Popular Santa Rosa Bakery Brings Its French Treats to Petaluma

Sarmentine Bakery
Paris Brest and a creamy canele at Sarmentine Bakery in Petaluma. (Heather Irwin/The Press Democrat)

As a line snakes out the door of the recently-opened Sarmentine Bakery in Petaluma — its third location now in the county — it’s easy to forget that co-owner Alexandra Zandvliet began her baking career as a pandemic hobby in her home kitchen.

In 2021, the Santa Rosa bakery (52 Mission Circle) quickly became a beacon for the croissant and cafe au lait-set with an ever-expanding lineup of cream puffs, éclairs, butter and ham baguettes, croissants, olive bread and dozens of other sweet and savory treats. A bakery at the Barlow in Sebastopol followed in 2023 and now the Petaluma Boulevard North location expands the floury empire.

Sarmentine Bakery
Paris Brest and a creamy canele at Sarmentine Bakery in Petaluma. (Heather Irwin/The Press Democrat)

The spacious new location is populated by a drool-worthy collection of bakery cases piled with cream-filled desserts like Paris Brest (pate a choux filled with praline cream) and Mille-Feuille, chocolate croissants, brioche buns, fruit tarts (the passion fruit is a favorite) and Madeleines. Tiny caneles have a sticky, crunchy crust and custardy center that buckle my knees with happiness.

The block seems to be a draw for French cuisine, with the recently-opened Brigitte Bistro across the street. A weekend brunch is in the works and there may be a few more surprises under Sarmentine’s beret. Petaluma’s hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

840 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, 707-623-9595, sarmentine.com

Santa Rosa’s Newest Barbecue Restaurant Is a Smoked Meat Moment

Pulled pork sandwich War Pigs
Pulled pork sandwich on a brioche bun at War Pigs Craft Kitchen in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin/The Press Democrat)

“Life’s too short to eat sh—y barbecue” is the saucy motto for pitmaster Larry Hillix’s roving barbecue catering company War Pigs. It’s a worthy mantra for his new War Pigs Craft Kitchen in Santa Rosa.

The 12-hour smoked barbecue pulled pork sandwich on toasted brioche ($15) is a serious contender for my new favorite sandwich. It’s a stunner with piles of crispy pork bark and velvety shreds of meat topped with tangy red sauce. Order some mouth-puckering mustard sauce and spicy horseradish for dipping into any straggling bites of meat that fall onto your tray.

dirty fries War Pigs
Dirty Fries at War Pigs Craft Kitchen in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin/The Press Democrat)

Or skip the bun for the all-encompassing Dirty Fries ($16), a jumble of skinny French fries plunged into a warm bath of cheese, barbecue sauce, pulled pork and coleslaw. Fried Brussels ($5) are a petite but satisfying side tossed with Balsamic vinegar for a hint of sweet, salty shaved Parmesan and bacon atop the crispy leaves. I’m also a fan of the creamy slaw.

It will take a few more trips to taste through the rest of the menu, featuring smoked chicken wings, griddled pork tacos, sliders, onion rings, fried chicken, a smoked turkey club and house-ground burger. Excellent prices for massive portions make it an even better deal.

War Pigs Craft Kitchen is inside The Clubhouse Bar & Grill run by the former owners of Whiskey Tip bar. It replaces Westside Grill, closed in 2020. War Pigs Craft Kitchen is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

3082 Marlow Road, Santa Rosa, 707-508-5551, bbqhustlers.com

Pioneering Winemaker’s $3.99 Million Geyserville Estate on the Market

The Geyserville home of the late pioneering winemaker Chris Bilbro is currently on the market. The 4,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom dwelling, on 40 Alexander Valley AVA acres, is listed for $3,995,000. 

After founding Marietta Cellars in 1978, Bilbro ushered in tastes for bold red California wine through his signature blend, “Old Vine Red,” made of grapes from old vineyards that other winemakers dismissed as outdated, according to a story in Wine Spectator.

Fittingly, Bilbro’s property includes a 9-acre Cabernet vineyard, a 1990-replant of a century-old vineyard that belonged to Marietta Cellars. Though the vineyard is now part of the estate, it is currently managed by the winery.

The home, pool and grounds. (California Property Photos)
The home, pool and grounds. (California Property Photos)

The home, built in 2004, is made of thick, insulating Rastra walls, a concrete composite material, finished in stucco on the exterior and elegant plaster inside. Exposed beams and weighty window and door trims are made of repurposed wood from a Yorkville tobacco-drying barn.

