Kathleen Hill: County health order changes lots

We all know that most restaurants are skating on precarious ice again these days with the omicron variant wafting around as well as the Health Officer’s Order C19-35 issued this week. Some have reduced hours occasionally (Peet’s), some have closed temporarily either out of precaution or simply long spiff ups (girl & the fig and Valley), and some are staying open with skeleton crews to survive.

At 4:58 p.m. Monday, Jan. 10, Dr. Sundari Mase issued the order prohibiting large gatherings, which she defined as 50 or more persons inside, 100 or more outside where individuals cannot be distanced 6-feet apart, or 12 people “of any age who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 for the duration of the order.”

The order’s duration runs from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 to Feb. 11, “unless it is rescinded, extended, superseded or amended by the Health Officer or State Public Health Officer.”

The order does not apply to “restaurants/food facilities and museums.”

The order also says: “Due to the current surge in cases, smaller gatherings should be, but are not required to be, postponed, canceled or conducted virtually.”

To back this up, Dr. Mase says that the: “Test positivity is higher than at any point during the pandemic (16.5% as compared to a prior peak of 9.7%)” and that 50% of cases in the last two weeks with known source of infection have been due to gatherings…”

While Dr. Mase suggested we should stay home except for essential trips, unfortunately some Bay Area television stations (ABC7) called the Sonoma County order a “shelter-in-place” order. Dr. Mase made very clear it is not a shelter-in-place order in saying to The Press Democrat “that a strict shelter-in-place order would be too restrictive…”

Those of us who are able to dine out know that distanced seating, vaccination and booster rates, as well as COVID-19 testing vary from place to place.

Ordering food to go might be a great way to support our local restaurants through so much difficult time. Feel free to ask an owner or manager whether their staff is vaxxed and boosted and if and when they were last tested. We all know of people who have gone to work sick because they needed to.

This virus is rampant. Last time many of us asked each other if we knew someone infected. This time we all seem to know someone with COVID thanks to the new omicron variant

Surf & Turf Dinner Jan. 22

The first casualty of the new order was a fundraising chance to get out and have some good food or take it home, and of course most of our local restaurants can do that for you too.

The Native Sons of the Golden West, Sonoma Parlor #111, met at 6 p.m. the same night and responsibly decided to cancel its 17th annual Surf & Turf Dinner on Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Veterans Memorial Building.

The menu was to have been rib-eye steak and prawns, tossed salad, a roll, and cheesecake with music, dancing, a raffle and silent auction, all to benefit the Native Sons’ scholarship fund for Sonoma Valley High School students.

Each year the Native Sons give out $5,000 to $8,000 in scholarships to Sonoma students going on to further education.

Even if you weren’t planning to attend the Surf & Turf, you can still help local students by sending a check to Native Sons of the Golden West, P.O. Box 111, Sonoma, CA 95476. Or you can take your contribution to Dan Eraldi at Eraldi’s store on First Street West.

Rotary Club goes virtual

By Tuesday, Jan. 11, Rotary of Sonoma Valley had changed their meeting plans, switching from lunch at Sonoma Golf Club to a Zoom meeting,

Café LaHaye

Saul Gropman cheerily re-opened his Café LaHaye Tuesday evening after he and the staff enjoyed a generous two-week winter break.

'Travel + Leisure' singled out the Red Grape's pizzas - the Tuscan Sun, shown above - as reasons readers voted Sonoma among their favorite towns.
'Travel + Leisure' singled out the Red Grape's pizzas - the Tuscan Sun, shown above - as reasons readers voted Sonoma among their favorite towns.

The Red Grape turns 20

The Red Grape sort of celebrates 20 years in business in Sonoma this month.

Owner Sam Morphy emailed that, “While we had hoped to do a big party, due to COVID we will delay (it). We are, however, conducting a free raffle from now until Jan. 31, with a drawing on Feb. 1. We will give away several gift baskets appropriate for adults or kids, gift cards, and wine — over three dozen gifts in all.”

Morphy continued, “We have been blessed with the best employees and all the support from the Sonoma community. We are looking forward to 20 more years.”

Delicious Dish food donations rock

Lauren Cotner’s Delicious Dish has certainly been stepping up to feed extra hungry people lately.

