Year in Food 2011

Sonoma County's biggest food and restaurant stories of 2011

Food Trucks Come. Food Trucks Go. Food Trucks Come Again
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2011 was the year of the food truck. And then it wasn’t. Early in the year, a fleet of mobile kitchens headed to downtown Santa Rosa offering up unique flavors and a fun outdoor flavor. Restaurants got angry. The trucks were booted, but found homes throughout the county. What’s up for next year? More trucks are in the works. BiteClub’s Wish: Evolve. Downtown Santa Rosa must continue to evolve and be a space that’s exciting for both residents and visitors. Let’s stop fighting and find solutions that benefit everyone.

Munch Mondays: Food trucks come to downtown Santa Rosa
Restaurant “Row” Over Food Trucks
Food Fights
Munch Mondays Scrapped
Napa Nixes Trucks
A guide to the Trucks
Food Truck Thursdays in Sebastopol
KJ welcomes trucks
The Best Taco Truck
Trucks in the Park
Pop-Up: Chosen Spot
Food Trucks in Winter

What Exactly Happened There?
Drama makes for a very tasty dish.
The saga of Santi was probably the biggest attention-grabber of the year, doing a chef swap-out soon after moving to Santa Rosa, then closing mysteriously. In the fall, barbecue and Southern-style dining spot Sweet T’s opened. But not without a bit of early drama.

Santi’s Doug Richey takes over | Santi Closes | Sweet T’s Opens | Memphis Chef Takes Over

Closely followed by the strangeness of a very public meltdown in Windsor when the Bousquets first closed their Michelin-starred restaurant. Then reopened it as a barbecue spot. Then disappeared. Then closed their other restaurant, Bistro M. Mamma Pigs co-owners closed the restaurant within a few months.

Mirepoix Closes | Mamma Pigs Opens | Bistro M Closes | Mamma Pigs Drama | Mamma Pigs Closes

– PizzaVino707 Closes | Forchetta/Bastoni opens
Opens | XXV Closes
Blue Label Opens | Blue Label Closes | Blue Label Becomes a burger spot
Shimo Opens | Shimo Closes

A Pig Story
My favorite story of the year was a story about a pig named Reggie. The plan seemed simple enough: To help raise a piglet at a local ranch, then butcher him myself, eat him and write about the whole thing. Along the way, some compassionate animal advocates got involved. Reggie got a reprieve. And we slaughtered another pig (along with a rabbit and chicken) in an afternoon that forever changed me.

Getting to know my dinner. Personally
A Reprieve For Reggie
Death of a Pig (warning: graphic)

Southern food gets its moment in 2011, and heading into 2012. (all bbq stories)
Mamma Pigs
Real Food BBQ
BBQ Spot
Red Rose Closes
Sweet T’s
HBG starts bbq, fried chicken
Tex Wasabi’s reopens in Santa Rosa

Notable Beginnings
$5 Banh Mi: Noodle Bowl
ATavola at Coppola
Frank and Ernie’s
La Rosa Tequileria
Thai Time (Santa Rosa)
Big Bottom Market
The Wurst (Hburg)
Hole in the Wall
Gypsy Cafe
Cocina Latina
Moustache Baked Goods
Mark Malicki finds a new home at Casino
Syrah Becomes Petite Syrah

Notable Closures
Restaurant P/30
Blue Label
Windsor Whirlwind
John Barleycorns
Ozzie’s Grill
Cafe Gratitude

Chain Gangs
Thought we aren’t usually big fans of national restaurant chains moving into our beloved food-shed here in Sonoma County, the inevitable is happening. And boy, do you guys have a lot to say about it. My most-commented stories of the year were among these stories about chain restaurants. (all chain stories)

Five Guys Opens
Panera Bread (opening soon)
BJ’s To Coddingtown
Hooters to RP
What chains would you like to see come to Sonoma County

# Winning
Props to Sonoma County’s Best and Brightest
King and Queen of Pork
Sift Wins Cupcake Wars
Adam Mali Wins Lamb JamGood Food Award Finalists

Just Weird
The Cricket Burger
The Turd Burger

My Favorite Meals of the Year
Best Meals of 2011