The stairway is built from upcycled wine staves from Marietta wine barrels. Modern light fixtures gracefully cap off the rustic grand style. The great room’s 20-foot wall of windows seamlessly connects the indoors to the outside.

The backyard features a pool, olive and fruit trees, and raised garden beds. Lounging and dining areas plus an outdoor kitchen offer space to savor the setting, good food and the yields of those old red grapes.

For more information on this home at 22355 Chianti Road in Geyserville, contact listing agent Ann Amtower, Compass Real Estate, ann.amtower@compass.com, 707-328-9364, compass.com

Craftsman-Style Home Near the Russian River Listed for $750,000

A Russian River area two-bedroom, one-bathroom Craftsman home is currently listed for sale. The circa-1905 dwelling is listed for $750,000.(Open Homes Photography)
A Russian River area two-bedroom, one-bathroom Craftsman home is currently listed for sale. The circa-1905 dwelling is listed for $750,000.(Open Homes Photography)

Vintage-home enthusiasts have lots to love in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom craftsman-style home on one-third of a forested acre near the Russian River. The circa-1905 home, known as Fairview, features well-preserved vintage details. It is listed for $750,000.

A wraparound porch offers lounging and dining areas that overlook a dense backdrop of redwoods. 

The 1,008-square-foot interior has well-crafted built-ins, columns, and tall wainscoting that exemplify the Arts and Crafts design movement. Light fixtures are vintage-style as well, while the bathroom and kitchens have been updated.

Steps from the home is a studio perfect for workouts, projects or working from home.

For more information on this home at 14804 Canyon 4 Road in Guerneville, contact listing agent Noel Flores, 415-730-0554, noel@continuumrealestate.com, 10 Fourth St., Suite 215, Santa Rosa, continuumrealestate.com

Where To Find the Best Live Music in Sonoma County This Summer

The harmony of sunshine and music is a Sonoma County summer tradition — and always a great chance to explore the scene on decks, patios, lawns and beyond.

Scroll on to read about the best live music happenings in the county this summer.

John Beck contributed to this article.


Sebastiani Vineyards stages live music and lively pours on the patio with the Sunday Afternoon Music Series from 1 to 4 p.m. July through October. 389 Fourth St. East, Sonoma. 707-933-3200, sebastiani.com

Bloom Carneros hosts free live music on the weekends in its garden featuring an eclectic array of musical talent. Upcoming events are held from 2-4 p.m. on July 21, 27 and 28. 22910 Broadway, Sonoma. 707-412-0438, bloomcarneros.com

The patio bar at Bloom Carneros in Sonoma. (Photo: Marielle V. Chua)
The patio bar at Bloom Carneros in Sonoma. (Photo: Marielle V. Chua)

On select Fridays this summer, Patz & Hall Winery is hosting Schellville Sunsets, an evening for guests to sip single vineyard wines, dine on local bites and listen to live music while taking in the sunset. Tickets are $10 per person and include a glass of rosé in a keepsake Patz & Hall GoVino glass. More wine will be available for purchase by the glass or bottle, as well as cheese and charcuterie trays from Sonoma’s Sausage Emporium ($30 each, order 72 hours in advance). Upcoming events will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on July 26 and Aug. 23. Reserve on Tock. 21200 8th St. East, Sonoma. 707-265-7700, patzhall.com

Santa Rosa

Stirring up a musical gumbo, from blues and rock to Latin Jazz and Afrobeat, the Fridays at the Hood series runs through Aug. 23 at the historic Hood Mansion near Hood Mountain Regional Park. It all goes down easy with drinks and food trucks galore. Tickets range from $15–$25. 389 Casa Manana Way, Santa Rosa. fridaysatthehood.com

Billed as “the ultimate Sunday Funday experience,” the Sunday Social Club summer music series at Sugarloaf Wine Co. features a fresh pairing of local bands and local wines. There will also be food trucks, lawn games and an artists’ showcase. Concerts are from 3-6 p.m. Sundays through September. Tickets are $15 per person and can be reserved on Tock. 6705 Cristo Lane, Santa Rosa. 707-244-4885, sugarloafwineco.com


Sonoma-Cutrer’s Sunday Funday summer concerts, held from noon to 4 p.m. on July 21 and Aug. 18, features live classic rock and Americana music as guests enjoy food, drinks and lawn games. Tickets are $25 per person and include a glass of wine, cheese and charcuterie, and access to croquet, corn hole and more. Reserve on Tock. 4401 Slusser Road, Windsor. 707-237-3489, sonomacutrer.com