Delicious Dish’s new chef, Cynthia Maciel, is certainly cutting through the fog with new healthier weekly offerings and preparing good food to nourish unhoused and cold people whom Sonoma Overnight Support has placed in hotels and shelters, since SOS only serves meals on weekdays.

Cotner says they have provided bags with breakfast, fruit, pastries, hot lunch, dessert and salads.

Last week one of Delicious Dish’s catering clients rescheduled last minute, to which Cotner’s quick response was to donate to SOS all of the prepared salmon; braised chicken thighs with lemon, rosemary and castelvetrano olives; a vegan cauliflower and chickpea picatta with roasted lemon caper sauces, steamed quinoa and brown rice; broccolini, snap peas, green bean salad, winter citrus, butter radishes; and blackberry apple ginger crisps for 100 people. No strings.

More COVID-related restaurant updates

While the omicron virus is definitely speeding through Sonoma Valley and some chefs and staff have been infected, each venue’s plans could change with little notice. Since my deadline is Tuesday for the Friday paper, for the latest info be sure to call your favorite place to ask if they are open and serving.

Most owners say they “are taking every precaution” for their staff and guests.

Peet’s on Broadway, and I don’t mean New York or Vancouver, has been shortening and lengthening open hours according to staff availability..

The Mill at Glen Ellen

Dana Jaffe and Sanjeev Kumar plan to stay open for dine-in or dine-on deck or takeout. During the height of the previous wave, they and the crew voted to stay open for takeout and little pay. Everyone has stayed on and many of their staff have been with them since they were at Susan Brangham’s Saddles Steakhouse. The Mill has become very popular, partly because people respected their distanced tables and felt safe there.

Palooza Kenwood

Suzette Tyler says they will reopen Jan. 12 “and take every precaution.”

B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille

Codi Binkley reports that their previous PG&E outage has been fixed and they are now open “regular hours,” meaning they are not expanding hours “due to lack of finding anyone to work.” B&V opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 11:30 a.m. or noon Friday through Sunday, with “happy hour just drinks” Wednesday through Friday 4 to 6 p.m.

Valley Bar & Bottle

Co-owner Emma Lipp reports that “Valley is closed until Jan. 27 for our annual winter break. This was planned and has nothing to do with COVID.”

Three Sticks Wines

With guest visits traditionally slow in Sonoma during January and early spring, Three Sticks folks are hitting the road to offer personal and virtual visits in Raleigh, Charleston, Houston, Park City, Healdsburg and Houston featuring their wines and local food specialties. You can also enjoy caviar and chardonnay in the former Jones Adobe on West Spain Street.

Glen Ellen Star

Glen Ellen Star is closed for renovations from Jan. 10 through 25, and reopening on Jan. 26

But plan ahead now for their Feb. 14 Valentine’s dinner that starts with gougères, followed by wood-oven roasted golden beets, and winter lettuces salad with candy striped beets, crushed hazelnuts, with citrus dressing and whipped labne.

The second course offers a choice of grilled Snake River Farms Zabouton with caramelized Belgian endive or wood-baked scallops with littleneck clams and bacon “chowder.” Both are accompanied by pommes (potatoes) purée and grated black winter truffle. Chocolate mousse will be the dessert to share. $100 per person. All of this is available at the chef’s counter, in the dining room, or in their heated, curbside tent. Make reservations via or

Mediterranean pizza with artichoke hearts, sausage, feta, tomato, olives from Jacob's Restaurant in Sonoma. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)s
Mediterranean pizza with artichoke hearts, sausage, feta, tomato, olives from Jacob's Restaurant in Sonoma. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)s

Jacob’s Restaurant adds delivery

Jacob’s Restaurant newish owner Beronica Perez just this week started the restaurant’s own delivery service, complete with appropriate licenses to deliver their food. It’s a brilliant move since the big food delivery companies charge both the restaurant and the customer for their service. Doing this themselves, they potentially save money for both Jacob’s and their customers.

While they have kept all of everyone’s favorites of Jacob’s original dishes such as chicken picatta, steak, salmon and pizzas, they have also made some quickly popular additions.

Some of us are looking forward to trying their new seafood stew that comes with garlic bread, as well as their new appetizers of fried calamari, shishito peppers, crab cakes, breadsticks, along with mussels and sausage pasta. All reasonably priced including the rib eye steak ($29) and lobster ravioli ($25). Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. except Monday when they open at 4 p.m. Delivery available 4 to 9 p.m. daily. To order for delivery or takeout or for reservations call 707-996-4024. 1266 Broadway, Sonoma.

