Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Rare Trip Outside My Kitchen...The Fremont Diner

   Why did I not know about this place? How could I have been going back and forth from Sonoma to LA and back for so long and have this elude me?? Why did I have to hear about it from E-gullet and Chowhound and my blogging friend Erin from The Endive Chronicles which happens to be way over the hill in Petaluma? I'm a Sonoman, I should know what's in my own backyard. Who has been keeping this from me??
Me as it turns out. It seems as though it's no mystery. The Fremont Diner is not Brigadoon vanishing into the Wine Country mists only to appear and reappear every hundred years or so. It's elusive quality is all a matter of the road less taken. In my case Highway 121, the main thoroughfare turnoff from Highway 37 to Napa and all points beyond. The Carneros Highway.
It turns out that when we go to Napa in search of a nearby Trader Joes, or Office Depot, or Bistro Jeanty, you know all the little necessities of life,we always travel by the Old Napa Road and so have missed it! No more! This is a place you don't want to miss. They have hush puppies.
Hush Puppies With Remoulade
   The Fremont Diner used to be known as Babes' Burgers and is close by the Sonoma Skypark aka Sonoma Airport. And little further on down the Road is Stornettas Dairy and Laura Chenel Cheese. Once you find the trail there you will return again and again. Of course when Irving was visiting last week, that was the first place we had to hit.
 The Fremont Diner is not very large. There is counter space inside...
Counter Service
 Which can fill up quickly depending on the time of day.
 There are about half a dozen large tables inside.
Headless Doll Decor
Boxes of games and toys ( Mr. Potato heads) and puzzles to keep the kids happy before the food comes, and if the weather is nice, ample outdoor seating.
Al Fresco Dining In The Vineyards
  The way it works is one lines up at a service window and puts in the order, then finds a seat somewhere. Names are called out when the food is ready. It's self service at it's most efficient.
   As to the food, it is well prepared down-home comfort food with primo ingredients. Out back, there are chickens to supply the fresh eggs and other "poultry matters." Pigs can also sometimes be seen (I've seen them) though the only pork in evidence the other day was slow cooked and on a bun.
The "Whole Hog" With Rancho Gordo Beans
  The beans  featured in the dishes and for sale in bags are Steve Sandos' Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, the same as found at the celebrated French Laundry .
Cincinatti Chili
 However, this is most definitely NOT the French Laundry either in price or formality!
The Farmer's Breakfast Toast spread with Goat cheese is a light delight
Farmers Breakfast Toast
 There are thick homemade milkshakes in flavors I'd never dreamed of.
Shake And Float Menu
And homemade jams, jellies and sauces are for sale.
Jams, Jellies And Beans
  So far I've been here for breakfast and lunch, the two meals that they serve. The cheesy grits are insane though I was disappointed with the scrambled eggs. Having started  life as a short order cook in a diner dive in San Francisco, I am picky about My Scrambled Eggs and these didn't make the cut. There were so many other wonderful breakfasty things to try, such as ricotta pancakes and waffles that I really didn't miss them.
  For lunch, toss in brisket and burgers and pulled pork and a whole field of fresh salads, mac and cheese, breakfast items too, and something that Irving ordered called Cincinatti Chili. Being a native San Franciscan I'd never heard of  it before. It consisted of mac and cheese topped with what else but chili made with Rancho Gordo beans. Frosty iced tea is served in jelly jars.
   If you're visiting the Wine Country and are planning on going to Fremont Diner, get there early if you're going on the dot for breakfast or lunch. Weekdays are better when one is contending with the likes of us hungry locals. I said, get there early!
  So what else can I tell you about this place? The prices are fair and the portions ample and yes, unlike so many other little roadside joints, they do take plastic.
  Coming up next a whole bunch of stuff that culminates with me participating in a Burger Contest on Sunday. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. How did I miss this place? With the hush puppies! I love that first photo of you. Super cool.

  2. You look like you have fun and its always nice to eat some fun new foods these all look great!

  3. What an adorable and quaint spot! It sounds delicious too.

  4. Idyllic! Now this is American food at its wholesome and downhome best. if there were only more places like this...



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