Kathleen Hill: Re-openings, Georgette, a Vella retirement and Mom’s Day offerings

Swiss Hotel reopens for takeout

After more than a month of quiet darkness next to the downtown Mary’s Pizza Shack, the Swiss Hotel just re-opened for takeout, now serving Tuesday through Saturday.

The briefer-than-usual menu includes a lot of everyone’s favorites including meatballs, shrimp cocktails, soup of the day, mixed green salad, pizzas, capellini with sundried tomatoes, capers and garlic, rigatoni Bolognese, penne and sausage, linguini and prawns, fish, ribeye steak, roasted rosemary chicken, fried chicken, lemon bars and tiramisu. ($6.50 to $30). Wine and beer available. Call 938-2884 to order starting at 2 p.m., pick up from 4 to 7 p.m.

Amy’s Chinese restaurant reopens

The small but busy Amy’s Peking Palace, at 500 W. Napa St. next to Sonoma Market, reopened for takeout this week, with its usual buffet and other menu items. Open 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Monday. 938-8886.

Spread Catering launches Meatless Mondays

Having had to shut down her catering business for two months due to canceled events and parties, private chef and caterer Cristina Topham got creative. On Monday, May 4, she launches her Meatless Monday Meals, either vegan or vegetarian, for around $25. You can pick up your meal at her catering kitchen in Napa, they can deliver at your doorstep, or you can pick up your order and some wine at Sangiacomo Vineyards. Ten percent of both Spread Catering food and Sangiacomo wine sales will go to Redwood Empire Food Bank.

A third-generation Lebanese-American, Topham was born and grew up in Northern California, graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York City in 1999, cooked at Les Olivades in Paris and at the Savoy in New York, where she also had a small catering company pairing food and wine for private dinners. Then she took off to cook on luxury yachts and cooked her way around Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and eventually gravitated back to the Bay Area and Sonoma. To get on Spread’s email list and get more information, write to

Ecology Center’s garden starter kits all gone

While locals lined up their cars last Saturday around Sonoma Plaza starting at 8:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. opening of the garden starter kits giveaway, Sonoma Ecology Center decided to start distribution early at 9:30 a.m. to avoid a bumper car-like happening where a few people tried to cut in the line at the corners.

Within an hour, 360 boxes had been given away, including those delivered to people who could not make the trip downtown, according to Don Frances, Ecology Center communications manager.

Frances said in an email that a typical box contained a Mammoth Melting Pea, melon, Golden Scaloppini Summer Squash, Golden Wax Bean, sunflower and Marketer Cucumber plants, all grown at Missy and Austin Lely’s Bee-Well Farms, plus a tomato start provided by Santa Rosa Junior College. Each kit also contained growing instructions and a sample of biochar.

Sunday Stroll

Well, actually in a Jeep.

On a beautiful Sunday, with the air clearer than ever and many of us anxious to get out somewhere, somehow, we found happy customers waiting patiently for their orders outside La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream, Cochon Volant, El Brinquito (order those barbecued chickens ahead) Las Diablitas, Gourmet Taco, Basque Boulangerie and El Molino Central, where owner Karen Waikiki has a new red and white banner stretching the length of her building and proclaiming “Car Hop Service. You drive up. We come to you.”

On the other hand, some people have reported having trouble ordering food to go from certain restaurants whose websites and phones don’t seem to be prepared for the ordering process.

Most restaurants that stayed open or re-opened to serve and sell takeout and/or delivery food seem to be doing well. Some have loyal customers and others have excellent email lists and send out daily menus if they are not serving their entire menu.

If you are able and feel comfortable doing so, do order food from local restaurants to help them stay in business and keep their employees working and paid.

The Red Grape expands hours

The Red Grape has expanded its hours and is now open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Pastas, lots of salads, Asian cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, tomato basil soup, three pastas and 13 lucky pizzas. Pickup or delivery. Order at 996-4103.

Chef Bryan Jones helps Teen Center

Chef and “boutique caterer” Bryan Jones, working as Teen Services’ voluntary culinary advisor, is cooking three-course menus for delivery in Sonoma Valley.

Jones previously served as chef at the Fig Café & Wine Bar in Glen Ellen and at St. Francis Winery and is starting his own Bryan Jones Catering. Following a family brainstorming conversation with his wife and teenagers, he donates all of the proceeds from these dinners to Teen Services Sonoma. He is also a volunteer instructor in the Teen Services culinary programs, saying in an email, “Teen Services provides such an important service to this community, providing teens life skills and confidence. I believe it’s so important to help teens in the community,” Orders have to be placed by 11 a.m. on Mondays before the Friday of delivery.

Just to temp you, one recent menu included a garden salad with pickled fennel, shaved carrots, black olives and red wine vinaigrette, lasagna, and cannoli cupcakes. It went for $45 for dinner for two or a family dinner for four for $90, including gloved delivery service. To order, email

Georgette chef starts virtual classes

Casey Thompson, the chef brought in to remodel and re-invent the former General’s Daughter as a restaurant called Georgette, is giving virtual cooking classes called “Cooking with Casey” designed to “bring a taste of wine country to homes around the country during the shelter-in-place,” according to a press release, which adds that Thompson was named a “fan favorite” on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Starting Friday, May 1 with a “date night” edition, the Zoom classes will provide all recipes with a shopping and equipment list, plus optional wine list. In the future, participants who check in 24 hours before the class will get a private Zoom login. Class schedules are available at

About the Georgette name, Thompson says in the press release: “The name Georgette loosely translates to ‘farmer’ in Greek, reflecting my commitment to highlight the bounty of locally grown produce and ethically farmed proteins.”

The restaurant is hoping to open in late 2020.

Local restaurants in on cooking for seniors?

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced the new federal/state program to pay restaurants and caterers to cook hot meals for seniors – though program details are still being ironed out.

According to Los Angeles Times, “participating establishments will be reimbursed up to $16 for breakfast, $17 for lunch, and $28 for dinner, providing much needed revenue to ailing restaurants, whose dining rooms have been shuttered for weeks” due to the shelter-at-home rules and as a result of ongoing social distancing restrictions. Seventy-five percent of the revenue is expected to come from FEMA and 25 percent from the state of California. According to Newsom, participating restaurants will be selected by local governments. The meals have to comply with nutritional guidelines, many low in sodium and made with local ingredients.

Seniors can dial the state’s adult services line to order food at 800-510-2020.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette