Offspring of the fancier Buckhorn Steak and Roadhouse across the street, the Putah Creek Café is the town gathering place for locals and a destination diner for bicyclists from Davis and breakfast fans all the way to wine country.
Dinner is served on weekend nights, and lunch every day, but breakfast is an especially enjoyable time to visit. That is when a diverse crew of local customers occupy the counter and tables for newspaper-reading, morning conversation, coffee, and more coffee. When artist R. Crumb lived in Winter (before moving to France), he was a regular part of the scene, having long morning meals while he sketched on notepads and napkins.
The oatmeal served by this farm-country kitchen is the real thing, long-cooked and coarse-cut, served with a dish of brown sugar and (optionally) raisins and locally grown walnuts. You can get a nice chicken-fried steak with a hunky biscuit or warm bread pudding with espresso sauce. The breakfast we like best is known as the Putah Creek Scramble. It is a version of what Tex-Mex cooks know as migas – eggs scrambled with a corn tortilla, cheese, chilies, and crumbled chorizo sausage. The shreds of tortilla are mostly softened as they cook and become little earthy flavor cushions for the chili and chorizo; and the parts of tortilla that get sizzled crisp on the griddle serve as a wicked corn crunch among the creamy eggs.
The lunch menu is broad. In particular we recommend the sirloin beef sandwich: slices from a dry-rub-seasoned and slow-smoked tri-tip piled into a bun with sweet grilled onions.
And don’t walk away without at least one apricot bar. They are made by manager Janet Valadez from locally grown fruit.
"Not too fiery, but bright with spice and color, Putah Creek's bowl of red comes with hot buttermilk biscuits -- ideal for mopping the last of the tasty chili from its broad bowl."
"Santa Fe Mexican corn pie is made of roasted chilies, two cheeses, coarse corn meal and sweet corn, topped with sour cream and sided by a rainbow of tortilla chips and a cup of salsa fresca."
"Artist R. Crumb used to live in Winters, and he is said to have spent many mornings hanging out inside the Putah Creek Cafe having long breakfasts and sketching on napkins."