Zazu Restaurant + Farm, Santa Rosa CA

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California is known for its amazingly fresh, seasonal and local cuisine and Zazu is no exception. Zazu Restaurant + Farm prides itself on farm-to-table style dining and we were lucky enough to experience it this past weekend. What makes Zazu different from many restaurants outside of California, yet similar to many within the state, is the organic garden on site.

Being that we were in an area known for its wine, my mother and I started off with some red wine. Joel and my father opted for a different approach: a local beer called Blind Pig. Their beer was bottled only 1 week earlier and tasted just as fresh. In fact, the bottle recommended that the beer NOT age, and be consumed as soon as possible. Joel and my father made sure that happened.

For our meal, we began with several small bites that included fried chickpeas (crispy, with hints of smokey flavor from paprika) as well as dates wrapped in bacon (tasty, but my mom does ’em better!). Aside from the small plates, the boys ordered some local cold water oysters that were covered with three different kinds of salty tobiko creating some of the best oysters they had every tried.

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We all chose very different main courses ranging from hanger steak and pungent blue cheese stuffed raviolis (mine) to Chinese New Year style spare ribs (my mothers choice). When I’m ordering, I always keep in mind whether the meal is something that I can cook at home or not, and my steak and raviolis was something I could not — making it all the more appetizing. The same went for the delicious, spicy, falling-off-the-bone spare ribs my mom ordered. Joel and my father again went down a similar route with a fish dish. Joel went for hamachi tartare which was silky smooth, just salty enough and flavorful. My dad’s choice was a delicately-peppered tuna steak, barely cooked and plated over a pile of delicious, hearty spaghetti, which he enjoyed to the fullest.

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Although our stomachs were stuffed, we decided to go for desert. I have a saying that there is always room for desert — what do you think your appendix is for after all?! We filled the remaining space in our bellies with homemade gelato in flavors like luscious peanut butter, perfectly sweetened vanilla bean and my favorite: a cinnamon laced horchata — SO good! A perfect way to end a perfect meal.

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