Sonoma Magazine BiteClub http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub Restaurant & Dining Reviews for Sonoma, Santa Rosa and the Wine Country Sat, 18 Nov 2017 21:39:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/cropped-512_logo-150x150.gif Sonoma Magazine BiteClub http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub 32 32 Charlie Palmer Steak Now Open in Downtown Napa http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/charlie-palmer-steak-is-now-open-in-downtown-napa/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/charlie-palmer-steak-is-now-open-in-downtown-napa/#respond Sat, 18 Nov 2017 20:23:54 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37055

Charlie Palmer's first steakhouse in California is now open in downtown Napa.

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Charlie Palmer might have gotten his start in New York City, but it is in Sonoma County where he made his Bay Area mark with Dry Creek Kitchen.

Over the past few years, he has expanded his “Progressive American Cuisine” empire into Napa County and now the latest addition is open: Charlie Palmer Steak Napa.

This is his fifth Charlie Palmer Steak and the first in California (even Reno beat us to it with a casino-based location). Palmer has lived in the Bay Area for over 15 years and was asked by the soon-to-open boutique Archer Hotel, in downtown Napa, to open a flagship restaurant on property.

The 4,000 square-foot restaurant includes a lounge, circular bar, and patio. Jeffrey Russell serves as executive chef.

Falling into the “special occasion” or “I really need to impress a client” category of dining, Charlie Palmer Steak’s prices range from $12-20 for appetizers, $25-$80 for entrees (the $80 dish being a surf & turf with a filet mignon and stuffed Maine lobster), and $12-$15 for desserts.

Oh, and the steaks? They start at $33 for a 5 Dot Coulotte (A.K.A. sirloin strip) and top off at a $100 4 oz A5 Waygu steak imported from Japan. The real deal. You can also share a porterhouse ($125) or bone-on tomahawk steak ($130) for two.  Add on foie gras (while you still can) for an additional $22.

Budget-minded diners don’t lose hope: happy hour is served daily from 4-7 PM in the bar, featuring discounted wine, beer (including their house made CP IPA) and snacks from $4-$7. You can also save a few bucks by bringing a bottle of Napa Valley wine – the first bottle corkage is free. They also offer a bar menu that offers a luxury bent at a reasonable price point (lobster corn dogs anyone?).

Charlie Palmer Steak is currently open only for dinner starting at 5:30 PM but will expand to offer breakfast, lunch and brunch (don’t miss the “donut wheel”) in December. (707) 819-2500, 1260 First St., Napa, charliepalmersteak.com.

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Raise a Glass of California Wine for Fire Relief http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/raise-a-glass-of-california-wine-for-fire-relief/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/raise-a-glass-of-california-wine-for-fire-relief/#respond Sat, 18 Nov 2017 20:17:49 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37043 Chef Dustin Valette and his brother, Aaron Garzini at Valette in Healdsburg

OpenTable launches "Let's Raise a Glass" encouraging restaurants to donate portion of wine sales to fire relief efforts.

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Chef Dustin Valette and his brother, Aaron Garzini at Valette in Healdsburg

Restaurants are finding unique and creative ways to support fire relief efforts in Sonoma & Napa Counties. Dining reservation website OpenTable is no exception. This week they launched “Let’s Raise the Glass” to raise money for the Sonoma County Resilience Fund & Napa Valley Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund.

It started with Charleston, South Carolina, based restaurant the Charleston Grill. General manager Mickey Bakst and sommelier Rick Rubel began donated a portion of all California wine sold by the glass and bottle to fire relief efforts.

The concept expanded to include other restaurants, such as New York’s Daniel, owned by Daniel Boulud, and Suzanne Goin’s Los Angeles restaurant, Lucques.

Now it’s a nationwide program with a cute name: Let’s Raise the Glass.

It’s easy to participate: visit one of the restaurants on the Let’s Raise the Glass website and order California wine, either by the bottle or the glass. A portion of the proceeds from your wine purchase will go towards fire relief efforts. This effort continues through December 31.

The first to do so in Sonoma County is Healdsburg’s Valette (707-473-0946, 344 Center St., Healdsburg, valettehealdsburg.com).

OpenTable is currently looking for more restaurants to join the program. Other Bay Area restaurants include:

-Bistro Jeanty, (707) 944-0103, 6510 Washington St., Yountville, bistrojeanty.com

-Cliff House, (415) 386-3330, 1090 Point Lobos Ave., San Francisco, cliffhouse.com

-Michel Bistro, (510) 836-8737, 3343 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, michelbistro.com

We’ll update with other restaurants as they join the program.

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Giving Thanks: Free Thanksgiving Meals in Sonoma County http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/giving-thanks-free-thanksgiving-meals-in-sonoma-county/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/giving-thanks-free-thanksgiving-meals-in-sonoma-county/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 20:10:12 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36935 Thanksgiving turkey dinner

Thanksgiving has never been more important than this year in Sonoma County.

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Thanksgiving turkey dinner

Thanksgiving has never been more important than this year in Sonoma County and there is no shortage of organizations, restaurants, volunteers and chefs who are giving back to the community by serving up hearty, heartfelt bowls of turkey (or tofurkey) and gravy.

Here is an ever-growing list of organizations and restaurants serving free Thanksgiving meals this year.

GUERNEVILLE

The annual Guerneville Community Thanksgiving Dinner will take place at the Guerneville Veterans Hall. 12PM-4PM, (707) 326-1257, 16225 1st St., Guerneville. 

SANTA ROSA

Franchettis’ is serving a “top-notch, traditional Thanksgiving buffet” for victims of the fires, first responders and extended family. They will also be offering to go meals. Reservations recommended. 11AM-6PM, 1229 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa, franchettis.com.

Redwood Gospel Mission hosts their annual Great Thanksgiving Banquet on Thanksgiving eve (Nov. 22). Everyone receives a hot turkey dinner, food boxes to take home. They will also be offering haircuts, free warm coats, a bounce house for the kids, and informational booths will be on hand, too. 11AM-7PM, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, srmission.org, .

Sprenger’s Tap Room is hosting a Thanksgiving Brunch Community Feed. Food provided. Beer is optional at a mere $5. 9AM-1PM, 446 B St., Santa Rosa.

SEBASTOPOL

The Community Church of Sebastopol will host their 17th annual Thanksgiving Dinner 1p – 5 pm November 23 which is open to the public. Meal delivery is available and they are also offering transportation to the dinner (reserve by November 20). 1PM-5PM, (707) 823-2484, 1000 Gravenstein Hwy N., Sebastopol, uccseb.org.

