Just in time for spring, Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen has added a casual outdoor annex, the White Oak Grill, serving lunch Fridays through Sundays.
Located in a courtyard between the restaurant and Hotel Healdsburg, the grill offers a locally driven menu, based around seasonal summer ingredients.
Appetizers range from Alaska Halibut Ceviche to Wild Mushroom Salad. Entrees include Oak Grilled Duroc Pork Belly and Black Angus Skirt Steak. Desserts range from Grilled Pain Perdue with Rhubarb Compote to Housemade Ice Cream and Sorbet.
Crisp, summery Sonoma County wines and a blend of creative cocktails, such as a Rhubarb and Lemon Verbena Shrub Cocktail, round out the menu.
The prix fixe menu includes three courses (appetizer, entree and dessert) or two courses plus one drink, for $32. Dry Creek Kitchen is located at 317 Healdsburg Ave. 431-0330. charliepalmer.com/dry-creek-kitchen.
<strong>SANTA ROSA: Tea and a new novel from Steve Jobs' sister</strong>
Copperfield's Books presents Mona Simpson, the award-winning author of the novel "Anywhere But Here," at 2 p.m. May 18 as part of its "High Tea" series at the Tudor Rose English Tea Room.
Simpson, the biological younger sister of the late Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, will talk about her latest novel, "Casebook," the tale of a young boy's quest to uncover the mysteries of his unraveling family.
Tickets are $55, including an array of tea sandwiches, scones and tea; and a copy of the hardcover book. To reserve, go to <a href="http://copperfieldsbooks.com" target="_blank">copperfieldsbooks.com</a>. The Tudor Rose is located at 733 Fourth St.
<strong>HEALDSBURG: Taste Alexander Valley opening celebration</strong>
The annual Taste Alexander Valley tasting weekend May 17 and 18 kicks off with an opening celebration at 5:30 p.m. May 16 at Asti Winery in Cloverdale, the historic home of Italian Swiss Colony.
The outdoor celebration will feature reserve and library wines from throughout Alexander Valley, plus hors d'oeuvres and small plates prepared by Josh Silvers of Jackson's Bar & Oven in Santa Rosa, Jeff Mall of zin Restaurant & Wine Bar in Healdsburg and Carlo Cavallo of Meritage Sonoma in Sonoma.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17 and 18, more than 25 wineries will host individual parties, including live music and entertainment to enhance the wine and food offerings.
For the first time this year, the growers are introducing a new series of events called Private Access Alexander Valley, featuring more personalized, in-depth wine exploration in intimate settings.
For example, Francis Ford Coppola winery will be offering a Tasting in the Dark sensory experience by Petaluma native Henry "Hoby" Wedler.
Weekend passes are $65 in advance or $75 at the door. Tickets for the opening celebration are $95 in advance only ($140 for celebration and weekend pass.) To reserve, go to <a href="http://alexandervalley.org" target="_blank">alexandervalley.org</a>.
The Private Access VIP passes, allowing each guest access to their choice of two VIP experiences, are available to ticketed guests only. Packages range from $50 to $65.
<strong>SANTA ROSA: Wines & Sunsets at Paradise Ridge</strong>
Starting May 14, Paradise Ridge Winery will launch its popular Wines & Sunsets in Paradise at the winery on Wednesday evenings through Oct. 22.
During the weekly event, guests are invited to enjoy Paradise Ridge wines, live music and food from gourmet trucks on the outdoor patio.