A Slice of SoCo Restaurant Week
The restaurant industry is damnably fickle, even in the best of times.
As we find ourselves in the middle of Sonoma County Restaurant Week—Feb. 19–28—during a pandemic nonetheless, I want to give an enthused shoutout to those restaurants that are somehow surviving despite the ebb of customers and the influx of laws and limitations that come with the times. I also offer a sympathetic tip of the hat to those who have had to close or who may not make it to the wavering mirage of the oasis we call “normalcy.”
Whether you’ve “made it” or not, we thank you. We who are weary of cooking ceaseless meals and who can afford to pay a professional to ease the burden are certainly grateful for that privilege. We are blessed in Sonoma County by an abundance of culinary excellence. I would marry restaurants if I could, but I must content myself with the occasional tryst.
Speaking of normalcy, what could be more cliche than ordering pizza on a weekend? But, when I tried Acre Pizza recently, I found it to be anything but normal. It was actually quite special—in a league of its own. According to family legend, my first words were “MORE, MORE, MORE” as I grasped at the air ecstatically. I only say this to convey to you that I value quantity as much as quality. So, while I knew from the menu that I would be getting high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, I was afraid Acre might dole out its pizza in supermodel portions that would leave my inner Greedy Baby high and dry. But that was not the case: gold stars for quality and quantity! Happy Greedy Baby!
Acre features two regional styles of pizza: New York and Detroit. I’m a fan of thin crusts, which they do to perfection, but this was my first foray into a thick Detroit crust. In fact, Greedy Baby broke off a section of the caramelized cheese crust and popped it in her mouth as she drove home, nearly crashing her car because it was so good her eyes rolled back in her head. That 72-hour-fermented light, fluffy crust was topped with grande mozzarella and Zoe’s pepperoni, and finished with California vine-ripened tomato sauce, grana padano, wild oregano and garlic oil. Everything about the pepperoni Detroit was 100 percent correct.
We also had the farm pizza with fontina cheese, taleggio, mozzarella, baby spinach, red onion and local mushroom, finished with garlic-infused olive oil, lemon zest and 18-month-aged parmigiano reggiano. My husband is vegan-ish, so we substituted the various cheeses with Miyoko’s vegan cashew cheese. It was delicious. We spent several minutes rolling the “cheese” around our mouths trying to figure out if they’d gotten the order wrong and used the real stuff. I was impressed by the GF and vegan options on the menu—and by the gorgeous salads, which are generously sized, for those of us who care about such things. I’ll absolutely be going back for “MORE, MORE, MORE!”
In honor of Restaurant Week, treat yourself or someone else to a restaurant meal, and help preserve Sonoma County’s exquisite culinary roots. You can get a meal-to-go, or dine al fresco. Or, if you prefer, buy a gift card to stoke a vision of yourself enjoying some future, shimmering semblance of normalcy.