CIA at Copia, Napa

Columnist: Karen Hart
May, 2019 Issue

The Culinary Institute of America, founded in 1946, has gained a reputation as the world’s premier culinary college. And the Restaurant at CIA Copia, which opened in the Oxbow District in 2016, offers a distinctive dining experience with seasonal dishes inspired by the bounty of the Napa Valley. This spring, the restaurant ventured into new territory, introducing the first 3D dining experience to the West Coast, created by Skullmapping and Tablemation.

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The Taste Of Tea

Columnist: Karen Hart
Apr, 2019 Issue

Omotenashi is a word the Japanese use to describe their unique approach to hospitality. And it’s not just hospitality in the usual sense, but an elevated politeness that involves anticipating the needs of guests, which is at the heart of the concept.

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Rustics—a tavola

Columnist: Karen Hart
Mar, 2019 Issue

The heartbeat of Italian life occurs around the dinner table. And though Francis Ford Coppola was born in Detroit, Mich., his grandparents emigrated from Italy, and young Francis grew up with traditional values, which included Sunday night dinners with family. Coppola’s vision was to create a dining experience reminiscent of his childhood at the winery’s restaurant, Rustic. Every Tuesday night, Rustic offers a tavola (pronounced a TAH-voh-la), which means “to the table.”

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Pongos Kitchen & Tap

Columnist: Karen Hart
Sep, 2018 Issue

Pongo’s Kitchen & Tap
701 Sonoma Mountain Pkwy C8
Petaluma, Calif.
(707) 765-9800
Thai-Inspired Cuisine
Entrees $12.95-$18.95

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Madrona Manor

Columnist: Karen Hart
Aug, 2018 Issue

Nestled at the top of a hillside on Westside Road, Madrona Manor was once the home of John Paxton, a successful businessman, who was involved in numerous enterprises and his wife, Hannah. During the 1880s and 1890s, it was known as Madrona Knoll Rancho and was considered the grandest of homes in Healdsburg. Bill and Trudi Konrad purchased the manor in 1999 and made extensive renovations to maintain its elegant charm.

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Perch + Plow

Columnist: Karen Hart
Jul, 2018 Issue

Perch + Plow
90 Old Courthouse Square
Santa Rosa, Calif.
(707) 541-6896

Spirited Cuisine
Entrees $16-$26

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Charlie Palmer Steak Napa

Columnist: Karen Hart
Jun, 2018 Issue

Charlie Palmer Steak Napa
Progressive American Cuisine
1260 1st Napa Street
Napa, Calif.
(707) 819-2500

Open Daily
7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Nov.-Feb.)
3 p.m. to 10 p.m. (March-Oct.)

Entrees $26-$130

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Il Davide

Columnist: Karen Hart
May, 2018 Issue

Located in the heart of downtown San Rafael, Il Davide is one of the leading Italian restaurants in Marin County. Founded in 1995, David Hayden was determined to bring a different culinary experience to the county, rather than the classic Toscano-style restaurants he was surrounded by. His mission was to create a unique, flavor-filled menu with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.  “I wanted to reconstruct the classic Italian dishes to the Il Davide-style,” says Hayden.

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Bibis Burger Bar

Columnist: Karen Hart
Apr, 2018 Issue

If you’re in downtown Santa Rosa and looking for a casual place to get a bite, Bibi’s Burger Bar is the perfect spot to share a meal with family and friends. Locally-owned by the Chandi Hospitality Group, Bibi’s offers indoor-outdoor seating and a variety of burgers, including the all-American classic bacon-cheeseburger, but there are other options that offer a unique take on the classic such as the Thai burger, served with chili-lemongrass coleslaw, and the Smokey, topped with bacon and smoked gouda. There’s also a vegetarian option—the potato tiki burger. I’ve tried it once before, and it’s one of those rare veggie burgers that’s bursting with flavor and has a satisfying mouth-feel.

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Acacia House

Columnist: Karen Hart
Mar, 2018 Issue

Built in 1907 and nestled in the heart of the Napa Valley along Main Street, you’ll find a charming Georgian-inspired house at the top of a hill, known as Acacia House, which opened in May last year.

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Columnist: Karen Hart
Feb, 2018 Issue

A fresh canvas is an open road to new possibilities for an artist, and that’s the inspiration behind Valette, located on Center Street in downtown Healdsburg. The two proprietors, brothers Dustin Valette and Aaron Garzini, grew up in the area and opened the restaurant three years ago in March with the idea of creating a unique dining experience. “It’s a blank canvas for local artisans— winemakers, farmers, ranchers—to showcase their craft,” says Dustin Valette, who is also executive chef. 

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Harvest Table

Columnist: Karen Hart
Jan, 2018 Issue

If you’ve ever dined at a Charlie Palmer restaurant, then you know you’re in for a memorable experience, and Harvest Table is one of those places you don’t want to miss. The restaurant opened in 2015, along Main Street in St. Helena. A celebrity chef known for his progressive style of cooking, Charlie Palmer has 15 restaurants across the country, including New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.  He’s also notably present in Wine Country and well-known by the locals. 

