Monday, June 16, 2014

The Blessing of Boon

I’ve always been a fan of the word boon.  It’s a little funny and outdated (coming from the 12th century), but carries with it big meaning (a blessing or favor).  And somehow the simple choice of picking it as your word versus something more popular seems to give the situation more weight (just ask the Sandman comics).  Which is why it’s such a perfect name for a perfectly simple restaurant.    

Located in Guernville (Population: 4,534), BoonEat + Drink is a modern California bistro.  Tiny, yet airy with tables composed from felled redwood trees, Boon is all about the blessings of simplicity.  Its simple menu is meant to show off produce from backyard garden and area farms.  Owner Crista Luedtke (who’s dog is the inspiration for the name of the restaurant) wasn’t there that night we dined (she was at their newly opened hotel/spa a ½ mile away), but you can see her detailing in every nook and cranny of this minute restaurant that Food and Wine noted as one of the best restaurants in“America's Best Little Food Towns.”

Boon loves community; they support their local farms and businesses and use primarily organic ingredients (some from their Boon gardens both behind the restaurant and hotel).  They also use hormone-free, antibiotic-free and sustainably-raised meats as much as possible based on availability and pricing.  Boon is also committed to local drinking, serving only Russian River wines (made and brewed) and microbrew beers from no further than Mendocino County.  To start off the night, Kelly chose to partake in their 2011Chardonnay, Medlock Ames ($12) a wine with bright floral aromatics, hints of slate, and a candied hazelnut finish.

Our server Brian directed us to some greats of Boon’s menu.  We started off with the Flash Fried Brussel Sprouts, Chili, Lemon, Garlic, and Olive Oil ($7).  If candy was made out of brussel sprouts it would be this!!!  Every flavor took a bow: no one ingredient overpowered, each one was equal and individual in your mouth. 

Kelly experienced the BelFiore Burrata, Beet Hazelnut Pesto and Grilled Bread.  BelFiore is one of the few remaining small, family-owned cheese making operations in the Bay Area and it was the perfect diving board for this dish.  The bright red color of dish pronounced boldness, but it definitely waited for the taster to unleash its bloom.  “Pesto can be in your face, but with this dish the only thing in your face was the color,” noted Kelly.  “The taste was sweet and delicate like a china doll.” 

Kelly continued with the Flat Iron Steak with Truffle Fries, Chimichurri, Wild Arugula Salad with Sherry-Shallot Vinaigrette ($22).  Her steak was young and explorative in a way that reminded one that the taste of steak is fun to play with.  “Steak doesn’t always have to be filet mignon or prime rib,” she continued.  “Flat iron is the new delicacy.”

For my entrée I dined on Truffle Fries (I couldn’t get enough of them this trip) with Chimchurri instead of House-made Ketchup and Garlic Aioli ($8).   I balanced the decadence of the pommes with some healthiness with the Tuscan Kale Salad, Shaved Fennel, Medjool Dates, Crispy Shallots, Shave Parma, Kumquat Vineaigrette ($10).

We finished the night with the Bread Pudding, Currants, Citrus Zest, Vanilla Crème Angalaise, Caramel ($8).  Kelly enjoyed a French Press Pot of local roaster (surprise, surprise) Flying Goat Coffee out of Healdsburg.

And so, Boon lived up to its name, for this dinner was a perfect (locally sourced) blessing.

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