Carrots with chiles and candied pepitas at Partake by Kendall-Jackson in Healdsburg. Photo Heather Irwin.
Shed opened in Healdsburg, featuring local produce, grains, and a café. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.
A strawberry red wine shrub at Healdsburg’s Shed. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.
News that Santa Rosa’s ~ZAZU RESTAURANT~ will be moving to Sebastopol leaked out earlier this year, but now that owners Duskie Estes and John Stewart have officially announced their intentions to reopen at The Barlow, more details are emerging. Their passion for local, seasonal ingredients goes meta with a U-pick garden at the new restaurant, allowing diners to play a role in the creation of their own meal. The couple will also finally have a single kitchen for producing Stewart’s nationally recognized Black Pig bacon and salumi. The new restaurant will also feature a full bar offering farm-artisan cocktails and signature snacks like chicharrones-peanut butter cups and Black Pig bacon caramel corn. Opening is slated for late summer.
In Healdsburg, the combination café, gardening shop, event space, and artisan marketplace ~SHED~ has finally opened, and we declare its housemade shrubs the official drink of summer 2013. This old-is-new thirst-quencher gets its kick from the most unlikely of ingredients: vinegar. Far better tasting than it sounds, this colonial-era cocktail combines fresh fruit purée (think rhubarb, strawberries, or raspberries) with sugar and a light vinegar for a tart-but-sweet refresher that’s kickier than lemonade and far more refined than soda. Already, fans are bellied up to Jordan Lancer’s fermentation bar to get a taste of his homemade fruit shrubs in flavors like blueberry red wine vinegar and pear apple cider vinegar ($4). Lancer’s also got kombucha on tap, lemon and ginger kefir water (from Sebatopol’s Kefiry), and hard ciders from Murray’s in Petaluma and Tilted Shed in Sebastopol. There are also dozens of beers and wines on tap and in the bottle (I’m especially fond of the Bodkin Muscat Canelli from Lake County). With plenty of outside seating, folks are already flocking to this hyper-local food and drink hot spot. 25 North St., Healdsburg, 707-431-7433.
Rasta Dwight’s Return: BiteClub’s got word that Sonoma County barbecue legend Rasta Dwight Jones has returned. Old-timers may remember his lovingly crafted Carribean-inspired jerk pork, spare ribs, and tri-tip along with Burn Your Face hot links from the days before his Cotati ‘cue shack closed. He’s set up shop in Rohnert Park at Quincy’s Pub and Cafe (6590 Commerce Blvd. at North St., 707-585-1079) and is currently serving lunches only. We’re jonesing for a bite already!
The 15th Annual Guys Can Cook Too! wine and food extravaganza proves what most of us already know: There is some serious amateur culinary talent in Sonoma County. More than 25 home cooks and 20 restaurant chefs plan to participate in the Rotary Club of Sebastopol’s annual fundraiser. The May 4 event will be held at the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm in Forestville from 4-8pm. Tickets are $75 per person, details at the event’s website.
Tucker Taylor, a beloved Yountville farmer responsible for the kitchen gardens at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, is bringing his trowel to Jackson Family Wines. Exec chef Justin Wangler hired Taylor to oversee the winery’s growing farming operations at Santa Rosa’s Kendall-Jackson Wine Center (and several other properties), where he grows hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomatoes, corn, eggplant, squash, herbs, and other produce. “Within a year I think K-J will have some of the best produce in Sonoma County,” said Wangler. Much of the produce is being used at the winery’s new Healdsburg wine café, Partake, in vegetable-centric dishes like caramelized carrots with guajillo chile; rhubarb sorbet; beet tartare with black sesame; and housemade Cabernet ketchup. Check out pictures of several tasting plates from Wangler and his staff at BiteClubEats.com.