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Trading Post

Columnist: Karen Hart
Dec, 2017 Issue

 Originally a stagecoach stop known as Markleville, Cloverdale was incorporated when the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad arrived in 1872. Today, it’s part of Wine Country, within the Alexander Valley AVA, and over the years has maintained its charming small-town feel. On the corner of S. Cloverdale Boulevard and First Street in downtown Cloverdale, you’ll find the Trading Post—also known around town as “The Post”—a restaurant and bakery.

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Columnist: Karen Hart
Nov, 2017 Issue

 A market and café, SHED is also a hub where the community can gather to celebrate food, offering fresh local produce and flowers, an eclectic assortment of spices, preserves, quality cookware and more to appeal to the inner gourmand.

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Café Lucia Restaurant

Columnist: Karen Hart
Oct, 2017 Issue

If you’re looking for a unique experience or authentic Portuguese cuisine, try Café Lucia, a hidden gem of a restaurant tucked in a tranquil space in walking distance of Healdsburg’s town square. The restaurant, owned and operated by brother-sister team, Manuel Azevedo and Lucia Azevedo Fincher, offers new Portuguese cuisine—or as they say in Portugal, cozinha nova Portuguesa.

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Village Inn and Restaurant Monte Rio

Columnist: Alexandra Russell
Dec, 2016 Issue

Village Inn & Restaurant
20822 River Blvd.
Monte Rio, CA 95462
(707) 865-2304

Upscale comfort food
Winter hours: Fri.-Sun. 3-6 p.m. (Happy Hour); 5-9 p.m. (dinner)
Entrees $16-$26
Full bar; Sonoma County wine and beer


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Tasca Tasca Sonoma

Columnist: Alexandra Russell
Nov, 2016 Issue

Tasca Tasca
122 West Napa St.
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 996-TAPA
New Portuguese cuisine
Noon-midnight daily
Plates $15, $24 or $32
Portuguese wine, Port and Madiera; some beer, cider and cocktails

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Basalt, Napa

Author: Alexandra Russell
Oct, 2016 Issue


790 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 927-5265
Seasonal California Cuisine
5 p.m.-10 p.m. (Monday-Thursday), 5 p.m.-10 p.m. (Friday),
11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. (Saturday), 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (Sunday)
Entrees $16-$35
Nice wine and beer list, craft cocktails

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The County Bench Kitchen + Bar, Santa Rosa

Author: Alexandra Russell
Sep, 2016 Issue

The County Bench Kitchen + Bar
535 4th St.
Santa Rosa, CA
(707) 535-0700

New American cuisine
Lunch Tuesday through Friday; Sunday brunch; dinner hours vary by day, check website for details
Entrees: $12 (individual)-$70 (for the table)
Extensive wine list, full bar

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Franchettis Wood Fire Kitchen, Santa Rosa

Author: Alexandra Russell
Jul, 2016 Issue

Franchettis Wood Fire Kitchen
1229 North Dutton
Santa Rosa, CA
(707) 526-1229
Cal-Italia with an Americana twist
Open 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Mon.-Fri.); 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.(Sat.-Sun.); 5-8:30 p.m. (daily)
Dinner entrees $8-$22
Beer, wine, vermouths and “craftails” made with Soju liquors

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Bird & the Bottle, Santa Rosa

Author: Alexandra Russell
May, 2016 Issue

Bird & the Bottle
1055 Fourth Street
Santa Rosa
(707) 568-4000
Modern tavern fare
Lunch and dinner daily
Plates to share (or not): $6-$28
Full bar, nice wine list

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Balboa Cafe, Mill Valley

Author: Alexandra Russell
Apr, 2016 Issue

Balboa Cafe

38 Miller Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941
(415) 381-7321
Modern bistro fare
Dinner nightly; lunch Tuesdays-Fridays; weekend brunch
Entrees (dinner): $13.50-$33
Full bar, good wine list


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Ca'Momi Osteria, Napa

Author: Alexandra Russell
Mar, 2016 Issue

Ca’Momi Osteria
1141 First Street
(707) 224-MOMI
“Heartcrafted” Italian cuisine
Dinner nightly; late night menu available on weekends
Entrees (dinner): $16-$32
Full bar, nice wine list

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Hopmonk Tavern

Author: Julie Fadda Powers
Feb, 2016 Issue

Hopmonk Tavern
691 Broadway,
(707) 935-9100

American Comfort Food
Lunch and dinner daily
Entrées: $11-$23
Full bar, nice wine list



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Sir & Star at The Olema

Author: Alexandra Russell
Jan, 2016 Issue

Sir & Star at The Olema
10000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
(415) 663-1064

West Marin Cuisine
Dinner Wednesday through Sunday
Entrees (dinner): $15-$48
Mostly Marin wine, beer, cider and mead

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