SONOMA

The Sonoma Community Center will host its annual Thanksgiving dinner. Rotary of Sonoma Valley, cheesemaker Gary Edwards, and chef Daniel Quijada source and prepare the locally sourced meal. 3PM, November 23.  126 1st St. W., Sonoma, sonomacommunitycenter.org.

Seniors can enjoy a free Thanksgiving dinner at Vintage House. 3PM-6PM, (707) 996-0311, 264 1st St. E., Sonoma, vintagehouse.org.

WINDSOR

Windsor United Methodist Church will host a Thanksgiving meal on Saturday, November 18. They’ll serve up Thanksgiving dinner and there will be live music and activities for kids. (707) 838-6898, 9451 Brooks Rd. South, Windsor, windsorumc.com.

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Sonoma County’s Seven Slowest Restaurants http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/sonoma-countys-seven-slowest-restaurants/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/sonoma-countys-seven-slowest-restaurants/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:19:57 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37022 Best burger winner 2017 was Backyard Restaurant's Tim Burger

Sometimes Slow is very good when it comes to Sonoma County local restaurants

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Best burger winner 2017 was Backyard Restaurant's Tim Burger

Sometimes being Slow is a very good thing.

This week, seven restaurants — from Geyserville to Valley Ford — received Slow Food Sonoma County‘s “Snail of Approval” for offering sustainable and ethically-raised food.

Click through the gallery above to find out which Sonoma County restaurants were awarded the Snail of Approval. 

The collaboration between the Slow Food Russian River and Slow Food Sonoma County North chapters of the international Slow Food movement judged the restaurants on criteria including seasonal ingredients and menus; sustainable ingredients sourced from local producers; humane treatment of people and animals; investment in fair labor practices; and green business practices like composting and recycling.

This was no cake walk, however. According to organizers, each restaurant went through an approval process that included a detailed questionnaire, rigorous interview and on-site review conducted by a team of three Slow Food volunteers. Each evaluator independently rated the restaurant, before arriving at a collective score.

Biteclub is a huge fan of all the restaurants because of their very public support of local farmers and the community. 

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Glen Ellen’s Aventine Reopens In Wake of Sonoma County Fires http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/glen-ellens-aventine-re-opens-in-wake-of-fires/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/glen-ellens-aventine-re-opens-in-wake-of-fires/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 22:58:55 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36985

Another Glen Ellen restaurant is reopening following the fires.

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Another Glen Ellen restaurant is reopening in the wake of the fires: Aventine.

The Italian restaurant, located in the historic grist mill building at Jack London Village, closed during the fires due to mandatory evacuation orders in Glen Ellen.

Chef and owner Adolfo Veronese was the first to return to the restaurant when evacuation orders were lifted, says manager Toni Veronese. “He came in the back door of the restaurant and the smoke was so strong he stayed only long enough to ensure everything was still there,” she says.

The entire second floor dining area was covered in soot and ash due to an open window, requiring a deep cleaning. Additionally, all of the ceiling insulation had to be replaced, according to Veronese.

As for the food and alcohol: all the food had to be thrown away due to spoilage and all open liquor and wine was thrown away due to contamination.

However, even before returning to the property for inspection and clean up, Aventine suffered economic loss: all events were canceled in October and December. Veronese is feeling positive though about the future, “this past week I just started receiving requests for event information for next summer,” she shares.

In anticipation of reopening, staff returned Thursday to get Aventine in working order. “We all greeted each other with long hugs,” says Veronese, “Knowing that we’ve all made it through this past month and all have our own stories to share.”

Most importantly, they are excited to see customers return. “We’ve already heard from some of our regulars,” says Veronese, “I can’t wait to give them all a hug and hear their story when they walk through that door again.”

Aventine is currently open Friday-Sunday with service beginning at 5PM. (707) 934-8911, 14301 Arnold Dr., #32, Glen Ellen, aventinehospitality.com.

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Eat for the Farmers Feeding Sonoma County http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/eat-for-the-farmers-feeding-sonoma-county/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/eat-for-the-farmers-feeding-sonoma-county/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 16:07:21 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36975

The farmers of Sonoma County are feeding us during the fires, but suffering themselves.

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“During the first week of the North Bay fires, our local farmers rallied to provide donations of fresh ingredients to a host of emergency kitchens and shelters. Now it’s time for us to pitch in,” said Evan Wiig of the Farmer’s Guild.

To support our local producers, Lowell’s (formerly Peter Lowell’s) is hosting the last of a series of  “Zero Kilometro”dinners featuring a three-course tasting menu on Nov. 16. Red Car winery will be partnering with the restaurant to offer wine pairings.

The idea of zero kilometro is based on an Italian tradition of featuring hyper-local ingredients (zero kilometers away) around a communal table. Literally from the farm to the kitchen, to the table — something that Lowell’s has long advocated, getting much of their produce from their own Two Belly Acres farm.

Dishes have included pickled New Family Farm cauliflower, masa dumplings with Bellwether Crescenza cheese, crispy pork with Two Belly Acres tomatoes, Mycopia mushrooms, McFarland Springs trout with smoked persimmons, braised beef with Little Organic Farm sunchokes, and caramel pot de creme with rhubarb. 

 Half of all food and wine sales — plus matching donations from Circle of Hands—goes to farmers.

A la carte and wine options available.  Details at facebook.com/lowellssebastopol.

 

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Thanksgiving in Sonoma County 2017: Eat Out, Pick Up or Make it Yourself http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/thanksgiving-in-sonoma-county-2017/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/thanksgiving-in-sonoma-county-2017/#comments Thu, 09 Nov 2017 22:49:46 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36933

Leave Thanksgiving to the professionals - dine out or take out your meal this year.

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Thanksgiving is around the corner and you have a decision to make: are you going to cook or let someone else do the work?

If the latter is your choice, you have plenty of options whether you decide to celebrate your gratitude with your family at home (with a hearty meal you picked up for take away) or at a favorite restaurant. Here are some great local picks for Thanksgiving in Sonoma County.

Remember: most require reservations, so act now to reserve your meal or seat.

PICK UP

Sauced: Get sauced with a Southern-style meal to feed 6-8 people ($199). The meal includes smoke turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cornbread stuffing, cornbread, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Order by November 20. (707) 410-4400, 151 Petaluma Blvd. #129, Petaluma, saucedbbqandspirits.com.

SHED: Build your own Thanksgiving meal from the Larder at SHED. The one caveat – you need to cook your own turkey. Options include BN Heritage Turkey, potato gratin, stuffing, smoked sweet potatoes, wild mushrooms, fairytale pumpkin gratin, Roman baked gnocchi, leaf lard tart, Sibley squash pie, roasted pumpkin soup, cranberry sauce, pomegranate salsa and a large selection of biscuits, rolls, cheese, appetizers, and desserts. You can also pick up poultry stock and a turkey brining kit. Order by November 19. (707) 431-7433, 25 North St., Healdsburg, healdsburgshed.com.

