March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013
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This lemon curd and shortbread dessert will be paired with late-harvest chardonnay at Partake in Healdsburg. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.

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Cabernet fries at Partake in Healdsburg. Courtesy of Heather Irwin.

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Tarte Tatin with mascarpone ice cream and berry coulis at the Santa Rosa Junior College Culinary Café. Courtesy of Heather Irwin.

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Madrona Manor in Healdsburg. Courtesy of Madrona Manor.

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

Cabernet fries, beet tartare (yes, beet), and salted caramel ice cream sandwich cookies are just a few of the tasty bites on the menu at ~PARTAKE~, Kendall-Jackson’s “untasting room,” which is opening next month in Healdsburg. A cross between wine tasting room and restaurant, Partake features an à la carte food and wine pairing menu with luxe bites and Kendall-Jackson wines. In addition to dishes such as the wine-bathed cabernet fries, chefs Justin Wangler, Robert “Buttercup” Nieto, Tracey Shepos, and Eric Frischkorn will offer local cheeses, fresh-baked bread, estate olive oil, and grapeseed products from K-J Chairman Barbara Banke’s WholeVine line. Much of Partake’s produce will be sourced from K-J’s expansive winery gardens.

“We want you to sit down and enjoy the food,” said Wangler, of the 55-seat dining area, which includes a casual lounge on one side and custom-hewn ash tree tables on the other. ”We want people to pop in and have a bite, a drink, and hang out,” he said. Slated to be open from 11am-10pm(ish), I’m especially excited about the dessert and sweet wine pairings perfect for an après-dinner nosh. On the à la carte menu: luxe bites including a salad of shaved celery root, farro, and sea salt (paired with Vintner’s Reserve sauvignon blanc); beet tartare with black sesame; and chef Buttercup’s lemon curd with shortbread and ice cream sandwich macarons. Opening details coming soon.

You don’t often find dim sum, braised beef with celery root purée, and tarte Tatin on the same menu, but somehow it all works at the ~SANTA ROSA JUNIOR COLLEGE CULINARY CAFÉ~. The student-run kitchen and restaurant is still one of the best values in Wine Country, with dishes ranging from sunchoke soup and goat cheese-stuffed pears to homemade pizzas, duck confit with cherry sauce, and a plate of steamed pork buns and shumai. There’s also amazing fresh local produce from the college’s own Shone Farm for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay elsewhere, starting at $4 and topping out at $11. But don’t get your heart too set on any one item. Menus are ephemeral, changing up weekly to give students a chance to practice different preparations. The bad news? The current session ends March 20th (but don’t worry, it will be open after spring break). The restaurant is frequently booked solid, so call 707-522-2796 in advance for a reservation. 1501 Mendocino Ave. at Carr Ave., Santa Rosa.

Channel Nick, Daisy, and the rest of the Great Gatsby cast of characters at ~MADRONA MANOR~’s ’20s-style lawn party on Sunday May 5th from 2-5pm. The Healdsburg Inn’s Great Gatsby Soiree pays homage to the forthcoming movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel with live music, dancing, cocktails, and lawn games, in addition to a luncheon inspired by passages in the novel. Michelin-starred chef Jesse Mallgren’s menu includes crispy oysters in spiced ham, Waldorf salad, suckling pig pork pie, lobster hash with caviar, and cold fried chicken with goat milk biscuits and dark ale mayonnaise. Tickets are $65 per person for the event with special rates for overnight accommodations. 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg. For reservations, call 800-258-4003.

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