Sonoma Magazine BiteClub http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub Restaurant & Dining Reviews for Sonoma, Santa Rosa and the Wine Country Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:00:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 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 Get Your Schnitzel Fix at These Wine Country Restaurants http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/get-your-schnitzel-fix-at-these-wine-country-restaurants/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/get-your-schnitzel-fix-at-these-wine-country-restaurants/#comments Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:25:13 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37345 Schnitzel at Franchetti's Wood Fire Kitchen in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

You can't miss this winter dish, here are several spots to find it.

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Schnitzel at Franchetti's Wood Fire Kitchen in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

It’s Germanuary in Sonoma County, and I’m a sucker for schnitzel (and sauerbraten, spaetzle and cabbage rolls). The combination of thinly pounded pork or veal, with crispy breadcrumbs and lemon — with potatoes, natch — is such a hearty dish it’s no wonder it’s the national dish of Austria (but Germany gets credit for the first cookbook recipe).

If you’re ready for some cheat-night fun, here are three spots to get great schnitzel…

Franchetti’s Woodfire Kitchen is celebrating their love for all things Teutonic — including schnitzel — throughout January. Their version of the breaded and fried veal cutlet is a bit less highfalutin, using co-owner Gesine Franchetti’s recipe for a heartier pork version from her southern German upbringing. Covered with wild mushrooms, spaetzle (a type of egg noodle), buttered bread crumbs and creamy sauce, it’s a winter winner of a dish that is easily enough for two ($18).

Franchetti’s will be continuing their Germanuary menu, with daily dinner specials, throughout the month. Another favorite is beef roulade ($19), a well-flattened steak filled with pickles, mustard, carrots, and bacon, then rolled tightly and cooked. With a natural au jus and crisp fingerling potatoes, we had a hard time deciding which we liked better. 1229 N Dutton Ave, Santa Rosa, (707) 526-1229, franchettis.com.

Wiener schnitzle at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

Wiener schnitzel at Tisza Bistro in Windsor. Heather Irwin/PD

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

 

Schitzel sandwich at The Golden Pig in Hopland Heather Irwin/PD

Schnitzel sandwich at The Golden Pig in Hopland Heather Irwin/PD

Golden Pig: The Pork Schnitzel Sandwich is owner Julie Golden’s favorite dish, based on her time as a consultant in Germany, it’s a sweet piece of breaded Dijon pork loin, Swiss, and onions on a soft Franco-American roll. The Golden Pig, 13380 S. Hwy 101, Hopland. Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, 707-670-6055, thegoldenpig.com

Have a favorite we missed? Let us know!

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7 Santa Rosa Restaurants We Can’t Wait For http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/7-santa-rosa-resataurants/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/7-santa-rosa-resataurants/#comments Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:57:27 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37340

Santa Rosa is getting a bevy of new restaurants this spring.

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Seems we can’t go a block these days without stumbling over signs for new restaurants in the downtown area. Opening soon is Perch and Plow, located above the former Flavor Bistro (which was slated to be a Peruvian restaurant, but owners backed out). On the day we stopped by, they were interviewing a chef from Portland, so not much to say about the menu yet, but the interior is spectacular, with paintings from local artist Bud Snow.

Also coming: Gerard’s from Gerard Nebesky of Gerard’s Paella at the former Persona pizza and The Jade Room, offering oysters, salads, wine, cheese charcuterie, salads and small bites.

The owners of San Rafael’s and Santa Rosa’s Crepevine will be opening Cascabel, a tequila lounge (and by tequila we mean four pages of blanco, reposado, anejo and mezcal) and snack-eria in Santa Rosa’s Montgomery Village later this month. The upscale-casual Mexican lounge will be the second in the Bay Area, the first opening last August in San Rafael. “Welcome to Cascabel. Our story is simple , no BS , we love tequila and authentic, traditional Mexican food. Cesar is a good cook so we opened Cascabel,” says the website. The nearby San Rafael Crepevine serves as the kitchen for the lounge, with small plates including chips and salsa, shrimp ceviche, fish tacos, spicy wings, “Diablo” fries with jalapeno jelly, braised pork torta, huevos rancherso and a “hamburguesa” with avocado, onions, jack and cheddar cheese.

Also slated to open in Montgomery Village later this year, Raku Ramen, serving authentic ramen and sushi.

MOD Pizza will open this spring in South Santa Rosa, a national chain of artisan pizzas.

Parish Cafe is also in development in downtown.

Previously we wrote also, about Mission Kitchen and Bar.

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Kenwood Roadhouse Revived: Salt and Stone Restaurant a Winner http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/kenwood-roadhouse-revived-salt-and-stone-restaurant-a-winner/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/kenwood-roadhouse-revived-salt-and-stone-restaurant-a-winner/#comments Mon, 15 Jan 2018 20:38:40 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37321 Petite filet steak at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

Kenwood restaurant has a solid menu and a classic point of view, and locals are flocking to Salt and Stone for dinner and happy hour

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Petite filet steak at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

The roadhouse at 9900 Sonoma Highway has once again returned to life.

For the last month, since the opening of Salt and Stone in the iconic location, the parking lot has been packed, the bar once again a gathering spot for the Valley and the restaurant is doing such a brisk business that owners David and Diane LaMonica are hustling in the kitchen and dining room of the Kenwood restaurant as hard as any of their staff.

“I’ve been here every day since we opened,” chirps Diane, as she flutters about seating guests, filling water glasses, expediting bar food and creating a generous warmth as inviting as the restaurant’s crackling fireplace.

Salmon and couscous with orange at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

Salmon and couscous with orange at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

For more than a decade, LaMonica and her husband owned Mendocino’s Cafe Beaujolais, also known for its combination of charm and destination-worthy food. As residents of Santa Rosa, they’ve long dreamed of opening a restaurant here, and when the former KenWood spot shuttered and then floundered between potential new owners, they decided to jump in with both feet.

