Kathleen Hill: Tips anniversary, lunch at the Fairmont, Fig Cafe and more
Tips Roadside celebrates 3 years
Happy travelers Andrew and Susie Pryfogle came home just in time to organize their own birthday party for their Tips Roadside restaurant in Kenwood on Sunday, June 6.
Susie says the party will be a “live action backyard barbecue and live music’’ in addition to the regular menu. At the celebration you can get one meat selection of brisket, baby back ribs or smoked chicken quarters with two sides for $25, two meats with two sides for $30, or three meats with two sides for $33.
The sides choices will be barbecued baked beans, coleslaw or mac ‘n’ cheese. The triple berry shortcake is $10 extra for dessert. Or order their beignets, just for the thrill of it. 4 to 8 p.m. 8445 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 509-0078.
First Layla, now Wit & Wisdom
Last week we wrote about new ownership and management of MacArthur Place at Broadway and East MacArthur, home of Layla restaurant.
Now up to the plate steps the Lodge at Sonoma’s plans for Wit & Wisdom.
Original developer of the Lodge, the late Barbara Thomas, raised local funds to build the Lodge in 2000 and brilliantly took almost all of her local investors with her to planning and city council hearings to win the development’s approval after public conversations at Vintage House and much more talk around town.
In about 2004 DiamondRock Hospitality purchased the Lodge at Sonoma as its “first acquisition” with the resort to be run as a Renaissance Resort and Spa by Marriott. DiamondRock is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, as is Urgo, the new managers of MacArthur Place. The purchase price was $35 million, somewhat short of the estimated $50 million development costs.
Then along came the Denver-Sage Hospitality Group which took over management in 2020 to include the attraction of well-known chef Michael Mina’s second Wit & Wisdom in September, 2020.
And later this month, the Lodge is becoming an Autograph Collection Hotel, which turns out in my research to be another brand of Marriott.
Changes to come include a revamp of Wit & Wisdom, still by Michael Mina, a new Benicia’s Kitchen Restaurant for breakfast and lunch, all new revamping of the hotel’s public spaces, gardens, driveway and rooms, new pool deck area with a fire pit, a new High Horse Bar made out of a horse trailer that supposedly “pokes at its fellow wine country city Napa,” an outdoor hearth oven, bocce ball, all with lead bartender Camber Lay. Lay is known in San Francisco bar circles as a “Bar Star,” so named by the San Francisco Chronicle. She served as “bar chef” at Pat Kuleto’s Epic Roadhouse (now Epic Steak) on the Embarcadero.
Meanwhile, Wit & Wisdom is wide open, offering all of locals’ favorites and the most extensive wine list in Sonoma Valley, although its domestic wines seem quite Napa-centric along with a huge array of wines from all over the world.
Fig Cafe closing
John Toulze, president of the Girl & the Fig, called to say they are closing the Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen for a month or so. The cafe’s last day will be Sunday, June 6.
With only 10 tables capacity at this point, the Fig Cafe staff got overwhelmed with reservations and to-go orders.
Toulze told the Index-Tribune that, "if we combine the staff of the Fig Cafe and the Girl & the Fig we will have one great restaurant" instead of two overwhelmed locations as people venture out in droves. "We will focus on getting the Girl & the Fig back to where we were, expand our catering, and then bring back the Fig Cafe and Suite D eventually. We are keeping everything."
Fairmont launches locals’ lunch deal
Now this is tempting.
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn’s new deal is called “Good Neighbors Who Lunch,” by which you can indulge in either a two- or three-course lunch for two with two glasses of wine selected by the Fairmont sommelier. It’s always good to know a sommelier. The two-course lunch costs $59 for two, while the three-course is $69 for two people.
It’s a wowee menu to choose your two or three courses from.
Appetizers may include tortilla chips and guacamole, housemade granola parfait, Parmesan truffle fries, crispy Brussels sprouts with peanuts, lime, chili and fish sauce dressing; falafel lettuce wraps with coleslaw and tahini yogurt and a kale Caesar salad.
Entrées range from a prosciutto and white peach salad, and ancient grains bowl, and a bay shrimp roll to a grilled lamb merguez sausage gyro, a Nashville chicken wrap, and the Sonoma Mission Inn burger with grilled Angus beef, butter lettuce, garlic aioli and aged cheddar cheese.
And maybe one of your choices will be among the desserts of a local artisan cheese plate, warm apple crumble of rye and walnut streusel with buttermilk ice cream, burnt honey crème brûlée, a dark chocolate tart or classic tiramisu with fresh raspberries.