Sip on a Cold One While Soaking up the Sunshine this Season

8 Sonoma County Breweries to Hangout at this Season

This time of year marks the start of the seasons we in Sonoma County all know and love – the days are cool, the sun shines to keep us warm, the grass and mountainsides are green, and the sky is blue… what could be better? A nice cold brew on a beautiful patio, that’s what!


Here are eight Sonoma breweries to while away the hours of the day: read the full article here on Sonoma Magazine.


cheers to sunny days!


Fogbelt Brewery is hosting a comedy show TOMORROW NIGHT!!

Fogbelt Brewery is hosting a comedy show TOMORROW NIGHT!!


Fogbelt Brewing, a small Santa Rosa spot that is becoming an institution among the thirty-somethings is holding a comedy show on Dec 4th starting at 8pm.

The evening will be hosted by Cody Smith. There is a $5 cover to get you in the door (All goes to the comedians), so why not?!

There will be six comedians in the house for your listening pleasure.

“Merry Smitmas Comedy Series”:

  • Chad Opitz
  • DNA
  • FC Sierra
  • Ari Hart
  • Brian Thomas
  • Saint Smit (Host)

Fogbelt Brewing

Come on out, the doors open at 8pm. The place is cozy so come early, have a bite to eat, and get yourself a great seat. This is a fun way to kick off the holiday season!

Fogbelt Brewery | 1305 Cleveland Ave. Santa Rosa, CA 95401 | 707.978.3400 | | @FogbeltBrewing




St. Florian's hops from "Fresh Hop on the Engine" beer. (Photo by Tim Vallery)

St. Florian’s hops from “Fresh Hop on the Engine” beer. (Photo by Tim Vallery)

Don’t miss the 3rd annual NorCal Beer Geeks Festival TOMORROW at the Petaluma veterans building. A fun beer event with a great cause. Here are the details on Sonoma Magazine. 

Hope to see you there!


SoCo Dog Friendly Breweries & Taprooms

Being a craft beer lover and a new dog mama, I have changed the way I travel and the places I go out to. It can be tough to find dog friendly places, even though now in Sonoma County, dogs are welcome on the patios of most places that serve food {though still, businesses can accept dogs or not on their patios so read the signs}. I have scouted out the best places to have a good, local beer, and be with my dog. We all want to go on a nice long hike, play with our pups and then enjoy a cold one, because let’s face it, we all want to see this face at the end of the day!   


Here are my hot spots!

Lagunitas Brewing Company

They have a huge {Semi-covered} outdoor space with picnic tables and ample seating. Dogs are welcome and you’ll find water bowls scattered throughout the property. Fun times will be had by all humans and their dogs alike at this hip beer spot. Come for the beer, stay for the music and the dog friendly hospitality. This is on my top list of places to go because my pooch has a blast here. Enjoy the peanuts but careful with your pup around those shells!!


Fogbelt Brewing

Dog friendly outdoor space and they serve food. It’s a small place, both inside and outside, but they’ve got a nice variety of cold beers and their menu is seasonal and well thought out. It’s a great addition to the {near} downtown area.

St. Florian’s Brewery

This power couple has an awesome little spot just outside of the downtown area in Windsor. They recently expanded their seating space and built an outdoor patio. You can enjoy your beers inside or outside with your pup {Aron and Amy have their own dog too who can often be found in the tap room- he’s a dalmatian too!}. They have food trucks regularly and post all of the details on their facebook page, so check them out and give them a like!

Carneros Brewing Company

Well made beers from a wine family. This location is definitely the key- they have it made out there in the heart of the Carneros region in wine country, between Sonoma and Napa. A large industrial space houses their tanks and taproom, outside hops are planted alongside fountains and a small pond with flowers are grass. It’s a great setting for a nice cold brew with your dog.


I have been to Woodfour a few times, they have food and a huge variety of their own beers, as well as other beers on draft. Their patio overlooks the Barlow, allowing a nice afternoon of people watching.