One of the reasons they’re succeeding so spectacularly out of the gate? My theory is their welcoming attitude to nearby Oakmonters. With more than 4,500 residents, local restauranteurs ignore them at their peril. Eschewing the disposable incomes, passion for food and weekday patronage of these seniors has been the death knell for several restaurants in the area, and the LaMonicas have created an atmosphere, price point, and menu the community is embracing. Not that the Oakmonters are the only patrons, but on one visit, a single young couple sat in the window as the dining room filled with mostly mature diners. A second Thursday night visit found both the bar and dining room full by 5:30 p.m., with jovial retirees gathered around the bar fireplace, filling tables in couples and foursomes, opening expensive wines and relishing in the food.

Tuna tartare at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

Tuna tartare at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

It’s also a homecoming for many. For decades, Chef Max Schacher’s served simple French-California cuisine in the space, with approachable dishes like Caesar salad and Dungeness crab cakes and salmon. Schacher sold the Kenwood Grill in 2013 to restaurateur Bill Foss, who brought a high-concept vibe and frequently-changing seasonal menu to the space–something that didn’t always fly with Schacher’s longtime regulars.

The LaMonicas, who hired Meadowood and French Garden alum Arturo Guzman to head the kitchen, have taken a more moderate approach, with an extensive—like really, really extensive—menu of classics including Caesar salad, onion soup, steak, and roasted chicken, and there’s not much to dislike. With a full oyster selection, specialty cocktails and classics, charcuterie and cheese boards, eleven appetizers, eleven entrees, 3-course bistro night selections (beef bourguignon, coq au vin, braised lamb shank), nine desserts and a happy hour menu, it’s more a matter of narrowing choices after perusing both the daily menu, dinner menu and wine list. Eager staff, however, are more than happy to guide your choices, should things get overwhelming.

“Everyone will come once,” said Diane, “but our job is to keep them coming back.” If the packed parking lot is any indication, they’re coming back in droves to Kenwood’s gathering spot.

Best Bets:

Grilled octopus at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

Grilled octopus at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

– Marinated Grilled Octopus ($18): When you can cut octopus with a single stroke of a butter knife, it’s something to rave about. Tender and flavorful, beautifully plated with chickpeas, pickled red onions, and arugula. Guzman’s plating is spectacular, and little touches, like homemade potato chips (gaufrette) with the ahi tuna poke or delicate couscous with salmon make dishes feel special rather than ho-hum.

– Ahi Tuna Poke ($18):  Too many chefs phone in this classic, but Guzman pumps up the flavor with seaweed salad, wasabi cream, and shiso oil, along with plenty of sesame oil.

– Steak Tartare ($19): Raw beef can be a turn off for some, but with 25-year sherry vinegar, a raw quail egg and crispy crostini, it was almost impossible not to shovel this into my face as fast as possible. The sharp tang of vinegar, the velvet texture of beef and creaminess or a raw egg are a revelation.

– Crispy Skin Salmon ($25): We’re taking a guess on Atlantic salmon, due to the mildness of the fish and lighter color, but the true test of this fish is in the cooking: Just cooked in the center, flakey throughout, with a crisp skin on a bed of lemon couscous. A solid choice for lighter eaters.

– Petit Filet ($25): Steak is steak is steak, in my book, which is why I don’t often order it. Here, though, it’s a staple, with ribeye, filet mignon, and flat iron selections, along with the petit filet. Cooked rare, the flavor is delicate, and almost doesn’t stand up to the blue cheese butter (still slightly frozen) atop the filet. Push the pat aside, and let it melt into the duck fat roasted fingerling potatoes and wild mushrooms.

– Happy Hour 1/4 lb. house ground burger ($6): Though tiny, this is a mighty burger, served with cheddar aioli on a brioche bun. No shortcuts here, with lots of beefy, juicy flavor. Nom.

Needs Work:

– French Onion Soup ($9): I like my french onion soup to take command of the bowl, with pungent caramelized onions, a bit of sherry, and Gruyere that can stand up to a broiler and win. This version was a bit of a wallflower.

Steak tartare at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

Steak tartare at Salt and Stone Restaurant in Sonoma County, Kenwood. Heather Irwin/PD

The Takeaway: Solid classics and an extensive menu in an affable and iconic Sonoma Valley roadhouse.

Perks: Great Happy Hour deals from 2:30 to 5:30pm Monday through Friday; 3-course bistro nights include a hearty entree, soup or salad and dessert with a glass of wine for $35 (M-W); excellent local wines by the glass and in 20 oz. carafes, along with a value-oriented by-the-bottle program from sommelier Krista McCracken.

Salt and Stone, 9900 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood, 707-833-6326, saltstonekenwood.com. Open daily from 5 to 9p.m., happy hour from 2:30 to 5:30p.m. Monday through Friday.

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The Perfect Chicken Waffle? We Found it in Santa Rosa http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/the-perfect-chicken-waffle-sonoma-crust-bakery/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/the-perfect-chicken-waffle-sonoma-crust-bakery/#respond Thu, 11 Jan 2018 22:15:26 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37309

Sonoma Crust bakery has beignets, chicken waffles and a whole lot of heart

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I’d pretty much given up on chicken waffles before Sonoma Crust.

What was once a nod to a proud southern tradition has become compulsory on too many restaurant menus–along with kale and beet salads, baked macaroni and cheese, and something with way too much applewood smoked bacon.

Beignets at Sonoma Crust in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

But Anne Sanusi, the lone baker/chef at the cozy Sonoma Crust Bakery has dialed in what hundreds of chefs before her couldn’t: The perfect chicken waffle sandwich. Rather than fried chicken perched atop a waffle, Sanusi hand breads and fries a fat breast while simultaneously ironing a fluffy Belgian-style waffle that she cuts in half and tops with aioli, tart coleslaw and just a soupcon of magic.

It is the best chicken waffle we’ve had. Ever.

