16248 Main Street, Guerneville, CA 95446. (707) 869-0780

During my recent work trip, many of the locals were kind enough to offer restaurant recommendations. One place I kept hearing about repeatedly was Boon Eat + Drink. It was pricier than what my work per diem allowed but one of my coworkers and I decided to go check it out anyway. Yes, I know...I have champagne taste on a beer budget. ☺

We found this Guerneville hotspot easily enough. It was located in a small row of eateries on Main Street, just a couple doors down from an interesting looking cabaret/wine bar. It was quite small and bistroesque in nature. The whole restaurant consisted of about 10 tables (mostly deuces) along with two tables squeezed outside. We lucked out that there was a 2-top open when we arrived and the hostess was able to seat us immediately. Inside, there wasn't a lot of room to move about and it was a bit loud, but they make the chaos work somehow. I have to say, I loved the whimsical dog-catching-a-Frisbee wallpaper that decorated one wall. So cute! (I wanted to take a photo of it for you but the lighting was pretty dim in the restaurant. Sorry!)

Boon's menu was brief (a smattering of salads, small plates, and entrées) but ranged from dishes like grass-fed burgers with crispy truffle fries (and homemade ketchup and aioli), a decadent sounding mac-and-cheese, to a sublime-sounding polenta lasagna with mixed seasonal veggies and a spicy marinara. My coworker went with the mac and cheese with wild mushrooms topped with truffled bread crumbs; which she said was sinfully rich and oh so creamy. I opted to start with the grilled calamari salad with arugula, citrus segments, shaved fennel, castelvetrano olives and a lemon vinaigrette. The helping of squid was generous and the salad was delicious. The orange segments in my calamari salad really brightened the dish and it was nice to see calamari prepared in such a simple manner. The flavor and texture of the squid was able to shine through (I'm so over deep fried batter smothering my calamari). For my entrée, I went with the seared halibut with grape salsa over spicy black lentils and greens. The fish was cooked perfectly. The lentils, on the other hand, could have been cooked just a tad longer; nevertheless, the spicy kick of the lentils contrasted perfectly with the sweetness of the grapes - and I ate all of them.

Table service at Boon could be summed as mediocre. Our waiter was zooming around in high gear but it would have been nice had he checked back on us after we got our food to make sure everything was going smoothly. We had to flag him down whenever we needed something and it was a bit like trying to lasso Speedy Gonzalez.

Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Boon Eat+Drink to friends if they're in the area. I love that they use seasonal produce to enhance their dishes. Everything I tasted during my visit was seasoned well and alive with flavor. (Don't worry about the calories, you can hike them off the next day at nearby Armstrong Redwoods State Preserve.) Next time, I'd love to take the time to sample some of the Russian River wines and beers on their list. My only recommendation to Boon Eat + Drink would be to invest in some air conditioning. Gah! It was incredibly warm inside the restaurant even with the doors open. I could see sweat glistening on surrounding patrons foreheads as well. No bueno.
10439 California 1, Jenner, CA 95450. (707) 865-2251

So last week, I went on my first work trip with my new job. We got to spend 5 days in the lovely Russian River area. The scenery in that part of California was beautiful (billowy fog, clear blue water and loads and loads of trees, flowers and greenery), not to mention it was about 20 degrees cooler than Sacramento. My coworkers and I stayed at this little hotel in Guerneville (called Fern Grove) made up of little rustic cottages.

My cottage had a separate living room as well as a kitchenette with a microwave and a fridge. Nothing fancy but cute nonetheless. The bathroom did have this additional, weird red overhead light though. When turned on, it gave the bathroom this weird opium den feel and made me want to belt out the Police's "Roxanne." (Later, I found out this was a heat light.)

The second day of our trip, my coworkers and I met up with the superintendent for Mendocino-Russian River State Parks District at Café Aquatica for an early morning meeting. Café Aquatica is located in the small, picturesque town of Jenner and looks like a charming beach shack set along the side of the road.

The coffee shop itself is quite tiny, but there's ample seating outside and with a spectacular view like this who wouldn't want to sit outside?

