Kathleen Hill: Three Fat Guys, Vintage Festival and restaurant updates

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Vintage Festival Gala food

The big Gala put on annually by the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival is tonight, Friday, Sept. 27 behind the Barracks.

Delicious Dish will serve turkey pot pies and Japanese fried chicken with orange aioli and wasabi slaw and Aunt Momo’s will serve tasty duck confit mole cups.

HopMonk Tavern will serve samosas at the gala and in the Plaza over the weekend. Westway will also be at both, as will something called Bruscheta Bar, according to organinzer Spring Stambaugh.

Zapata Grill will serve tacos at both locations, as will Mary’s Pizza, Maya, and Palms Grill even though the latter is “closed for remodeling.”

And of course there will be loads of local wines. $125 at the door.

Restaurants coming and going

As one restaurant-owning family member said in response to a question about their restaurant being for sale: “Everything is for sale.” And that is so true. Most things and businesses are for sale for the right price.

Some restaurants are still having trouble getting opened due to county inspectors taking slow pills on permitting, some are openly listed for sale by name, some are listed for sale without the business name, and some are always for sale, and openly.

The Harvest Moon and Bram clay pot cookware spaces are still empty with a silver jewelry shop in between on First Street West, and Taub Family Outpost is still working on complying with various construction requirements at the corner of First Street West and Napa Street.

Baker & Cook

Jen and Nick Demarest haven’t opened Baker & Cook yet, as they say they are experiencing a county permit delay.

They closed the Harvest Moon Café a month or so ago to focus on their daughter, and on Jen’s bakery, Baker & Cook, where Nick might eventually help with lunch.

Last Saturday, Jen held a baked goods pop-up sale in the parking lot of Baker & Cook and posted a hand-written sign that said, “Still battling the county water agency. They have calculated (a sewer hookup fee) totaling $26,751 (and) they say I must pay this to release the hold they have placed on final inspections. How do they expect small businesses to survive this?”

The Demarests say the amount is determined on square footage and number of seats, “not on our actual water usage, and our bill is now down to $3,189.”

Meanwhile, the Demarests have been paying rent and utilities with no income from the storefront for the past 18 months.

The Demarests’ friend Annie Caro has set up a page to help raise the funds to pay this pre-opening water bill.

In the meantime, Jen will have her fabulous pastries at the Friday morning farmers market at Arnold field parking lot and will sell Saturday mornings at their Baker & Cook parking lot at 18812 Sonoma Highway.

Palms Grill

Palms Grill, the restaurant at the corner of Verano Avenue and Highway 12, has “closed for remodeling and will open as soon as possible.” The sign on the glass door invites “regular customers” to go to Palms Grill in Petaluma, a fair jaunt.

El Gallo Pinto

El Gallo Pinto is run by Jessica Garcia, formerly of Mi Ranchito, and her brother Christian Garcia, under the full name: El Gallo Pinto – Autentica Cantina Mexicana. Never mind that they are originally from Guatemala, and praise to them for doing well here given the drought and starvation in Guatemala.

El Gallo Pinto’s menu is not much different from Mi Ranchito’s but they have altered all of the recipes. Give it a try.


Andrea and Doreen Marino hope to open their Italian food emporium loaded with Andrea’s handmade salumi and delicacies new to Sonoma from Italy next Monday, Sept.30, that is if “our last shipment arrives tomorrow, meaning this past Monday, if all goes well.”

Della Santina’s

An unnamed restaurant for-sale listings showing online matches a description of Della Santina’s, so we asked if it was indeed the East Napa Street restaurant.

From Nicole Della Santina: “In business, generally everything’s for sale for the right price, and we’re exploring strategic options. We are open and running—business as usual. Just donated to the Wig Out event this past weekend. What a great cause!”

Papa Murphy’s Pizza

The chain Papa Murphy’s Pizza location on West Napa Street is openly listed for sale by name. It’s a to-go pizza place where you buy the uncooked pizza and take it home to bake in your oven.

Schellville Grill

Schellville Grill is still for sale. Owner Mathew Nagan has made huge improvements, including a new septic system, and his food is still good. Nice afternoon outdoor dining with good burgers, serving lunch only.

Depot Hotel

Still running full steam ahead on full energy, great pastas, veal picatta and seafood, and save room for Tony Ghilarducci’s tiramisu.

Creekside Café

Contrary to some blog postings, Creekside Café has not closed and will, indeed, be open through the work on the Boyes Boulevard bridge, according to the chef.

Carnivores alert: Cuts N’ Cab at Three Fat Guys

Three Fat Guys Wines is hosting a Cuts ‘n’ Cab dinner collaboration with his tasting-room-mate, chef Garret Sathre, of West Handmade Burgers and West Wine Tours tonight, Sept. 27 in the patio behind the tasting room on lower Broadway.

Sathre will grill lots of beef and vegetables, all paired with Three Fat Guys 2016 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon.

Three Fat Guys owner Tony Moll is a local boy who makes wine, keeps bees and collects honey with daughter Stella, played professional football with the Green Bay Packers, and is an all-around nice guy. $40. 6 to 10 p.m. 20816 Broadway, Sonoma. Sign up at

Is grape glut here?

For years we have suspected that so many vineyards planted and replanted could eventually produce more grapes to make more wine than drinkers could consume.

It used to be fashionable for big city doctors and professors and others to buy a vineyard in the Sonoma or Napa valleys and hope to learn what it was all about. And there were many earnest and smart people who were dedicated to those vineyards and resultant wines and still make great wines.

In the last several years, some of those pioneer families have sold their grapes and wineries to bigger wineries and corporations. And it all grows and grows. Or does it?

Tastes change. Fashion creates followers in wines, alcohol, and even clothing.

And now we have a small movement toward sobriety and being able to thoroughly enjoy what you are doing. We knew something was up this year by the number of sales, discounts, and free shipping offers. Some wineries don’t have storage space or a market for new wines, so they might not even pick their grapes. Some growers without wineries might harvest and hope to sell at any price to a bulk winemaker. Others might not pick their grapes at all.

If you drink wine, try to buy local wines and help the whole community, from owners (even if out of town) to staff who do all the hard work.

Lebanese caterer in Sonoma?

At a Rural Chicks potluck at Sheana Davis’ Epicurean Connection last week (we usually go to members’ vineyards and restaurants for their cuisine), Cristina Topham and I happened to sit together.

Topham owns Spread Catering Co., and this was her first Rural Chicks gathering. Proud of her mother’s Lebanese background and recipes, Topham has built a successful catering company from scratch, and has been serving platters of beautiful “Modern Lebanese” food at private parties and wineries for years, unbeknownst to many of us. She and helpers will even pick up your platters, put their food on them, and bring everything back to you if you prefer.

Spread Catering even offers a whole menu of vegetarian small bites platters with dolmas containing Turkish eggplant, crispy chickpea falafel, vegetarian kibbe balls stuffed with winter squash and quinoa with apricots and pistachios and yogurt sauce and vegetarian stuffed grape leaves.

And of course there are beef or lamb pies, Lebanese lamb stuffed grape leaves, beef or lamb kibbeh balls, and chicken, lamb, or beef kofta balls with onions and garlic, herbs and spices with whipped garlic sauce. Add salad platters from fatoush to roasted baby beets, chopped veggies, Caprese, cucumber and grilled eggplant salad. Choices of kinds of baklava plates from chocolate and hazelnut to apricot, cardamom, and pistachio and walnut baklava.

If you might be interested in this discovery, contact chef/owner Cristina Topham at 934-7559 or

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