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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Sun Rises on a new Sunset Location

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2016 at 9:30 AM

The upgraded Sunset garden takes up a quarter acre at Cornerstone Sonoma. - THE DAPPER DINER
  • The Dapper Diner
  • The upgraded Sunset garden takes up a quarter acre at Cornerstone Sonoma.
When Sunset announced it was moving from its Menlo Park home of over 60 years to Oakland, many Bay Area locals — such as myself — were in shock. While the magazine was never a staple in my home, it graced our coffee table every now and then when dad got the occasional green thumb or mom saw some interesting recipe she wanted to try on the family. Then in the late '90s, they started hosting Celebration Weekends to show off their offices and garden, which was an oddly popular event for those of us living on the Peninsula.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Forestville's Michelin-Starred Farmhouse Inn Dishes Out Fine Fare

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Alice Dishes

With rumors that Google may be establishing a campus in Novato, and downtown Petaluma looking like the new home of displaced Mission hipsters, interest in the North Bay is on the rise. While dining out in Sonoma County can be hit or miss, Farmhouse Inn, a hotel and restaurant in Forestville, just north west of Santa Rosa, does not disappoint.

Owned by siblings, Catherine and Joe Bartolomei, Farmhouse Inn has been developed around the Victorian-Era structure that houses the 14-table, Michelin-starred restaurant. As it's charming inside, opt to sit in the main dining room if you can — unless you want to be set apart from the main action, in which case ask for the back room.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Play With Clay and Food This Sunday

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Unfinished bowls at Jered's Pottery in Richmond, CA. - THE DAPPER DINER
  • The Dapper Diner
  • Unfinished bowls at Jered's Pottery in Richmond, CA.

If you’ve spent any time in a waiting room, you’re no stranger to seeing magazines with countless mentions of “stealing a celebrity’s look” or getting tips from a “hairstylist to the stars.” For those that like to eat at home, you can now play along with the restaurant diner equivalent by making a trek to the East Bay to visit the “potter to local star chefs.” Who knew filling your cabinets with plates and mugs that many top San Francisco Bay Area restaurants use was so easy?

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Changing Flavor of Guerneville

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM

  • C. Emmett Sommers

For those of us who didn’t have summer camp, we had the Russian River. For me, it was an oasis away from urban life, a haven of forests, vineyards, and a glorious river that shaped me in the way it shaped the surrounding valley. Growing up, I would spend all summer tucked beneath the redwoods, passing my days with friends building forts along the water, and my nights traversing the intricate social ecosystems that children create for themselves.

Those summers influenced us in the way that only daily exposure to nature can. We learned to read and respect the currents of the water, to recognize poison oak (the hard way), and to hand-catch crawdads for dinner.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

A Dive That's Also a Garage: Ernie's Tin Bar in Petaluma

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 3:00 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

If you’ve ever gone a-wine tasting north of here and quickly reached your fill of unctuous recitations of obscure tasting notes or replica chateaus, consider driving a little out of the  way for a bracing dose of reality at Ernie’s Tin Bar.

It is a bar, made of galvanized tin, with a really good beer selection, that just so happens to be a working auto garage.

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Amy's Drive-Thru: the New Age of Fast Food?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Gluten-free, lettuce-wrapped veggie burger with secret sauce. - ALICE DISHES
  • Alice Dishes
  • Gluten-free, lettuce-wrapped veggie burger with secret sauce.

Delivering a quick bite that doesn't lead to obesity and diabetes is all the rage in the fast food world these days. Chefs Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi, the team behind the forthcoming Loco'l, have been hitting the headlines with their efforts, and now so has the healthy frozen-food brand, Amy'sAmy's Drive-Thru is that company's first retail location to make it to market, having recently opened an organic, vegetarian concept restaurant in the North Bay's Rohnert Park. 

Delivering a quick bite that doesn't lead to obesity and diabetes, has been hitting the headlines lately. The likes of chefs, Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi’s, who are behind Loco'l, and 'healthy' frozen food brand, Amy’s, have both come up with concepts

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wine Country Report: Buying Olive Oil from Local Wineries

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • McEvoy Ranch
Harvested from local spots, olive oil on salmon, bread, veggies, and cheese rocks the farm-to-table vibe we know so well (to say nothing of its use on human skin to ensure youth and vitality). With the recent March passing of innovator Nan McEvoy, I’ve been pondering her gifts to eaters near and far. McEvoy was a food world pioneer for planting olive trees in Marin County in the 1980s, when she was in her sixth decade. She launched Northern California’s extra virgin organic olive oil scene, and the estate grown, Tuscan-influenced McEvoy olive oils still rack up awards nationally and on in the international marketplace. 

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Slow, Local Food at Petaluma's Bistro 100

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Sonoma "Country" Pate - ALICE DISHES
  • Alice Dishes
  • Sonoma "Country" Pate

Petaluma is having its 15 minutes of fame — if being the star of a McDonald's TV spot counts as fame. And with fame often comes controversy. In this case Mickey D's shows the surrounding organic farmland and downtown area, claiming "In Petaluma, California, you’ll find a quaint little restaurant where the locals come together for a great sandwich." Of course, they're right, and the new-ish Bistro 100 may just be that "quaint little restaurant" — even if it's not the place the ad team had in mind when they dreamed up the creative. Yet many locals have been up in arms about McDonalds co-opting their town. 

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Why Visit Now? Two Reasons Why Wine Country is Better in the Fall

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Northeastern folks may get to jump in piles of pretty leaves and dunk apple cider donuts around this time of year. Locally, we have pretty leaves at Wine Country harvest parties, alongside tasting rooms, gardens, and even barns that may offer Calgon-y “take me away from my mouse-laden Mission apartment” moments.

There is one added bonus to getting to the Wine Country in the fall: The later it gets in the calendar year, the easier it may be to get around on the roads now that punchdown of grapes from the oh-so-recent harvest has already happened. Hotels can also be cheaper, especially for those who can go mid-week. Less traffic and fewer folks probably give a more chillax feel as you taste and learn about the soil, climate, and people who create wine.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Native Kitchen and Kombucha Bar Opens in Petaluma

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 8:01 AM

"The Spread" with chicken - ALICE DISHES
  • Alice Dishes
  • "The Spread" with chicken

Sonoma County’s Petaluma has been quietly reinventing itself from cow town to North Bay jewel. It was recently named number one in Harpers Bazaar’s best places to visit, home to new foodie havens, and there's a Highway 101 widening project to speed your path there. The newest kid on the block is Native Kitchen and Kombucha Bar.

Located in a former chocolate boutique on Petaluma Boulevard North, Native Kitchen has a light, airy feel. From the stylish French-looking couch in the window to the soothing light turquoise and white paint, zinc bar, and giant dream catcher on the wall, the ambiance is less Sonoma County and more Melrose Place. Perhaps not surprising since the owners, Jasmine and Joseph Dravis, are recent L.A. transplants.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"