Breathless Wines’ Bubbles & Music summer music series features an eclectic lineup of jazz, Latin, rock, indie pop and more paired with estate sparkling wine, from noon to 2 p.m. every Sunday through August. Tickets are $10 per person and $5 for wine club members. Reserve on Tock. 499 Moore Lane, Healdsburg. 707-395-7300, breathlesswines.com

The outdoor patio at Breathless Wines in Healdsburg. (Courtesy of Breathless Wines)

Bella Winery’s summer music series, Storytellers, explores the musical stylings of cities such as Austin, Nashville and New Orleans along with Dry Creek Kitchen-crafted menus inspired by the regions and local wine pairings. Upcoming events will be held on July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 13. Tickets are $175 per person. Find more info and reserve online. 9711 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. 707-473-9171, bellawinery.com

On select Fridays, Arista Winery hosts its signature summer music series Vineyard Vibes featuring live bands, estate wine and local chef-prepared pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven. Upcoming events will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on July 26, Aug. 16 and Sept. 13. Tickets are $45 per person. Reserve on Tock7015 Westside Road, Healdsburg. 707-473-0606, aristawinery.com

Leo Steen Wines is hosting an evening of live music and barbecue starting at 5 p.m. Aug. 3 at its Healdsburg estate. The local Americana folk group Fitch Mountaineers will perform from 6-8 p.m. and California barbecue fare will be available. There’s no cover fee and seating is first come, first serve. Reserve a spot online. 53 Front St., Healdsburg. 707-974-6822, leosteenwines.com


Catelli’s Backyard Concert Series brings in top local musicians like Steve Pile and Nick Otis (plus occasional touring acts) for lively back-patio jams every Thursday from 6-9 p.m. The best thing? It’s totally free. 21047 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. 707-857-3471, mycatellis.com

West County

There’s plenty of room for dancing in front of the Rio Nido Roadhouse outdoor stage. Expect live music every weekend at this river-rat hangout that staged the 13th annual Bob Dylan celebration and Chuck Prophet’s Summertime Thing festival earlier this summer. Tickets range from free to $25. 14540 Canyon 2 Road, Rio Nido. 707-869-0821, rionidoroadhouse.com

Multiple locations

The third annual Songwriters in Paradise — a weekend festival full of musical talent, seasonal bites and fine wine — will be held from July 24-27 at select north county wineries. The participating wineries include Geyserville’s Banshee and Robert Young and Windsor’s Bricoleur Vineyards and La Crema. Tickets start at $300 for single day passes, $900 for VIP single day passes, $1,200 for a four-day pass and $4,500 for a VIP five-day pass. songwritersinparadise.com

Underground Sonoma County Artist Shares Inspiration Behind Popular Street Art

Sonoma County artist, The Velvet Bandit, a single mother of two children with one of her “Tax the Rich” paintings, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

Every superhero has an origin story. For Sonoma County’s anonymous Velvet Bandit, it started off innocently enough.

Imagine a 46-year-old school lunch lady going about her daily routine — one day pizza, the next, sloppy joes. Then all of a sudden, a pandemic hits. Laid off, and at home with two kids, she was inspired to try street art for the first time. It felt urgent, like shouting into the void to see if anyone was listening.

So, late one night in March 2020, she pasted up a small painting of a toilet-paper roll with the words “Let’s Roll” under a bridge along the Santa Rosa Creek Trail. “I stood back and thought, ‘Oh my god, that looks so cool,’” she remembers. “Then I went back into my studio and started painting a bunch more. I was instantly hooked.”

Since then, she’s pasted hundreds of vibrant street paintings on alley walls, utility boxes, and street signs from Willits to Los Angeles. They’re often punny (“Not mushroom for hate here” written on a fungus). Sometimes they’re political (“Tax the Rich” on Abraham Lincoln’s face). And other times oddly inspirational, like an award ribbon that reads, “Didn’t quit my job today.”

Santa Rosa-based street artist, The Velvet Bandit, a single mother of two children, displays a "Tax the Rich" painting, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. The font and the style of the wording resembles Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) dress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala on Sept. 13. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2021
Santa Rosa-based street artist, The Velvet Bandit, a single mother of two children, displays a “Tax the Rich” painting, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. The font and the style of the wording resembles Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) dress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala on Sept. 13. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2021

As word spread and fans shared photos on Instagram (where she has more than 10,000 followers), a Petaluma restaurant hired her to paint a window, and a cider company asked her to decorate cans and bottles.

If the artist has to make a public appearance — at an art show or on a vlog, she often wears masks or a pink wig and dark sunglasses. Never revealing her real name (because, well, street art isn’t exactly legal, just ask Banksy), she is still known only as the Velvet Bandit.