Momo at the Moose opens

Well known for her food from Vintage House to Roche Winery and the Knights of Columbus community breakfasts, Aunt Momo has been practicing and warming up to her next step, which just happened.

Momo had a soft (very soft and quiet) “re-opening for the year” of her weekly two night cafe at The Moose Lodge.

Among the goodies she served last weekend was a New Brunswick Stew

that she made with “pork and chicken” (not opossum and squirrel as the original recipe calls for in one of my vintage cookbooks). Momo continued, “Instead of using a store-bought barbecue sauce for the broth I use my mother's pinot noir barbecue sauce recipe that she made for the (Roche) winery events for years. Guests also tried my winter salad with mixed greens, candied walnuts, Asian pears, pomegranate seeds, warm ham and pomegranate molasses dressing.”

According to Momo, the most popular item of the night was her Hawaiian panini which is shaved Fra' Mani rosemary ham, her sister's pineapple preserves, mozzarella cheese and sundried tomato pesto inside a ciabatta roll.

This week Momo is making a cream of mushroom soup with marsala and porcini dust; 'Nacho-Momo' which is her version of nachos with carnitas; as well as a charcuterie plate with XO gouda, manchego, Laura Chenel goat cheese, Fra' Mani salame rosa and Toscano salame, and Margarita spicy capicola.

You can catch Momo and her food at the Moose Lodge from 4 to 8-ish p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. You can be guest of a member (such as Momo’s staff) for two visits with the right to buy a drink, but after that you have to join the Moose for $60 and pay a $20 one-time “processing fee.” Corkage $10. South of Napa-Leveroni Road, 20580 Broadway, Sonoma. 996-3877.

Cline Family Cellars tasting room in Sonoma. (Courtesy of Cline Family Cellars)
Cline Family Cellars tasting room in Sonoma. (Courtesy of Cline Family Cellars)

Cline Family Cellars celebrates 40 years

After receiving a relatively small inheritance from his mother’s father, Valeriano Jacuzzi, in 1982 Fred Cline started Cline Cellars in Oakley in Contra Costa County.

In 1989 Fred and Nancy Cline bought about 350 acres south of Sonoma from Haddon Salt of H. Salt Fish & Chips. In the 1800s Julius and Katherine Adolph Poppe farmed the property, raised milk cattle and farmed carp in ponds on the property, a practice the Clines have kept up.

Long committed to sustainable farming, Cline’s vineyards are the first where I remember seeing “Wooley Weeders” controlling the weeds instead of sprayed chemicals.

The Clines cite an historic Miwok Village as well as the first site of California’s northernmost mission on their property and established a small museum that includes models of all of the California missions.

The family has always been generous to Sonoma Valley nonprofits and live in downtown Sonoma. Some of their children work in their wine business, manage their hotel in Tonopah, Nevada, with writer Emma Cline the best known for her book, “The Girls.”

Some Sonomans stop at the Clines’ Green String Farm for sustainably and organically grown vegetables at Frates and Old Adobe roads, technically in Petaluma.

For their 40th anniversary, the Clines ask the public to share their Cline stories. So here is mine, although it is really a Jacuzzi story.

When I was in middle school, my parents bought a house on a little hill in Lafayette with a 75-foot swimming pool because of my competitive swimming. The house was on “the wrong side of the tracks” in some people’s minds, but down the hill on one side were the Edgar Kaisers, and down the hill on the other side were Kenny Jacuzzi and his family.

At age 2, Ken Jacuzzi was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and there I was halted in my swimming career due to a recurrence of polio, thought then to be rheumatic fever. We became great friends and one of my favorite memories was often flattening cardboard boxes to slide down the hill to Kenny’s house “to play,” whatever that meant in the eighth grade.

He would open their front door, supported by crutches that seemed to stick out almost horizontally, and we would disappear into the kitchen where his mother had snacks and he had great stories to tell.

It was to help Kenny’s pain and discomfort that his father and uncles created what became the Jacuzzi hydrotherapy products, whirlpool baths, and hot tubs.

And full circle, it was a tearful pleasure to sit for a while with Kenny, then director of the Arizona Office of Americans with Disabilities with a master in international management, at a large family party at Jacuzzi Winery — the last time I saw him.

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