New eats in town

Fire it up
Toques off to the fall crew of the Santa Rosa Junior College Culinary Café, which re-opened on Wednesday. With their every move on display in the open teaching kitchen and fishbowl bakery, the heat is on these eager chefs-to-be from day one. The debut menu includes a variety of seasonal dishes–from spiced carrot and potato soup with tomato chutney to heirloom tomatoes, veggies from their own organic farm and fresh peach pie. With the focus on hands-on experience, you may get the culinary equivalent of a fuzzy beauty school perm from time to time (please, no cantaloupe on my Pavlova). But at rock-bottom prices ($3.50 for salads and desserts, around $8.50 for entrees) it’s worth the risk to fully explore the a la carte menu. Best of all, tips help keep these young chefs in their whites. The bakery is open weekdays for coffee and fresh-made pastries. Check out front-of-the-house fixture Betsy Fischer and SRJC culinary guru Michael Salinger’s food and wine pairing experiences on selected Fridays through October--two hour sessions featuring fresh, local ingredients and three Sonoma County wines. SRJC Culinary Arts Cetner, 458 B Street, Santa Rosa. Reservations recommended (but not always necessary): 707.576.0279.

Help launch Santi’s new restaurant
Chef Dino Bugica and owner Doug Swett of Santi recently purchased the defunct Smokehouse just a few steps away from their Geyserville restaurant. With plans to open an “old World pizzeria” to accompany Santi, the crew are seeking investment from the community. If you’ve got deep pockets and a hankering for all the salumi you can eat, give them a buzz. Santi Restaurant, 707.857.1790

New Chinese
A second Jennie Low’s has opened in Theater Square serving up regional Chinese dishes from the recipe box of long-time cooking teacher, Jennie Low. The Novato outpost, opened in 1992, remains open. C St. and 2nd, Petaluma, 707.762.6888.

Ready to eat the worm?

P-town is also about to get a new tequila bar and restaurant come mid-to-late September. Tres Hombres, which has a rockin’ outpost in Chico, will feature 60 kinds of tequila along with Cal-Mex inspired food. Ole! Check out the menu.