What’s in a Name? “One of the very first things I bought for myself after my ex-husband moved out was a green velvet couch. I slowly started acquiring more velvet things, like a velvet throw pillow and a velvet bedspread. One of my friends suggested ‘Velvet Bandit,’ and I loved it because it was feminine, but also with the word ‘bandit’ in it.”

Strange Encounters “I was in a situation where a man came out and said, ‘Hey, what are you doing? Stop that!’ That wasn’t fun. He called me a nut job. Later, I went back, and he had taken the paste-up down that I had put up. So I went back and painted a squirrel that said ‘Nut job.’”

Unexpected Outcomes “People have wanted to Venmo me money, and they didn’t want anything in return. They just wanted to help replenish my supplies because they loved it so much. And that was just mind-blowing to me that people wanted me to do art with nothing in return because they were getting such a kick out of it.”

Family Backing “At first, my kids (ages 13 and 16) thought, ‘What’s Mom doing? This is a little crazy.’ But once they saw that I was getting a little publicity, and people were rallying behind me, then they came on board. Now, they think it’s pretty cool.”

Eat Your Way Through Santa Rosa’s Mitote Food Park This Summer

Mitote Food Park — the tented, outdoor oasis in the heart of Santa Rosa’s Roseland neighborhood — has live music, a mezcal bar and a lineup of food trucks with regional Mexican eats from Yucatan to Baja.

Scroll through our list of favorite eats and sips to get at Mitote Food Park this summer.

665 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa. mitotefoodpark.com

Filled churros at La Churroteka

Crispy batons of fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and filled with chocolate, strawberry, dulce de leche, or condensed milk.

Tlayuda at Antojitos Victoria

Think pizza, but Mexican style. Cracker crust topped with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, cilantro, avocado and your choice of meat (we recommend carnitas).

Fish tacos at Pezcow Food Truck

Best known for their seafood, these fried fish tacos are smothered with cabbage, tomatoes, and housemade chipotle sauce.

Young children enjoying tacos de hongos (mushroom tacos) from the Lucha Sabina truck during the ribbon cutting celebration of the new Mitote Food Park on Sebastopol Road in the Roseland neighborhood of Santa Rosa, Calif. on Thursday, July 14, 2022. (Erik Castro / For The Press Democrat)
Young children enjoying tacos de hongos (mushroom tacos) from the Lucha Sabina truck during the ribbon cutting celebration of the new Mitote Food Park on Sebastopol Road in the Roseland neighborhood of Santa Rosa, Calif. on Thursday, July 14, 2022. (Erik Castro / For The Press Democrat)

Mushroom super quesadillas at Lucha Sabina

These braised mushrooms encased in a flour tortilla with melty cheese are some fun fungi. Known for plantbased dishes, but good barbacoa, too.

Panucho at Yuca Mami

A specialty of the Yucatan, small tortillas are stuffed with refried beans and topped with shredded chicken, pickled red onions, lettuce and tomatoes. A rare find!

La Coquetta cocktails at Mitote Bar

Come for the tacos, stay for the mezcal. The food park’s full bar mixes up some great cocktails, including this sweet-sour concoction that’s a fiesta in a glass.

Where to Go Glamping in Sonoma Wine Country

Glamping tent at Boon Hotel & Spa in Guerneville. (Boon Hotel & Spa)

Sleeping under the stars. Enjoying the great outdoors. Embracing nature. It all sounds wonderful, until you remember that sleeping on the ground isn’t exactly comfortable and that hot showers are a good thing.

In Sonoma County, you can have the best of both worlds — being one with nature during the day and then spending the night in a plush bed. All you need to do is make a reservation at one of the area’s luxe glamping spots. From safari-style tents to shiny Airstreams to towering treehouses, here are a few of our favorites.

Click through the above gallery to explore each glamping spot.

Eagle’s Nest Treehouse Farm Stay at Salmon Creek Ranch

Forget the tent. At Salmon Creek Ranch you can stay in a dreamy treehouse complete with heat, electricity and a bathroom (from $399).

Located on a 400-acre working ranch on the Sonoma Coast, Eagle’s Nest treehouse is accessed via a 30-foot spiral staircase. It features a queen bed, coffee machine and a wraparound deck for lounging on — when you’re not hanging out with the ranch’s resident ducks, cows, goats and livestock guardian dogs.

1400 Bay Hill Road, Bodega, 707-775-9604, salmoncreekranch.com

Sonoma Zipline Adventures in Occidental

Five treehouses, similar to yurts, form an aerial village in redwood treetops on the Alliance Redwoods property in Sonoma’s west county. (There’s also a sixth similar structure on the ground that is ADA compliant and accessible.) Every treehouse stay includes two zipline tours with Sonoma Zipline Adventures — one on the day you arrive and another before you depart.

