Kathleen Hill: Tips Roadside, Mike Thompson and Elvis Presley’s banana pudding

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Tips Roadside leaps to full roadhouse

Just a few months after opening, Susie and Andrew Pryfogle have added daily brunch and much more to their Tips Roadside restaurant in Kenwood.

We do need another breakfast and brunch place since the closures of Pearl's Diner and Fremont Diner earlier this month.

As of Wednesday of this week, Tips Roadside started serving brunch daily starting at 11 a.m.

Expect a southern bent to the menu loaded with excellent beignets plus biscuits and gravy, a fried chicken biscuit sandwich, and a biscuit sando with fried egg, Tips' bacon and Fontina cheese on a golden biscuit

More sweets include Johnny Cake carnitas; a cornmeal pancake with carnitas; a sunnyside up egg, a grilled fig, and house-spiced syrup; skillet French toast with stone fruit; and granola with yogurt and fruit. ($5 to $10).

Breaky entrées bring Slab o' Bacon with Hoppin' John salad with black eyed peas, pickled squash and Bibb lettuce; True Grits with smoked mushrooms, spring peas, leeks and gouda cheese; shrimp and grits, and Green Eggs and Ham with poached eggs, potato cake, smoked tomatoes and arugula ($13 to $17).

Then there are burgers and a carnitas sando with house-smoked pulled pork and granny apple coleslaw on a toasted challah roll. ($5 to $15).

Or you can build your own meal with sides of two eggs, housemade bacon, Andouille sausage, root vegetables and bacon hash, meats, biscuits, tater tots, or potato cakes ($4 to $6).

Lighter choices will be a Breakfast Board with housemade lox, a six-minute egg, tomato jam, preserved lemon and pickles with a house bagel; an escarole and arugula salad; a grilled Steelhead trout salad with soft boiled egg, green beans, frisée, smoked tomato and mizuna; and a yummy Mom's Tomato Soup with grilled cheese croutons.

Check out their brunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sips & Bits 2 to 5 p.m., dinner 5 to 9 p.m. daily. 8445 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 509-0078. Tipsroadside.com.

Rep. Mike Thompson was in the house

Or rather, Rep. Mike Thompson was in the Sangiacomos' Catarina's Garden a week ago Sunday. Mike Sangiacomo represented the family at this gorgeous venue, kept cool on hot days by those winds from Petaluma and loads of shade trees.

The Tips Tri-Tip Trolley and La Escondida food trucks were there for the asking, with popular foods such as a tri-tip sandwich or bowl with meat and spicy cole slaw, spicy 'street corn salad,' and more, while La Escondida offered some of the best looking tamales and ceviche tacos ever. Teri Fernandez was there giving away cones of four flavors of her La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream.

Congressman Thompson first introduced Fernanda Alvarez, the young lady who mesmerized guests last year at La Luz's Noche party, to sing the national anthem, and she performed it flawlessly. Now a graduate of Altimira Middle School, Alvarez has also sung the national anthem at last year's City Party and at Stompers games. Next she is aiming for Sonoma Raceway.

Following the emotionally sung song, Thompson introduced 'Dreamer Denia Candela' to tell her story. Denia Candela was born in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. She is a 10,000 Degrees alumna class of 2011, an organization that serves low income and first generation students, graduated from Sonoma State University in 2016 with BA in applied statistics with a concentration in the actuarial field, and a board member of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. She is a commissioner for Sonoma County Regional Parks. Her work as the Enrollment & Outreach Manager for a nonprofit has allowed her to serve families who need early education services through state funded pre-schools. Denia is a mother of a 7-year-old and received DACA in 2012. DACA has allowed doors to open for Denia, and she is able to provide for her son, and give back to the community that has seen her grow.

Host committee members included Bill and Dottie Lynch, Kimberly and Simon Blattner, Al and Lisa Brayton, Karen Collins, Tom and Kathryn Culligan, Nancy and Kyle Kirwan, Steve Page, Steve Sangiacomo and myself.

