Updates from Sonoma County restaurants
You might notice that we get our spirits up, so to speak, as the holidays wear their ugly sweaters and family visits approach. Here’s a look at what’s going on in the county, in terms of food and drink.
Glen Ellen Inn reopens: Chris and Karen Bertrand of the Glen Ellen Inn are planning to reopen their cozy bar soon and once again welcome their martini fans, among others. The Bertrands closed the bar and restaurant during the intensity of COVID-19 and focused on their cabins hidden behind the restaurant. They are waiting for permits before they can reopen, and Karen Bertrand said she looks forward to seeing old friends.
“We are patiently waiting for the county to complete its assessment so that we can begin. We really miss our premises. I even made the bar menu and can’t wait to serve cocktails, ”she said.
The Bagel Mill’s sourdough bagel dogs aren’t frequently on the menu, but when they are, it’s something special, according to Houston Porter, food columnist for the Petaluma Argus-Courier. After recently finding them, it got poetic about the childhood favorite you’ll want to check out. Watch for their reappearance at thebagelmill.com.
Crabby on the postponement of the crab season? We are too. In a post on the Petaluma Foodies Facebook page, Estero Café owner Samantha Ramey shared her recent research and efforts to add crab rolls or a Benedict crab to her menu.
For now, she said, restaurants with crab on the menu are either serving frozen crab from last year or bringing their crab from Oregon or Washington as the local season has been postponed. Neither is necessarily a bad choice, but diners should be prepared to pay a lot of money – it won’t be as cheap as fresh, locally caught crab, once the season opens (the fingers crossed for December).
Once the shopping season opens, Estero Cafe (14450 Highway 1, Valley Ford) is a great place to stop. If you can’t wait, Anna’s Seafood (901 Lakeville St., Petaluma) currently sells Washington Dungeness Crab, live or cooked or even cooked and cleaned.
Black Truffle Rye Whiskey isn’t for everyone, but Sonoma Distilling Company hopes it’s unique enough to spark the interest of drinkers looking for something salty. Made with American and British rye whiskeys and infused with French black Périgord truffles, it is on trend. The Matheson in Healdsburg offers a truffle infused Sazerac, with sweet vermouth, celery and bitters, that looks like a Manhattan and not so much like a truffle but still delicious.
The Truffle Whiskey features flavors of vanilla, dried apricots, allspice, seaweed and damp earth. At 100 proof, it is not to be … stuffed? Schedule a tasting or purchase a whiskey tasting kit (with your truffle whiskey) online at sonomadistillingcompany.com.
Fans of Jhanthong Banbua, the famous purple-painted Thai restaurant facing the Gold Coin Motel in Santa Rosa, are heartbroken by its mysterious closure. The phone has been disconnected and a sign on the door simply reads “Closed”. Their shrimp chips and crispy taro root balls will be missed.
Apple Cider Shop is preparing to open at 531 Broadway, where many Sonomans frequented Top That Yogurt. Owners Rick Tranchina and Jessica Olson-Ealy will be selling ciders from Sonoma County, France and Spain as well as French sparkling wines (maybe even real champagne) and rosés. They will also have sandwiches and cold cuts to accompany your cider. Apple hopes to open in January. 531 Broadway, Sonoma.
New Chef: Not only did Managing Partner Keven Kress reinstate Reel & Brand’s Clam Chowder and Chili Bread Bowls, along with Prime Rib, he recruited a new Executive Chef – Aurora Bojorquez, of Zapotillo, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Bojorquez creates a new enhanced menu at the restaurant. Like many of the best cooks in the Sonoma Valley, she thanks her mother and grandmothers in Mexico for passing on their skills, principles and traditions of working with natural foods. 401 Grove Street, Sonoma, 707-938-7204, reelandbrand.net
Canned Cocktails: Barrel Brothers Sonoma Bramble canned cocktail is our new obsession. At Barrel Brothers Windsor Bar, you can pick up Makrut Lime Cosmos (a vodka cocktail) or Sonoma Bramble, made with gin, blackberry and rosemary essence.
Their range of cocktails also includes a drop of lemon blossom with orange blossom made from vodka (barrelbrothersbrewing.com). Barrel Brothers is one of a group of emerging canned cocktails brands in Sonoma County that includes Cappy Shakes (Fool’s Paradise, with tequila, vermouth and passion fruit juice is a favorite) from the former founders of Duke Cappy. Sorentino and Steven Maduro, and Griffo Distilling, who recently released their own line.
As tasty to drink as they are pretty to look at, Griffo’s Whole Lotta Sunshine (vodka with local grapefruit juice, lemon juice, FloraLuna Apothecary and Griffo Amaro wildflower syrup) and Tomales Collins (gin, local lemon juice, orange juice Blood and FloraLuna Apothecary Cardamom and Clove Syrup) are proving to be popular players in the expanding game of canned drinks (griffodistillery.com).
Compiled by Heather Irwin, The Press Democrat. Kathleen Hill (Sonoma Index Tribune) and Houston Porter (Petaluma Argus-Courier) contributed to this report.