Dinner and a hot breakfast are included and are delivered via room service. With a queen bed and bunk beds, each treehouse is designed to sleep up to four people. Treehouses also have a sink and compostable toilet.

The cost ranges from $1,046 to $1,932 per treehouse per night, depending on availability and number of guests. Along with the overnight stay and two zipline tours, the stay includes a guided nature hike, gourmet dinner and hot breakfast.

6250 Bohemian Highway, Occidental, 888-494-7868, sonomacanopytours.com

In addition to glamping tents, Boon Hotel & Spa has a vintage camper, the boonito. (Courtesy of Boon Hotel & Spa)

Boon Hotel & Spa in Guerneville

The three glamping tents at this popular Russian River hotel and spa are available May through October (from $199).

Glampers enjoy queen platform beds with organic linens, lanterns and boon breakfasts that include local pastries and French press coffee from Flying Goat Coffee in Healdsburg. There’s also electrical outlets to charge all those gadgets we travel with these days.

In addition to glamping tents, Boon Hotel & Spa has a vintage camper (from $189). The boonito comes with a full bed and is available year-round.

14711 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville, 707-869-2721, boonhotels.com

Dawn Ranch in Guerneville

After purchasing neighboring property Fern Grove Cottages and closing for a series of renovations, Dawn Ranch reopened in 2022 with a number of new offerings, including a spa and nine glamping accommodations, available April through October.

The glamping sites are located near the property’s 120-year-old apple orchard. All have premium amenities, including electricity, luxe bedding and personal fire pits. Six of the glamping tents feature a king bed and have shared bathroom facilities (from $203). The remaining three glamping sites boast trailer or cabin-style tents with queen beds, heaters and private bathrooms (from $216).

16467 California 116, Guerneville, 707-869-0656, dawnranch.com

Highlands Resort in Guerneville

Guerneville chef and hotelier Crista Luedtke owns this historic LGBTQ-focused resort together with Christian Strobel, founder of Basecamp Hotels, with boutique properties in South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe City and Boulder, Colorado. (Luedtke also owns Boon Hotel & Spa.)

The Highlands, which has been around since the early 1920s in different iterations, features 11 glamping tents, available from May 1 to Oct. 1 (from $199). The resort also has more than a dozen cabins – each with a different look – and traditional hotel guest rooms.

14000 Woodland Drive, Guerneville, 707-869-0333, highlandresort.com

AutoCamp in Guerneville. (AutoCamp Russian River)
At AutoCamp, guests can choose between staying in a sleek Airstream trailer or in a luxury platform tent.

AutoCamp Russian River in Guerneville

At AutoCamp in Guerneville, guests can choose between staying in a sleek Airstream trailer or in a luxury tent.

Luxury tents are available April through October (from $230). Each canvas tent has a queen size bed, an electric blanket for chilly nights, electrical outlets, lights, ice chest and a patio area with a fire pit.

AutoCamp Airstreams come with a queen size bed, a sofa that converts into a full size bed, a full bathroom, a well-stocked kitchen and a patio with fire pit. Choose between the Classic (from $349) and the Premium (from $366) located along a seasonal creek. Dog-friendly Airstreams are available for an extra fee; call for reservations.

AutoCamp’s most budget-friendly glamping accommodation is the Happier Camper (from $210), a 42 square-foot camper featuring a full size bed with plush linens, as well as towels and robes and a private outdoor seating area with a fire pit. Spa-style showers and bathrooms are available in the AutoCamp clubhouse, the property’s take on a hotel lobby.

4120 Old Cazadero Road, Guerneville, 888-405-7553, autocamp.com

Bunk bed tents sleep two adults and up to four children. (Courtesy of Araceli Gonzalez)
Bunk bed tents at Wildhaven Sonoma sleep two adults and up to four children. (Araceli Gonzalez)

Wildhaven Sonoma in Healdsburg

Just steps from the Russian River, this glamping spot has 37 safari-style canvas tents (from $89 off season) and two cabins (from $199 off season) to choose from. All tents are equipped with a bed, linens, heated mattress pads, towels, lights, electric outlets and heaters.

In addition to tents with one or two queen beds, Wildhaven also offers bunk bed tents that include two sets of bunk beds along with a queen bed. Nine more cabins are expected to be completed at the Healdsburg property in the coming months. Well-behaved dogs are welcome for an extra $30 nightly fee per dog (two dogs maximum).