Tommy Thomsen brought his western swing band, joined by the 'Queen of Boogie Woogie' Wendy DeWitt, to play throughout the late afternoon event.

The party was sponsored by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance. Nearly 20 local wineries donated wine for the event. Rep. Thompson created and leads the Wine Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thompson also attended (and stayed for lunch) at Sunday's Schell-Vista Fire Department Chicken BBQ.

Nibs & Sips

A couple of weeks ago the San Francisco Chronicle featured artists who have made the most of their own and others' fire tragedies, including Helena Donzelli, whose fabulous collage of burned kitchen utensils she recovered can be visited at Tips Roadside in Kenwood.

Topsy's Kitchen in Petaluma, one of Sonomans' favorite Petaluma restaurant destinations, has added a new Pizzeria Morchella to its occasional dinners on its café patio. The vegetarian pizza, Aldo Gobi is a vegan Indian curry pizza with cauliflower, potatoes, and green coriander with a curry sauce base. Or check out the lamb and mustard greens. And of course there was a four-cheese blend and super pepperoni ($12 to $18). Be sure to call to see if it is pizza night if that is your quest. 131 Kentucky St., Petaluma. 773-4743. Topsyskitchen.com.

Food & wine news with a twist

Sunset magazine just named Walla Walla, Washington as the 'Best Wine Town' in its 2018 Travel Awards, praising its 'wheat and sweet onions, 120 wineries and tasting rooms, cabernets and syrahs.' No runners-up were announced.

If you know where a Dairy Queen is, they are offering a free Blizzard treat to celebrate National Ice Cream Month. All you have to do is download their app and register, if you really want to do that. We used to have Foster's Freeze here and would welcome it back, at least for chocolate-dipped cones.

In a reassignment of duties at Wine Spectator, Napa bureau chief Kim Marcus will be lead taster of California chardonnays and pinot noirs, while senior editor James Molesworth will be lead taster for cabernet sauvignon. Both of these categories were reviewed for 30 years by highly respected James Laube. He will apply his expertise to verticals, retrospectives and other special tastings, write columns, features and cover other stories for the magazine.

Jean-Charles Boisset opened yet another elegant JCB Tasting Salon, this one on Healdsburg's plaza, in the space he occupied until 2013. This is Boisset's fifth JCB location and joins his DeLoach Vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Buena Vista Winery here in Sonoma.

Retro Recipe: Elvis Presley's banana pudding

The King of Rock 'n' Roll had some famous addictions, and one well-known one was sweets. His mother Gladys made banana pudding, one of his favorites, for him.

Lisa Lavagetto and I made Elvis's favorite banana pudding for a retro dinner fundraiser at the Glen Ellen home of Douglas Fenn Wilson in 2013 as an auction item to benefit Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.

Arrange this banana pudding in a glass serving bowl or individual dessert glasses.


• 3/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 3 cups milk, low fat or whole

• 3 large egg yolks

• 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

• 2 teaspoons vanilla

• vanilla wafer cookies

• 3 to 4 bananas, ripe but firm

• sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping

• banana slices for garnish

• mint sprigs, optional


In a bowl, combine the sugar, salt and flour; stir to blend. Slowly stir in milk until smooth. Pour into the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks; gradually whisk in about one cup of the slightly thickened hot milk mixture.

Return egg mixture to the double boiler, stir in the vanilla and butter, and continue whisking and cooking until well thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In tall dessert glasses or a 2-quart serving dish, make a layer of vanilla wafers then sliced banana. Spoon some of the pudding over the banana layer then layer more vanilla wafers and banana slices, topping with more pudding. Serve with whipped cream topping. If using short dessert dishes, use only one layer each of the wafers, banana slices, and pudding, and then top with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish each serving with a few slices of banana and a mint sprig if desired.

Serves 6 to 8.

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