The Nigerian-native has long garnered a passion for European-style baking, honing her skills at the JC Culinary program and serving perfectly crisp, powdered sugar beignets throughout the summer at the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Santa Rosa. Proudly scrappy, she runs her one-table catering cafe, and has built out much of the interior herself.

Anne Sanusi of Sonoma Crust Bakery. Heather Irwin/PD

Anne Sanusi of Sonoma Crust Bakery. Heather Irwin/PD

She’s expanding her offerings to include soups, a breakfast waffle sammie filled with an omelet and covered with sweet tomato jam, along with forthcoming chicken parmesan and BLT waffles.

Want to try one? Her tiny cafe has just one table inside, and you’ll need to be patient as Anne makes each waffle sandwich by hand.

Dreams take time, after all, and the widow and mom of two kids is building that dream one waffle, one beignet and one bowl of soup at a time.

Open 11a.m. to 7p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, 1040 N. Dutton Ave., Suite A, sonomacrust.com. You can donate to her gofundme page here.

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Hey Misster Closes, Mission Kitchen and Bar Coming to Santa Rosa http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/hey-misster-closes-mission-kitchen-and-bar-coming-to-santa-rosa/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/hey-misster-closes-mission-kitchen-and-bar-coming-to-santa-rosa/#comments Mon, 08 Jan 2018 20:59:52 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37300 Smoked shrimp corn dogs from Chef Jesse Mcquarrie. Facebook.

Popular burger spot will become a chef-driven restaurant

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Smoked shrimp corn dogs from Chef Jesse Mcquarrie. Facebook.

A Biteclubber noticed that one of my favorite burger spots in Santa Rosa has closed. An application for ownership change was on the door in November, touting Mission Kitchen and Bar to reopen in the 52 Mission Circle spot in Santa Rosa.

A little digging, and a few details on MKB: It’s slated to open in January, the opening menu (if it actually is) looks delish with Shanghai pork lettuce cups with Santa Rosa plum sauce, a PB&J with pork belly, chili jam, pickled veggies and peanut sauce on a bao bun, smoked pork tenderloin with corn spoon bread and sour cherry sauce and Indian chickpea fritter sliders.

Feast caterer Jesse McQuarrie is partner and executive chef, and we’ve lifted a few pics from his recipe development gallery.

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Biggest Sonoma County Restaurant Openings/Closings of 2017 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/biggest-sonoma-county-restaurant-openings-closings-of-2017/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/biggest-sonoma-county-restaurant-openings-closings-of-2017/#comments Thu, 28 Dec 2017 00:45:48 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37293

The most important restaurants that opened in Sonoma County in 2017

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Though scores of new restaurants open and close in Sonoma County every year, a handful stand out. This year, a dozen new restaurants caught–and held–my attention throughout the year. Among the qualities that resonated with me over and over:

  • Quality: Using their own farms, or nearby farms, along with quality producers isn’t new, but the lengths to which many of these restaurateurs went–from gleaning to literally planting and harvesting their own food–went up a notch this year.
  • New Flavors: Playing up ethnic flavors, exotic spices and incorporating new ingredients from around the world
  • A return to the past:  Old world, slow cooking techniques, a return to classic French cuisine
  • Garden and forest: Use of flowers and other unusual fauna brought in earthier, darker flavors
  • Produce-forward: Creative takes on meatless dishes, treating vegetarian dishes with respect and care
  • Chef-led: It’s pretty hard to have a point-of-view restaurant without a clear direction in the kitchen. 

Here are the best Sonoma County restaurant openings of 2017:

Handline Coastal California Cuisine: This casual coastal-inspired restaurant from Lowell Sheldon (Lowell’s) and Natalie Goble takes everything from fish tacos (with homemade corn tortillas) to burgers and luxe vegetable dishes seriously. Sustainable, thoughtful, fresh and fun, this is a go-to spot when I’m paying the bill–the highest praise I can give a restaurant. 935 Gravenstein Ave., Sebastopol, 707-827-3744, handline.com.

Tisza Bistro: Tisza may have been born during the wildfires of October, but named after a meandering Hungarian river, its menu is awash in a love for the flavors of Sonoma County and Eastern Europe. A 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, duck confit with brandied cherries, spaetzle mac and cheese, and smoked bratwurst and braised sauerkraut. Plus, the schnitzel ain’t bad. 8757 Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor, 707-838-5100, tiszabistro.com.

Drawing Board: It’s not every day that you find vegan smoked carrot lox and cashew cream cheese on a menu next to roasted bone marrow. But at a culinary moment when diners want a combination of the familiar and exotic; decadent and healthy; conventional and sustainable, Petaluma’s Drawing Board feels like a roadmap to the future of dining. 190 Kentucky St, Petaluma, 707-774-6689, tdbpetaluma.com.

Flower and Bone: Dahlia Martinez combs her neighborhood and backyard farm daily looking for tasty tidbits she can preserve, can, puree or otherwise incorporate into the sweet and savory stories she concocts at her downtown Santa Rosa restaurant, opened with partner Jason Sakach. The couple also owns Santa Rosa breakfast/brunch/lunch spot Naked Pig. Hours are limited, so make a reservation. 640 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, 707-708-8529, flowerandbonerestaurant.com.

Russian River Vineyards Restaurant: A stunning organic farm is the foundation of this truly farm-to-table restaurant. With Chef Ben Davies at the helm and a talented kitchen staff, Russian River Vineyards has become a Forestville dining destination instead of a Hwy. 116 drive-by. 5700 CA-116, Forestville, 707-887-3344, russianrivervineyards.com.

Trading Post: Chef/owner Erik Johnson is a high-end restaurant pro who is showcasing Cloverdale’s edible bounty, and elevating the once-sleepy town to a culinary destination. Is it too soon for a visionary restaurant in the hinterlands? Time will tell. 102 S. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale, 707-894-6483, thepostcloverdale.