Quiet hours, 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., are strictly enforced. There are clean, communal bathrooms and showers (including outdoor showers if you take a dip in the river) and each site has a picnic table, fire pit and access to a communal cooking area with barbecues and sinks.

Guests can enjoy easy access to hiking trails, patio dining, al fresco wine tasting and other outdoor activities. Alexander Valley wineries, such as Medlock Ames, are just a stone’s throw away.

2411 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, 707-283-7773, wildhavensonoma.com

NewTree Ranch in Healdsburg

This 120-acre biodynamic estate in Healdsburg focuses on wellness and sustainability. The poolside Estate Villa features four bedrooms and a luxury yurt with a wood-burning stove and a pair of photogenic outdoor soaking tubs (from $4,000 nightly, two-night minimum stay).

The smaller Barn Villa features two bedrooms and overlooks a 1-acre farm with fruit trees, vegetables and flowers (from $2,000 nightly, minimum 31-day stay).

NewTree Ranch offers a variety of wellness experiences, such as working the onsite farm, canoeing, paddle boarding, spa treatments and breathing exercises followed by an ice bath (also known as the Wim Hof experience).

3600 Wallace Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-433-9643, newtreeranch.com

Safari West in Santa Rosa

Go on a safari on Sonoma’s Serengeti, then spend the night in one of 30 luxury tent cabins on the 400-acre African wildlife preserve (from $346). Imported from Botswana, the tents at Safari West boast beds, a bathroom, polished hardwood floors and private viewing decks.

Overnight stays include continental breakfast. Safari West’s tent cabins close during the months of January and February, but safari tours are offered year round.

3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, 800-616-2695, safariwest.com

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood

A trio of glamping tents — with a fourth popping up next spring — are tucked away in the campground at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood. Each canvas tent features a queen bed, futon lounge chairs, rugs, tables, lights and some firewood. Ideal for families, two twin beds can be added to each tent. (There’s also room for glampers to set up additional tents; a maximum of eight people are allowed at the campsite.)

Glamping sites include a picnic table, fire ring and outdoor seating, and are within easy walking distance to flush toilets and a bathhouse with coin-operated showers. There is no cell service in the park, but free Wi-Fi is available at the Visitor Center.

Cost is $150 per night Friday and Saturday; $125 per night Sunday through Thursday. There are a few additional fees to be aware of, including a $25 set-up/cleaning fee and an online booking fee. Reservations include parking for one car. Additional vehicles are $10 per night. Bedding is not included, but can be added on with a 48-hour notice.

A two-night minimum stay is required Memorial Day through Labor Day. Glamping tents can typically be reserved mid-April through mid-November, but dates can fluctuate depending on weather.

2605 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood, 707-833-5712, sugarloafpark.org

Every Bite’s a Sweet Surprise at New Penngrove Bakery

Odd Cookie Bakery
Giant cookies and over-the-top cupcakes at Odd Cookie Bakery in Penngrove. (Heather Irwin/The Press Democrat)

If buttercream had a fan club, I’d be its president and CEO, yet it’s taken me almost three days to get through two-plus inches of lipstick red strawberry frosting atop my Dolly Parton-themed “I Will Always Love You” cupcake.

And not for lack of trying because this is deliciously dense stuff.

Odd Cookie Bakery owner Anna Rodriguez is the wickedly creative confectionist behind this behemoth of a dessert. After getting her pastry degree at Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco, she operated a bar and bakery in Sacramento for several years before moving to Sonoma County.

Her pint-size Penngrove cookie and cake shop is all about over-the-top creations, like an eight-item cupcake series devoted to Parton, the country singer and musical icon.

Odd Cookie Bakery
Giant cookies and over-the-top cupcakes at Odd Cookie Bakery in Penngrove. (Heather Irwin/The Press Democrat)

Interpretations of the country singer’s songbook include: “Bubbling Over” (pink Champagne cake with buttercream bubbles and a yellow rubber ducky); “Baby I’m Burnin” (s’more cupcake filled with marshmallow cream topped with vanilla buttercream and toasted jumbo marshmallows); “I Will Always Love You” (strawberries and cream cake with fresh strawberries and red buttercream); “I Am A Rainbow” (funfetti cake with rainbow buttercream); and “Red, White and Bluegrass” (red velvet cake with red, white and blue buttercream).

Rodriguez also has paid homage to David Bowie and Prince with themed cupcake collections. I’ll be eager to see what she comes up with next. May we suggest singer Jelly Roll?

