Kathleen Hill: Sonoma food reopenings and more
Girl & the Fig 'Phase 1' reopening
Sondra Bernstein opened her Girl & the Fig on the Plaza on Tuesday just for Wicked Slush, a sort of adult snow cone that some of us were lucky enough to sample at her Girls Night Out party at Suite D a few months ago.
Calling it her 'Phase I' opening, she is offering Pipsqueak size for $3.50, a Pipsqueak Split with half slush and half soft serve ice cream layered in a parfait for $5 to $7. Some sidewalk tables up First Street West for slurping slush. And, by the way, they also serve 'Slushtails,' which are cocktail slushes.
All this is part of Bernstein 'testing our waters' prior to a full opening at a later date. Bernstein was the first restaurateur to close completely as she looked ahead at the coming pandemic, and we welcome her back as the last reopener – always cautious. You can still get lots of takeout food at the Fig Café & Wine Bar in Glen Ellen and at the Fig Rig in front of Sonoma Valley High School.
Girl & the Fig just added Grab & Go foods to its takeout menu including cheese & charcuterie, cheese and fruit (both to serve two people at $20, a ham and Gruyere with butter baguette, grilled eggplant sandwich, Italian Hero on a baguette, chopped crispy chicken salad, a fig and arugula salad and chocolate chunk cookies ($3 to $13).
Swiss Hotel and Bay Area media
After two weekends of Bay Area television features on Three Fat Guys wines and the Picazo Food Truck, and then one with Saul Gropman at Café LaHaye last weekend, CBS-KPIX in San Francisco showed up at the Swiss Hotel for this past weekend's news.
After a few days of Bay Area media telling the world that, basically, 'Sonoma is open,' it seemed as if all those people with all those pent up needs to 'get out of Dodge,' wherever their 'Dodge' is, showed up here the minute restaurant doors opened.
Maybe Bay Area folks thought 'open' meant 'safe.' But was it? And for whom?
Swiss Hotel staff were able to tell the interviewer that people just rushed in, and others like El Dorado Kitchen had to turn away customers. The Plaza itself was loaded with picnickers not wearing face coverings, and about half those walking around wore something over their faces, by casual observation.
Restaurants and wineries reopen, mostly
Many wineries have been awaiting an announcement from Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase as to whether they still need to serve a meal to proceed with wine tasting – a requirement I never quite understood. Mase this week announced that, beginning June 12, wineries no longer have to serve meals with tastings.
Ram's Gate, which already has a chef and permit to serve food, has now opened to everyone and not just their wine club members.
Most restaurants have reopened while others are 'waiting to see how it goes.' What they mean by that is to see if people are ready to venture out into restaurants, or whether opening will result in more COVID-19 spread that could endanger locals and staff.
Some are ecstatic about the reopenings, including Gia Ghilarducci and Executive Chef Tony Ghilarducci whose Depot Hotel has one of the loveliest dining settings with pool in Sonoma. Others are still getting ready to reopen including Picazo Kitchen & Bar in Maxwell Village, where, incidentally, progress is being made to convert Payless Shoes into a Panda Express.
As far as we know as of now, those who were offering takeout and now outdoor and indoor seating include Salt & Stone, Café Citti, Tips Roadside, Palooza Gastropub in Kenwood, Les Pascals, Glen Ellen Star, Jack London Saloon, Yeti, La Hacienda Boyes Hot Springs, El Molino Central, Cochon Volant, Sonoma Eats, Shige, El Huerto, Sonoma Taco, Gourmet Taco, Reel & Brand, Mary's Pizza in Boyes and on Sonoma Plaza, La Casa, El Dorado Kitchen, La Salette, Tasca Tasca, Delhi Belly, Taste of Himalayas, HopMonk Tavern, and Plaza Bistro. Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn is scheduled to reopen July 1.
Picazo on Arnold Drive offers only patio seating for now, as does Murphy's Irish Pub, Cochon Volant, and Layla and the Porch at MacArthur Place. Della Santina's is serving in its patio, while Enoteca Della Santina is serving food on the East Napa Street sidewalk across from Café La Haye.
As well, the Picazo food truck will serve Friday through Sunday all summer at Three Fat Guys tasting room on Broadway, noon to 5 p.m. Picazo Kitchen & Bar in Maxwell Village will be open for take-out dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. daily for another 10 days while they work on permits and architecture to hopefully add a patio, a dream former owner Bob Rice passed on to the Chavezes. So to get food from Picazo Kitchen & Bar, call the restaurant at 935-3287 and pick up at the table outside.