Shrimp grits at Topsy’s in Petaluma. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.
Fork Cafe’s blue plate special of griddled naan bread, greens, coconut curry lentils, and duck confit. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.
Fork Cafe’s polenta breakfast bowl with greens, arugula flowers, feta cheese, and a poached egg. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.
Jack’s Urban Eats is coming to the Coddingtown Mall in Sonoma County. Courtesy of Jack’s Urban Eats.
The Rancho slaughterhouse in Petaluma has been the subject of a national meat recall and USDA investigation. Photo courtesy of the Press Democrat.
On Sunday March 2nd, award-winning chefs Justin Everett (Murray Circle) and Brandon Sharp (Solbar at Solage, Calistoga) will host a dinner at ~MURRAY CIRCLE~ restaurant at Cavallo Point Lodge. The six-course meal benefits the Conscious Kitchen Food Program—the first local, organic, seasonal, and sustainable food program in the Sausalito Marin City School District. Its goals are to ensure children have access to nourishing food as part of a nationwide strategy to promote healthy lifestyle choices and reduce obesity, diabetes, and weakened immune systems in underserved communities.
The dinner includes a canapé reception, with an exclusive opportunity to see the chefs in action in the cooking school kitchen, along with a six-course dinner with wine pairings. The event begins at 6pm, and the cost is $150 plus tax. Guests may purchase tickets online or call 877-322-0731.
New Rosso Rosticceria: it’s a threepeat for Sonoma’s award-winning ~ROSSO PIZZERIA~ crew. Co-owners Kevin Cronin and chef John Franchetti are planning a new Italian-style rosticceria for this spring. The forthcoming eatery will be open for breakfast, lunch, and happy hour, featuring house-baked pastries, breads, Roman pizzas, sliced meats, oysters, porchetta, espresso, and a variety of sandwiches and appetizers. “It’s slow food fast,” said Cronin, who was inspired by the famous Peck deli in Milan and childhood memories of San Francisco’s Liguria Bakery. Final details are still in the works, but expect a super-casual walk-up bar, a small but well-curated wine and beer list (and lemonade bar), and a lively patio for after-work gatherings. So far, no dinner service is expected. The space will be shared with Rosso’s expanding catering business. 1229 N Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa.
I’ve been hearing all sorts of great things about new breakfast/brunch/lunch spot ~TOPSY’S KITCHEN~ in Petaluma. With a focus on Southern comfort food, making a beeline to P-Town became a hot priority. The former Punjabi Burrito on Kentucky Street has been completely remodeled, with a warm whitewashed interior, crisp tablecloths, and an eye-catching window into the kitchen. Fresh pies sit temptingly in a nearby case, and the menu is, well, stellar. Breakfast is a well-curated mix of sweet and savory that includes beignets with jam ($5), buttermilk berry pancakes ($6), and healthier fare such as organic quinoa with seasonal veggies ($7.50).
Lunch includes their journey-worthy buttermilk fried chicken sandwich ($11), along with shrimp and grits ($14) and a grass-fed burger ($12.50). Also watch for daily specials of gumbo and brisket. The only misstep was the much-anticipated sweet potato biscuit, which was hard and cold, though honey butter improved things. I also missed out on the bacon in my cheesy grits, but hey, no one’s perfect. Two can’t-miss items: Lucy’s chicken-fried deviled eggs (yup, deviled eggs smashed back together, dipped in batter, and fried, $9.50) and streusel-topped caramel apple pie (drenched in salted caramel, $6) that can feed two with a hearty chunk left over for a midnight snack. 131 Kentucky St., Petaluma, 707-773-4743.
I’m in love with avgolemono. I mean really in love. The Greek version of Jewish chicken soup, it’s a hearty, soul-nourishing stew of rice, lemon juice, and shredded chicken fortified with beaten eggs. On a cold, rainy day at Sarah Piccolo’s tiny ~FORK CAFE~, you’ll be convinced its truly heaven-sent. As owner of Fork Catering, one of Sonoma County’s most-loved food trucks, Piccolo has honed the art of simple, nourishing dishes that never fail to hit the spot. And now, you can find them Monday through Friday from 8am-3pm in her Sebastopol catering kitchen/cafe.
We’re loving the healthy yet decadent menu that changes up frequently, but includes savory bowls of polenta, goat cheese, and greens; quinoa with braised greens, tamari pumpkin seeds, and a poached egg; a Greek yogurt bowl with orange and ginger stewed prunes; and housemade granola. Lunch gets even better with blue plate specials (griddled naan bread with coconut curry lentils, raita, and Liberty duck confit) and grilled panini with Clover cheese, roasted sweet pepper puree, and caramelized onions. Then there’s the soup, which also changes, but includes vegetarian options like ginger-carrot as well as swoon-worthy tortilla and the avgolemono I’m considering starting a serious relationship with. 330 South Main St., Sebastopol, 707-861-3081.
As Coddingtown Mall in Santa Rosa continues its reinvention, three significant restaurants are slated to open this spring and summer: ~JACK’S URBAN EATS~, ~CODDINGTOWN GRILL~, and ~SEA NOODLE GRILL~. The first to open will be SEA Noodle Grill, from the owners of SEA Thai Bistro (with locations in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Corte Madera). The restaurant is slated for an April opening in the former Fresh China location after an overhaul of the interior. Jack’s Urban Eats, a Sacramento-based fast-casual chain, is slated for May. The popular salad, sandwich, and “carved meats” restaurant has nine other locations mostly in the Sacramento/Davis/Roseville area. Coddingtown Grill will also be opening this year (likely in late summer). Details are still vague, but the restaurant owner is currently developing a similar grill concept at Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton (also a Simon Mall) that will open this spring.
Mike’s at Petaluma: Sonoma County’s favorite burger spot, ~MIKE’S AT THE CROSSROADS~, will open a new location in Petaluma this spring. The current Cotati restaurant will remain open. Hiring is in progress, and it looks like the new burgery will be on Petaluma Blvd. North.
The corner of Mendocino and Seventh Street in Santa Rosa is about to become home to two Latin-inspired restaurants, featuring the cuisines of Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil. Opening in the former Franco’s (previously Acapulco) is ~BRASA CHURRASCARIA AND BREWPUB~. Details on the restaurant are still a bit sketchy, but BiteClub caught the new restaurateurs this week outside the space. They described the food as “churrasco,” or traditional Brazilian grilled meats served on skewers. Think barbecued beef, pork, chicken, or fish cooked and served on long swords—dinner and a show. The restaurant is being backed by local attorney Henry Huang.
Taking over the former Seven/Vine bar and nightclub is ~OLE~. Opening chefs include Jose Luis Nunez (Auberge, Solage) and AJ Lockwood (Safari West, Frank & Ernie’s), who are featuring a mix of Latin dishes that include Puerto Rican mofongo (green plantains with chicharrones), Cubano sandwiches, and pollo al horno (chicken with oregano and garlic), as well as Mexican staples such as red snapper ceviche, carnitas, and cochinita pibil (a BiteClub fave that includes pork, achiote, and pickled red onions). Owners Yanet Ramirez, Patricia Rodriguez, and Levi Rodriguez hope to add additional dishes that include influences from the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean cuisines. What we’re especially excited about: cocktail king John Burton (owner of the Santa Rosa Bartender School and bar consultant) has crafted a spirits menu that includes caipirinhas, pisco sours, piña coladas, micheladas, and upscale margaritas. Both restaurants are expected to open this spring.
Curious about the whole Rancho slaughterhouse situation? Here’s a look at what the closure could mean to small artisan meat producers in Sonoma County.