RESTAURANTS

Bay View Restaurant & Lounge in Bodega Bay is offering an a la carte menu including Dungeness crab cakes, pumpkin ravioli, clam chowder, seafood lasagna, branzino, pork osso bucco, filet mignon, roasted turkey and a the restaurant’s signature grilled filet Hitchcock (named after the filmmaker) – a filet mignon stuffed with Dungeness crab, demi-glace and béarnaise sauce. Traditional desserts are offered, too. 1PM-8PM, (707) 875-2751, 800 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, innatthetides.com.

Black Point Grill at Sea Ranch offers a 4-course Thanksgiving meal with ocean views. First course offers wild mushroom spring rolls or clams & mussels steamers. Second course offers Moroccan roasted butternut squash soup or winter organic baby greens. Entrees include roasted heritage turkey, pan seared salmon, seared day boat scallops, roasted yam ricotta strudel (vegetarian), and a braised pork shank. Desserts served include pumpkin pie, a chocolate espresso torte, and almond ricotta cheesecake. $55 for adults, $30 for children. 1PM-8PM, (707) 785-4811, inside Sea Ranch Lodge, 60 Sea Walk Dr., Sea Ranch, searanchlodge.com.

Central Market is offering a four-course meal with numerous options, including a wine pairing, including Dungeness Crab Chowder, House Smoked McFarland Springs Steelhead Trout, Local Heritage Breed Turkey, Suckling Guinea Hog Porchetta, and plenty of desserts. $65 for adults, $100 with wine, $20 for children. (707) 778-9900, 42 Petaluma Blvd N., Petaluma, centralmarketpetaluma.com.

Coast Kitchen offers a 3-course menu with ocean views guaranteed. Appetizers include butternut squash ravioli, beet salad and pumpkin soup. Second course offers roasted turkey dinner, grilled bone-in Kurobuta pork chop and pan seared salmon. Last course offers up pumpkin pie, chocolate crème brûlee, and apple fritters. $79 for adults, $30 for children. (707) 847-3231, inside Timber Cove Inn, 21780 Highway 1, Jenner, coastkitchensonoma.com.

Depot Hotel is offering a 4-course menu starting with corn chowder and a salad. Entrees include slow-roasted Mary’s Free Range Turkey, poached filet of salmon, spinach and ricotta ravioli (vegetarian), or boneless beef short ribs. For dessert, select cheesecake from Scandia bakery, pumpkin pie, or a chocolate torte. $50 for adults, $25 for children. 12PM-7PM, (707) 938-2980, 241 1st St. W., Sonomadepotsonoma.com.

Dry Creek Kitchen‘s Chef Scott Romano will serve a 3-course menu. Starters include Chef Gerry Hayden’s Fluke Crudo, Hidden Pond Farm Beet Salad, cavatelli & braised veal, lentil soup, and a butterhead lettuce salad. Main courses include Classic B&N Ranch Turkey, caramelized diver scallops, sauteed arctic char, roasted lamb leg with Bellwether Ricotta Gnudi, and 48-hour pork short ribs. Three dessert options are available alongside local cheese, sorbet and ice creams. $72 for adults, $35 for children. (707) 431-0330, 317 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, drycreekkitchen.com.

El Dorado Kitchen offers their annual 3-course Thanksgiving menu. Many options are available, including vegetarian and vegan options. Starters include octopus carpaccio, gulf prawn cocktail, ginger carrot soup, beet terrine, salmon rillet, salads and cheese. Entrees include roasted free-range turkey breast, seared scallops, butternut squash risotto (vegan), and braised beef short rib. Desserts are lemon pudding cake and profiteroles. $65 for adults, $35 for children. 1PM-7PM, (707) 996-3030, 405 1st St. W., Sonoma, eldoradosonoma.com.

Farmhouse Inn‘s Chef Steve Litke keeps the new tradition of an annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Farmhouse Inn featuring turkeys raised by co-owner Joe Bartolomei. The 3-course, sample menu includes starters of Kombu cured hamachi, Fuyu persimmon salad, Dungeness crab causa rellena, butternut squash shellfish soup, and Swiss chard ricotta tortellini. The main course offers two options: Oz Family Farms Heritage Turkey and Wild Pacific corvina. Pumpkin pie, ice cream, and soufflés are offered for dessert. $119 with optional wine pairing. 4PM-8PM, (707) 887-3300, 7871 River Rd., Forestville. farmhouseinn.com.

the fig café is offering a 3-course prix fixe menu. Starters include fried Brussels sprout salad, pumpkin soup and fig & arugula salad (a standard at the fig). Main course options are roasted turkey breast, prime rib, pan-seared flounder, and roasted cauliflower with braised leek & brioche bread pudding and mushroom gravy (vegetarian). Dessert options are profiteroles or butterscotch pot de creme. Bring your own wine because there is no corkage. $45 for adults, $20 for children. 707-933-3000 x 13, 13690 Arnold Dr., Glen Ellen, thefigcafe.com.

the girl & the fig is serving a multi-course Thanksgiving meal, including an amuse bouche. Starters include cheese & charcuterie, pumpkin soup, and salads. Entrees include roast turkey breast, sauteed flounder, braised short ribs and mushroom risotto (vegetarian). There are four dessert options: a nut tart, chocolate budino, profiteroles and pumpkin pie. $57 for adults with a $18 wine pairing option and $20 for children. (707) 938-3634, 110 W Spain St., Sonoma, thegirlandthefig.com.

Gravenstein Grill is serving a 3-course feast with butternut squash, salad, Willie Bird turkey, classic sides, pumpkin pie and Bob’s Famous Rum Cake. $55 for adults. (707) 634-6142, 8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol, gravensteingrill.com.

John Ash & Co. Executive Chef Tom Schmidt has created a 3-course menu with a plethora of options, including for vegan, vegetarian and gluten free eaters. First course includes carrot and parsnip soup, Tom’s French onion soup, Liberty Duck terrine, spicy ahi tuna tartare, and salads. For the main course, guests can select butternut squash risotto, grilled marinated portobello mushroom, diver scallops with gulf prawns, oven roasted BN Ranch heritage turkey, sea bass, Devil’s Gulch Langley Pork Chop, and a grilled filet mignon. Pastry Chef Casey Stone will serve his mom’s chocolate cake, pumpkin tarts, and apple crumble. $68 for adults, $34 for children. 800-421-2584, 4350 Barnes Rd., Santa Rosa, vintnersinn.com.

