Have you been up to the northern reaches of Sonoma County in the last, say, 6 years? Hubby is doing a 100 mile bicycle ride through wine country in a few weeks (the Giro Bello ride to benefit the Rotary Club’s charities if you want to join him), so yesterday we drove about half the course and ended up in the tiny little town of Geyserville. The ride is gorgeous through vineyards, farms, winding country roads and rolling hills with rest stops at a couple of wineries. Not sure I could enjoy it as much on a bicycle, but beautiful from our air conditioned car!
By the time we arrived in Geyserville it was late afternoon. We’d worked in our garden all morning then jumped in the car to check out his route…lunch hadn’t seemed important at the time. So at 4pm in 100 degree weather I was verging on ‘hangry’ as my good friend Patty says. Hungry and angry. Hubby is gluten free, so the deli wasn’t an option, the cafe was closing for the day, and Diavola was two doors down and serving a limited menu. I don’t speak any Italian, but I know diavola and I think I was channeling her, so it seemed like a match.
Diavola opened in 2008 under the tutelage of Chef Dino Bugica who hailed from nearby Santi (now closed). Bugica’s love of salumi stems from years spent in Italian butcher shops learning the trade. At Diavolo they make their own salumi as well as some amazing pizza. The restaurant consists of a front room where the pizza oven takes center stage with the bar on one side and tables on the other. At the front end of the bar is the chef’s table over which hang meat hooks holding the curing house made salumi. Kind of like the ducks in the window in Chinatown but way better. We were seated in the second dining room, just off the main room. And lucky we were….the heat was stressing the building’s power and intermittently shutting it down along with the lights and air conditioning…it was nice to be away from the pizza oven, pretty as it is!
After powering down a litre of ice water and all of the delicious skinny breadsticks they brought when we sat down, we relaxed enough (barely) to look around and see what a cute place Diavola is. Brick and plaster walls, old fir flooring, a (fake) tin ceiling and rustic furniture. Kitchen towels as napkins are always a favorite of mine…whenever we travel that’s what I collect. Loving anything spicy, we chose the Inferno pizza…roasted red peppers, tomatoes, basil, provolone, mozzarella and spicy peppers. We didn’t even need to add the spicy house made oil provided at each table. In our haste to get food on the table, we forgot to ask our server for gluten free crust, so lucky me I got to eat more than my share while my hubby nibbled at a slice or two muttering ‘stomach be damned’ under his breath. We also shared their mixed green salad which was anything but typical. Mixed greens with pine nuts, gorgonzola, radish, bacon and fried fava beans which were amazing. It was all dressed in a slightly sweet vinaigrette. I could totally eat a whole bowl of the fried fava beans and happily not share a single one.
I’m looking forward to driving the second half next weekend and finding another undiscovered (by me) treasure….I clearly need to get out more! And if we by chance end up at Diavola again, we will make sure it is during lunch or dinner when we can enjoy the full menu and maybe even sit on their adorable patio. Presuming it isn’t 100 degrees.
Have a great week…I hope you get to explore something new,
21021 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville
open seven days a week, lunch and dinner