Order Up: Restaurant updates from around Sonoma County

Here’s a look at what’s happening around the county, food- and drink-wise.|

You might notice that we’re getting into the spirits, so to speak, as the holidays rear their ugly sweaters and family visits draw near. Here’s a look at what’s happening around the county, food- and drink-wise.

Glen Ellen

Glen Ellen Inn Reopening: Chris and Karen Bertrand of the Glen Ellen Inn plan to reopen their cozy bar soon and welcome back their martini fans, among others. The Bertrands closed the bar and restaurant during COVID-19’s intensity and focused on their hidden cottages behind the restaurant. They’re waiting for permits before they can reopen, and Karen Bertrand said she’s eager to see old friends.

“We are waiting patiently for the county to complete their evaluation so we can get going. We really miss our locals. I even have the bar menu ready and can’t wait to pour some cocktails,” she said.


Sourdough bagel dogs from the Bagel Mill aren’t on the menu frequently, but when they are, it’s something special, according to Houston Porter, food columnist for the Petaluma Argus-Courier. After recently finding them, he waxed poetic about the childhood favorite you’ll want to check out. Watch for their reappearance at thebagelmill.com.


Crabby about crab season’s postponement? We are, too. In a post to the Petaluma Foodies Facebook page, Estero Café owner Samantha Ramey shared her recent research and efforts to add crab rolls or a crab Benedict to her menu.

As of now, she said, restaurants with crab on the menu are either serving last year’s frozen crab or bringing their crab in from Oregon or Washington because the local season has been postponed. Neither is necessarily a bad choice, but diners should be ready to pay big bucks — it won’t be as cheap as locally caught fresh crab, once the season opens (fingers crossed for December).

Once the commercial season does open, Estero Cafe (14450 Highway 1, Valley Ford) is a great place to stop. If you can’t wait, Anna’s Seafood (901 Lakeville St., Petaluma) is currently selling fresh Dungeness crab from Washington, either live or cooked or even cooked and cleaned.

Rohnert Park

Black Truffle Rye Whiskey isn’t for everyone, but Sonoma Distilling Company hopes it’s unique enough to pique the interest of drinkers seeking something savory. Made with American and British rye whiskeys and infused with French black Perigord truffles, it’s on trend. The Matheson in Healdsburg has a truffle-infused Sazerac, with sweet vermouth, celery and bitters, that is like a Manhattan and not so much like a truffle but still delicious.

The truffle whiskey features flavors of vanilla, dried apricots, allspice, seaweed and damp earth. At 100 proof, it’s not to be ... truffled with? Schedule a tasting or pick up a Whiskey Tasting Kit (along with your truffle whiskey) online at sonomadistillingcompany.com.

Santa Rosa

Fans of Jhanthong Banbua, the famously purple-painted Thai restaurant fronting the Gold Coin Motel in Santa Rosa, are heartbroken at its mysterious closing. The phone has been disconnected and a sign on the door simply says “Closed.” We’ll miss their shrimp chips and crispy taro root balls.


Pomme Cider Shop is preparing to open at 531 Broadway, in the spot where many Sonomans used to frequent Top That Yogurt. Owners Rick Tranchina and Jessica Olson-Ealy will sell ciders from Sonoma County, France and Spain along with French sparkling wines (maybe even real Champagne) and rosés. They’ll also have sandwiches and charcuterie to pair with your cider. Pomme hopes to open in January. 531 Broadway, Sonoma.


New Chef: Not only has managing partner Keven Kress reinstated Reel & Brand’s clam chowder and chili bread bowls, along with prime rib, he has brought on a new executive chef — Aurora Bojorquez, of Zapotillo, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Bojorquez is creating a new, perked-up menu at the restaurant. Like many of the best cooks in Sonoma Valley, she credits her mother and grandmothers in Mexico for passing on their skills, principles and traditions of working with natural foods. 401 Grove St., Sonoma, 707-938-7204, reelandbrand.net


Canned Cocktails: Barrel Brothers’ Sonoma Bramble canned cocktail is our new obsession. At the Barrel Brothers Windsor taproom, you can get Makrut Lime Cosmos (a vodka cocktail) or the Sonoma Bramble, made with gin, blackberry and rosemary essence.

Their cocktail line also includes a vodka-based orange blossom lemon drop (barrelbrothersbrewing.com). Barrel Brothers is among a group of emerging canned cocktail brands in Sonoma County that includes Cappy Shakes (Fool’s Paradise, with tequila, vermouth and passion fruit juice, is a favorite) from former Duke’s founders Cappy Sorentino and Steven Maduro, and Griffo Distilling, which recently released its own line.

As tasty to drink as they are pretty to look at, Griffo’s Whole Lotta Sunshine (vodka with local grapefruit juice, lemon juice, FloraLuna Apothecary wildflower syrup and Griffo Amaro) and Tomales Collins (gin, local lemon juice, blood orange juice and FloraLuna Apothecary cardamom clove syrup) are turning out to be popular players in the expanding canned drinks game (griffodistillery.com).

Compiled by Heather Irwin, The Press Democrat. Kathleen Hill (Sonoma Index Tribune) and Houston Porter (Petaluma Argus-Courier) contributed to this report.

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