SRJC Bakery and Cafe to Reopen After 2-Year Hiatus

Plus: A new local cider to try, a new favorite vinegar shrub, a new chef at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and more dining news from Sonoma County.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Santa Rosa Junior College Bakery will reopen from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Thursday and Friday through May 20 at the college’s Burdo Culinary Arts Center .

The bakery serves as an outlet for SRJC culinary students’ creations — pastries, breads, bagels, scones, cookies and other sweet treats —as they progress through the school’s baking and pastry program. Each week brings new items based on the curriculum, and students can show off their flair and creativity.

The bakery also offers fresh coffee and a lovely patio to snarf your croissants, muffins, baguettes, cupcakes and petit fours. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan items also will be available. Just don’t get too tied to any one item, because things change weekly.

The SRJC Culinary Café, also shuttered during the pandemic, will reopen Sept. 15. The Burdo Culinary Arts Center is at 1670 Mendocino Ave., directly across from the Santa Rosa campus, at Carr Avenue.

More dining news from Sonoma County

Farm to cider

When life gives you an overflowing bounty of apples, make hard cider.

When Farm to Pantry, a local nonprofit dedicated to gleaning unharvested produce throughout Sonoma County, found themselves with 26,000 pounds of apples from more than 100 local orchards last fall, they partnered with Golden State Cider to create a special hard cider release, Farms-to-Cider. Part of the sales of the semi-dry sipper will be donated to Farm to Pantry, headed by Chef Duskie Estes.

A special release event will take place at the Golden State Cider taproom (at The Barlow, 180 Morris St., Suite 150, Sebastopol) from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 16.

Get shrubby

I’m always on the lookout for local food products, few of which you’ll find at national grocery chains or big box stores. Adventuring to farmers markets and independent grocers, you can find a bonanza of small-batch products made in Sonoma County.

My favorite find on a recent stop at the tiny-but-mighty Penngrove Market (10070 Main St., Penngrove) was Little Apple Treats Cider Vinegar Shrub with ginger and hibiscus. If you haven’t gotten into the whole drinking-vinegar thing, give it a try. It’s kind of like kombucha but without the foot smell. Unlike plain vinegar, shrubs are infused with fruit and small amounts of sugar, making them a classic, drinkable tonic.

Like most fermented things, it’s good for your gut. Added to sparkling water, it’s a refreshing alternative to soda. There’s no alcohol in the shrub, but mixing it in cocktails — especially vodka — is delish. In colonial America, shrubs were a popular way to preserve fruit and make a thirst-quenching drink in a time when water alone was a dicey proposition.

More details at

Julia Childs on HBO Max

If you haven’t already binge-watched the first three episodes of the new Julia Child TV series on HBO’s streaming service, HBO Max, get yourself to the virtual table.

Led by British actress Sarah Lancaster, the eight-episode season (new releases weekly) picks up where the challenging Norah Efron film “Julie & Julia” left off. While most of us fast-forwarded through the intensely irritating, fingers-on-a-chalkboard portrayal of blogger Julie Powell of the 2009 film, it was easy to fall deeply in love with Meryl Streep’s homage to the 6-foot-2-inch American whose epic cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” inspired generations of home cooks.

In the new biopic, we meet up with Julia post-France, trying to get her cooking program, “The French Chef,” launched on a fledgling public TV station, WGBH in Boston. Child’s husband, Paul Child, is played by David Hyde Pierce (best known for his role as Dr. Niles Crane on “Frasier”). He’s Julia’s biggest fan and her shoulder to cry on when the chips are down. And while we often think of Julia Child as a strong, unflinching powerhouse of a woman, “Julia” is a journey into her self-doubt, menopausal hot flashes and embarrassing failures, making her all the more lovable. Next episodes on April 7.

Chef shuffle

Chef Tim Vallery, formerly of Peloton Culinary and Catering and Coyote Sonoma Restaurant, has joined Ferrari-Carano Vineyards as their estate chef. The winery has recently beefed up its food offerings, including its Sunday Wine and Brunch and summer wood-fired pizzas. The winery is one of 23 in the Foley Family Wines portfolio. Details and events at

8761 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg.