaluma off Roblar Road, and round it with local produce, chicken and meat, all natural and organic from our lovely Sonoma County lands. 

Enough about the philosophy, what about the food???  And what about the place?  Humble Pie is easily the smallest restaurant I've ever eaten at.  All 6 tables are crowded into a room not much larger than my "small" living room, which isn't a problem if there are tables available, which thank God there were on that morning, as the party I went to the night before was still ringing in my ears, the 90 degree heat outside a little blinding for my inflamed brain cells.  They only serve brunch on Sunday from 10am - 3pm, so keep that in mind when venturing up from the City. 

A small but well represented menu includes Eggs Benedict, Housemade Milk and Honey Bread (Toast if you must and French Toast if you really must), an open faced "Steak Sandie", fresh grapefruit juice Mimosa's, oh and last but not least, a turntable on the way into the kitchen cranking out tunes from vinyl, yes, real vinyl - vinyl that must be put on, and turned over and then replaced every 25 minutes or so (yes, you remember...).  Okay, I hadn't yet eaten one morsel of their tasty food and was already a huge fan.  Oh, and by the way, with the bar right through the pass through door, a Bloody Mary and various other cocktails can also be had.

K had the Steak Sandie - a huge pile of perfectly medium rare Flank Steak with balsamic glazed onions and horseradish creme fraiche atop homemade bread with a huge pile of greens on the side.  She barely made a dent in it (or so it seemed from my vantage point across the large table) when she proclaimed "finito" and had the rest boxed for the hubby.  C (K's son) had toast and fruit, which was arranged like a cutey-patooty happy face, cantaloupe wedge as the smile.  I had the Eggs Benedict (sauce on side please) which came with refried smashed potatoes which if you haven't figured out by now, is pretty much my favorite food.  Potatoes, yes, mashed, even better, mashed and crispy on the outside, well, you get the picture.  Good coffee and "Magic Bus" playing in the background, we couldn't find a reason not to try this place out for dinner, so promptly made reservations for the following Wednesday night.

Our friend E joined us for dinner and C came along too (he's like a little adult, very self entertaining). After some juicy and amply sized firecracker shrimp atop a nice creamy mound of mashed Yukon Golds, shared with a perfectly chilled bottle of J Cuvee (purchased there), we popped my Sequoia Grove Syrah and eagerly awaited the Whole Stuffed Trout (described with quotes from Hemmingway) and the "Pork Chop of Awe and Wonder" - sugar and spice brined pork goodness, which came, not surprisingly, atop a mound of more mashed Yukon Golds.  The pork was perfectly cooked, not too "hammy" as sometimes happens when the brine is too strong or it sits too long, and the trout, stuffed with greens and bacon, was delish!  Who knows what C was eating, as he was busy with his puzzle and Christmas music piped into his headphones (yes, I know, pretty cute).  Two entrees amidst 3 girls and we were STUFFED.  The only complaint most people may have about this place, is that almost everything comes with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes.  For me, however, David Bowie on vinyl in the background (chchchch-changes), our charming waiter/owner, good wine, good friends and mashed potatoes, well, one couldn't ask for anything more.

10045 Main Street
Penngrove, CA 94951
(707) 664-8779