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Flavors from the World of Wine,Food & Wine,Sommelier,Wine

Chinois Asian Bistro ~ A Wine List That’s Frequently Stolen

Nothing’s more exciting than when a new kid ends up on the block; most especially when that kid’s brought in all kinds of new, fascinating toys…

Enter Chinois Asian Bistro in Windsor, California, offering Pan-Asian cuisine… Right in the heart of Sonoma County’s wine country, just minutes from downtown Healdsburg.

Their menu is so delectable that I always feel like the culinary gods have blessed my life, with the gift I’ve always waited for. (Why couldn’t my mother have cooked like this when I was growing up?) Their food menu steps right out of what I used to prepare for my kids when I was a stay-at-home mom. I did all things from scratch, including breads, jams, canning tomatoes, baking beans on my Jotel wood stove while the kids shot down the hill on sleds to the ice covered pond… I made sure my girls never had “fast food” slow their fast tracks to healthy happiness.

Pictured to the right is one of my favorite dishes: Mandarin Orange Glazed Chicken Drumsticks ~ Crunchy chicken drumsticks tossed in sweet honey, chili, and tangy orange sauce.

Quoting from Jeff Cox’s entry on the Santa Rosa Press Democrat blog regarding Chinois: “On the opening menu are several types of dim sum (finally come to SoCo), small plates of everything from panko prawns with wasabi-honey, chicken satay and Singaporean Roti Prata (a sort of flat bread with curry dip) to sautéed mung beans, garlic egg noodles and what you’ve come here for–seafood Nonya Laksa.”

There’s a person inside of me that wants to keep this a best kept secret. This way I can continue to enjoy not having an overcrowded restaurant, and we can go on having such a personal one-on-one dining experience with the new owners.

The other person inside of me, however, wants to give them all kinds of free marketing advice, so they do succeed. This way they easily make ends meet, and they don’t simply go off into the sunset.

Last night at dinner, I asked proprietor Debbie Shu if I could have a paper copy of her wine list. It’s such an amazing international list that I wanted to share a sampling of its contents with you. Why? Because they’ve dared to do in this area what no other restaurant has done… Step outside of the nativism trap that all other restaurants around here have fallen into. [The image of Debbie is one that’s on the Santa Rosa Press Democrat food blog site.]

While, on one hand, it’s good business to feature all of your neighbors’ wines, it’s still good business to offer those neighbors who are more adventurous new international flavors. It allows me to explore new flavors that I might otherwise have missed in life… It simply broadens my perspective.

So, last night, when I asked for their wine list so I could share with you, I was told that their lists have been stolen almost down to not having any. Can you imagine? Their list is so great that people have been stealing them in order to study it further. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I guess not being in the restaurant business these sorts of things escape me.

What I can share with you is this… If you’re headed to Sonoma County and you’re looking for exotic Asian cuisine, Chinois Asian Bistro is absolutely delicious, with a wine list that has no parallel in close proximity, and is certain to totally delight your palate.

I’m the world’s most Finickie Foodie. I make Sally, in “When Harry Met Sally,” look like she’s easy to please. I have food allergies, food aversions, and a hard time finding just one favorite item on any restaurant’s menu. Chinois offers so many foods that I find absolutely delightful that I now have choices (a first time for me).

My daughter Melanie is wheat intolerant… There are so many items that it’s not an issue for her, either.

When my daughter Lyla was a vegetarian… There were, and still are, so many items that she was never at a loss for what to have.

My husband Jose is quick to add that he eats anything… His body and palate are so tolerant that he enjoys everything – I mean everything – on Chinois’ menu.

So, I’m taking the high road on this one, and sharing this Sonoma County culinary delight with you, because even though we now (five years later) have to occasionally wait to be seated, at least I’m still able to continue to enjoy this fabulous food and wine experience.

A quick view of their list. Click here for their full list.

FEATURED NEIGHBORHOOD WINES

MacMurray Ranch, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2007
$31/bottle ~ $10/glass

SPARKLING

“J” Cuvee Brut NV, Russian River
$46/bottle ~ $12/glass

Iron Horse, Russian Cuvee, 2003
$38/bottle

Deutz Brut Classic NV, AY, France
$70/bottle

HERBAL WHITES

Fritz Haag, Riesling Qba, Germany 2007 (Dry)
$39/bottle ~ $11/glass

Marc Bredif, Vouvray, France 2007
$35/bottle ~ $10/glass

Marc Bredif, Vouvray, France 2007
$31/bottle ~ $9/glass

Angove’s Nine Vines, Viognier, South Aust, 2006
$30/bottle ~ $8/glass

Leth, Gruner Veltliner, Austria 2008
$30/bottle ~ $8/glass

Hawley Winery, Viognier, Sonoma County, 2007
$36/bottle ~ $9/glass

SLIGHTLY BIGGER REDS

Edmeades Vineyards, Zinfandel, Medoncino, 2007
$43/bottle ~ $12/glass

Justin Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles 2005
$43/bottle ~ $12/glass

Ehret Family, Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley 2005
$43/bottle ~ $12/glass

Maier Family, “Cenote” Cabernet Blend, Sonoma 07
$40/bottle ~ $11/glass

Ornellaia, Bolgheri, Italy 2004
$260/bottle

Ornellaia, Bolgheri, Italy 2002
$364/bottle

Chinois Asian Bistro, 186 Windsor River Road, Windsor, 707.838.4667

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MacMurray Ranch, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2007
$31/bottle ~ $10/glass

“J” Cuvee Brut NV, Russian River
$46/bottle ~ $12/glass

Iron Horse, Russian Cuvee, 2003
$38/bottle

Deutz Brut Classic NV, AY, France
$70/bottle

Fritz Haag, Riesling Qba, Germany 2007 (Dry)
$39/bottle ~ $11/glass

Marc Bredif, Vouvray, France 2007
$35/bottle ~ $10/glass

Marc Bredif, Vouvray, France 2007
$31/bottle ~ $9/glass

Angove’s Nine Vines, Viognier, South Aust, 2006
$30/bottle ~ $8/glass

Leth, Gruner Veltliner, Austria 2008
$30/bottle ~ $8/glass

Hawley Winery, Viognier, Sonoma County, 2007
$36/bottle ~ $9/glass

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