Day Trip: The Barlow in Sebastopol
To call The Barlow in Sebastopol a "business park" is to conjure up a beige landscape of prefab buildings. But since the businesses in this new development are all artisanal producers and restaurants--ten of which are now open to the public--the complex merits a proper eating expedition.
Drink in the afternoon. Most of the winery tasting rooms are still under construction, but you can drop by the brand-new Spirit Works Distillery to try its gin and vodka, both made with organic California wheat. Follow up with a postprandial, pre-dinner espresso at the legendary Taylor Maid Farms, which roasts its beans on site.
Dine porkily. Three weeks ago, Duskie Estes and John Stewart moved Zazu Kitchen + Farm from Santa Rosa to an airy warehouse on the complex's main strip. Sides of their Black Pig bacon appear on many tables, of course, and the menu is heavily larded with meaty dishes, such as juicy fried chicken ($25) and a snout-to-tail sampler ($9.50). However, we equally enjoyed ricotta tortoloni ($16 for a small) with heirloom tomatoes and squash blossoms grown in the on-site gardens.
Drink some more. Even if you don't eat at Woodfour Brewing, stop in for a sampler of Seth Wood and Olav Vier's astonishingly nuanced beers ($8). We particularly liked the perfumed but kicky Imperial Saison and the nutty Roggenbier, brewed with rye.
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