The Chicken & Dumplings @ Fremont Diner, Sonoma Carneros

Up front: Chicken and nettle dumplings; In back: Biscuit with ham, mustard, and blueberry preserves.

I’ve been an early adopter of the Fremont Diner, having made my first visit there sometime in the summer of 2009, on the way out to a wine-tasting excursion in the Russian River Valley. Since then, I’ve covered their menu extensively within these pages, and my favorite dish remains the black-pepper brisket hash. My recent lunch of chicken and dumplings, pictured above, ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack, which is good indication of the Fremont Diner’s overall consistency. It’s a nice dish for winter — plenty of chicken, well-seasoned broth, with nettle dumplings that are dense and slightly herbaceous. Still, I must admit that I was secretly hoping for light and pillowy dumplings, something more ethereal than earth-bound. Given the circumstances, I assume that any true Southerner would probably feel the same way.

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