Barrio Fresca Cocina: Mexican cooking has so much to offer beyond burritos and quesadillas. Using fresh sauces, scratch cooking and the rich flavors of his homeland, Carlos Rosas brings authentic, yet unpretentious dishes that stand out in a sea of taqueria sameness. 6760 McKinley St., Suite 120, Sebastopol, 707-329-6538, barlow.barriobayarea.com

City Garden Donuts: These aren’t workaday donuts or wacky cereal-coated marshmallow-dipped curiosities that are more fun to look at than eat. Instead, City Garden takes a more subtle approach using intensely-flavored glazes made with fresh fruit (the lemon glaze is perfectly pucker-worthy) and chocolate atop pillowy brioche. 1200 4th St, Santa Rosa, 595-1932, facebook.com/CityGardenDoughnuts.

Brass Rabbit: With classic dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon and rabbit pot pie, Chef Shane McAnelly’s cuisine pays homage to French comfort food, but doesn’t take itself too seriously, giving room for playful changes with the seasons. 109 Plaza St, Healdsburg, 707-473-8580, thebrassrabbithealdsburg.com

Reel Fish Shop and Grill: One of the questions most often asked by restaurant-seekers in Sonoma County: Where can I get great seafood? And though many restaurants have one or two seafood items on the menu, Reel Fish Shop & Grill is one of only a handful that specialize in seafood. With a focus on helping to maintain rather than deplete ocean populations, it’s a solid choice when you’re craving a taste of the sea. 401 Grove St., Sonoma, 707-343-0044, thereelfishshop.com.

Journeyman Meat Co.: The long road from vintner to salumist culminated this year in Pete Seghesio’s butcher shop in Healdsburg. Part salumeria part local meat shop, the tiny space has become a perfect pairing of old-school Italian and Sonoma County tradition. 404 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-395-MEAT, journeymanmeat.com.

Brewsters Beer Garden: The palatial outdoor garden, inspired barbecue and drink menu set this up to be a winner from day one. While service has continually been a challenge, we’re hoping a little tightening up over the winter will reveal what this hot spot has the potential to be long-term. And the pork belly with cheese curds and fried chicken sandwich still have us drooling. 229 Water St., Petaluma, 707-981-8330, brewstersbeergarden.com.

Goodbyes
Though there were a handful of closures throughout the year, the toughest were the restaurants that burned in the fires: Willi’s Wine Bar, Sweet T’s Restaurant and Bar, the historic Cricklewood steakhouse, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Puerta Vallarta and Equus Bar and Grill at the Hilton. It was difficult to see the burned-out remains of places we’ve eaten and loved over the years. Also closed at the end of 2017 was Chloe’s French Cafe, which suffered fire damage and closed soon after (though the team will continue catering).

Related Images:

[See image gallery at www.sonomamag.com]

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Best 2017 New Year’s Eve Spots in Sonoma County to eat and drink http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/best-2017-new-years-eve-spots-in-sonoma-county-to-eat-and-drink/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/best-2017-new-years-eve-spots-in-sonoma-county-to-eat-and-drink/#comments Wed, 27 Dec 2017 23:44:18 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37290

Where to get luxe eats, drinks and fun on New Year's Eve in Sonoma County

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New Years can’t come soon enough for most of us, a time to close the door on the past and toast to new beginnings. It’s also a perfect time to say, what the hell to another thousand calories or so while sipping champagne and eating all the indulgently wonderful stuff you absolutely promise not to ever touch again come midnight. Or at least until January 2.

So put on your stretchy pants and wine and dine yourself into 2018 with some of our favorite spots to celebrate on New Year’s Eve.

Zazu Kitchen and Farm: Three or four-course fixed price includes Hog Island oysters, goat cheese fondue, roasted bone marrow with balsamic, Dungeness crab with Meyer lemon browned butter, fried quail, duck and crispy pork belly lettuce cups, bourbon gelato baked Alaska. $79 or $89 per person. 6770 McKinley St., #150, Sebastopol, 707-523-4814, zazukitchen.com.

Spinster Sisters and the Astro Motel: A longtime SOFA favorite offers a three-course meal for $65 with the added attraction of a nearby spot to sleep — the luxe mid-century Astro Motel (starting at $250 per night). Dishes include beef tartare, seared day boat scallops, tomato braised lamb shank, butternut squash gnocchi, Meyer lemon curd puffs with huckleberry sauce. 401 South A St., Santa Rosa, 707-528-7100, thespinstersisters.com.

Wishbone: Bon Vivant New Year with oysters, champagne, truffles, foams, caviar, and cocktails, plus a fantastic ice luge for your imbibing enjoyment. $80 per person, 841 Petaluma Blvd N., Petaluma, 707-763-2663, wishbonepetaluma.com.

Spoonbar: Six-course dinner includes golden caviar, Morrocan spiced prawns, black tea smoked squab, Angus filet and champagne with strawberry cheesecake, $125pp. Just wanna grab a couple drinks, dessert, and a dance? $55pp gets you into the late night dance party rolling until 12:30 a.m. 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-7222, spoonbar.com.

Epicenter: Dinner buffet for the family, champagne toast and all night play for kids at this Santa Rosa recreational spot that includes play structures, video games, trampolines and more. $35 to $60 per person. 3215 Coffey Lane, Santa Rosa, visitepicenter.com.

Palooza Gastropub: Bites all night, drink tickets, champagne toast, and taps flowing. Full menu until 10 p.m., $40 pp, 8910 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood, 707

John Ash & Co.: One of the most luxe NYE face-stuffing events includes a three-course menu including beef tartare, cauliflower and truffle soup, venison terrine, chanterelle and porcini strudel, stuffed pheasant breast, passion fruit pavlova and an array of ports, brandy, and scotch. $110pp, 4350 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, 800-421-2584, vintnersinn.com.

Valette: Six-course chefs tasting menu from one of Sonoma County’s top toques pulls out all the stops: Tsar Nicoli caviar, foie gras with persimmon coulis, black and white truffle gnocchi, Maine lobster, wagyu beef and dark chocolate pave. Additional wine pairings available. $125 pp, 344 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-473-0946, valettehealsburg.com.

