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Countdown to Sonoma County Restaurant Week

Sonoma County Restaurant Week 2012 runs Feb. 27- Mar. 4. Which, if you’re paying attention to the calendar, is next Monday. And if this third annual event is like previous years, it’s highly recommended that anyone who loves great food and great bargains start plotting their dining strategy now.

Forget Groupon and other coupon-driven deals. The Restaurant Week promotion is one of the best of the year, and no coupon clipping is needed. Loads of top Sonoma restaurants offer fixed price meals each day throughout the event to help boost exposure of and drive traffic to their stores, drawing in customers with multi-course meals at rock bottom prices of $19, $29, or $39.

From upper end destinations like Estate in Sonoma to romantic hideaways like La Gare in Santa Rosa to casual home-style eateries, most of the restaurants are independently owned, and many have nationally acclaimed chefs. It’s clear, reservations are recommended.

How to start? Here are some recommendations from the lengthy list of options:

$19

Be elegant with FIG CAFÉ & WINEBAR in Glen Ellen, for Caesar salad, fig and verjus braised pork shoulder over creamy polenta and braised greens, and chocolate pot de crème. Go exotic with BASTONI in Sebastopol, for Go's curry rice balls or green papaya salad, Southern Thai curry or wet noodles, and sticky rice pudding or fried bananas. Eat down-home with HENWEIGH CAFÉ in Sebastopol, for a generous array of choices including New England clam chowd-ah, classic chicken potpie, and house made bananas Foster bread pudding.

$29

Be elegant with THE BAY VIEW RESTAURANT AT THE INN AT THE TIDES IN BODEGA, for steamed black mussels in tomato, garlic, white wine and lemon, grilled salmon in béarnaise sauce, with red onion marmalade and rösti potatoes, and tiramisu. Go exotic with SAZON PERUVIAN CUISINE in Santa Rosa, for ceviche clásico (tilapia, rocoto “Leche de Tigre,” red onion, roasted Peruvian cancha, Cuzco corn, sweet potato, cilantro and lime), arroz con marizcos (Peruvian paella with calamari, scallops, shrimp, clams, mussels), and passionfruit crème with mango coulis. Eat down-home with CHARLIE’S AT WINDSOR GOLF CLUB, for grilled duck sausage on asiago cheese polenta with zesty roasted tomato coulis, lemon brined crispy fried chicken with roasted garlic-bacon mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables, and warm chocolate brownie with semi-sweet chocolate chunks and vanilla bean ice cream.

$39

Be elegant with CORKS in Forestville, for creamy yellow cauliflower soup with purple Peruvian potatoes and Himalayan truffles, crispy Sonoma duck leg confit over bacon braised red cabbage and roasted rosemary potatoes, and lemon curd tart. Go exotic with RUSTIC, FRANCIS’S FAVORITES in Geyserville, for Cho Cho salad, Bumbola Con Broccoli E Salsiccia, and panna cotta. Eat down-home with PETITE SYRAH in Santa Rosa, for Little Gem Caesar salad, braised short rib with ragout of fingerling potato, carrot and Brussels sprouts, and chocolate puddle cake.

Details: sonomacountyrestaurantweek.org.

Tip: Restaurant Week is even more fun with friends. Save more $ by carpooling, in your private Pure Luxury Transportation limo or Town Car.

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