THE FREMONT DINER
2698 Fremont Drive, Sonoma, CA.
I feel like I tell everyone who is going back to California to make their way to the Fremont Diner. It’s in Sonoma, conveniently en route to Napa Valley and it’s easily a destination spot. I sometimes refer to it as my favorite place ever, probably because they have that old-school country diner vibe mixed with incredibly tasty, seasonal, real food, down to a tee. It’s American-style fare, which is usually pretty unhealthy, but they use such quality ingredients and so much love goes into their dishes you can taste it — they cure and smoke all their meats in-house.
Their ricotta pancakes can be ordered as a main as well as a side to whatever other breakfast goodness you may choose, like their Minty Mashed Pea Breakfast Toast, with a poached egg and chile flakes. Chicken and Waffles is an essential Americana dish, which they do quite well, but I have to say their Chilaquiles blew me away — the tomatillo-guajilo they use is a dark salsa that’s sweet, smoky with a bit of spice and goes ontop of the chips. The beans are slow-cooked and barbecue-y and of course you gotta have that fresh, creamy, colorful avocado — I stepped up and added the smoked pork, which flaked off the fork perfectly.
Speaking of pork, their whole hog sandwich, served for lunch, is made with their own BBQ sauce, and has a side of pickled fennel with coriander seeds — mmmmm. Their burger is excellent, especially with a Scrimshaw beer or an Arnold Palmer. You can get either of these with their side of potato salad, which has sliced cornichons and grain mustard, cole slaw, or baked beans. If you’re feeling something a bit lighter and less meaty, go for their grilled cheese which they refreshingly make with goat cheese, asparagus, a spinach salad, and pickled red onions.
I think I’ve covered most of my favorites — their Reuben sandwich is also not to be missed. The cookie above is a peanut butter piglet, which goes really nicely with one of their milkshakes. Oh, they also always have homebaked pecan pie and bread puddings baked with whichever fruit is in season. Coffee is on the house.