At Odd Cookie, supersized cookies are equally imposing. They include: “Call Me Old Fashioned” (browned butter cookie rolled in brown sugar and topped with butterscotch chips); “Oreo Speedwagon” (a soft cookie with cookies and cream swirl, cookies and cream Pop Tart center and topped with mini Oreos); “I’m Stuffed” (a cookie packed with Biscoff, white chocolate chips and stuffed with a cookie butter center); and “Chocolate Hazelnut Heaven” (dark chocolate cookie packed with toasted hazelnuts, hazelnut Oreos, chocolate chips, a Nutella center and topped with Ferrero Roche).

Cupcakes and cookies are each $5, which is kind of a steal considering the amount of sugar, butter and cuteness packed into each bite.

Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 10000 Main St., Penngrove, Instagram.com/oddcookiebakery

21 Best Outdoor Dining Spots in Sonoma County

If your heading out to the coast the Wild Poppy offers a creekside, dog-friendly patio with music for brunch on the weekends Saturday, July 13, 2024 on the Bodega Hwy west of Sebastopol. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

In temperate Sonoma County, it’s rare to find a dining venue without a lovely patio or sidewalk tables. Still, there are some serious standouts when it comes to offering stellar outdoor spaces and great food.

Here are my picks for shaded patios, prime sidewalk people-watching and sun-dappled gardens worth seeking. As a person prone to severe sunburn, I’ve added a shade score to indicate the coverage you can expect from shades and umbrellas.

Santa Rosa

Spinster Sisters: This outdoor garden is all about wide-open spaces in an urban setting. Enjoy supper and wine beneath colorful sails and twinkling lights. Charming bistro tables and retro picnic benches covered by floral oilcloth match the creative vibe of the SOFA (South of A Street) neighborhood. Chef Liza Hinman creates hyperlocal seasonal California cuisine. Shade score: 6/10. 401 South A St., Santa Rosa, 707-528-7100, thespinstersisters.com

Mitote Food Park: Set in the heart of the predominantly Latino community of Roseland, this happy gathering of food trucks features the flavors of Oaxaca, Jalisco, Michoacan, Yucatán, and Mexico City. There’s also a vibrant al fresco bar and live music with fully-tented sun coverage. Shade score: 9/10. 665 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, mitotefoodpark.com


Grata: Neighborhood Italian dining with a semi-enclosed patio with plenty of shady spots and cool breezes. Metal mesh tables aren’t ideal, but the risotto makes up for it. Shade score: 8/10. 186 Windsor River Road, Windsor, 707-620-0508, gratawindsor.com

Outdoor dining at Valley Swim Club in Sonoma. (Eileen Roche/for Sonoma Magazine)


Valley Swim Club: This seafood-centric restaurant has no indoor seating, so the year-round outdoor space is well-covered with retro-chic furniture and comfy bench seats. Oversized striped umbrellas create a shaded oasis for yard seating. Shade Score: 9/10. 18709 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, valleyswim.club

El Dorado Kitchen: A private courtyard and pool transport you from the busy downtown square to a restful retreat. Excellent Cal-Italian food and craft cocktails compliment the intimate space. Shade Score: 7/10. 405 First St. West, Sonoma, eldoradosonoma.com

The Girl & the Fig: Large umbrellas and sun shades cover the large enclosed patio space that’s a world away from the daily grind. Casual French cuisine with a full cocktail bar and friendly service. Shade Score: 7/10. 110 West Spain St., Sonoma, thegirlandthefig.com

Bloom Carneros: With nearly an acre of enclosed patio and woodchipped ground cover, there’s plenty of room to spread out in shady spots or grab some tanning time in the sun. The menu features a creative, seasonal Cal-Med fare from chef Jennifer McMurry. Bring your kids and pups because it’s a perfect play place with special menus for both. Shade Score: 8/10. 22910 Broadway, Sonoma, bloomcarneros.com

If your heading out to the coast the Wild Poppy offers a creekside, dog-friendly patio with music for brunch on the weekends Saturday, July 13, 2024 on the Bodega Hwy west of Sebastopol. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
If you’re heading out to the coast, Wild Poppy offers a creek-side, dog-friendly patio with music for brunch on the weekends. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)


Wild Poppy: The rambling outdoor patio of this offbeat Sebastopol roadhouse has always been a magical place, full of nooks, crannies and hidden spaces to explore. Despite plenty of umbrellas, it can be hard to find complete shade on extra hot days, but a quiet ledge overlooking the creek offers leafy coverage. Don’t miss the Cosmic Queso! Shade score: 7/10. 9890 Bodega Highway, Sebastopol, thewildpoppycafe.com