Dec 29
Tequila dinner at Mateo’s: Six course meal with tequila pairings. Reservations required: Mateo’s Cocina Latina, 214 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, 707-433-1520.

New Year’s Day: Grab your jammies and enjoy brunch all day at Fork Roadhouse’s “Jammin in Your Jammers” event from 10a.m. to 7p.m. Live music and more commemorates the restaurant’s third anniversary. Wear your pjs and get a free mimosa. 9890 Bodega Hwy, Sebastopol, (707) 634-7575.

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Biteclub’s Best Sonoma County Restaurant Meals of 2017 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/biteclub-best-sonoma-county-restaurant-2017/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/biteclub-best-sonoma-county-restaurant-2017/#comments Fri, 22 Dec 2017 18:40:36 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37223 Rainbow toast at Brew in Santa Rosa, one of the best Sonoma County restaurant dishes of 2017. Heather Irwin/PD

From toast to roast chicken, beans to tartines, here are Biteclub's favorite Sonoma County restaurant dishes of 2017

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Rainbow toast at Brew in Santa Rosa, one of the best Sonoma County restaurant dishes of 2017. Heather Irwin/PD

Best Sonoma Restaurants. Well, it was the year the kale salad took center stage. Toast became an entree. Meatless dishes got really interesting. Comfort food got even more comforting. Lentils and uni became my favorite foods. Donuts made a bold return and we learned a thing or two about the authentic flavors of Thailand, Mexico, India and Hungary.

In an otherwise (let’s admit it) crap-tastic year, the dishes of Sonoma County’s restaurants were the constant surprise and delight in a 365-day slog of “did that seriously just happen?”

Here are some of the best, most interesting, beautiful, delightful, surprising and most of all delicious dishes of the year in pictures. And here’s to 2018, where the table’s set and our Sonoma County chefs are eagerly waiting to impress us yet again.

Salad with Cheevo goat cheese at Brewsters in Petaluma, one of the best Sonoma County restaurants dishes of 2017

Salad with Cheevo goat cheese at Brewsters in Petaluma, one of the best Sonoma County restaurants dishes of 2017.Heather Irwin/PD

A few restaurants get multiple call outs for their incredible quality, care and passion for food. That, and the beauty of their dishes. I encourage you to click on the links and find out more about them.

– Bistro 29

– Handline

– Tisza Bistro

– Trading Post

Flower and Bone

– County Bench (now closed)

– Drawing Board

Fin. 2017

Please note that restaurants like Single Thread in Healdsburg and a handful of others aren’t included because I simply didn’t take pictures there — not because they weren’t great. All photos by Heather Irwin.

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Secret Indian Street Food Menu in Santa Rosa http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/secret-indian-street-food-menu-in-santa-rosa/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/secret-indian-street-food-menu-in-santa-rosa/#comments Thu, 21 Dec 2017 19:35:21 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37204 Bhelpuri from the Indian Street Food menu at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Bhel Puri, dosa and falooda: Whether you're familiar or not, you'll want to try these authentic nibbles of India

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Bhelpuri from the Indian Street Food menu at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

I’m a sucker for secrets. I’m guessing you are too, because who doesn’t love a wink-wink moment that leaves everyone else wondering what you know? Oh, the smug deliciousness of it all.

Since it’s almost Christmas, however, here’s a little stocking stuffer I’m going to share: Bibi’s Indian Street Food menu.

Falooda Kulfi and Gulab Jamun from the Indian Street Food menu at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Falooda Kulfi and Gulab Jamun from the Indian Street Food menu at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

This “secret” menu isn’t all that secret, they offer it Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, tucked into their regular menus. What’s on the down-low is that it’s the only place we know of that serves dosa—the big-as-your-forearm savory Indian crepes—along with crunchy bhel puri, paani-puri and an Indian rose syrup dessert called falooda kulfi.

This is real-deal Indian street food, things that can be found in the hawker stalls of Mumbai or Delhi. Though many of the names, flavors and textures may be new, it’s a window into possible things to come from the Chandi Hospitality Group, headed up by Punjab-native Sonu Chandi (Stout Brothers, Beer Baron, Bibi’s Burger Bar, Mountain Mike’s), who’ve long toyed with opening an Indian restaurant. After trying the flavorful vegan and vegetarian apps, along with more indulgent meat and cream dishes, we think they’re headed down the right track.

Here’s what to try:

Bhel Puri ($6.50): Think rice crispies covered with tamarind and mint sauce with chickpea noodles, cilantro and onions. The mix of sweet, spicy, sour flavors and crunch made it our favorite dishes.

Paani-Puri Shooters ($5.50): This street food is one of the most popular in India, and frankly, I don’t think we appreciated the dish without more of an explanation. Minty, spicy green water in shot glasses suspend hollow puri puffs filled with sprouted mung beans, chana (small garbanzo beans) and potatoes. Worth another try.

Paani-Puri Shooters from the Indian Street Food menu at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Paani-Puri Shooters from the Indian Street Food menu at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Vegetable Samosa ($5.50): Fried pastry dough filled with curried green peas and potatoes, served with tamarind sauce and mint chutney. So tasty, you’ll want to gobble them up, but the inside is roughly the temperature of molten lava, so don’t pull a Hot Pocket moment.

Paneer, Chicken Tikka Dosa ($10.50): Savory Indian crepes made with rice and lentils the size of a small bicycle wheel are stuffed and folded with seasoned potatoes and other goodies including fresh Indian cheese (paneer) or tandoori chicken tikka masala. Also a vegan option or cheddar cheese-filled dosa for people who like ruining perfectly good dosa with cheddar cheese.

Falooda Kulfi ($7.50): Having just finished salivating over Chetna Makan’s “Chai, Chaat & Chutney: A street food journey through India”, finding a version this creamy frozen dessert was absolute serendipity. Kulfi (an eggless ice cream) is mixed with cold noodles, rose water and basil seeds. It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. Warm Galub Jamun ($4.50), is a pretty standard Indian dessert of sweet donuts soaked in a cardamom-infused sugar syrup so sweet just thinking about it will give you a cavity. And I still don’t like it.

