Bovolo Will Bowl You Over

It’s no big deal these days to snag a decent latte and a nice pastry inside your neighborhood bookstore.

But how about being able to pick up a best-selling novel, a glossy mag, and a plate of dreamy pasta carbonara?

Yeah, not many bookstores can boast of that. But Copperfield’s Books in downtown Healdsburg sure can. That’s because past the front door, past the shelves of books, and all the way in the back of the store, you’ll find Bovolo, a sunny restaurant that makes everything from scratch from locally grown ingredients and specializes in the meat-of-the-moment, pork.

Bovolo, the sister restaurant of Zazu Restaurant & Farm in Santa Rosa, is a tiny 24-seat cafe big on charm.ร‚ย  It makes its own bacon and salumi from heritage pigs, as well as its own fabulous gelato. It features “Fish Frydays,” the only day of the week that pig makes room for fish. Corkage is also free for Sonoma County residents. Enter through the backdoor at 9 a.m. before the bookstore opens, and you can enjoy a rustic breakfast of fried sweetened goat cheese turnovers, a breakfast pizza or a black pig bacon, egg and cheese sammy.

Just be sure to time your visit well, as Bovolo is open only until 6 p.m. on weekdays.

The hubster and I made it there just before closing to enjoy an early dinner.

We started with the Dry Jack Caesar ($9.50) that had a nice salty tang from the shards of cheese showered over the top.

That was followed by the Farfalline Pasta Carbonara ($10.50), made with house-made bacon, farm egg and Parmesan. We split one order, which was a good thing because this baby is super rich. But boy, is it to die for. Soft yet toothsome pasta is coated in creaminess made even richer by the abundant pieces of excellent bacon. It’s one of those dishes where you take a bite and time just stands still.

Next, a pizza topped with prosciutto, fontina and peppery argula ($13.50). The crust — crispy, airy and thin — had the snap more of flatbread than typical pizza dough.

Of course, we had to order the “World Famous Pork Cheek Sandwich” ($10). Stuffed high with succulent, tender pork, roasted peppers and salsa verde, it was messy but good, with a wonderful zesty bite from the sweet, smoky peppers.

When I spied the ginger gelato, I knew I had to try some, along with a scoop of the maple gelato, too ($3.75). The ginger was very bright with the pungent rhizome, and the maple was sweetly satisfying.

Ahhh, if only more bookstores had restaurants like this inside. Maybe it would spur folks to read more. Just maybe.

More: My Q&A with Chef Duskie Estes

And: Piggy Pops by Duskie Estes

More Eats in Healdsburg: Dry Creek Kitchen

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