The two gals working the shop the day we visited were sweet as pie. When one of my coworkers panicked because they only took cash, they graciously told her that she could pay them back next time she was in the area. (Don't worry, she got covered.) Café Aquatica's coffee, I have to say, is just as good as their view. They get their beans from a small fair-trade farm in Nicaragua and micro roast them on site. There was none of that burnt or acidy taste that a lot of places seem to have. Each cup is done as a pour over, made to order. They also offer a mouthwatering menu of fresh soups, salads, sandwiches and baked treats. Try one of their breakfast sandwiches! (My coworker said it was delicious. Her poached eggs with lox on toasted, homemade focaccia looked amazing and I instantly regretted not ordering one to go.) Also, according to the barista, they only use certified organic and non-GMO products- so that's a big plus. ☺

If you're in the area and aren't in a rush, I highly recommend stopping by Café Aquatica for a cuppa joe. Take it out onto the raised deck, plop yourself into an Adirondack chair and grab a moment of peace and tranquility before starting your day. It's such a great place to collect your thoughts, inhale some crisp, coastal air and refuel your soul.

(PS dog lovers- Fido is welcome here, so bring him to enjoy the view as well.)


3193 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95818.  (916) 475-1223.

Mr. S. and I have a ritual that's been going for awhile now. Every other week after his haircut, we meet up at Vic's and get two coffees to-go, we then either walk around the Land Park neighborhood commenting on yards (we're always trying to get landscaping ideas for his yard) or head over to the WPA Rock Garden to chat and catch each other up on our days. It's a simple date but a nice one, a little downtime during the hectic week.

Up until recently we would always meet at the Temple Coffee on S Street, but our visits there have been tapering off. Sure, we still go there if we're getting some morning joe to-go but we rarely stay there and hang out anymore. The patio is always too full, the coffee shop is bursting with people camping out with their laptops for HOURS on end and the newer staff members just aren't as friendly. The coffee is still quite delicious though. Vic's, on the other hand, is peaceful, has plenty of seating and the staff always seems glad to see a customer. Best of all, they serve the Temple coffee that I love. By the way, I can attest that their barista, George, makes a mean iced Americano (my current fav summertime drink). In addition to standard coffee drinks, they also serve Italian sodas, loose teas and scrumptious blended drinks with homemade whipped cream.

If you're looking for some nibbles, this community coffee shop also offers a limited menu of breakfast burritos, salads, sandwiches and Old Soul Co. pastries. And of course- you can always pop into their wonderful, old-fashioned ice cream parlor next door afterwards to satiate your sweet tooth. Vic's is a terrific addition to the neighborhood. There's something for everyone. My only wish is that they would invest in some tables for outside. There's plastic patio chairs lined up in a row out there currently, but it's not a comfortable atmosphere for hanging out in and I love to chat while drinking my coffee. Inside though, they do have chairs, tables, booths, comfy couches...and the ever-essential Wi-Fi.

If you've ever spent any time wandering around the produce section of an Asian supermarket, you've probably run across these:

The ziziphus jujube goes by many names- but most commonly it's called a red date, Chinese date or jujube. It's part of the Buckthorn botanical family and has been cultivated by the Chinese for over 4,000 years. In ancient times, it was classified as one of the five celebrated fruits of China along with peach, plum, chestnut, and apricot.  

Jujubes are a smooth, oval-shaped edible drupe with a small stone in the center. The outer layer is a bit of a pale yellow-green color and the Styrofoam-like white flesh tastes like a bland apple. Most cultures put jujubes out in the sun to dry out and as they mature they turn a golden brown and take on a sweeter taste. Eventually they take on a red color and wrinkle up like old man testicles. The fruit is used to make a multitude of items- jams, tea, wine, lozenges, a variety of desserts and even jujube butter. (Also jujubes make a great substitute for dates in recipes.) The fruit and seeds are also used in Korean and Chinese medicine to alleviate stress, help with insomnia, lower blood pressure and to help treat colds, flus and sore throats. Jujubes contain twenty times more Vitamin C than any other citrus fruit. 

Jujube Tea


8 cups water
15-20 dried jujubes, cut in half and seed removed
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, sliced
4 tablespoons honey (optional)


1. Wash your dried jujubes in cold water. Discard the water.
2. Place 8 cups of water into your pot. Add in jujubes and ginger. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer.
3. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add honey and mint. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
4. Remove from heat. Allow to steep for a few more minutes.
5. Strain. Keep the liquid and discard the solids.
6. Serve hot or chilled.

* You can also make this recipe in a slow cooker for a longer steep.
* If you want to change up the flavor, you can substitute some cinnamon sticks for the fresh mint.