Madrona Manor‘s restaurant is offering a hyper-fall focused 6-course meal with Dungeness crab soup, truffle risotto, roasted white turkey meat with cippolini onions, black truffles, celery root, chevril and pain perdu, a confit dark meat of turkey with juniper, potato puree, sage and turkey bordelaise, and a “Flavors of Thanksgiving” dessert. $150 for adults with optional $80 wine pairing. (707) 433-4231, 1001 Westside Rd., Healdsburg, madronamanor.com.

Oakmont Golf Club will serve a Thanksgiving Day Buffet with salads, crab stuffed deviled eggs, peel & eat shrimp, crab cakes, turkey, ham, rib roast, and all the sides and desserts. Guests also receive a complimentary glass of champagne upon arrival. $35 for adults, $18 for children. 11 AM, (707) 537-3671, 7035 Oakmont Dr., Santa Rosa, oakmontgc.com.

Quail Run Buffet at River Rock Casino will serve a special Thanksgiving buffet. The menu includes roast turkey, prime rib, herbed stuffing, pies, cakes, chocolate dipped strawberries and more. $24.99 for adults, $12.99 for children. 11AM-9PM, 3250 Highway 128, Geyserville, riverrockcasino.com.

Saddles Steakhouse is hosting a 3-course Thanksgiving meal, including an amuse bouche starter (Panna cotta and oysters). First course is squash bisque and the second course is bitter greens with pear and Point Reyes blue. For entrées, options include pan seared turkey tenderloin, Black Angus filet mignon, a vegetarian sweet potato gnocchi with Swiss chard, or diver scallops. Desserts include praline and pumpkin creme brulee, maple bombe, and gelato. $80 for adults, $40 for children. 2PM-7PM, (707) 933-3191, inside MacArthur Place, 29 E. MacArthur Pl., Sonomamacarthurplace.com.

Santé will host their decadent, annual Thanksgiving buffet, complete with ice sculptures and live music. The buffet includes shrimp cocktail, “foie gras,” vegetarian tartlets, Ahi tuna tartare, charcuterie, antipasti, caviar, a carving station with Diestel turkey and Mishima Ranch American Wagyu sirloin, pumpkin ravioli, Ora King salmon, Niman Ranch pork belly, and Oysters Rockefeller. Oh, and ton of sides and desserts. $135 for adults, $67.50 for children, free for children 4 and under. (707) 939-2407, Inside the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, 100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, santediningroom.com.

Spoonbar offers a 4-course meal will be served, including sweet corn chowder, butternut squash risotto, turkey and pecan pie. Vegetarian and vegan options are available. $65 for adults, $35 for children. (707) 433-7222, 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, spoonbar.com.

Sonoma Grille will be open with their regular menu on Thanksgiving day with an additional, extended prix fixe menu with Thanksgiving favorites. A nice option for those seeking to dine out while skipping the turkey. 11:30AM-9:00PM, (707) 938-7542, 165 W. Napa St., Sonoma, sonomagrilleandbar.com.

MARKETS

Lucky’s: The most affordable option this holiday, Lucky offers à la carte options including every turkey option available (Mary’s, Diestel, Butterball, Jennie O etc.), rib roast and hams and turkey and ham meals, with dessert, to serve 6-8 people starting at an astoundingly low price of $49.99. luckysupermarkets.com

Oliver’s Market: Offers à la carte protein and a full meal option for 6-8 ($129.99), which includes a California-raised Diestel turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, cranberry sauce, rolls, pie and more. À la carte options include Diestel turkey, Boar’s Head ham, USDA prime rib, and a vegan roast, with sides available, too. oliversmarket.com

Raley’s: Offer’s à la carte (pick up cooked turkeys and ham or sides) and full meals to serve 6-8 (starting at $69.99). They offer Sonora-raised Diestel and Butterball turkeys and hams. Meals come with protein, gravy, cranberry sauce and your choice of three sides.  raleys.com

Sonoma Market & Glen Ellen Village Market: Offer traditional Thanksgiving meals to serve from 4-10 people (starting at $99.99) served with your choice of Diestel turkey or Llano Seco ham with sides. They also offer a “contemporary” holiday meal for 4-10 people (starting at $119.99) where you can select herb crusted beef filet option served with bread pudding, scalloped potatoes, cider-glazed carrots and brussels sprouts, and more. sonomamarket.net

Whole Foods: Offers à la carte (pick up a pre-cooked or raw turkey or freshly made lump-free mashed potatoes) or order a full meal to feed 4-12, including Diestel turkeys (raised in Sonora near Yosemite), ham and prime rib options. Though not cheap (an organic turkey meal for 8 can cost $160), they serve up humanely raised proteins and organic veggies.  wholefoodsmarket.com

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Tyler Florence & Grateful Table to Host Thanksgiving Fire Fundraiser http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/tyler-florence-grateful-table-to-host-fire-fundraiser/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/tyler-florence-grateful-table-to-host-fire-fundraiser/#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 18:58:01 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36926

Celebrity chef, and Bay Area resident, Tyler Florence joins Outstanding in the Field for an al fresco Thanksgiving fundraiser for fire relief efforts. 

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Celebrity chef, and Bay Area resident, Tyler Florence joins Outstanding in the Field for an al fresco Thanksgiving fundraiser for fire relief efforts. 

The fundraiser, which takes place Tuesday, November 21, starts at $500 a pop and a group of eight can share a table for $4,000. Can’t attend? You can buy a ticket for a first responder or a resident affected by the fires for $250.

100% of ticket sales benefit the Sonoma County Resilience Fund, Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, Mendocino County Disaster Fund, and the California Restaurant Association Foundation.

Named the Grateful Table, the Thanksgiving-themed fundraiser takes place in a vineyard in Carneros, on the Napa/Sonoma County line. Guests are told the exact location after procuring their tickets.

Upon arrival, guests take their seats at a really long table and the food and wine flows.

Menu details haven’t been announced, but with a Thanksgiving theme, the locally sourced menu could include recipes from Tyler Florence’s own Thanksgiving cookbook, such as spatchcocked free-range turkey, sausage stuffing, green bean poutine, and chocolate pecan pie.

The event is the brainchild of Outstanding in the Field founder, Jim Denevan. “Outstanding in the Field is about setting our long table in celebration of community and connection, where we hear and taste the story of the people and places that nourish and sustain us,” says Denevan. He describes the upcoming event as being a “scene of celebration, and…also a portrait of resilience.”

Tuesday, November 21, 1 PM. Tickets on sale now, outstandinginthefield.com.

