Kathleen Hill: Palms Grill history, Taco Bell blues and takeout options expand

Separate and unequal?

Why are Taub Family Outpost, Valley, and Glen Ellen Village Market allowed to sell “takeout food” and let customers sit at their sidewalk tables and chairs to eat it when no one else is allowed to?

Yes, Taco Bell is closed…

For remodeling. And slightly soaked remodeling, leaving thousands of fast-food fans hungry.

The renovations do not appear at this point to be enlarging the fast food place’s footprint. Maybe improve the food or is it a sacrilege to suggest that?

Taco Bell fans, try our local food trucks and restaurants. The food is fresh, authentic and inexpensive.

Meanwhile, Jack in the Box always seems to have a steady stream of customers.

Two more restaurants add to takeout list

The Mill at Glen Ellen: Sanjeev Kumar of the Mill at Glen Ellen, which has achieved quick popularity and for good reasons, has not closed for a spiff-up and continues to offer takeout and curbside pickup food from Tuesday through Sunday.

Their takeout menu resembles their original, no surprise, with some added Saturday specials and many vegetarian specialties. For instance, last weekend featured curried chickpeas with black sticky rice with sautéed arugula and frisée with toasted cashews, as well as vegan soups. Try the crispy plain, garlic or truffle fries, pizzas, a veggie stir fry with brown rice, vegan Taiwan style noodles with bok choy, shredded cabbage, carrots, broccolini, crispy, tofu, fried garlic, and shallots, as well as a surf & turf of New York steak with prawns, garlic mashed potatoes and veggies with a cabernet demi-glace.

Lots of appetizers, salads, pizzas and flat breads, sandwiches and burgers including a Wagyu steak burger with Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and caramelized onion or a mushroom-stuffed Impossible Burger with fries, house slaw and pickled vegetables ($7 to $45). Plus Dana’s divine desserts ($9.50). And for $10 extra you can add a soup or salad and a dessert to your entrée. Takeout and curbside pickup 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 14301 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. 721-1818.

Sonoma Grille & Bar: Nima Sherpa proudly says Sonoma Grille serves takeout throughout this perilous pandemic, offering its full menu. Take home salads, Niman Ranch burgers, chicken wings, Himalayan momo dumplings, shrimp cocktails and steamed mussels or clams ($10 to $18).

Entrées include pastas, wild mushroom risotto, seafood linguini, bouillabaisse, salmon, roast chicken with fries and vegetables with orange sauce, and filet mignon with blue cheese butter and vegetables ($16 to $38). Plus chocolate torte or crème brûlée ($9).

Sonoma Grille also offers cocktails to go, discounts on some wine purchases, and house-brewed beer. 3 to 7:30 Thursday through Monday. 165 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 938-0764.

Epicurean Connection reopens

Breaks become rest and creative times for many of us. True, too, for Sheana Davis at the Epicurean Connection.

Davis’s first menu of 2021 offers Good Luck Black-Eyed Peas made with Rancho Gordo “peas,” Dungeness crab fried rice with green garlic and lemon, lemon Alfredo, roasted organic chicken salad with arugula aioli, roasted organic butternut squash soup, and arugula pesto cheese tortellini. ($20 per quart, Dungeness crab fried rice $30 for two (sounds fabulous).

TNK Mixology’s saffron honey vanilla with pomegranate cocktail blend was created for the Epicurean Connection, according to Davis. ($20 per pint.)

Locals can still sign up for Davis’s Sunday (4:30 to 6 p.m.) virtual class on making ricotta cheese if you can pick up your supplies at her shop/warehouse. ($125) To sign up and get materials email

They deliver food orders around Sonoma Valley Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m. The shop is open Friday and Saturday for retail and curbside pickup from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 19670 Eighth St. E., Sonoma. 235-9530.

Café LaHaye is back

After a holiday break, Saul Gropman of Café LaHaye has restarted his takeout order dining Tuesdays through Saturdays.

This week’s menu includes starters of lentil minestrone soup, Little Gem and radicchio salad with one of George Storck’s eggs, a salad of marinated beets and blue cheese, arugula and red onion, Caggiano sausage, or Dayboat scallops ($11 to $17).

Main courses feature his famous grilled pork chop, grilled shrimp or vegetarian risotto, marinated grilled filet mignon, Ora king salmon, or Wolfe Ranch quail ($26 to $42). Dessert offers Yuzu citrus cheesecake, chocolate silk cake with pecan fleur de sel crust, or butterscotch pudding ($8 to $9). 140 E. Napa St., Sonoma. Pickup starts at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. To order or get on Café LaHaye email list, email 935-5994.

Food for All – Comida para Todos

Food for All, Comida para Todos, assembles food and other family needs for delivery. Items include rice, beans, diapers, cleaning supplies etc. This program is offered every other week on Sundays to Sonoma Valley families.

El Verano School principal Maite Iturri is one of the leaders of Food for All and says the program is grateful for donations. Visit

Tips Roadside and Trolleys reopen

After testing and quarantining all employees, Tips Roadside and trolleys have reopened and are raring to go. The trolleys will mostly be in Santa Rosa, but you can pick up smoked tri-tip, baked beans, apple slaw, sourdough rolls, barbecue sauce and chocolate chip cookies at Tips Roadside in Kenwood. Family meal for four $79, meal for one $20. Their mercantile is also open 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. 8445 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 509-0078.

