White Oak Grill, Napkins' New Chef, Easter Brunches, Moonlight Brewing Dinner, Ark of Taste


Chef Dustin Valette will feature a prix-fixe menu at the White Oak Grill at the Hotel Healdsburg. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.


Moonlight Brewing’s Brian Hunt will host a brewmaker’s dinner at Backyard in Forestville. Photo courtesy of Backyard.


Naked Pig opens this Sunday for brunch. Photo courtesy of Naked Pig.


Napkins in Napa. Chef Erasto Jacinto will be the new executive chef. Photo courtesy of Napkins.

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

Charlie Palmer’s ~DRY CREEK KITCHEN~ is expanding: ~WHITE OAK GRILL~ will open Friday April 25th on the grounds of the Hotel Healdsburg. A more casual, outdoor counterpoint to the upscale DCK, chef de cuisine Dustin Valette is offering a two-course prix-fixe menu for $32. We’re especially excited about dishes using housemade charcuterie and local cheeses and menu items like the smoked Duroc pork belly with black garlic emulsion and wild arugula. On a hot summer’s day, patio-friendly cocktails include rhubarb and lemon verbena gin, and the Stormy Blueberry with rum, blueberry liqueur, lime, and ginger beer. Open Fri-Sun. 317 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-431-0300.

Jacinto’s Chef Heads to Napa: Chef Erasto Jacinto has joined ~NAPKINS BAR & GRILL~ as their new executive chef. The former Cindy Pawlcyn toque (Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen) opened his namesake restaurant, Jacinto’s Kitchen, in early 2012 with his brother Pablo. Despite some incredible dishes early on that featured the bold flavors of Oaxaca, the location of the restaurant inside Oakmont retirement village proved too challenging for the brothers. Prices were higher than many locals were willing to pay, and eaters complained over the years that the once-flavorful food became increasingly uninspired. The good news is that Jacinto will likely thrive at the bustling new bar and grill in downtown Napa, which features American cuisine with a “global influence”; Napans are already applauding the return. Rumors of a Chinese restaurant to replace Jacinto’s has been floating around for several weeks, and records show that Mei-Don Chinese Cuisine is slated to open there in the coming months.

New Chef for ~ST. FRANCIS WINERY~: On the heels of St. Francis chef David Bush leaving to open his own restaurant, Oso, in Sonoma, the winery has announced that Bryan Jones, former chef and GM of the Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen will take over the position. The award-winning multicourse food and wine pairing will continue under the new chef. “This is all about excellence, as our certified sustainable winery and vineyard is now a nationally recognized wine and food destination,” said St. Francis President and CEO Christopher Silva. ”With the arrival of chef Jones, we will now take it to an even higher level.”

Easter Brunch, Sonoma Style: As if a day off from kitchen duty isn’t enough for mom (or dad), bottomless mimosas, grilled lamb, and chicken and waffles should pretty much seal the deal. Here are six picks for a Sunday in Sonoma.

Naked Pig: Easter is opening day for this much-anticipated Santa Rosa café. On the menu from 8am-3pm: asparagus and goat cheese omelet, butter and egg sandwich, and pulled pork waffles and bone-broth gravy on green onion biscuits. Prices range from $10-$13. 435 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-291-8014

Viola Pastry Cafe: Poutine, top-shelf Benedicts, and beignets. This is my personal pick for Sunday brunch, and where I’ll be dining alfresco. $10-$15, 709 Village Court, Santa Rosa, 707-544-8830.

Rocker Oysterfeller’s: Chicken and waffles, gin punch, lamb burgers, gin punch. An Easter egg hunt keeps the kids occupied. Outdoor dining, $29 per person, two courses. 14415 Highway One, Valley Ford, 707-876-1983.

Mateo’s Cocina Latina: Preston spring lamb hash with Laguna Farm potatoes, La Bonne Terre Farm carrots, favas, spring garlic, and an egg; plus an ice cream float for dessert. Outdoor seating. 214 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-1520.

Shed: Herb-roasted lamb shoulder with Meyer lemon gremolata and a ragout of spring onions, peas, fava beans, and fennel; citrus almond cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream; Ramos soju fizz; and a Roederer Champagne cocktail. 25 North St., Healdsburg, 707-431-7433.

Canneti Roadhouse: Tuscan Easter tasting menu includes deviled quail eggs and roast goat with fried artichokes. $55 per person. 6675 Front St., Forestville, 707-887-2232.

Beers from cult microbrew fave Moonlight Brewing (Death & Taxes, Reality Czeck) will be on tap at a special brewer’s dinner at Forestville’s ~BACKYARD~ on Thursday April 24. Brewer Brian Hunt recently opened a tasting room in Santa Rosa and has an avid following among beer aficionados. The four-course dinner includes pepper-crusted beef tartare with his saison, wild boar sausage with Twist of Fate, and spring strawberries with Uncle Ollie. $55 per person, 6566 Front St., Forestville, 707-820-8445.

Ark of Taste Dinner with Chef Louis Maldonado: For Slow Foodists, this dinner at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm is the event of the year. Maldonado (Spoonbar, Pizzando) has created a menu featuring rare Ark of Taste ingredients—foods and food traditions considered endangered and worth preserving—for the $85 dinner. It’s a gastro-exploration centered around an Ossabaw Island Hog that includes crispy pig’s head and trotter terrine with Tupelo honey; country ham; geoduck clams, smoked daikon, and Carolina Gold rice; crushed potatoes in pork fat; pork shoulder; smoked ribs with cranberry bean cassoulet; and peach leaf meringue. Sunday April 27, 5-8pm. 7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville, 707-894-2815.