630 Third St., Santa Rosa, open daily from 11:30a.m. to 9p.m., bibisburgerbar.com.

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A Lesson in True Mexican Cuisine at Sebastopol’s Barrio Fresca Cocina http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/a-lesson-in-true-mexican-cuisine-at-sebastopols-barrio-fresca-cocina/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/a-lesson-in-true-mexican-cuisine-at-sebastopols-barrio-fresca-cocina/#comments Tue, 19 Dec 2017 19:32:05 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37182 Trust me Taco at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center.

Pork belly torta and fresh tortillas? New Sebastopol Mexican is spot on

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Trust me Taco at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center.

Why isn’t there more great Mexican food in Sonoma County? There, I said it. You know we’ve all been thinking it for years.

It’s not for lack of talent, because just about any restaurant you visit — from fine dining to casual — has a cook from Oaxaca or Mexico City or the Yucatan who learned their trade from parents and grandparents who ground their own masa, spent days cooking mole or any of the other seven great sauces of the country, not to mention braised meats and hundreds of heirloom beans that rarely make it across the border. Or at least, out of the home kitchen.

Rich in culinary history and tradition, Mexican cooking has so much to offer beyond burritos and quesadillas. Sadly, however, most of what we eat in local taquerias are sad approximations of street food slathered with rubbery cheese, sad salsas and overcooked meat piled onto tasteless tortillas. It’s like America’s diverse cuisine being represented by Costco hot dogs and French fries.

Polenta at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center. Heather Irwin/PD

Polenta at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center. Heather Irwin/PD

Thankfully we have a handful of chefs dedicated to changing how we think of Mexican food: Mateo’s Cocina Latina, Agave Restaurant and Tequila Bar, El Molino Central, and now Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center.

One of the most popular destinations at the Marin Civic Center’s Farmer’s Market, Carlos Rosas’ Barrio market stand has been a sell-out spot since 2013, serving heirloom corn tortillas, black rice, painstakingly-made sauces and a crave-worthy polenta that usually sells out by 9a.m. Now, Rosas’ and his wife, Mayra, have opened a brick and mortar featuring their most popular dishes throughout the week.

Standing at the entrance to the humble spot between Nectary Juice Bar and Village Bakery, Carlos serves as greeter, interpreter and chef at the Sebastopol Barrio. Dishes here deserve a bit of explaining: Achiote sauce, for one, or salsa de Chile Seco; Frida Kahlo microgreens he picked up at the market this morning, or the homemade chorizo mixed with salsa de chile Morita. Take the time for a lesson in history and culture that will make every bite all the more delicious.

Choriloco taco at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center. Heather Irwin/PD

Choriloco taco at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center. Heather Irwin/PD

Here are some explanations of a few special recipes we tried at Barrio…

Achiote sauce: This chicken marinade uses annatto seeds from the achiote tree to color it bright red. Mixed with cloves, Mexican oregano, cumin, garlic and citrus zest, it can be purchased pre-made and is typically found in dishes like cochinita pibil, tacos el pastor and chorizo. Rosas makes it from scratch.

Salsa de Chile Seco: Basically “dried chile” salsa, here made with chipotle chiles that are compressed and roasted, then cooked slowly with garlic and tomatoes. Most people think its a black mole, says Rosas. With a smokey, bittersweet dark chocolate flavor it’s a like wrapping yourself in an old lovers’ leather motorcycle jacket.

Salsa de Chile Morita: Compressed jalapeños and chiles are aged for 30 days, then roasted with tomatillos and tomatoes. Sassy and spicy, threatening to incinerate our paper plate.

As an alum of some of San Francisco’s top restaurants — Jardiniere, Cavallo Point, Kokkari, Zuni and Slanted Door — Rosas has a passion not just for recipes, but for ingredients. Fresh, non-GMO corn masa is mixed with chiles and salsa to create red, black, and green tortillas that taste like…tortillas. Rosas works with local farmers and ranchers including Stemple Ranch, Spring Hills Jersey, Liberty Farms, Devil’s Gulch and Toscano Family Farm spices.

Staff at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center. Heather Irwin/PD

Staff at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center. Heather Irwin/PD

The operation is a family affair, with Carlos’ mother as director of kitchen operations and his son behind the stove, continuing cherished traditions. “Every day we get better, every day we try harder,” he says.

Best Bets at Sebastopol’s Barrio:

Sunday is a great day to check out Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, because it’s the only day Carlos makes some of his signature brunch offerings: Grits, Choriloco and the El Mananero. The grits (polenta) is worth the trip alone. Portions are large and perfect for sharing.

– Grits ($12): Creamy polenta made with sharp cheddar cheese from Point Reyes, plenty of butter, and cornmeal, topped with scrambled eggs, salsa de Chile Seco and (for an additional $3) the best carnitas we’ve ever tasted. And by best, we mean tender, intensely spiced and with a hint of orange that’s such a treat in this often flavor-free fried pork. (Sunday only)

– Choriloco ($12): I’ve hated chorizo for years, mostly because it’s usually very greasy, very over or under spiced and adds pretty much nothing to a dish. Barrio’s homemade chorizo adds the perfect accent to a breakfast taco with scrambled eggs, melted cheese curds, pumpkin seeds, potatoes and Chile Morita atop a fried red corn tortilla. (Sunday only)

– Trust Me Taco, ($9): A daily special, which we suggest you just trust. Our version was a red corn tortilla with black rice and scrambled eggs, with chile seco and aji chiles.

Torta at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center. Heather Irwin/PD

Torta at Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, a walk-up cantina that recently opened in Sebastopol’s Barlow Center. Heather Irwin/PD

– Torta El Chavo ($12): This is a sandwich you won’t soon forget. Traditional torpedo bread piled with crispy pork belly, creamy chipotle aioli, pico de gallo and not-too-fatty, not-too-lean pork belly from Devil’s Gulch ranch. Stake your claim on this one early, or you’ll be facing down an empty plate and a friend with a guilty grin on their face. And a few incriminating dribbles of aioli.

