Fourth of July events, restaurant openings in the North Bay this summer

Also, celebrate July 4 at Rodney Strong or West Wines with barbecue and popcorn.|


House of Better opens at Dr. Wilkinson’s

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs, recently reopened after a complete renovation, has added a counter-service restaurant and bar run by Chef Trevor Logan of Chile Pies Baking Co. in Guerneville.

Inspired by Logan’s cooking experience in New Mexico, the House of Better menu features both Southwestern-inspired food such as New Mexican Flat Enchiladas and California comfort food like Grilled Fish Tacos.

The menu showcases green Hatch chiles in traditional New Mexican dishes such as Green Chile Stew, as well as pies from Chile Pies Baking Co., including their famous Green Chile Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust.

The beverage menu focuses on wellness, offering fermented drinks and mushroom teas made with adaptogenic mushrooms, which are believed to reduce stress, along with local wines and beers on tap.

Most of the seating is al fresco, where guests can watch the wood-fired oven and chile roaster in action.

Dinner service is 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, with weekend brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

The complete renovation of the historic resort, founded in 1952 by John “Doc” Wilkinson, is inspired by midcentury modern design and features 50 updated guest rooms, from a Victorian bunkhouse that sleeps 15 to a standalone cottage and rooms for both couples and families.

The resort is built around an updated version of The Spa, which includes four massage rooms, an outdoor spa garden for al fresco treatments, four indoor mud baths, seven indoor and two outdoor mineral baths, a cold deluge shower and a geothermal mineral pool.

To learn more, go to 1507 Lincoln Ave. 707-942-4102.


Project Zin benefit at Bricoleur in August

Chef Charlie Palmer and Winemaker Clay Mauritson will hold their 11th annual Project Zin benefit on Aug. 21 at two Sonoma County wineries.

The signature tasting event at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 will be held at Bricoleur Vineyards and feature premier zinfandels paired with dishes from Palmer of Dry Creek Kitchen and Evan Castro of Bricoleur Vineyards along with other top chefs from Sonoma County. Tickets are $200.

Package ticket holders also can enjoy an exclusive afternoon with Clay and Carrie Mauritson, who will give a behind-the-scenes tour of Mauritson Winery from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 21. The afternoon also includes a picnic lunch and a vertical tasting of Mauritson library zinfandels.

A limited number of Project Zin weekend lodging packages and Project Zin event tickets are available at All proceeds will benefit the Down Syndrome Association North Bay.


Popcorn and wine for Fourth of July

West Wines will host a special Fourth of July weekend that features a pairing of white wines and flavored popcorns.

The pairings will be held 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The cost is $25. To reserve, go to and click on Events. 1000 Dry Creek Road.


Rodney Strong hosts Red, White & BBQ

Kick off your Fourth of July celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday with a delicious platter of barbecue from KINSmoke.

The grilled favorites include burgers, brisket, ribs and a selection of salads and sides. The band Hootenanny will play classic rock, pop and country music, live.

Ticket are $55, or $25 for kids under 12. Advance reservations required; go to and click on Events. 11455 Old Redwood Highway. 707-431-1533.


Top of the Mark serving Hanson of Sonoma Vodka

San Francisco’s iconic Top of the Mark has reopened with new food and beverage selections that include a partnership with Hanson of Sonoma Organic Vodka.

The bar and lounge will launch a tableside cart tasting experience with select vodkas from Hanson paired with artisanal chocolates from Kollar Chocolates. The curated Vodka Expressions service will begin on Thursday, with five flavors of the Hanson vodka: Original, Cucumber, Meyer Lemon, Mandarin and Habañero.

In August, Top of the Mark will add a salty pairing flight that features a choice of caviar pairings with housemade potato chips, cucumber or endive, all with crème fraîche.

There is a new lineup of signature cocktails along with appetizers such as Harissa Spiced Olives and Fennel Pollen and Orange Spiced Nuts. The menu also includes more substantial fare, from Sonoma County Goat Cheese Fundido with Chorizo to Tuna Tataki Tacos, Short Rib Sliders and Apricot-Glazed Short Ribs.

Top of the Mark is open from 4:30 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Appetizers are served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Top of the Mark is located on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins at 999 California St. The lounge has been a popular destination since it opened in 1939 with wraparound views, entertainment and food and drink.

Staff Writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 707-521-5287 or On Twitter @dianepete56

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