NORTH BAY: Diner's Choice for Forestville, Rutherford
Two North Bay restaurants — the Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant of Forestville and Auberge du Soleil of Rutherford — are among the honorees in OpenTable's 2012 Diner's Choice Award Winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants of 2012.
The awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants nationwide.
"This year's honorees have accomplished what every restaurant aspires to — making guests feel as though they have had a truly singular dining experience," said OpenTable chief dinig officer Caroline Potter. "These best overall restaurants are consistently getting it right on every level, from top flight ambiance and service to cocktail lists and menus that positively dazzle diners."
OpenTable provides free, online restaurant reservations for diners and reservation and guest management services for restaurants. For a complete list of honorees, go to www.opentable.com/bestoverall.
SONOMA: Burgers, barbecue come to Plaza
Carlo Cavallo of Meritage Martini Oyster Bay & Grille in Sonoma plans to open Burger & Vine restaurant this winter in the former Cucina Viansa space, which has sat vacant since 2004.
The historic property on the Plaza started out as the Sonoma Mission Creamery. Joe Vella made ice cream there alongside his brother, Tom, who established the pioneering Vella Cheese company.
At Burger & Vine, Cavallo hopes to return the Mission Revival building to its roots as a gathering place for families.
"It will be upscale casual," Cavallo said. "You'll be able to get a whole roasted chicken, served family-style, with sides."
On the northern side facing the Mission, Cavallo plans to put in a quick-service burger bar serving shakes and fries, with tall tables made of wine barrels.
On the opposite side, there will be restaurant service and a menu that includes burgers and smokehouse barbecue fare such as pulled pork, brisket and cold-smoked salmon.
As a Wine Country hook, Cavallo plans to stoke the smoker and the grill with French wine-barrel staves.
Burger & Vine will feature a whiskey bar and "leaded" shakes for adults such as Tahitian Vanilla with Rum.
The restaurant will seat 100 people. Cavallo plans to serve lunch and dinner daily and brunch on weekends.
The restaurant, which is currently under renovation and making its way through the permit process, may open as early as February. 400 First St. E. burgersandvine.com.
HEALDSBURG: Demos, discussion with leading chefs
Relish Culinary Adventures will launch a new Healdsburg Chef's Tables program this winter, featuring five well-known chefs who have helped turned Healdsburg into a culinary mecca.
During the "Dinner and A Show" series, the chefs will share the secrets of making some of the most popular dishes from their restaurants. Guests can ask questions during the demo, then enjoy a four-course meal with wine.
Here is the schedule:
Jan.7: Ralph Tingle, chef/owner of Bistro Ralph.
Jan. 14: Ari Rosen, chef/owner of Scopa and Campo Fina
Jan. 21: Dustin Valette, Chef de cuisine of Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen.
Jan. 28: Jeff Mall, chef/owner of Zin Restaurant
Feb. 4: Mark Stark, chef/owner of Willi's Seafood and Bravas Bar de Tapas.
The dinners cost $98 per person, including four courses, wine and recipes. To reserve, go to relishculinary.com. 14 Matheson St. 431-9999.