– Escabache ($5): Carrots, onions, and cauliflower are pickled and fermented for 30 days, making them a worthy side for any of the tacos or plates. Simple, yes. Worth $5, yes. 

The spot: Kid-friendly quesadillas and tacos available for the less-adventurous tots. Outdoor patio seating or to-go.

The takeaway: An authentic, yet unpretentious find in a sea of taqueria sameness.

Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana: 6760 McKinley St., Suite 120, Sebastopol, 707-329-6538, barlow.barriobayarea.com. Open Monday through Saturday from 11a.m. to 8p.m., Sunday from 11a.m. to 6p.m.

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Chloe’s Cafe Closes in Santa Rosa http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/cherished-french-cafe-closes-in-santa-rosa/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/cherished-french-cafe-closes-in-santa-rosa/#comments Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:46:24 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37167

After a decade of French pastries and boeuf Bourguignon, Chloe's Cafe says adieu.

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A collective groan of “Mon Dieu” has been heard round the county as French cafe, Chloe’s, has shuttered. The decade-old restaurant housed in a medical building on Airway Drive in Santa Rosa, served up some of the best Gallic treats in the county, from authentic boeuf bourguignon and jambon sandwiches to Alain Pisan’s unrivaled French pastries, using family recipes handed down through generations.

Renee Pisan next to the vintage Chloe, a French catering truck that belonged to the family for years, last May. North Bay Business Journal

Renee Pisan next to the vintage Chloe, a French catering truck that belonged to the family for years, last May. North Bay Business Journal

The October wildfires did significant damage to the cafe, including burning the owners’ precious catering truck, Chloe, which was imported from France and a family heirloom. The fires also ripped through neighboring areas including the Applebees and K Mart just blocks away.

The owners will continue to pursue their catering business out of their Windsor kitchen.

“We have thrived over the past 10 years due to your loyalty and support, and you have been such wonderful clientele,” said the goodbye note on the Chloe’s website.

More information about their catering at chloesco.com.

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Curry Pizza? It’s a Thing, and It’s In Santa Rosa http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/curry-pizza-its-a-thing-and-its-in-santa-rosa/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/curry-pizza-its-a-thing-and-its-in-santa-rosa/#comments Wed, 06 Dec 2017 19:12:18 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37156

Desi pizza? Think Indian food on a pizza.

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Indian pizza. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s all the things you love about Indian food—the spice, the rich sauces and tangy herbs—on a pizza crust. Think of it as a portable curry with a crispy crust, and you’ve got the newest trend in fast food: Desi pizza.

Chicago’s Pizza With A Twist was a stumble-on kind of find, having a little too much time one evening while paging through newspaper ads. What’s the “twist”, we wondered? Even more intriguing was a confusing menu that listed “jala-pine” breadsticks (jalapeno, cheese and pineapple bread); “three idiots” pizza (three kinds of chicken on a pizza) and the pot of gold, chicken tikka masala pizza. What?

Though this Indian style treat has long been popular in England, it’s a novelty here in Wine Country, where Chicago’s Pizza With a Twist has recently landed.

The Norcal chain has 20 other outposts from Fairfield to San Jose, featuring “desi” flavors, or flavors indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. Pair it up with Italian carbohydrate prowess and you’ve got a whole new kind of ‘za-—as long as you define both cuisines loosely and in Anglo-American terms. Though we’d certainly be up for trying, say, goat korma with raita?

More approachable toppings like butter chicken, tikka masala, tandoori vegetables, lime, ginger, paneer (a fresh Indian cheese) and cilantro still make a match saucier than a Bollywood dream sequence. These star-crossed culinary cultures are no longer separated by needling gastro-purists, but joined in an over-choreographed, but nonetheless delightful and highly sequined ensemble dance in your mouth.

Sure, we may have overstated that a bit, but a tikka sauce-slathered pie is kind of a revelation, and the world is ready for some pizza disruption.

Best bets:
– Chicken tikka masala: Tikka sauce (a sort of creamy tomato sauce), tikka chicken, mozzarella, mushrooms, red onion, green pepper, garlic ginger, cilantro, green chiles and jalapeño, $16.99 for a medium, 12-inch pie.

– Curry Paneer: Tiny cubes of paneer cheese with mild curry sauce, mushrooms, red onions, black olives, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, chiles and fresh cilantro. $16.99 for a medium, 12-inch pie.

– DIY: Unusual toppings like mint, lime, fresh cucumbers, butter chicken and tandoori sauce, along with thick or thin crusts make for endless combinations as weird and wonderful as your imagination.

Traditional pizzas also available, along with dine-in and delivery to selected areas. 2780 Stony Point Rd, Santa Rosa, 707-606-1000, chicagospizzatwist.com.

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Thai Restaurant With a Clever Twist in Cotati http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/thai-restaurant-with-a-clever-twist-in-cotati/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/thai-restaurant-with-a-clever-twist-in-cotati/#comments Tue, 05 Dec 2017 18:40:25 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37147 Fried spinach salad with cashews, avocado, red onion and creamy vinaigrette. Heather Irwin/PD

Spring Thai in Cotati gets spinach done right

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Fried spinach salad with cashews, avocado, red onion and creamy vinaigrette. Heather Irwin/PD

Sometimes just when you think you’ve eaten pretty much everything the world has to offer, a fried spinach salad hits you upside the head and suddenly you’re reminded that there’s a whole world of cuisine just waiting to settle directly on your hips.

Cotati’s Spring Thai, which features that crispy salad and a host of other surprising-yet-familiar dishes, is the latest entrant to Oliver’s shopping center. Though the small restaurant space has been cursed for a host of other restaurants, the good news is that there’s something to cheer about here.

