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Cafe Beaujolais, Mendocino

In early November, Mendocino County celebrates fall's mushrooms with a full-on festival of mushroom-themed dinners, cooking classes, beer and wine pairing workshops, guided foraging excursions and celebrations aboard the Skunk Train. Cafe Beaujolais, the region's most widely acclaimed restaurant nestled in the center of Mendocino Village, often participates. But even in those years when it doesn't, how can you resist slipping away from the organized festivities to savor the atmosphere and cuisine of one of the coast's jewels? David Lamonica, chef and owner of Cafe Beaujolais, lets the ingredients, including mushrooms, inspire him, often deciding shortly before dinner begins exactly what he wants to do with, say, the lobster mushrooms that have just arrived. Lamonica pairs porcini with fresh papardelle, a wide pasta that is a perfect canvas for the mushroom's flavor, and shavings of Grana Padano. One of the restaurant's signature dishes features pan-roasted sturgeon, fresh tagliatelle, a m?ange of saut?d wild mushrooms and an emulsified truffle sauce. Paired with a delicate Pinot Noir from the Sonoma or Mendocino coast, the dish dazzles the palate with an array of flavors and textures. 961 Ukiah Street, Mendocino, 707-937-5614, cafebeaujolais.com.


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