The Torta Cubano @ Healdsburg Bar & Grill

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The Cubano Sandwich @ Healdsburg Bar & Grill.

There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to the torta cubana: One school adheres to a traditional standard of ham, roasted pork, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. The other school remains much more spirited and open-minded in its approach, with Mexican-style tortas that may include hot dogs, beef milanese, fried eggs, guacamole, and several other additional condiments. This latter style of sandwich is best embodied by the über-torta at That’s It Market in San Francisco. The That’s It sandwich remains a beast by anyone’s standard, and it has become infamous for its sheer, all-inclusive decadence.

In comparison, the traditional torta cubana, like the HBG version pictured above, seems almost subdued by nature, quaint in its conformity. At its essence, the traditional cubana lacks the comprehensive, hangover-curing potency of its Mexican cousins, but the [… read more …]

Last Looks: The Pork Cheek Sandwich @ Bovolo, Healdsburg

Gone, but not forgotten: The Pork Cheek Sandwich @ Bovolo, Healdsburg.

Gone, but not forgotten: The Pork Cheek Sandwich @ Bovolo, Healdsburg.

A random day trip to Healdsburg brought a bit of sad news yesterday, as I learned that Bovolo, the quirky restaurant located at the back of Copperfield’s Bookstore, is set to close tomorrow, June 15th. Bovolo has earned some nice reviews and accolades over the years, and its Pork Cheek Sandwich, pictured above, had much to do with the restaurant’s positive press. I feel somewhat fortunate to have eaten Bovolo’s Pork Cheek Sandwich, a tender amalgam of swine, roasted red peppers and salsa verde, before the dish disappears once and for all. Yesterday, I asked if this sandwich will be available at the new Bovolo location, and unfortunately, it will not. From what I gathered, the new weekend-only spot, will have mostly cold-prep items, which would eliminate much of what made Bovolo great.

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Book Review: “Matt Kramer’s New California Wine”

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A longtime contributor to Wine Spectator magazine, Matt Kramer represents the contingent of wine drinkers who eschews overly-alcoholic wines in favor of those with subtlety and nuance. Among wine critics, Kramer seems to be in the minority in this aspect, but those of us who share his tastes can take umbrage in the fact that Kramer is an outstanding, knowledgeable wine journalist. His book “Matt Kramer’s New California Wine” underscores this notion, and is an indispensible guide to the dizzying California wine landscape.

Kramer begins his book with a thoughtful introduction to California’s short history of serious wine production, including an insightful essay about the ever-changing approach of grape growing and winemaking. With origins rooted in the effort to maximize vineyard yield, California has slowly shed its farmer’s mentality and has begun to place quality ahead of quantity. Kramer touches upon the early contributions of UC Davis professors Amerine [… read more …]