Ausiellos 5TH Street Grill

Family owned and operated. Great food, cooked to order. Great local beers on draft and they have all of the sports games on, wherever you sit. Out on their patio, it’s covered with fans so is nice and pleasant during most seasons. There are TV’s at both sides of the patio to watch the latest game, and the atmosphere is great for a dog- it’s spacious and comfy for everyone.


TomatoMania!! Is back at Trione!

Owner Scott Daigre of Tomatomania is headed back up North with over 300 tomato varieties! They’ll be at Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma Valley for one weekend and then head further North to Geyserville and will be at Trione Winery on April 30th.

Scott has been coming up North for years now and helping hundreds of folks find the best variety to plant in their gardens. He comes with a full crew to answer any questions you may have, T-shorts, and his AMAZING cookbook (see recipe featured here). I personally have made half of the recipes in here but one of my all time favorites is Sams tomato Sourdough. It’s so delicious!! For a list of places to buy the book online, click here.

You can count on detailed information from Scott when you buy. Write down your questions about planting and bring them with you. Scott lists his tips here too.


April 23-24: CornerStone Gardens: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.

April 30: Trione Vineyards and Winery: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 19550 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville.


Trione Winery will also be having a fun event during Tomatomania for those who would like to partake in wine tasting: 2015 Rose of Pinot Noir release party from 1-4pm with a couple of small “brunch like bites” from Peloton Catering , a sample of Rose, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s $15 for the public and then they’re offering a 10% discount on wine purchases!!


Here’s to kicking off Spring in wine country!



Bird & the Bottle

Cool atmosphere, nice people, the mood was very warm, and the tables were just far enough apart so one doesn’t feel like they’re dinning with the tables next to them. We sat in the room where we had a view of the open kitchen. It’s always fun for us as a chef and general food lover {my husband being the chef, I’m the home-cook} to see the action.

The menu is unique and creative. It is a bit pricey, but that’s nothing too unusual with a Stark restaurant. The quality is there so we don’t mind paying more for good food. I started with my usual cocktail: Maker’s Mark Manhattan up with two shakes of bitters {$10}. It was a tad on the sweeter side and had two large cherries in the glass, that seemed to be made in house, they were plump and added a nice dimension to the drink. We ordered the warm sesame biscuits with pimento cheese and pickled jalapenos {$6}. I was a bit skeptical but took the leap and WOW, it was tasty. The acid on the pickled jalapenos really brought all of the flavors together. Fried cheese curds {$8}. What else can I say? It’s fried cheese curd. Yum. The pimento cheese spread goes well on these too!

Next was the clam & kielbasa chowder {$11}. This is another dish that makes you think, “hmm… should I?” but yes, you should, it was wonderful. The flavors were rich, spicy, fresh, and worked very well together. There were two unopened clams in the bowl, which definitely happens, hopefully next time the chef will catch that- it’s not the end of the world but when paying those prices, all of the food going out should be edible. All in all, this dish was superb, I will be ordering this one again!

Lastly, we shared the B&B mini burgers {$8}. These are not to be mistaken for black and blue burgers {clearly it’s for Bird & Bottle}, they have American cheese and grilled onions on them. For a mini, the bun was packed with meat; juicy, full of flavor, and cooked perfectly.

The general feel of Bird & Bottle is warm, cozy, and the service is great {of course, if there’s one thing the Stark’s know, its how to train there staff}. The cocktail list was well thought out, a lot of 1920’s style drinks, the wine list mostly local, and the beer list was good but not a lot of variety. The one thing that I hope they will fix is the ventilation in the kitchen. The place smelled amazing but after we left my eyes were burning from the smoke and my hair, sweater, and leather purse reeked of smoke, not a huge deal if you have nowhere else to go after…. I defiantly smelled like I had been smoking meats all day at work. Other than that, the place is top notch and a good addition to downtown Santa Rosa.

Yanni’s Sausage Grill

An Italian and a Greek married nearly 40 years came to Penngrove about five years ago to bring the world delicious, freshly made sausages.

