zazu and TasteLive!

Now for an amazing dinner recap. Once again, the awesome Chef Robin White helped us to plan our wine country stay, and she suggested a meeting with some of the folks from TasteLive!, Cailyn and Joel.  One of Cailyn’s suggestions was zazu, and after I checked out their website and found that Monday nights were their farm dinner, I was in.

Zazu Restaurant and Farm

From zazu’s website:

zazu is a roadhouse restaurant surrounded by 150 of sonoma county’s acclaimed wineries. At zazu, we are playful Americana and rustic Northern Italian inspired.

Russian River Valley Wine Growers Zazu Santa Rosa Farm Dinner

Located amongst the vines in Santa Rosa, zazu’s property includes a garden where some of the restaurant’s food is grown. The rest of the food is grown/raised at a farm just a few minutes away. The animals on the farm are fed vegetable scraps from the restaurant, making good use of anything that goes to waste. They have a really cute photo on their website of a pig eating yogurt. Check it out, trust me, it will make you smile.

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I am not sure if the above cat belongs to zazu, but it was friendly and kept us company for the few minutes we waited to go inside.


zazu doesn’t open until 5:30, but Cailyn and Joel were able to get them to open a little early for us to have some wine at the bar.  Joel chose a delicious Rochioli Chardonnay which was pleasantly crisp without any buttery or oaky flavors at all.  Chef John Stewart also sent out a pork terrine with delicious grilled bread, grainy mustard, and pickled watermelon rind.

Rochioli Chardonnay

We loved meeting Joel and Cailyn and learning more about TasteLive! Joel and Eric also discovered that they may have some long lost relatives in common back in Ireland.


TasteLive! is bringing wine lovers around the world together through live online tastings with people in the know. You no longer need to travel across the country to “meet” and taste with winemakers, you can just log on to TasteLive!

TasteLive!’s “About” Statement:

Our platform leverages the increasingly powerful social media tools of Twitter, Facebook, Posterous and other services to create a community that brings together consumers, bloggers, press, suppliers, brewers and winemakers across the world together to share in their favorite beverage. TasteLive! is a direct link between consumers and winemakers, no filter, no middle man.

Cailyn and Joel are also working on a fabulous event with the Russian River Valley Winegrowers, Grape to Glass. Lee, who is the Marketing Director for the RRV Winegrowers, stopped by to give me some information on the event, and if you are going to be in Sonoma August 20-22, you should go so I can live vicariously through you! I REALLY wish we had known about the event sooner, because I may have saved our trip to CA just to attend.

Cailyn, Joel, and Lee, all had to run, so the hubs and I enjoyed the farm dinner for two. We started with some fresh bread and butter.


And then moved on to a grilled Caesar salad with an enormous crouton. I love grilled salads and have seen them a lot on our visits to California.


The second course on the regular menu was a brisket sandwich, but I asked about a vegetarian option and they were more than accommodating presenting me instead with a beautiful, flavorful bowl of Israeli couscous with sweet corn and zucchini. The couscous had a light, lemony flavor, and I have been thinking about it for the past two weeks. I was literally laying in bed this morning thinking about how I can recreate it.



We were too full for our own desserts, and I may have made our reservation a little close to our flight time, so we shared this gorgeous berry and peach crisp with brown sugar gelato. It was the perfect portion to get a few bites of juicy fruit, crumbly topping, and sweet, cool gelato. Yum.

While we were eating, Chef Stewart came out to say hi, and I wish we had more time to talk to him. He and his wife, who was out of town at a training, seem SO interesting and are incredibly accomplished in the food and wine industry, not to mention I love their commitment to local food and humanely raised animals.


During dinner, we also took part in tasting their “Blind Wine” and failed miserably at guessing what it was. As I was sprinting out the door to get in the car to head back to Oakland, our very sweet waitress disclosed that it was a Chenin Blanc. I never would have guessed that, apparently I need to do more wine tasting ;)

Dinner at zazu was the perfect way to end our visit to Sonoma, and it is a restaurant that we may have missed otherwise.

Don’t worry, although zazu was our last dinner in Sonoma, I still have plenty more wine country posts coming up!

Now that blogging is done for the day, I am off to volunteer at the MSPCA and then for a massage!

What are you up to this weekend?

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Tags: Dining out, restaurants in wine country, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Travel, wine

  1. Simply Life’s avatar

    Oh that couscous does look amazing!


  2. Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear’s avatar

    I love grilled salads too, that caesar one looks so good :)


  3. Rowie’s avatar

    I just moved to BC from california about a year ago. I lived in Santa Rosa, and drove past Zazu almost daily. I also knew a few people who did/or had worked there. Glad to hear they’re still doing well! Good food!


  4. Angela (the diet book junkie)’s avatar

    ah, don’t feel bad about “failing” your blind taste test. i read somewhere that if you add food coloring, even the experts can’t tell the difference between a white and red :)

    (pickled watermelon rind? wow, knew to me:))


  5. Susan’s avatar

    I had never heard of TasteLive before, but what an amazing concept!


  6. Meghan’s avatar

    I will be more than happy to help taste test when you recreate that risotto! Yum, looks delicious.


  7. Adrienne’s avatar

    What a lovely place. I wish I had something like that nearby. Love the no-pretense food.


  8. Corinne’s avatar

    zazu i love the name! i hope you figured out how to recreate the meal….and thennnn share it with us ha


  9. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite’s avatar

    Just ate here tonight. LOVED the farm dinner. Post to come!


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