Red curry at Spring Thai restaurant in Cotati. Heather Irwin/PD

Red curry at Spring Thai restaurant in Cotati. Heather Irwin/PD

With entertaining menu items like batter-dipped spinach, a starter parade of appetizers worthy of tooting about, and a Pad Thai with actual wok hay (or the “breath” of a hot wok) Spring Thai’s passion for the exotic cuisine of southeast Asia is clear. 

Best Bets:
– Starter Parade ($15.99): This appetizer is entree-level filling, with fried veggie spring rolls, fresh vegan spring rolls, crab “pouches” filled with cream cheese, satay, Thai “bruschetta” with peanut sauce and shrimp, cucumber salad, peanut sauce, creamy vinaigrette and fish sauce. Plus, it just looks so darn pretty. One of my favorite appetizer spreads.

Red Curry, ($9.99 for lunch, $12.99 for dinner): I’m typically more of a green or pumpkin curry gal, but this red curry, with anise-y Thai basil, tofu and fresh green beans was fragrant and thinner than most coconut-based curries, though a little mild on the spice. We weren’t asked how spicy we liked our food, so I’ll be mild in my critique that most of the dishes here lacked the spicy zing I usually like in Thai food. If I’d had my druthers, I’d turn up the heat to like 3-4 instead of a 1.5. 

Noodle soup at Spring Thai in Cotati. Heather Irwin/PD

Noodle soup at Spring Thai in Cotati. Heather Irwin/PD

House Noodle Soup ($9.99): Go for the shrimp version of you’re a seafood fan, otherwise, it can be a bit ho-hum. We loved the intense peanut flavor and the sweetness, though again, a little spice isn’t a bad thing. Hard-boiled egg, yes. Missing the usual crispy onions. Leftovers were dinner gold–warm or cold–over rice.

Pad Thai ($8.99 for lunch, $10.99 for dinner): With a lattice of egg holding it together, this unique version of the Thai standby is a compact football of noodles. Very compact and very dense with little meat. We liked the hint of smoke in it, but wouldn’t mind a bit more punch of fish sauce or tamarind. Not to ketchup-y, which is always a sign of laziness in Thai cooking.

– Fried Spinach Salad ($7.99): Though more of a Filipino dish, when doused in fish sauce vinaigrette and covered with cashews and red onion, it’s hard to argue about origins. A must-order. 

– Peanut sauce: The measure of any Thai restaurant, in my book, is the peanut sauce–which is actually satay sauce.  Can’t be too thin or too thick. Can’t taste like Jiffy. Should be warm. And if it’s really the good stuff, a little float of red curry happening around the edges. Spring Thai hits it on all counts.Just a couple weeks into service, the restaurant has potential if the kitchen can get up to speed. Maybe it was an unfortunate day, but our meal lasted almost two hours, and not because we were such great conversationalists. 

Spring Thai Restaurant, 538 E. Cotati Ave., Cotati, 707-665-5180, springthai.net.

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Dunkin Donuts Coming to Petaluma? http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/dunkin-donuts-coming-to-petaluma/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/dunkin-donuts-coming-to-petaluma/#comments Fri, 01 Dec 2017 17:37:20 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37123

Could the East Coast franchise finally be coming to the North Bay? All signs point to yes.

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For those of us who grew up with Fred the Baker, “time to make the donuts” is a legendary catch-phrase. If you’ve grown up on the West Coast, you’ll probably have no idea what we’re talking about, but the Dunkin’ Donuts advertising campaign of the 1980s and 1990s featured a mustachioed man rising impossibly early to make 52 flavors of donuts.

Fifty-two. 

Poor Fred, who even now is a poster boy for anyone who slogs to a job every morning. At least he got to make donuts.


Now, it seems to be time to eat the donuts in Petaluma. A Dunkin Donuts franchise is advertising for positions in Southern Sonoma County, though the DD website doesn’t have any information to back up the claim. Yet. UPDATE: A Biteclubber informs us that ‘It’s in the new Friedman’s shopping center on N. McDowell… there’s a “coming soon” sign up’. Thanks!

So we’re left waiting and salivating over the hope of a bag of Munchkins donut holes, the jelly-filled, strawberry frosted, sprinkled and powdered donuts of our childhood.

Time to make the douts, Fred.

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Bay Area’s Best Restaurants Come Together for Luxe Fundraiser http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/bay-areas-best-restaurants-come-together-for-luxe-fundraiser/ http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/bay-areas-best-restaurants-come-together-for-luxe-fundraiser/#respond Fri, 01 Dec 2017 17:23:14 +0000 http://www.sonomamag.com/biteclub/?p=37120

Foie gras, caviar and cult wines are on the menu to help fire victims this weekend.

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In an event spearheaded by Chef Dustin Valette (Valette, Healdsburg), thirty of the Bay Area’s best restaurants will come together Sunday, Dec 3 for a high-dollar fire relief fundraiser at the Sonoma Country Day School in Santa Rosa.

With tickets beginning at $500 and topping out at $1,500 for VIP tickets, the event includes nibbles from heavy hitters like SF’s Liholiho Yacht Club, Boulevard, Jardiniere, Statebird Provisions and Twenty Five Lusk along with local restaurants Barndiva, Brass Rabbit, Farmhouse Inn, Glen Ellen Star, Ramen Gaijin, Spinster Sisters, Valette, Trading Post and Zazu, among many others.

The Starks’ Willi’s Wine Bar will also be featured, though the restaurant perished in the fires. Willi’s menu has been featured at all of the Stark restaurants as a fundraiser for fire victims.

The Rise Up Sonoma wine lineup is equally impressive, with bottles from Kosta Browne, Three Sticks, Williams Selyem and Kistler.

Musician Donavon Frankenreiter will perform, and Green Room VIP guests can take a crack at the caviar and foie gras station.

Though the price tag isn’t for everyone, the event will donate 100 percent of its proceeds to local fire relief charities. Details at riseupsonoma.org.

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