Yanni’s is an amazing little gem in the tiny little town of Penngrove in Sonoma County. I have been hearing about them over the last couple of years and I am not sure why it took me so long to get there. On the way back from the city on afternoon we decided to stop in.
John and Francesca were so inviting and genuine. We told them it was our first time visiting and that we had heard so many good things. They gave us each a sample of their Greek chili to taste. Anytime someone is a newbie, they greet them with a sample- a nice touch.

A husband and and wife team, the make all of their own sausages and she makes this killer tzatziki {a Greek sauce for the sandwiches in lieu of a mayo or mustard… Don’t even ask for any other condiments- they know what they’re doing}.

The sausage sandos are between $7-$8, one topping is included and additional toppings {grilled onion, banana peppers, sweet peppers, cheese, or tzatziki} are $.60 each. Really reasonable for the quality and taste.

We went two days in a row because the route we were taking just so happened to take us right through Penngrove. Needing a place to eat lunch, we wanted to take our boys to Yanni’s.
We tried the Loukaniko {anise and citrus}, the sweet Italian, hot Italian, and Greek {feta and Kalamata olive}. All were exceptional. When we visited the day before, we sampled the lamb too, incredibly delicious. If I were judging their sausages against others, I’d hands down give them a double gold on all of them!
I forgot to ask them, but I believe they bake their own bread too.

The Greek fries are a must: salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice, and feta cheese with waffle style fries {fresh fries}.

Yanni’s is right next to the Penngrove Pub where you can sit inside and have a drink and eat, or sit out front and enjoy.
As their sign out front states- these sausages will really make your tastebuds sing… So take a package or two to go for only $8!
John and Francesca totally stole our hearts with their lovely personalities and flavorful food. Yanni’s is on my go-to list and certainly my best-of!

Click to add a blog post for Yanni's Sausage Grill on Zomato

Amy’s Drive Thru- Sonoma County Fast Food

Amy’s Drive Thru is the world’s first ever fast food vegetarian, vegan, and no GMO restaurant. Amy’s opened Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 10am. They will be open everyday for service from 10am until 10pm in Rohnert Park, near the entrance of the Graton Casino. This is a seriously healthy alternative to the fast food restaurants available now.

You may know Amy’s kitchen as the premier purveyor of frozen foods that are available nationally in stores. Amy kitchen has been producing fine frozen foods for the busy families who want to eat more healthy. NOW, instead of stopping at a fast food burger joint, or picking up some greasy tacos, families can swing into a,us drive through and pick from fresh made salads, 5 different pizzas,  fresh burritos, or turkey burgers, and more. Almost everything is organic {95%}.

The prices are right too, and approachable for nearly every income:
The burgers range from $2.69-$4.29
Burritos are $4.69
Mac n’ Cheese are $4.69
Pizzas are $5.89-$6.50

Amy’s staff produces everything from scratch and really believe in the locally grown and farmed rule {some refer to as the 100 mile radius rule}; they support local farms, growers, and purveyors for most, if not all of their foods. Sour cream for the burritos and chili come from the Clover Stornetta Farms, the pickles are brined at the local Sonoma Brinery and fair trade coffee is served. Amy’s is strictly non GMO, period. They make all of their tortillas, buns, pizza sauce, veggie burgers, pasta, and tofu from SCRATCH! That’s way cool! That is the kind of fast food I want to feed to my own kids!

Amy’s concept is hopefully going to change Sonoma County for the better, changing the way people think about the food they put in their bodies, and hopefully go beyond our county.

Not only is the food healthy, but they recycle everything too. There is a living roof and solar panels to help conserve energy, a water tower for reclaimed water to feed the living roof, take out boxes are printed with non GMO inks, and environmentally friendly tableware is used and recycled correctly. They’re certainly doing their part.
This concept is a great example for our community and visitors alike; it really presses the point to feed yourself and your family well and healthy {when in a rush} and treat the environment with respect. Be mindful of what you need and don’t need, and try to do your part to support local business to keep the economy thriving and do your part to use all of the pieces of the land-no waste. I am excited to see them be successful with the drive thru and dine in restaurant here.