 

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Sláinte! Santa Rosa’s Stout Brothers Reopens After Renovations http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/slainte-stout-brothers-reopens/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/slainte-stout-brothers-reopens/#comments Wed, 08 Nov 2017 23:39:43 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36865

After a much needed renovation, Santa Rosa's Stout Brothers Pub reopens with a new vibe.

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A rare thing in the dining world: pub/restaurant closes for renovations, say they will re-open in a specific time frame , actually succeeds at opening. 

To be exact, that would be Santa Rosa’s Stout Brothers Irish Pub and Restaurant and they are back open for business.

“New menu! New cocktails! New vibe!” is what the website declares.

The facelift included a deep cleaning and lots of new stuff: a backlit bar with a new cocktail menu, barstools and seating in the dining area, lighting (the old chandeliers were replaced with steampunk-ish light fixtures), flooring, and art.

Stout Brothers also updated their menu, with new appetizers, salads and entrees. While we haven’t seen the new menu in its completion, menu staples like fish and chips and burgers haven’t gone away.

The new cocktail menu was designed by the crew at the Starling Bar in Sonoma, meaning it is bound to be filled with seasonal craft cocktails that go above and beyond the usual set.

They also updated their operating hours: they’re open daily from 3 PM to 12:30 AM, with the kitchen serving until 9:30 PM.

Stout Brothers Irish Pub & Restaurant, (707) 636-0240, 527 4th St., Santa Rosa, stoutbrospub.com.

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Willi’s Wine Bar Favorites to Be Served at Stark Restaurants to Raise Funds for Fire Victims http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/willis-wine-bar-menu-returning-to-stark-restaurants-as-fundraiser/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/willis-wine-bar-menu-returning-to-stark-restaurants-as-fundraiser/#comments Tue, 07 Nov 2017 16:50:26 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36839 Willi's Wine Bar tacos

Though the restaurant is gone, the menu lives on as a fundraiser for Sonoma Family Meal.

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Willi's Wine Bar tacos

Here’s an easy way to support the community — eat and drink your heart out.

By now many of you know that I’ve spent the last three weeks running Sonoma Family Meal, offering free chef-made, to-go meals to anyone in need. We’ve received so much support from the restaurant community, and I’m proud of all the amazing volunteers, chefs, food purveyors and supporters who’ve helped us serve more than 70,000 meals.

Vegetable curry at John Ash and Co. event Center one of the meals for Sonoma Family Meal

Vegetable curry at John Ash and Co. event Center one of the meals for Sonoma Family Meal. We got thousands of pounds of squash donated, and the pumpkin seeds were roasted as a garnish. Fancy!

I plan to continue this project as long as we are financially able, as well as continue my day job as a restaurant writer. You can still expect the same kind behind-the-scenes restaurant news and food stories that you’ve come to expect from me over the last 11 years. In addition, I’ll be highlighting the many fundraisers and food heroes that have come to the aid of the county with everything from pans of lasagna to thousands of pounds of donated meat. (Don’t worry, I’ll sleep later.)

We’re all in this together, and the success of farmers, restaurants, and non-profits is the key to keeping our Sonoma County food system strong. No one wants to be eating out of cans anytime soon, so the best thing any of us can do right now is to fill our bellies with the local bounty.

Workers in the kitchen at John Ash and Co. event Center creating meals for Sonoma Family Meal

Workers in the kitchen at John Ash and Co. event Center creating meals for Sonoma Family Meal

There are two fundraisers, however, that will impact Sonoma Family Meal directly and help us to continue operations, both run by organizations who have been integral to our operations from early on: One from Mark and Terri Stark, who lost Willi’s Wine Bar, and one from KJ, who have been supplying SFM with thousands of pre-made entrees from their commercial kitchen — specifically under Chef Tracey Shepos — since day one.

Fundraisers Supporting Sonoma Family Meal

 Mark and Terri Stark in the dining room at Stark’s Steak & Seafood in Santa Rosa. (File photo)

Willi’s Classics: Favorite menu items from Willi’s Wine Bar will be served at the five remaining Stark’s restaurants through Dec. 31. That means you can get your curried crab tacos, pork belly potstickers, Tunisian roasted carrots, filet mignon sliders and more, with $2 from each item donated directly to our non-profit.

Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar (403 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg)

  • Curried Crab Tacos With Apple, Cucumber & Mint
  • Spanish Octopus A La Plancha, Mole Amarillo, Pickled Hearts Of Palm
  • Pork Belly Potstickers With Five Spice & Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Organic Brick Chicken, Tzatziki Sauce, Fried Onion Salad
  • Moroccan Lamb Chops, Preserved Lemon Cous Cous, Toasted Almonds And Arugula

Monti’s ( 714 Village Ct, Santa Rosa)

  • Ahi Tuna Tartar With Lemon, Shiso & Pinenuts
  • Tunisian Roasted Carrots With Pinenuts, Olives And Mint
  • Truffled French Fries With Truffle Aioli

Bird And The Bottle (1055 4th St, Santa Rosa)

  • Arugula  and Endive Salad, Avocado, Manchego Cheese, Toasted Almonds, Lemon Truffle Vinaigrette
  • Liberty Farms Pulled Duck Bbq With Smoked Cheddar Polenta
  • Tunisian Roasted Carrots With Pinenuts, Olives And Mint

Starks Steak & Seafood (521 Adams St, Santa Rosa)

  • Dungeness Crab Cocktail With Preserved Lemon Crème Fraiche And Smoked Paprika Chips
  • Scallop Dumplings With Pea Shoots, Crispy Pancetta And Sherry Vinaigar Butter
  • Roasted Bone Marrow With Toasted Brioche & Red Onion Marmalade
  • Filet Mignon Sliders, Creamed Spinach, Whole Grain Mustard Bearnaise

 

Bravas Bar De Tapas (420 Center St, Healdsburg)

  • Local Crimini Mushroom Salad, Extra Old Manchego
  • Foie Gras Poppers, Orange Marmalade, Vanilla Bean Fleur De Sel


Kendall-Jackson

Sonoma Family Meal and the Redwood Empire Food Bank will split donations from the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens through Dec. 31. The folks at KJ are donating $5 for every bottle purchased and $20 for a wine club membership. Napa and Sonoma residents enjoy a complimentary tasting.  5007 Fulton Rd, Fulton.

Related Images:

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Glen Ellen Inn Oyster Grill & Martini Bar Stands After Fires http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/glen-ellen-inn-oyster-grill-martini-bar-stands/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/glen-ellen-inn-oyster-grill-martini-bar-stands/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 23:37:16 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36825

The list of restaurants re-opening after the Sonoma County fires continues to grow.