Brewsters Beer Garden: Dogs, kids and grown-ups all have a place at this indoor-outdoor spot. Excellent barbecue and burgers, mostly California-made beers on tap and cocktails. Live music can get a little loud if you’re trying to converse, but after a few beers, who cares? Shade Score: 7/10. 229 N. Water St., Petaluma, brewstersbeergarden.com


Molti Amici: Summer sunsets were made for convivial Italian aperitifs, gourmet wood-fired pizza and bocce ball at this neighborhood trattoria, which opened in 2023. The name translates to “many friends,” which you’ll undoubtedly make while lazing away with a cocktail under fringed umbrellas or leaning back into summery lime-striped cushions. Shade score: 8/10. 330 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, moltiamici.com

The Rooftop at Harmon Guest House: Take in views of Fitch Mountain, the Mayacamas range and downtown Healdsburg while you nosh on small bites and casual dishes. Full bar, plus some excellent wines. Shade score: 6/10. 227 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, harmonguesthouse.com

Olive Terrace at Montage Resort: Perched high above the Alexander Valley, it overlooks vineyards and hundreds of acres of open landscape. It also comes with cozy rocking chairs and fire pits. The menus offer both small bites and hearty offerings. Order craft cocktails at the adjacent Scout Field Bar. Shade score: 6/10. 100 Montage Way, Healdsburg, montagehotels.com/healdsburg

Roof 106: Chef Dustin Valette’s ambitious venture is a multistory building with The Matheson restaurant on the ground level, a mezzanine overlooking the restaurant for private events and a rooftop lounge, Roof 106. The rooftop lounge has a more casual indoor-outdoor setting with craft cocktails, small plates and seasonal flatbreads from a custom 3,800-pound wood-fired Mugnaini oven. Shade Score: 8/10. 106 Matheson St., Healdsburg, thematheson.com

Outdoor dining area at Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg. (Heather Irwin/Sonoma Magazine)
Outdoor dining area at Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg. (Heather Irwin/Sonoma Magazine)

Bravas Bar de Tapas: “Jamon In,” reads the neon arrow pointing to the patio that Healdsburgers flock to every summer. Sangria, paella, Spanish tapas and plenty of gossip are what you’ll find at this popular watering hole and restaurant. Shade score: 7/10. 420 Center St., Healdsburg, starkrestaurants.com

Healdsburg Bar & Grill: Known to locals as HBG, this buzzing American eatery is the playground for Michelin-starred chef Douglas Keane to serve up comfort classics like macaroni and cheese, seared tuna burgers and the classic HBG burger. The fenced patio offers space for kids to roam. Shade score: 7/10. 245 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, healdsburgbarandgrill.com


Altamont General Store: A new outdoor space is the perfect addition to this eclectic cafe and market. Umbrella-covered tables plus a grassy knoll for cartwheels on cool summer evenings. Shade score: 5/10. 3703 Main St., Occidental, altamontgeneralstore.com


Catelli’s: Lasagna with paper-thin layers of pasta and a tried-and-true meat sauce is a signature dish worth the trip north. Chef Domenica Catelli is one of Sonoma County’s bright lights, committed to using the best local ingredients. The expansive outdoor area with black and white tiles is iconic — and one of the best event spaces in Sonoma County. Shade score: 6/10. 21047 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, mycatellis.com

The outdoor patio at Catelli’s in Geyserville. (Courtesy of Catelli’s)

Diavola: You’ll swear you’re in Italy at this temple of charcuterie, wood-fired pizza and classic Italian entrees, including oxtail ragu with pappardelle, braised beef tripe alla Fiorentina and spaghetti with pork cheek ragu. The cheeky hanging laundry that lines the walkway to the back patio completes the experience. Shade score: 9/10. 21021 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, diavolapizzeria.com

Rustic at Francis Ford Coppola Winery: Rustic takes full advantage of its scenic Sonoma County setting on an outdoor terrace overlooking the picturesque Alexander Valley and Coppola vineyards. The menu embraces family-style cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients from the property’s organic herb and produce garden. Shade score: 8/10. 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, francisfordcoppolawinery.com

Sonoma Coast

Fisherman’s Cove: This no-nonsense family-owned seafood shack and fishing-marine supply store specializes in fresh local oysters harvested from Tomales Bay. The crab sandwich rivals nearby Spud Point. Shade score: 4/10. 1850 Bay Flat Road, Bodega Bay, fishermanscovebodegabay.com

Rocker Oysterfeller’s: There’s often live music and dancing on the large back patio of this funky eatery and saloon in the historic Valley Ford Hotel. A mix of local oysters and Southern-influenced comfort foods using local ingredients make this a top stop. Shade score: 8/10. 14415 Highway 1, Valley Ford, rockeroysterfellers.com