I was honored to be invited to visit a new Italian restaurant here in my hometown of Guerneville, Ca. Pinoli Cucina Rustica is located within the Applewood Inn Estate. The large barn like structure is where you will find Owner and Chef, Christian Darcoli. Chef Darcoli and his staff not only prepare you an amazing dinner but they actually create a full dining experience by having the chefs serve you the meal themselves!
I will admit as a mother of four Fine Dining is not something I get to experience too often, I was not sure what to expect as I walked through the doors of Pinoli Cucina Rustica. I was immediately put at ease when every staff member I encountered welcomed me with a smile and kind words.
I was here for a private event which allowed me to catch a glimpse of how the magic happens! I entered into the kitchen to find an array of savory aromas filling the air and bustling staff working together flawlessly. The Chef was prepping appetizers of Grilled Grape Leaves wrapped around Fontina Cheese (or as I called them fantastic morsels of goodness!) I saw another staff member hand kneading dough for fresh bread, another group mixing up some fresh pesto sauce.
After visiting the kitchen I was introduced to the manager of the Applewood Inn, Bob Reeves. Bob was kind enough to take me on a little tour of The Belden Mansion and the additions built on to the Applewood Inn. I also saw the orchards and serene garden on the property. Bob shared with me how the Owner of Applewood Inn, Carlos Pippa has future plans to expand the garden which will bring even more farm to table ingredients to the restaurant. As a fairly new resident to the Russian River area I really enjoyed hearing the history of the Inn. A history that has long included being known for a great dinning experience. You can read more information on the history of the Applewood Inn here.
After the tour it was time to sample some of Chef Darcoli’s creations. A few of my personal favorites The Stuffed Grape Leaves I mentioned earlier, The Branzino with Arugula, Capers and Olives and The Cold Cut Plates all tasted fantastic.
Anyone who knows me knows I love my sweets and I will say I was not disappointed with the dessert options. I tried the Strawberries with Macarpone and Frittole (Italian Fritters) both tasted like heaven! I can not wait to go back and try more main dishes and desserts soon. Next time you are visiting the Russian River Valley be sure to stop in at Pinoli Cucina Rustica, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!
While visiting the Guerneville area I would love to be your personal photographer. I specialize in working with Children/Families as well as intimate weddings in the West Sonoma County area. Contact me today to schedule your next photo session.