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The list of restaurants re-opening after the wildfires that ravaged Wine Country continues to grow – and soon the Glen Ellen Inn Oyster Grill & Martini Bar will be added to that list – after renovations. 

“Our restaurant and inn survived,” share owners Karen & Chris Bertrand, who have owned the bistro for over 25 years, “as did our house, barely.”

Luckily, most of the restaurants in downtown Glen Ellen escaped major damage, thanks to hard working fire crews.

The Glen Ellen Inn serves up more than just local oysters and strong martinis, it has seven cottages nestled along a creek behind the restaurant. “Three of our buildings were yellow tagged due to roof damage,” says the Bertrand’s, “but we will have that fixed as soon as we can.”

The electricity was off in Glen Ellen for 14 days, leading the Bertrand’s to replace a refrigerator and freezer. They’re also taking advantage of the repair time for a winter renovation, which will feature an update to the martini bar, flooring and kitchen. They’ll reopen as soon as permitting allows.

“Meanwhile, we ask all of our guests to visit our friends in our Glen Ellen neighborhood restaurants,” say the couple, “Glen Ellen is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people – and we will come back strong!”

We here at Bite Club will let you know when they reopen.

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[See image gallery at www.sonomamag.com]

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Holy Schnitzel: Tisza Melds European, Sonoma County Flavors http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/holy-schnitzle-tisza-melds-european-sonoma-county-flavors/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/holy-schnitzle-tisza-melds-european-sonoma-county-flavors/#comments Mon, 06 Nov 2017 16:27:01 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36784 Salmon with carrot puree at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

New Windsor restaurant is a mix of Old World flavors and Wine Country chic.

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Salmon with carrot puree at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

Chef Krisztian Karkus isn’t sure if he wants everyone to know how good his wiener schnitzel is. He has a special recipe, sure, and it’s pan-fried in butter and pork lard with fresh lingonberry jam and homemade cucumber salad, but he isn’t a German chef, he says in a heavy Hungarian accent–and he doesn’t want his new restaurant, Tisza Bistro in Windsor, to be pigeon-holed as an ethnic dining experience. Trouble is, he already has fans coming in weekly for a plate of the breadcrumb-topped veal. You may also notice its the only photo I took after having several bites because it is that good, which anything cooked in pork lard tends to be.

Housed inside the new Windsor Holiday Inn, Tisza opened its doors during the week of the wildfires. “Bad timing,” said Karkus, though he turned a hotel full of fire refugees and a burner-less kitchen into a welcomed gathering around food—even if it was a few hundred panini sandwiches made with a waffle iron he bought at Kohls. The displaced residents volunteered to wash dishes, came into the kitchen to give him a hug and help out the restaurant any way they could. “What could they do all day, watch tv?” he said of the friends he made in those tough first days.

Beet salad with pears, whipped chevre and beet yogurt at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

Beet salad with pears, whipped chevre and beet yogurt at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

These days, however, the restaurant has gained quick momentum as repeat customers and neighbors discover that Karkus can do a whole lot more than cook paninis. His mix of Old World comfort food (with lots of roasting) and fresh, California-inspired ingredients make for an intriguing menu ranging from brown butter artichokes with tarragon and lemon aioli (not lemon and mayonnaise, he specifies), duck confit with brandied cherries, spaetzle mac and cheese, and smoked bratwurst and braised sauerkraut.

Not a single dish missed the mark. Not one.

A former chef at Napa’s Meritage Resort, along with other high-end hotels and resorts, Karkus has experience with luxe Wine Country dining. He’s forthcoming, however, about the time he ran a Hungarian restaurant in Japan, something he describes as “too ethnic”, and careful not to label himself as the goulash guy. Or the wiener schnitzel and bratwurst guy.

Instead, Karkus is the chef who is taking a much-welcomed right turn away from olive oil and heavy French sauces toward flavors that have been hard to find in Sonoma lately, pairing salmon with a Hungarian-style potato pancake or braised lamb with a yeasty Bohemian dumpling.

“Food has to taste good first,” he said, “and look good second.” He’s achieved both, with perfectly cooked greens and beans; clever touches like balsamic “pearls” (a molecular gastronomy technique) that aren’t overly precious, deeply flavorful infusions of spices and herbs and perfectly crisp salmon and duck skin.

On a personal note, my husband as deemed the little brown boxes I’ve left in the fridge after dinner “the best leftovers of my life.” We tussled over the last bits of duck in the kitchen.

Tisza may have been born from fire, but named after a meandering Hungarian river, its menu is awash in a love for the flavors of Sonoma County and Eastern Europe. Plus, the schnitzel ain’t bad.

Best Bets at Tisza Bistro:

Artichokes with brown butter and tarragon with lemon aioli at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

Artichokes with brown butter and tarragon with lemon aioli at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

– Roasted Castroville artichoke with tarragon brown butter and preserved lemon, $10: Huge artichokes bathed in nutty butter with creamy lemon aioli. We’re never quite sure about the proper way to eat an artichoke, but you’ll find the meatiest bits on the bigger petals, though we’d rather just spoon the aioli in our mouths when it comes right down to it. There’s no getting around the calories here, but intensely worth sharing around the table.

– Russian kale salad, $10: Another kale salad, yay. Here’s the truth, though, this one is so pretty it seems almost cruel not to eat it. One bite of the wine-soaked currants studded throughout the chopped kale, however, and you’re hooked. Mixed in are quinoa (yay, healthy!), shaved Parmesan topped with a honey walnut vinaigrette. Not a bad choice after the artichoke.

– Roasted beets, $11: I’ve become the roasted beet queen, because they seem to be on just about every menu and darn it I like beets. This version, though, is extra special, with a mix of sweet and earthy beets, whipped Redwood Hill Farm chevre (along with a few chunks on top), balsamic pearls (made by dropping hot vinegar mixed with agar agar into cold oil, a flavor burst) and Karkus’ “beet yoghurt”, his own recipe for the tart cream mixed with beets and 7 spice blend.

Kale salad with pomegranates, Parmesan and wine soaked currants Salmon with carrot puree at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

Kale salad with pomegranates, Parmesan and wine soaked currants Salmon with carrot puree at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

– Roasted Skuna Bay salmon, $24: Roasted salmon is a lot like roasted chicken—it’s just not that interesting. But with skin as crisp as a new dollar bill (but tastier), lighter-tasting, flaky salmon and a humble potato pancake atop carrot puree, it’s almost date-worthy. Karkus’ latke-style pancake is a recipe from his mother, who he says was a wonderful cook. Hers were slathered in sour cream, while Karkus takes a gentler approach, leaving them as a perfect sauce-mop for any leftover puree or spinach.

