New Napa Brunch, Pawlcyn Reinvents Brassica, Batali in Sonoma, Fermentation Festivities


The BLAT (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado) at The Thomas brunch. Courtesy of The Thomas.


Andaz Napa. Courtesy of Hyatt Hotels.


Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation. Courtesy of Sandor Katz.


Mario Batali. Courtesy of

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

Brunch has been added at ~THE THOMAS~ in Napa. After a month of dialing in dinner and late-night service, the newly opened AvroKO restaurant has added that most relaxing of midmorning meals. On the menu: the BLAT with smoked paprika mayo and a fried egg (that’s a BLT with avocado, of course); tea-smoked salmon with yuzu hollandaise; the Thomas burger (dry-aged Angus and Kobe beef) on a brioche bun; grilled chorizo; warm monkey bread with espresso ice cream; and, of course, the essential Bloody Mary, Bellini, and Negroni. Hangover heaven. Brunch is served from 10am to 2:30pm Saturday and Sunday. 813 Main St. at 2nd St., Napa, 707-226-7821.

Cha-cha-changes all over Napa as Cindy Pawcyln reinvents St. Helena’s Brassica (again) as ~CINDY PAWLCYN’S WOOD GRILL AND WINE BAR~, or CP’s for short. It’s back to family-friendly, wine-friendly American comfort food with favorites like sweet crispy pork belly, Brown Derby Cobb salad, braised short ribs, Niman Ranch burgers, and root beer floats. If it sounds a whole lot like her nearby ~MUSTARDS GRILL~, bingo. What’s worked for 30 years can’t be wrong, right? Brassica debuted last year after Pawlcyn closed Go Fish, a seafood and sushi restaurant at the Main Street location. CP’s began service September 5th. 641 Main St. at Mills Ln., St. Helena, 707-963-0700.

Also, the former Avia hotel relaunches as ~ANDAZ NAPA~. The upscale Hyatt brand has five other American properties in New York, San Diego, and Hollywood. The hotel’s restaurant, Andaz Napa Farmers Table will be headed by chef Sarah Linkenheil, who will also be overseeing the more loungy Mercantile Social.

Get fizzy, pickled, and bubbly at the Farm to Fermentation Festival, held at Petaluma’s Tara Firma Farms on Sunday September 16th. The event brings together fermentation enthusiasts from throughout the Bay Area, with speakers and nibbles from Farmhouse Culture (sauerkraut), Happy Girl Kitchen, Petaluma Hills Brewing Company, Frey Vineyards, and Backyard CSA. There’s also some probiotic inspiration from cheese guru Mary Karlin and the king of fermentables, Sandor Katz. $35 per person, 11am to 5pm. Tara Firma Farms, Petaluma, 707-765-1202.

All-star chefs converge for Chef Tables in the Vineyard today (Friday September 14th), cohosted by celebrity chefs Guy Fieri and Mario Batali. It’s a food-tastic fantasy league of talent that includes more than a dozen of Wine Country’s top talents cooking individual meals for each table. The event is part of a weekend-long celebration of tomatoes at ~KENDALL JACKSON WINE CENTER~ that includes the annual Tomatofest tomorrow, on Saturday September 15th. 

On the roster are Cyrus’s Douglas Keane, culinary educator John Ash, Kendall-Jackson executive chef Justin Wangler, Dino Bugica of Diavola Pizzeria, Perry Hoffman of Napa’s Étoile, Adam Mali of Mandarin Oriental SF,Top Chef star Casey Thompson, and many others. Each chef cooks for a table; diners won’t find out which chef will be cooking for them until the night of the dinner. Tickets range from $350 per person to $3,000 for VIP tables with Fieri and Batali. Details and tickets online or by calling 866-287-9818.