Who would have known such a tasty little gem was tucked away in Upper Lake, CA?
On our weekend getaway to Clear Lake, we were recommended to a few local restaurants by the owners of the B&B where we were staying. We happily took their suggestions but did not have high expectations with our spoiled city tastebuds. I guess I have to say that we were wrong in that assumption but ended up being unexpectedly pleased.
Blue Wing Saloon is a quaint restaurant recreated in the likeness of the town’s original saloon which was built in the 1880′s. With the rich wooden panel interior and the vintage lighting, it really seemed to be something out of an old country western. This strip of downtown Main Street is also fashioned to its 19th century roots with a sidewalk of wooden slats and somewhat colonial architecture.
We were warmly welcomed (don’t you love small towns?) and were seated by the window with a generous bread basket. Oh, the bread basket. Both famished and exhausted, we went through TWO full baskets before our meals came (Although I’m certain that hungry or not, we would have eaten our way through the exact same amount). Their bread was dense, doughy, and brushed liberally with fresh garlic butter. The crust was soft and chewy like the texture of fresh bagels and quickly perked us up for our entrées.
I ordered their Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Herb Cream and Pine Nuts. It was delicate, sweet, and earthy. I was particularly impressed with the texture of the pasta: firm but gummy with a touch of salt. Alex ordered a “Tallman Burger” which he said was both tasty and satisfying. We also shared a glass of their local 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and were so happy with the selection, we bought a bottle to take home.
Lake County is definitely out-shined by Napa in terms of popularity, but not outdone in terms of taste. Both the delicious meal and fantastic wine made Blue Wing Saloon a must-visit-again restaurant. Actually, the whole trip to Clear Lake was a must-visit-again experience. A charming B&B, a delectable dining destination, and excellent wine–what’s not to love?
This area will probably never become the suburban getaway that Napa has, but if you’re willing to go a little further, the country charm is quite enchanting.