– Wiener schnitzel, $23: Veal, rolled in bread crumbs, fried in butter and pork fat. A squeeze of lemon and life suddenly seems a lot better. This version has no relationship to a sad piece of dry pork dropped in a deep fat fryer, which the sibling of chicken fried steak, something no one should eat willingly.

– Braised lamb shoulder, $26: Lamb can be a tough sell, but this long-cooked cut is tender and beefy. Bohemian yeast dumplings are a bit like steamed bao, a sticky sort of dough ball whose only purpose is to soak up au jus.

Duck confit with brandy-soaked cherries at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

Duck confit with brandy-soaked cherries at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

– Roasted Liberty Farm duck confit, $18: There are so many ways this preserved duck leg can go wrong, and I’ve tasted most of them. They’re either greasy or fatty, often a bit grey inside, and with a rubbery skin. Karkus again gets a super crispy skin (“I love it to be crispy,” he says) by searing off the deep red meat. Brandied cherries are the, well, cherry on the confit.

– Rolled crepe with walnut cream, $6: This is the undersell of the menu, because it’s a treasured Hungarian dessert called palatschinke, and one I know well from my childhood. I got a little teary, in fact, when Karkus began explaining the soft, papery crepe that puts any French buckwheat imposteur to shame. “You should be able to eat it like this,” Karkus mimes, pressing his lips together. No teeth needed. Rolled instead of folded into a triangle, palatschinke is filled with a walnut cream surrounded by rum raisins (boozy fruit is a popular theme) and swooshes of real chocolate ganache. Nutella be damned.

Tisza Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 8757 Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor, 707-838-5100, tiszabistro.com.

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Heather Irwin is the founder of BiteClub and has been heading a meal relief program in Sonoma County called Sonoma Family Meal, offering free chef-made meals to those affected by the fires at sonomafamilymeal.org.

Related Images:

[See image gallery at www.sonomamag.com]

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Global Flavors at New Healdsburg Restaurant http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/global-flavors-at-kitchen-335-in-healdsburg/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/global-flavors-at-kitchen-335-in-healdsburg/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 18:26:46 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36767

From France to Mexico, take a trip around the world at this new restaurant on Healdsburg avenue.

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Though Kitchen 335 in Healdsburg is a restaurant that’s still finding itself, there are a handful of dishes that make the restaurant worth a try. Pork chop mole, which prominently features restaurant-owner Octavio Diaz’ authentic Mexican black mole, obviously resides firmly at the top of the list.Describing itself as farm-to-table seems like a disservice to the ever-evolving lineup of appetizers, salads and entrées that range from citrus-soy glazed calamari to a savory French tart, and chicken breast with lemon cream to the aforementioned mole.

What most folks don’t know is that the mash-up of global flavors are favorite dishes from the restaurant’s former and current chefs, Danny Mai (as executive chef of Persimmon, the restaurant’s last moniker), opening chef Rodrigo Mendoza (of Willi’s Seafood) along with newer French-inspired dishes from chef Patrick Martin. Martni is best-known as the last chef at Restaurant Charcuterie, which closed in 2015, before Mai’s Persimmon opened in 2016.

If you didn’t follow the bouncing toques, that means the owner of the original restaurant at 335 Healdsburg Avenue is now a chef at the restaurant. And there are a whole lot of folks excited to see Martin’s return.

Overhearing an excited French conversation between a local couple and Martin at a recent dinner, it was easy to discern the enthusiasm of both the diners and Chef Martin. Or, at least as much as I could understand in my B-minus worthy high school French. Because it would be rude to eavesdrop and not introduce oneselves, introductions were made, and their deep love of Martin’s cuisine (“He catered our daughter’s wedding,” they said) as well as his long-standing roots in the community.

That kind of cozy companionship is what Kitchen 335 can excel at, with just a handful of tables and impressive service. Owned by the Diaz family, the restaurant has the potential to become a weeknight local hotspot. Especially if they keep serving that pork chop mole.

Best Bets

Mushroom Tart ($13): French pastry dough with feathery goat cheese cream, wild mushrooms, shallots and herbs. Order two unless you have incredible willpower, because it’s that good.

Sautéed Chicken Livers ($13): Since Ralph’s Bistro closed, these old school gems have been scarce. Mixed with smoked bacon, mushrooms, Marsala and herbs, they’re an offal treat.

Shellfish Saffron Risotto ($26): Risotto was a little soupy, but deeply fragrant stock and saffron made this exotic dish with shrimp, mussels and calamari sing.

Needs Improvement

Fried calamari with citrus soy glaze ($14): Though a Persimmon favorite, they seem out of place now, and the preparation reflects that. Not bad, but not amazing.

Poached Beets ($14): Tastes incredible, but the presentation was uninspired for a $14 salad.

Prices seem a little high ($18 for a burger) but if the restaurant can dial in a few classic crowd-pleasers with Martin’s tried-and-true lineup from Charcuterie along with some other outside-the-box dishes like the pork chop mole, Kitchen 335 has potential to be a neighborhood favorite and more.

 

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[See image gallery at www.sonomamag.com]

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Sonoma Family Meal Serves +16,000 Meals of Wholesome Food to Fire Victims http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/feeding-sonoma-county-at-sonoma-family-meal/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/feeding-sonoma-county-at-sonoma-family-meal/#comments Thu, 19 Oct 2017 14:30:45 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36727

On Saturday, I had this idea...what if we could feed everyone affected by the fires chef-made to-go meals.

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UPDATE: PLEASE VISIT OUR VOLUNTEER PAGE if you’d like to help us out.

As of Wednesday night, Sonoma Family Meal had served 16,000 free chef-made lunches and dinners to anyone affected by the wildfires ravaging the North Bay – give or take a few thousand. Because, when you’ve got people who’ve lost everything waiting in line for a warm meal, keeping counts isn’t really the point.

Through dinner Saturday, anyone in Sonoma County (and beyond) who needs a little help feeding friends and family can simply show up at the Sonoma Family Meal pop-up at the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Culinary Arts Center parking lot (1700 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa) for a pre-packaged to-go meal for 4-6 people, made by some of the best chefs in the Bay Area. Just drive up, pick up, and then get back to your family.

And trust us when we say, you don’t have to be needy to be in need. We’ve seen Mercedes and broken down vans pull up for meals. Disaster doesn’t discriminate – anyone can be affected – and we’re all in this together.

