The perfect setting requires a serious sandwich, and The Girl & The Fig, in downtown Sonoma, California, serves it up in the form of the Pork Tartine. Pronounced "tarteen," the word is essentially French for anything delicious, layered on a single slice of bread; or, just a fancy way of saying "open-faced sandwich." While many will argue that a proper sandwich requires two pieces of bread, I say why discriminate?
With only one day in wine country, my wife and I wanted to make it count foodwise, so we hit pay dirt when we unearthed Sondra Bernstein's restaurant nestled in the Sonoma Hotel. It's exactly the kind of place you want to eat lunch on a beautiful Northern California daygood food, fresh ingredients, and most important, an outdoor patio.
Great bread is the biggest endorsement for an open-faced sandwich. One giant thick slice of a good bread allows you to fully appreciate the chewiness that would be lost with two thinner slices of grilled breadand two slices of thick bread is just too much.
Chef John Toulze starts with a thick slice of Country Round from the award winning Basque Boulangerie (460 First St. E., Sonoma). It gets grilled and smeared with a caper aioli, and topped with watercress. Then comes the pile of Niman Ranch pork loin, which has been brined and slow roasted, before getting thinly sliced. Then the sandwich is finished off with the ultimate condiment- the house made apple & apricot chutney. I'm a big fan of the sweet and salty combo in my sandwiches, and the chutney was not only delicious, but was the best advertisement for the Girl & the Fig bottled jams, chutneys and compotes.
As I sat munching on my delicious open faced sandwich, in the open air patio of the Girl & The Fig, I wondered if it was the wine, the atmosphere or that damn fine chutney that made the thing taste so perfect. Only one way to find out...
The Girl & The Fig
Address: 110 West Spain Street, Sonoma CA
URL: thegirlandthefig.com; You can order jams online or find a retailer near you that stocks them
The Girl & The Fig's Apple & Apricot Chutney
- 6 ounces dried apricots, quartered
- 3 ounces dried cherries
- 1 apple, small dice, skin on
- 1/2 quart water
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon dry ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic
- pinch clove
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/4 white pepper
- 1/3 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients except for sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Cook over medium heat until liquid has evaporated. Add sugar. Stir well. Remove to sheet tray; refrigerate to cool.