Jun 27, 2019
By Val Larson
With a friendly welcome, a love affair with fresh ingredients and a Mediterranean flair, Hazel in Occidental warms the heart and tempts the taste buds with surprising and rich concoctions.
A short time ago, I sat at the bar with my husband and we shared the mushroom pizza. I love mushrooms and this pizza fulfilled my love exquisitely.
The crust has the quintessential taste and texture of what pizza crust should be, layered with a base of Crimini mushrooms, then loaded with gourmet mushrooms (from Mycopia) and topped with feta, fresh mozzarella and buttery Estero Gold cheese from Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery – drizzled with truffle oil. My mouth waters and I can’t help but sigh with longing for that mushroom work of art.
Jim, who co-owns Hazel with his wife Michele, is the head chef and was trained at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He was influenced early on by his great grandmother Hazel, who he honored by naming the restaurant after her.Jim’s joy and vibrant love of his culinary craft infuses everything he creates and inspires his employees with the same enthusiasm. Michele trained in the fine art of pastry at Tante Marie Culinary Academy in San Francisco. She’s a great compliment to Jim, with her knowledge, enthusiasm and care for every new friend who comes into Hazel.
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