Nothing’s more exciting than to have a new kid on the block, 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 feel like the culinary gods just blessed my life with the gift I’ve been long waiting for. 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 left 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.

My daughter Lyla is a vegetarian… There’s so many items that she’s 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 new Sonoma County culinary delight with you, because even though we might have to eventually wait to be seated, at least I’ll be able to continue to enjoy this fabulous food and wine experience.

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