I’ve been on a very clean eating, low calorie, no sugar thing for the last few months now. It’s hard to work blogging into this lifestyle. Especially at a winery. My plan was to just focus on the food and skip the wine at Solterra. But I suppose just tasting some wine doesn’t count as actual wine drinking, so I partook in a tasting flight. Tasting is not drinking.
All wines were very good with the second wine being my favorite. It was listed as Solterra’s”Wine of the Month” in August. It’s called the “’17 Barbera”. I’m not a fancy wine connoisseur but I know what I like, and I loved this wine.
The live music was a treat. And really, how many times do you listen to xylophone during dinner? Where does one go to learn how to play the xylophone past age 5? I’m not knocking it, just curious. This guy was terrific!
After taking a quick glance at the prices on the main menu, I suggested to Hubby, who had stopped breathing, that maybe we should just stick to the Happy Hour menu tonight. He exhaled and didn’t stop nodding for three straight minutes.
As long as I was skipping out on drinking wine, I decided to just stick to the vegetable dishes on the Happy Hour menu. Because when I’m being good, I’m rock solid!
Hubby and I ordered the Roasted Carrots. Carrots are full of Vitamin A and beta carotene. Just a nice healthy vegetable dish. It doesn’t matter if the carrots are smothered in pesto, nuts and cheese. As long as carrots are the main ingredient, complimentary calories don’t count. If we hadn’t just had the pesto at Nectarine Grove last week, we might have loved this dish. But the pesto here just couldn’t compare. It was good, it just wasn’t Nectarine Grove good.
Next, we ordered the Cauliflower. Sure they were flashed fried and swimming in a vinaigrette sauce, but it’s basically just cauliflower. This dish looks simple, but was actually outstanding. I highly recommend getting this.
The hummus plate is essentially just vegetables too: garbanzo beans with vegetable crudites. Sure, I ate some pita, but I didn’t eat the pita because it tasted good, it was a necessary vessel to send the vegetables from plate to mouth. Could have been a spoon. Happened to be pita. No calories in vessels. And let me just say that for someone who mainly eats sprouted, whole grain bread, these pieces of white fluffy, nutrition-less dough tasted like little pillows of heaven. And they were warm. Our attentive waitress noticed our heavenly white pillows were long gone before our delicious hummus was finished, and brought us more.
The ceviche was a bit of a let down. First of all, it lacked complexity. It tasted “fine” but there is so much opportunity for greatness with ceviche using citrus and chilies, that this was just unremarkable. And didn’t the menu say this was a bay shrimp and Dungeness crab ceviche? I know crabs like to hide under rocks, but I checked everywhere, and there were none to be found. I asked our kind waitress if maybe our Dungeness dudes took the night off to head over to the Krusty Krab for camaraderie. After checking in the kitchen, she admitted that their crab shipment never came today. That was a bummer. I felt cheated. Kind of crabby of them to list it and then deny us. It was only a shell of the dish described on the menu.
Lynne was impressed with her $8 House salad. Me, not so much. Just…salad. But it was organic and presented well.
Katie’s Patatas Bravas were very good and priced right for happy hour at $5.
Because I’m not eating sugar, ordering dessert would be a no-no. Except when there’s something on the menu called “Chocolate”. Just chocolate. Not listed as chocolate cake or chocolate pie. It’s just CHOCOLATE and one must order something just called CHOCOLATE.
The reason why this dessert is called “Chocolate” is because no other words would do it justice. Tasting this pure chocolate with a smidge of berry and a dollop of vanilla ice cream was just perfection. The sweetness on my tongue was like one’s first sip of water after crossing a hot dessert. But I only allowed myself that one small bite. Yah right! NOT! Our four forks attacked this dessert like we struck gold. It was so violent, I’m surprised no one left bloodied. See those green things on the plate? VEGETABLES! ‘Cause really that’s all I’m eating tonight!
The Good: The happy hour is legit. Many places offer a very limited happy hour, take off only $1 per dish, or make the dishes smaller. But Solterra gives you the same size plate of food on their happy hour menu as on their regular menu. For instance, the ceviche was $4 less here than on their main menu. That put the happy in my hour!
The restaurant itself has a nice, casual atmosphere with both inside and outside dining. It’s the kind of place where you want to hang out with friends, and the live music is a bonus.
Great wines for all levels of wine drinkers. Or for those not drinking, just wine tasting.
Our service was better than “good”. It was superb. Couldn’t have been better.
The Bad: The food was inconsistent. Some of our dishes were terrific (hummus, cauliflower and CHOCOLATE) but others weren’t at that same level. At this kind of establishment I would expect more consistency and have top notch food across the board.
The Ugly: The prices on their main menu are atrocious. I compare Solterra to 3rd Corner, our last winery/restaurant we blogged on the 101. 3rd corner was even more upscale than Solterra. The food there was as outstanding as their wine list.
The Free Range Pan Roasted Chicken at 3rd Corner is $19.95. Solterra’s Organic Chicken Breast is $26. A steak at 3rd Corner will set you back $19.95, but at Solterra it is $41. I’m sure the cut of meat may be different, but still, a $21 difference is a lot of beef!
I would highly recommend coming to Solterra during happy hour. The dishes are good, the wine is great and the atmosphere is really nice. Don’t forget to order CHOCOLATE.
Some have a “brag book” others, a “brag wall”. They’re obviously doing something right here.
Please do not join us on our next blog. I will not tell you what day or time we will be there. The place is teeny tiny with only a few seats at the sushi bar. Feel free to go on your own and share your experience with me!
Kai Ola Sushi