Southwest (Airlines) Porch at The Park Tavern: Atlanta, Georgia

Normally I would not be so blatantly opinionated- I would weave in the positives too, but there were none here.


Southwest Porch at Park Tavern 
It sounds like southwest is supporting this restaurant and that’s a huge mistake because southwest has high standards. This place should be shut down.
It’s a great location but if the health department doesn’t shut them down then the locals will by not patronizing them because the staff is very rude and poorly managed.
We had a very bad first impression:
the small lot in front was filled with cars but no sign of life
anywhere, so we walked around the back and finally found the hostess.
Hostess said hello and seemed nice but didn’t know the name of the brewery and simply asked us to sit anywhere we’d like.
We walked in and the table in the middle of the restaurant having what appeared to be family meal 4:30pm They OPEN at 4:30pm for service.
We went up to the bar to inquire about their beer and the bartender was quiet, not too responsive, didn’t seem to want us talking to her, and seemed quite rude. We still asked questions about the beer, then each ordered one pint (we asked for a half each but they would not do that…)
Our $4.00 pint was served to us in a plastic cup. Mine was $5.00.
At the tables: everything was already put on: a stack of plates, a bin of forks, chop sticks, and napkins. Menus were ripped and dirty.
It’s was about 95 degrees and humid- the door leading to the restaurant was left open and I watched the staff (I noticed about 16 people) walk by the open door and not ever consider closing it. The hot air proceeded to come inside and that changed the environment greatly.
Did I mention this is a sushi place? They serve raw sushi, rolls, and various other things.
I would think the cool air would be much better in that type of restaurant.
These gals came in while we were sitting at a bar table and asked for a table- the hostess brought them in, asked them to wait, then ask someone else where to sit the ladies because they had a party of 20- something (the room was filled with empty tables and loads of space) coming in shortly. The hostess proceeded to ask the ladies if they had an appointment, they replied no, she then went on to let them know they had a large group coming in soon.
She sat them in an entirely different room.
Then a lady in the back spoke loudly, across the room and said, “NAME, next time don’t ask them where they want to sit, it’s better that way”.
This place had so many flaws.
We grabbed our things and walked out towards the front and saw three of the staff (who I can only assume we’re already on shift) smoking cigarettes. All we could talk about is, “where is the manager??”
A little side note:
When we got back to our car, all of the cars in the very front were still there, yet we were 3 of 5 people (patrons) meaning those cars belonged to employees. That’s a terrible place for employees to park when you’re expecting customers.

Southwest should reconsider being associated with the Park Tavern. I do not recommend this restaurant/brewery. This please operates in a very backwards, no managed manner.

Myriad Gastro Pub: New to San Francisco

Chef and owner Tricia Tracey of Momo’s and Thirsty Bear Brewery, among other restaurants in her 25 year career, comes back to San Francisco from New Jersey to open her very own space: Myriad Gastro Pub. Just in time for the blowing up craft beer scene in and around San Francisco Bay Area, Tracey will feature globally inspired menu with seasonal, local ingredients. The gastropub will have snacks, small plates, and larger portions to pair with the various craft beers she will have on tap. Smaller plates for all palates ranging in price from $6-15 will include intriguing items like bone marrow with sherry demi glaze, tarragon-horseradish gremolata and crostini. YUM!! They’ll serve larger portions ranging from $14-28 each and will include dishes like roasted Halibut, Lamb, and even a Mayan pork stew. The menu will rotate based on what is available.


Myriad will have over 40 different wines available and creative house cocktails, but I am most excited to see what the beer selection is like.The Mission district is an ever growing area in San Francisco, home to hipsters and craft beer drinkers alike. Located in the old Nombe space, it’s also not far from my beloved AT&T Park and Cellarmaker Brewery. The concept seems hip and cool without the snobbery that some tapas places can have. I am excited to visit when they open in mid June. Stay tuned for a restaurant review of the food, service, and craft beer list!

Photo Courtesy of Myriad website.