We’ve got an exclusive peek at the forthcoming menu for CHALKBOARD, the casual dining restaurant that’s replacing Cyrus in Healdsburg’s Les Mars Hotel. The menu will source much of its produce from the legendary Chalk Hill Gardens (part of Les Mars owner Bill Foley’s portfolio), so expect lots of seasonal specialties on the menu like microgreens, squash blossoms, stinging nettles, nasturtium greens, peas, leeks, and asparagus this spring. Chef Shane McAnelly does a mix of low- and highbrow comfort plates that range from warm pretzels with cheddar cheese and “stadium mustard” ($6), pork belly buttermilk biscuits ($8), veggies with Green Goddess dressing ($7), and marinated sardines ($9) to tonier beef tartare with a quail egg ($11), duck confit pasta ($12), and buttermilk fried quail with fava beans ($14). When it comes to his Dungeness crab tater tots with crème fraîche? We’re ready for a taste-testing tot-off with Stark’s Steak & Seafood, who also offer the crabby bites. Chalkboard is slated to open in early May.
BottleRock Eats: Music isn’t the only thing rocking this May in Napa. Valley toque CINDY PAWLCYN’S team will manage the nearly 40 chefs and restaurateurs participating in the 26-acre rock fest slated for May 9-12. On the roster so far: Mustards Grill, Oenotri, ZuZu, Grace’s Table, the girl & the fig, Backyard, La Condesa, Azzurro Pizzeria and Enoteca, Tra Vigne, Fish Story, Farmstead, The Model Bakery, C Casa, BarbersQ, and Gott’s Roadside in addition to chef appearances from Masaharu Morimoto, Todd Humphries, and Ken Frank (La Toque). Pouring at the event (this is Napa, after all) are some 50 wineries and artisan brewers. The event, which has caused massive buzz with the inclusion of top-billed bands including Kings of Leon, Jane’s Addiction, The Shins, The Black Keys, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and the Alabama Shakes. More details at the BOTTLEROCK WEBSITE.
NAPA VALLEY DISTILLERY, the first licensed distillery to open in the town of Napa since Prohibition, will open a retail outlet at the Oxbow Market in June. Owned and operated by the Hartunian family, Napa Valley Distillery is best known for its fruit-based distilled spirits including single-estate and vintage vodka made from sauvignon blanc grapes, barrel-aged cocktails, and liqueurs. The retail shop will also offer bitters, shrubs (an acidulated beverage made of fruit juice, sugar, and other ingredients), syrups, drink mixing condiments, and cocktail-related items such as martini shakers, glassware, and books on distilled spirits.