So, what’s this initiative all about? The idea to create Sonoma Family Meal came to me as my own family was displaced after the Nuns Fire engulfed Santa Rosa’s Annadel. Fortunately, a friend from San Francisco offered his apple farm and ranch home for my 94-year-old grandmother, my son and my parents to stay in while they were evacuated.

Sitting around a huge harvest table, I saw that – despite our fortunate situation – our family of ten was struggling to put together a meal. We were traumatized, and cooking was the last thing anyone wanted to do. We ate whatever anyone could gather together — pre-made salads, a quiche, some risotto cakes, a loaf of bread — not exactly a cohesive meal, but we were grateful to simply eat together, all of us safe. I figured we were hardly the only ones in this situation – not in an evacuation center, not necessarily in financial difficulty, but simply in need of a warm, nourishing, healthy meal. 

I spent Saturday working every contact in the restaurant world I could think of. It turned out that a number of chefs in Sonoma County and San Francisco – including Sonoma’s Sondra Bernstein (girl and the fig) and Sheana Davis (Epicurean Connection), Traci des Jardines (SF’s Jardiniere), Miriam Donaldson (Petaluma’s Wishbone), Marianna Gardenhire and Daniel Kedan (Forestville’s Backyard), John Stewart and Duskie Estes (Zazu Kitchen and Farm, Sebastopol) and Evelyn Cheatham’s Worth Our Weight (Santa Rosa) – had already started high volume feeding programs for first responders and fire victims in shelters.

But, so far, no one was feeding the folks who weren’t in shelters, but needed some extra assistance feeding a house full of family and friends; who didn’t have gas or electricity, or were coming home to a house full of spoiled food in their fridges. While grocery stores were slow on restocking, maybe these people wanted to take something to a friend in need, or they were older folks caring for a wife or husband after having been evacuated from senior centers. The stories of need were endless, but had one common theme: These were people afraid to ask for help because they thought other people needed it more.

And there were many other chefs who wanted to help in any way they could. Unfortunately, shelters couldn’t accommodate pans of lasagna, gourmet cookies, cupcakes, tofu scrambles and veggies for vegan folks, and the myriad of other contributions they wanted to make.

Sonoma Family Meal (named for the hearty “family meal” that restaurant staff enjoy together before starting service) bridged that gap. Offers to help started pouring in: 800 meals from SF Chefs Fight Fire, 800 meals from Jackson Family Wine’s gourmet kitchen, trays of lasagna from Single Thread, 100 burgers and fries from Healdsburg Bar and Grill, 1000 meals from Operation BBQ, a pallet of fresh vegetables from FEED Sonoma, trays of gourmet cupcakes and cookies from Moustache Baked Goods, tubs of pasta from Josh Silvers’ Jackson’s (Silvers lost his home) and the list kept growing.

We needed a place for operations, and John Franchetti of Franchetti’s Wood Fire Kitchen stepped up first. With gas cut off, the Santa Rosa restaurant was closed, but the kitchen was available for bringing in racks of food, keeping it refrigerated and handling it in a professional environment.

On Sunday morning, a team of volunteers showed up at Franchetti’s and went to work: Holly Hansen PR and other volunteers worked their social media magic to get the word out while professional chefs manned the kitchen (Trisha Davis of Whole Pie coordinated operations), volunteers handed out food (including my parents) and I worked the phones. Chaco’s Catering offered hundreds of chicken paella meals, along with many other contributions from local chefs throughout the day. That first day, we served 4,000 meals through our little pop-up, drive-up service with the help of many locals (including Zazu’s John Stewart who brought trays of meat and sides from operations at the Vets Building after emergency calls went out when we ran out of food during dinner service).

On Tuesday, Sonoma Family Meal moved to Worth Our Weight, taking over the Santa Rosa restaurant space and bringing in so much food we overloaded the walk-in refrigerator. Cold Stone Creamery served free ice cream sundaes that were a big hit with children, who walked away with sprinkle-covered face as their parents brought home bags of fresh produce and trays of food. 

To support our effort, the board of Santa Rosa Junior College decided (in an emergency session) to offer their Burdo Culinary Arts Center as a kitchen and pick-up location. 

And so, on Wednesday morning, we moved again. This time, Aaron Jonas of Aaron Jonas catering brought an entire team to cook fresh food that was being donated by the pallet and needed to be used before it went to waste – in addition to the thousands of meals donated. Miriam Donaldson of Petaluma’s Wishbone is sharing the space to coordinate her ongoing meal services. We all hope to figure out a way to continue food operations for the foreseeable future.

There’s no way to thank everyone who has supported, and continue to support, Sonoma Family Meal, but in the coming weeks I will try. Nor can I find the words to share every heartbreaking story I’ve heard, or convey the desperation felt in the wake of the fires and the humanitarian crisis that we now face in Sonoma County. We are simply chefs, volunteers, friends, family and one restaurant writer who want to make sure everyone in our community can get a hug, a nourishing and dignified meal and a little more hope as we face an uncertain future together. 

For more details, visit facebook.com/sonomafamilymeal 

Related Images:

[See image gallery at www.sonomamag.com]

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Do you need food due to the fires? Let us help http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/do-you-need-food-help-in-sonoma-county-please-tell-us/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/do-you-need-food-help-in-sonoma-county-please-tell-us/#comments Sat, 14 Oct 2017 21:42:39 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=36710

Sonoma County chefs are looking to feed those affected by the fires. Do you know of any needs? Let's get you connected.

The post Do you need food due to the fires? Let us help appeared first on Sonoma Magazine BiteClub.

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As of Saturday afternoon, most Sonoma County shelters have reported being fine on food through Sunday. However, there are many chefs in Sonoma County and beyond who are desperate to help — and can make several hundred meals in commercial kitchens for as long as it is needed. People with special diets can be accommodated. 

Chefs from San Francisco, Kendall-Jackson, Backyard and others have been working tirelessly, but need to know how to help.

Prepared meals for fire victims at Valette restaurant. (Facebook)

Any central location that needs food — be it evacuees, first-responders, government workers, media or other groups who are working through this event to help people — is welcome to contact me. Are you helping with animals and need food? Let us know.

Also, if you have a spot where people with family members staying with them can pick up meals, contact me. There are families with 10 people crammed into a house, and they need food too.

I am collaborating with food trucks and chefs who can continue to serve food throughout the next few weeks for folks that might be overlooked. If you have special needs — a shelter was trying to have a fun football themed dinner — I can try to arrange that. We are all here to help. Here are some ways to contact me: 

facebook.com/heather.irwin1

facebook.com/groups/sonomafirefoodtrucks

facebook.com/groups/foodforsonoma

email heather.irwin@pressdemocrat.com

 

Related Images:

[See image gallery at www.sonomamag.com]

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