Arrowoods living happily ever after

In case you missed it a year ago, Alis and Richard Arrowood sold their Amapola Creek Vineyards and Winery to their next door neighbor, Brion Wise.

With Santa Rosa native Richard’s revered winemaking at focus, they sold Arrowood to Robert Mondavi in 2000 for high figures and created Amapola Creek. Mondavi later sold Arrowood to Jackson Family wines in 2006. Wise purchased their organic Amapola Creek vineyards, winery and home in early 2020.

Already having a home in Montana, the Arrowoods now also live in Idaho where Alis enjoys playing golf, weather allowing, and Richard enjoys hunting and fishing and adjusting to retirement. Alis remains active in Sonoma County’s Cha Chas, a group of 20 women founded by Marcy Smothers, who volunteer to help with projects for the children at Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

Three Fat Guys food trucks rolling

The quickly popular Shushi Shoubu food truck was a surprise sensation last weekend at Three Fat Guys tasting room on lower Broadway, so they are coming back on Jan. 12, with time not yet certain.

Then you can plan on Glen Ellen Star being there every Friday and Saturday from Jan. 15 through the end of February, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fair warning.

Controversial corner of history

Jason Ghiselin gleefully posted on a Springs Community Group social media page that I was incorrect when recently referring to Denny’s as the first restaurant in the space Palms Grill seems to have abandoned.

His posting drew about 150 comments, with some people confusing the Palms Grill corner at Verano and Highway 12 with the Black Bear Corner at Second Street West and West Napa Street.

There was little agreement except for one point: There had been a Fosters Freeze at Verano and the highway where various CPA offices are now just north of the shopping center parking lot.

According to Ghiselin, Jim Bast said, "The first restaurant at the location where Palms is now was called Steve’s followed by Cio’s, followed by Denny’s followed by Palm’s."

John Merritt wrote: “Frontier Village was the locals’ name for what became Palms at some point,” referring to the strip mall or shopping center. “I think the original eatery at that location, pre mini shopping center was a Fosters Freeze, owned by the Smario family that lived on Serres Drive. They sold and the mini shopping center was built.”

Merritt added that, “Taco Bell’s location used to be known as Donkeys Corner and McDonald’s opened in very late 1970s. My former wife, Susan Bundschu, and Mary Ann Cuneo met there with their children and were so happy to have the ‘restaurant’ that all their children wanted to go to.”

After a committee meeting of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society this week, David Viviani put me in touch with Rosalinda Smario Turner and Patricia Cullinan.

Turner’s response to my email was, “Glad to hear from you and grateful that I am finally an authority on something!”

She continued, “As I look at the map, the Fosters Freeze was actually on the corner of Sonoma Hgihway and Harley Street. The rest of the property that now has the Palms Grill, etc., was empty land in the early ‘60s, as I recall, and my parents owned it.”

Turner’s parents, Rose and Horrace Smario, also owned the Boyes Food Store where their family lived in an apartment upstairs. They eventually sold it to Ann and Frank Del Rosso, parents of Francine Maffei and Rosemary Haver. There are loads of stories about Mary Fazio borrowing food and pots from the Del Rossos, “and she never returned that pot that was perfect for sauce,” according to Turner. The Boyes Food Market is now slated for demolition.

In a phone conversation on Tuesday, Turner also said her family owned the whole corner and that she thinks the Fosters Freeze was located where the CPA offices are now.

As far as anyone seems to remember, when the current shopping center was built, Denny’s was the first occupant of the large restaurant space just vacated by Palms.

“Thanks all for remembering history,” a sentiment also expressed by John Merritt and David Viviani.

Mary’s Pizza Shack hosted Midgley fundraiser

Mary’s Pizza Shack sent out a heartfelt thank you to the Sonoma community for support of Bob and Stacey Midgely and their family during the restaurant chain’s dine-and-donate event on Dec. 23. Mary’s three Sonoma locations were overwhelmed.

With gratitude, Mary’s emailed, “Thank you for your support for our Dine & Donate benefiting Bob Midgley and his family. We know you stood in line outside, waited longer than normal for your orders, and patiently sat through busy signals and online ordering delays. In every way, we were amazed, but not surprised, at the turnout.

“With the added staff we brought on, we tried to keep up with what was coming in, but we know at some points of the evening we were simply beyond what was possible.

“The stories you shared with us about what Bob means for you, your family, and our community touched us each and every one. Our entire team is so proud to have been a part of this.”

In the end, Mary’s “family” was so amazed and overwhelmed by the response and turnout that they decided to go above the 20 percent commitment and are donating $15,000 to the Midgley family, according to Denise Pepp.

Bob Midgely was recently diagnosed with fast-moving cancer.


Former Sonoma resident Philippe Chevrollier has been named North America area manager for Laiteries H. Triballat of Rians, France. CEO Laure Chatard will report to Chevrollier, not the other way around. Triballat owns Laura Chenel, Marin French Cheese and St. Benoit Creamery.

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