Oysters from Rocker Oysterfeller’s. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin (BiteClubEats.com).
Diver scallops at Café Lucia in Healdsburg. The restaurant recently started serving brunch. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin (BiteClubEats.com).
Cafe Aquatica in Jenner features house-roasted coffee and organic chowders. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin (BiteClubEats.com).
There’s plenty of action on the coast this weekend in case any of you San Franciscans want to escape your 61-degree weather, including ~ROCKER OYSTERFELLER’S~ Oysterpalooza, beginning at 11am Sunday. The Valley Ford fest includes six bands, barbecued oysters, po’boys, brisket, Lagunitas beer, and tons of fun. Tix are $15 for entry and can be purchased at the event or online.
If you’re looking for more coastal fun, check out Jenner’s ~CAFE AQUATICA~ (10439 Hwy 1, Jenner, 707-865-2251), a quirky coffeehouse and organic eatery perched at the estuary of the Russian River just north of Bodega Bay. The coffee is roasted on-site and the chowder (especially the vegan mushroom and coconut milk version) is exceptional. If you’re heading out with Fido, check out ~DON’S DOGS~ in Rio Nido. Attached to the Quonset hut that houses the town’s theater, they serve up quarter-pound grilled dogs with all the fixings and welcome well-mannered pups on the porch (and serve Dogs for Dogs—aka hot dogs—for $1). 20396 Bohemian Hwy., Monte Rio, 707-865-4190.
Headed for Healdsburg? On Saturday, the much loved ~DRY CREEK PEACH & PRODUCE~ brings its first-of-the-season goodies to the Healdsburg Farmers Market. Portuguese-inspired ~CAFÉ LUCIA~ has begun brunch service from 10am to 3pm with malassadinhas (mini donuts), eggs Benedict, arroz a la valenciana, and tasting plates of serrano ham, baby octopus, and sardine pâté. 235 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-431-1113.
In Napa, ~FREEMARK ABBEY WINERY~ (3022 St. Helena Hwy, St. Helena) hosts the Gourmet Food Truck Frenzy on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm, pairing up wine and on-the-go-eats from Awful Falafel, Marks the Spot, and Phat Salads and Wraps. Admission is free and a flight of five wines is available for $25. Must be 21 to attend.
The season opener for luxe North Bay wine events is always ~AUCTION NAPA VALLEY~, which kicks off next Thursday night with vintner parties throughout the valley. Biteclub’s favorite event is always the Friday marketplace, where chefs like Thomas Keller, Christopher Kostow, and Cindy Pawlcyn hobnob with the high rollers. Watch for plenty of glam and glitz at #ANV13 on Instagram and Twitter.
Chefs have looked to liquid nitrogen as a culinary party trick for years. Its ability to freeze food almost instantly, not to mention the swirls of white gas, make for gasps of awe in the dining room. But this laboratory staple has found staying power with ice cream makers who use it for nifty à la minute desserts. In Santa Rosa, two former social workers are opening the ~NITROKARMA~ pop-up ice cream shop at Dave’s Market and Deli (320 W. Third St., Santa Rosa) this weekend, stirring up “happy scoops of delicious and delectably darn good delights.” Find NitroKarma from 3 to 9pm Friday through Sunday, and watch for their ice cream trailer to debut in June.
A friend and I were recently lamenting how much we missed some of the old menu items at the restaurant Syrah. The crab cakes for one. And the duck breast with cherry sauce. Be careful what you wish for, because chef Josh Silvers of ~THREE SQUARES CAFE~ is bringing back some of his Syrah classics with a new summer menu. Reenergized after three months of recovering from shoulder surgery, the longtime Railroad Square toque has put a hearty pan-roasted chicken with fava beans and goat cheese on the new menu along with sautéed king salmon, mashed Yukon Golds, and his signature crab cakes. Also on the dinner menu are grilled lamb sirloin with fried artichokes, rib-eye steak, pork chops, and portobello fries with truffle aioli. No word yet on the duck. 205 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-4300.