A few months ago, Starry forwarded me an article that SF Gate posted about a new pizza joint in Philo called Stone and Embers. Without knowing much about it, we decided this would be the perfect place to dine after a day of wine tasting. So after hitting up our seventh and final stop, we drove less than a mile North to The Madrones where Stone and Embers is located. We had already taken a peek at the place when we were at The Madrones a couple hours earlier making a quick stop at Knez Winery, a modern tasting room that serves up some delicious Pinot Noir from several distinctive vineyards. Perhaps it was because we had high expectations, or maybe it was the lackluster service (only two waitresses for about 40 dinner guests), but the dining experience was less than perfect.
After a day of Pinot Noir, we couldn’t wait to take down a couple of beers. I opted for North Coast Brewery’s Prankster Belgian Style Golden Ale while Starry selected a Russian River IPA. After about 15 minutes of waiting and chatting with our nearby dining neighbors, a waitress finally came over and took our order. Starry and I decided to share the mushroom “chicharrones” with parmesan and porcini salt, the roasted bone marrow with toasted country levain and roasted garlic, and the The Jeffer Pizza with tomato sauce, house made turducken, smoked mozzarella, chilies and parmesan. The waitress didn’t initially write down the order, nor did she when she came back a second time to retake the order because she had forgotten. Starry got a little worried that she was going to mistake our Jeffer for Jefferson (another similarly named vegetarian pizza on the menu) since she didn’t actually write down anything. Sure enough, when Starry went to confirm that she got the order correct, the waitress told the chef “they actually want The Jeffer pizza, not Jefferson”, as though it was somehow our mistake.
Fortunately, the mushroom chicharrones were pretty unique and made for a good snack while we waited for the rest of our meal (though, the name was confusing because they didn’t have the chewy texture that true chicharrones have). Our bone marrow arrived shortly after, which was tasty but poorly executed. The bones were too hot to touch, and they didn’t serve it with any little spoons to scoop out the marrow so it was somewhat difficult to enjoy. Starry even had burn marks on her finger tips the next day!
Our pizza finally came, and while the toppings – especially the house made turducken – were fresh and delicious, the crust wasn’t nearly as thin as we were expecting. And for a place that spent six months perfecting the dough before opening, and that charges nearly $20 for a 10-inch pizza, we expected a little more. We decided to pack up the rest of the pizza and head back to our cabin so we could enjoy it with some 2011 Navarro Shiraz and Pennyroyal Laychee Goat Cheese.
All and all, the food was good and while the service was very friendly, they made a few missteps that can be chalked up to new restaurant jitters. And if you’re craving California-style pizza in Anderson Valley, this is certainly the place to go. But next time we will make a reservation at the buzzed about Coq Au Vin, where Starry can practice her French with the owner!