The name of Healdsburg’s newest downtown restaurant loosely translates from Italian to “many friends.”
It’s emblematic of the convivial vibe to be found at Molti Amici, which took the place of locals’ favorite, Campo Fina, in late June.
It’s the brainchild of three alums of Michelin three-starred SingleThread Farms restaurant, just a block and a half away. Owner and sommelier Jonny Barr is that venerated restaurant’s former general manager. Husband-and-wife Chef Sean McGaughey and Melissa McGaughey, are SingleThread’s former chef de cuisine and hotel baker, respectively. The couple also own Healdsburg’s Quail & Condor bakery and Troubador cafe. At Molti Amici, Seth is the executive chef and Melissa is the pastry chef. They are assisted by Chef de Cuisine Matthew Cargo, former executive sous chef of Gjusta in Los Angeles, who honed his pasta and pizza skills through extensive travels throughout Italy.
Don’t expect fancy, white tablecloth, tweezer-food here, though. Instead, it’s all about handmade pizzas and pastas, made with a confident, deft hand that befits their impressive backgrounds. When I visited a couple weeks ago, as a guest of the restaurant, I enjoyed some of the best pastas and pizzas I’ve had in a while. And if you know my carb addiction, you know that’s saying something.
When it comes to cookies, my husband is decidedly “Basic Boy.”
Meaning, he likes his chocolate chip, peanut butter, and snickerdoodle. And doesn’t like to veer to far from them.
So, “Ras El Hanout Snickerdoodles” satisfied both of our appetites. His for the classic. And mine for something a little more adventurous.
This wonderfully chewy and warmly spiced cookie recipe is from “Love Is A Pink Cake” (W.W. Norton & Co.), of which I received a review copy.
It’s by Claire Ptak, a Californian who moved to London to open her Violet Bakery. Of course, you may also know her as a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Or you may recognize her as the baker commissioned in 2018 to make the wedding cake for none other than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Sometimes I think I ought to be nicknamed “Condiment Carolyn.”
That’s because my fridge is usually filled with all manner of condiments. My husband even jokes that if I packed a hot dog or burger bun with condiments — and nothing but — I would be quite happy.
So, when samples of Small Town Cultures landed on my porch, I couldn’t wait to try these small-batch, fermented condiments.
Cori Deans started her company in the Adirondacks to manage her Crohn’s disease, after finding that symptoms of her autoimmune disease began to subside after changing her diet to include more fermented foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics.
She now has a whole line of raw, fermented foods made without preservatives, added sugar or added vinegar. They are also all gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO.
It’s been a long time in coming for Executive Chef Rogelio Garcia, who was born in Mexico City and grew up in the Napa Valley. Last year, he returned to Wine Country to open this fine-dining restaurant after honing his skills at the such revered establishments as the original Cyrus in Healdsburg, the French Laundry in Yountville, Spruce in San Francisco, and Luce in San Francisco.
This marks the first star he’s earned.
And what a triumph it has been, as evidenced by the superlative meal I experienced when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant earlier this month.
Pull up to the roundabout driveway of the country-chic resort, and you’ll find the restaurant off to the right. Auro shares the same pristine kitchen as the resort’s casual restaurant, Truss.