In planning our trip to Napa & Sonoma I reached out to several of my foodie and well-traveled friends for tips on where we should eat. Over and over again I was met with a resounding “but you HAVE to eat at The Girl & The Fig” so I reached out to Sondra Berstein, aka THE GIRL of The Girl & The Fig and she set us up to get the full experience!
Here is what you need to know about me before I go any further. I’m southern to the core when it comes to food. I love grandma’s cooking more than any person you will ever meet, I will 100% eat a fried bologna & cheese biscuit from a gas station in the middle of nowhere as long as it’s cooked by sweet country ladies and I could for sure eat a freshly grilled hotdog, yes I said hotdog, about every day of the week.
On the other hand I have had the privilege of traveling the world and eating pretty much every type of food there is. Probably my sole claim to foodie fame is when I had a job that landed me in NYC about every other week with an uber foodie coworker who just happened to be friends with what I felt was every top chef in the area. Like seriously Food Network top chef types. If I was a foodie I could probably remember their names but instead what I remember is her dragging me all across Manhattan going to eatery after eatery. She made me try everything. Tartare before eating raw meat was cool, sweetbreads before she told me I was eating a pancreas, duck hearts, you name it. Except for bone marrow. I couldn’t bring myself to suck out the bone marrow.
I tell you all this so that you know that I have tried just about every food from the fanciest of fancy to the dirtiest of dirty and I am a self-proclaimed delicious food excerpt. This means I’m not going to tell you something is great just because it’s expensive and has a fancy description and I’m also not going to discount a meal as terrible just because it was cooked in the back of a gas station or a roadside shack.
Which brings me to my experience at The Girl & The Fig. It was the perfect hybrid of fancy food meets melt in your mouth taste with one of the most welcoming atmospheres I’ve ever enjoyed.
When you pull up to The Girl & The Fig you are greeted by a glowing facade and a sign that says “Country Food with a French Passion”. Immediately I was sold. The front of the restaurant is so inviting with it’s large glass windows, potted window boxes, whimsical decor and hand lettered signs. Then once you enter the doors you are greeted by friendly staff at the hostess stand and just yonder way there is a full bar with glass mirrors behind it and more hand chalked lettering of the day’s specials. I had to double check that I hadn’t just stumbled into an episode of cheers set in an airy dream world of California. Hi sir, do you know my name? Is this real? Just checking.
We were escorted out back because dining Al Fresco is my love language and as soon as we walked into the outdoor courtyard sitting area I was in awe. Edison lights galore, perfectly crisp (and not humid at all) California air, candles lit, bubbles poured and plenty of heating lamps to go around should the night air get chilly. At this point in the evening they could have handed me a 3 day old PB&J and I would still tell you the experience was remarkable.
But they didn’t. They brought out plate after plate of delightfully intricate yet extremely tasty dishes. Remember how I was talking about my love for dirty food? Well sometimes I shy away from dishes with eloquent descriptions because I fear they will be all together too fancy and not tasty or they will be the size of a tablespoon on my plate. The Girl & The Fig somehow manages to make those fancy sounding dishes not only extremely tasty but also extremely filling. We dined on grass-fed steak tartare with lavender sea salt and toast, goats milk cheese topped with lavender honey, wild flounder with yukon potato puree, cello spinach and lemon-caper brown butter, and my personal favorite, the 6-ounce prime flat iron steak serves with frites (thats fries for all you southerners) and garlic & herb butter.
In fact, in a cardinal sin of restaurant blogging, I was so busy stuffing my face and making sure I got to try everyone’s meal before they devoured it that I only snapped a couple of shots of the plates before I would let everyone dig in. (Side note – don’t try to dine with a blogger. We can be very annoying when you are hungry & the food looks amazing.)
At the end of the meal we sipped some coffee with Baileys and chatted with our extremely friendly Nepalese waitress until we all about shut the place down. It was a dreamy end to a dreamy day in wine country. I will be posting a complete guide to Napa & Sonoma in the coming days but if you are looking to book a trip in the near future please heed my advice and go to The Girl & The Fig. I promise you won’t be disappointed.