Some great waterfront restaurants accessible from Petaluma
A main course of Pork Shoulder Confit came with Broccoli and Hinoah Turnips and was served with Seaweed Vinegar Kalhikari Rice and Furikake Mushrooms. I don’t usually like the texture of mushrooms, but I don’t mind their taste, but these dishes were amazing and I never pushed the mushroom aside. The meal ended with a luscious coffee brew with honey and grilled honey and a warm cup of Harbor House garden herb infusion.
It’s hard to get a second Michelin star without impeccable service, so it’s no surprise that our co-servers, Jacqueline and Jason, were as good as we’ve ever had them. I think they were both sommeliers, but even if he wasn’t, they were food and wine menu experts. However, this is not mechanical knowledge – they clearly love and live the menu and wine pairings. We eventually learned that they were a married couple who had moved to Elk from New York City, specifically for the opportunity to work at Harbor House.
To give you an idea of the great service: When I got a detail wrong about the pickled mushrooms, Jason not only went to the kitchen to ask for clarification, he heard how much I liked the item and brought me an extra small plate. Service like this, along with great food, made the Harbor House experience wonderful and memorable, and we’ll definitely be back for a birthday lunch or even dinner in the future (though it’s a lot more expensive than lunch).
After eating, we went back to the Point Arena for the night. Not feeling hungry after such a satisfying lunch, we went for one of our legendary dinners at the Bird Cafe on the town’s main street and opted to visit the New Museum Brewery on the hill instead. and across the street.
We also enjoyed the Taco Carnitas and Korean Fries and Cauliflower we ordered there. (Tip: if you don’t like spice, heed their warning to order mild.) They also offer several other small plates, including salads, ceviche (made with Mendocino Coast rock cod), and a trio of salsas. – so little nachos.
The beer menu at the new museum is heavily influenced by “farmhouse style,” a loose description of the large family of beer styles that originated in Belgium, which includes saisons, a style that recently gained popularity on the West Coast and has gained local attention. From HenHouse Brewing. The New Museum’s beer list is constantly changing, and on our visit there were a couple of farmhouse pale ales, a farmhouse sour, a pilsner and a couple of IPAs.
Both the food and the beer at the New Museum Brewery are thoughtful and well made, making it a very enjoyable lunch or dinner on a drive up or down the coast.
Our plan on the way home was to stop at The Amazing Pig for lunch, but unfortunately we couldn’t make a lunch reservation on such short notice. The owner was nice enough to try to accommodate us late, but we had long-standing dinner reservations at Terrapin Creek, so we had to take a rain check. (Unfortunately, these local gems have announced that after the upcoming slow-month closings planned for March and April, they will only reopen in May, after which their leases expire. The restaurant woes of the pandemic are really just beginning. The staffing problem comes as it stretches. Also, while winters are always slow for restaurants on the North Shore, this unusually wet winter has put a damper on things.)
So instead of heading inland on Hwy 128 to the Mad Hog, we stayed in town and stopped for a quick lunch at Point Arena Mexican Restaurant after walking around town and visiting Point Arena Bay and the fishing pier. Their menu is extensive, from enchiladas to chile rellenos to birria to burritos, and as the only diner in town open most days, it’s also covered by offering classic seaside fare like fish and chips, fried shrimp and burgers. We ordered soups and tacos, both of which were simple but satisfying.
After lunch we headed down the coast through a steady rain to meet up with Terrapin Creek at Bodega Bay. We’ve been hearing about Terrapin Creek for years, starting with the buzz surrounding their former Michelin star, but rarely make it to shore.
We started with some local Miyagi oysters and a salad of fried octopus and roasted cauliflower, topped with toasted almonds, arugula and smoked pepper aioli, before moving on to the Hamachi Crudo. For those of us who never leave alone, we couldn’t resist trying the Roasted Hokkaido Eggs with carrot and ginger puree, topped with pickled shiitake, fennel, radish and Kabocha squash soup puree with pea, sage and pumpkin. seed pesto, this really hit the spot on a cold winter’s evening.
Our server was Guillaume, a friendly and funny guy originally from France but now living in Petaluma. Like many employees, Guillaume has been with Terrapin Creek for years. The atmosphere here is “Sonoma County chic,” so it’s not overdone, but it’s enough to know that there will be some tasty local surprises on the menu. And Guillaume’s laid-back and gently cheerful personality keeps this delicious dish from feeling soggy in any way.
For mains we went with the Mediterranean Fish Stew and the Homemade Malfalde Pasta. We’ve heard great things about the fish stew full of salmon, cod, clams, calamari and potatoes in a tomato and fennel broth and it was simply amazing. However, it was the house-made malfaldo paste with Manila seaweed and house-made chorizo that stole the show. We rarely eat pasta at home, so when we’re out, I gravitate towards it if I know it’s homemade. This dish was so good that I knew I had to have it again, and soon.
We finished our dinner with roasted dates and sourdough bread pudding with vanilla bean sauce and candied almonds and chocolate cake with cream cheese butter and toasted coconut chips, candied pecans and caramel sauce. Both of these amazing desserts were sure to be ordered on our next visit.
Frankly, Terrapin Creek’s lost Michelin star could be a blessing in disguise for us local diners. The food and service remained excellent, but reservations were not a problem – which was good because we enjoyed our first visit so much that we immediately booked a table a week later, knowing my mum would love the experience. for his upcoming birthday dinner.