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A Round of Golf Stirs the Appetite - Monte Rio's Northwood Restaurant


A Round of Golf Stirs the Appetite

 Monte Rio's Northwood Restaurant

By Jim Kelly

Having been cut from the cloth of restaurant aficionados, I have long wondered what magic is needed to make a good bistro. My parents thought nothing of driving ninety miles to try out a new place and I, of course, believed I was living a normal life. They seemed to sense the main nerve of a great restaurant, be it the atmosphere, the perfectly cooked chile relleno or the warm smiles of a wait staff who clearly were happy when we came. My father tipped well but new places never knew this.

Where we never went, unless my parents belonged to the club, was to a golf course. Sure, you can always count on a passable Cobb salad (sandwich makings are always on hand at a golf course) but everything else is a roll of the dice.

Northwood Golf CourseIn the past, Northwood Restaurant and Grill in Monte Rio fit right in with my parents’ paradigm although I did give the place a chance now and then. The beer was cold and that’s about all you can ask for after a fun round of golf on a hot summer day. So, it was to my great surprise earlier this year when I took the advice of the starter at Northwood Golf Course and sat down at the bar for breakfast before going out and torturing the redwoods.

Crisp, thick-sliced bacon, tasty hash browns and perfectly cooked over-medium eggs (not as common as you might think) were placed before me on a large platter. I looked up and into the caring eyes of a young lady who smiled at me like I was her long-missing brother who had just returned from the war. Somewhere, (I believe) music was playing. Instantly, I felt the magic. I finished breakfast, played my round of golf and went home.

The next day, I was back at Northwood having lunch al fresco on their
generous patio and, being a creature of habit, ordered bacon and eggs again. This time I threw all caution to the wind and asked for a side of their country gravy. This was potentially a bridge too far, being a southern boy and all, but I took the leap of faith anyway.

The sauce (yes, it is a sauce) was sensibly blended with chunks of bacon and sausage and lacked that stubborn starchy flavor so often haunting roadside restaurant gravy pots. The following day I came back for their piece de
resistance, chicken-fried steak (tres bon). As I was leaving I noticed a rib-eye steak ($15) at the next table trying to fit on its large platter. Yup, I came back one more time.

Sensing there was something terribly wrong with the universe, my body shut down the show with an instant cold soon after the rib-eye so I’ve been moping around the house for four days now dreaming of their country gravy. But nature’s intervention has not broken the spell. I hear they have an
incredible beef dip.

Should you run into Ashley when you try this new (old) restaurant, please tell her I’m not really her long-lost brother (but I wish I was).

Northwood Restaurant and Bar
19400 CA-116, Monte Rio, CA 95462
(707) 865-2454

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