PANDEMIC-FRIENDLY WAYS TO CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY IN SONOMA COUNTY

PANDEMIC-FRIENDLY WAYS TO CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY IN SONOMA COUNTY

As we face our first Valentine’s Day since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shelter-in place orders almost a year ago, the local arts community not only embraces the situation. but waxes philosophical, even though many venues remain closed…

At the Barlow shopping district in Sebastopol, both the Lori Austin Gallery and Gallery 300 are open for business, with limited capacity and social distancing protocols in place. 

“Flowers and chocolates are lovely and traditional, but a thoughtfully chosen piece of art is the ultimate act of romance,” gallery owner Lori Austin said. “There are incredible pieces of original art you can find for under $100. I just want people to know there is accessible art out there.”…

Read more  |    February 11, 2021

PRESS DEMOCRAT

IN LIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC, METAL BUILDINGS HELP USHER IN A NEW ERA IN RETAIL

IN LIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC, METAL BUILDINGS HELP USHER IN A NEW ERA IN RETAIL

The retail industry has always evolved alongside shifting consumer preferences, but the convenience of online shopping combined with effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented challenges, leading to high store vacancy rates and declining food traffic. 

To stay profitable and relevant amidst these changing trends, forward-thinking retail developers are looking beyond the traditional strip mall and department store models of the past when considering development projects for the future.

Many believe a solution lies in a trendy new niche of commercial communities, designed to offer meaningful shopping experiences that e-commerce simply cannot. These expansive outdoor markets boast an array of artisan goods in campus-like settings that draw people out of their homes and into unique community spaces. 

These commercial communities, such as The Barlow, a 5-ha (12-acre) trendy outdoor marketplace in Sebastopol, California, appear poised to usher in a new era that could redefine and revitalize the modern shopping experience at a time when the industry is at an inflection point- and developers are increasingly relying on metal building systems as the method of construction to make these hip, high-end spaces a reality. 

Read more  |    February 11, 2021

THE CONSTRUCTION SPECIFIER

WHERE TO GET THE BEST PANCAKES IN SONOMA COUNTY

WHERE TO GET THE BEST PANCAKES IN SONOMA COUNTY

From classic fluffy ones served up with eggs and bacon to carrot cake and supersize versions, here are some of our favorite pancakes right now. 

From ancient Romans to millennial brunchers, pancakes have long been a favorite breakfast-time tunny-warmer – and mimosa accomplice…

Best Newcomer- Blue Ridge Kitchen, Sebastopol: Carrot cake pancakes are made with carrot and apple souffle, cream cheese poppy-seed glaze, golden raisins, candied pecans, and smoked maple syrup…

Read more  |    January 2021

SONOMA MAGAZINE

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN SEBASTOPOL

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN SEBASTOPOL

The Farmer’s Wife. The sandwich initially may have been invented to make multitasking easier, but the cheesy melted sandwiches from the Farmer’s Wife definitely require both hands. Kendra Kolling, who’s also a regular at a couple of Bay Area farmers markets, loves stuffing a couple of cheeses, sustainable meat, jam, and eggs in her creations. “What I bring back from my farmers market represents the strength and bounty of our local foodshed”, says Kolling. She got into the sandwich business after she married an apple farmer and needed to boost their margins. Start slowly with the patty melt, which features grass fed beef, caramelized onions, cheddar, and secret sauce. Or go whole hog on the Belly & Jelly, a substantial mashup or honey lavender bacon, apricot preserves, wildflower honey, and melted cheddar. 

Blue Ridge Kitchen. Some of the most delicious fried chicken in the Bay rea can be found here. Chef Matthew D’Ambrosi says it took him 287 batches to perfect the batter, whose deep golden hue is like a cross between tempura and a beer-battered fish fillet. The batter is crunchy, savory, and light with caramelized notes reminiscent of a perfect apple fritter. And the meat is tender and juicy, even without the spicy beurre blanc that comes on the side. The chef brings the same level of intensity to the rest of the menu, but especially his cioppino, hardwood smoked prime rib, shrimp and grits, and burger – all currently available for take out.

Two Dog Night Creamery. Ice cream that’s made fresh with liquid nitrogen has been around for a while. But the flavor volume is turned up to high when it comes to the gelato at Two Dog Night Creamery. In the summer, customers might be seduced by the signature Blackberry Pie (vanilla ice cream with sweet organic blackberries). But the shop’s regulars also dally with the Caramelized Apple Pie flavor, which is studded with warm spices, and have a steady thing with the Bananas Foster. They’ve also got vegan peanut butter ice cream, and you can get a couple of free toppings on your cone. 

Read more  |    January 13, 2021

EATER SAN FRANCISCO

WHAT’S NEW IN SONOMA COUNTY IN 2021

WHAT’S NEW IN SONOMA COUNTY IN 2021

Despite life in Wine Country looking a lot different in 2020, we have been pleased to see a small flurry of business openings. To say that 2020 was a challenge for Sonoma County businesses is an understatement, but if there’s something that is still true about Wine County this past year and ever year, it’s that it is just as enticing today as ever before. 

Especially for food and wine lovers seeking a destination that offers world renowned cuisine and wines, beautiful scenery, a laid back vibe, and a wealth of socially distant- friendly outdoor spaces in which to enjoy it all in. Here are the top new places to eat, drink, and stay in Sonoma County this year. 

Over in West Sonoma County, Sebastopol’s Blue Ridge Kitchen opened its doors last summer to plenty of eager foodies who’d been awaiting a scaled up, seated restaurant dining option in The Barlow…

Another fantastic new arrival at The Barlow over the past six months is Region Wine Bar, a unique Sonoma focused wine bar that features a collection of wine from 25 boutique and/or quintessential Sonoma County wine producers, equalling a total of 50 wines (or more) that guests can taste all in one place…

Read more  |    January 6, 2021

SONOMA.COM

FORMER TESLA EXECUTIVE LAUNCHES BESPOKE TEXTILE COMPANY IN SEBASTOPOL

FORMER TESLA EXECUTIVE LAUNCHES BESPOKE TEXTILE COMPANY IN SEBASTOPOL

On a 7.5 ton loom affectionately named Luna, a group of women at The Barlow are meticulously crafting some of the most beautiful wool blankets in the world. Designer Jessica Switzer Green, a former Tesla executive, launched JG Switzer with the goal of creating textiles so luxurious and finely made that they will last not only a lifetime, but can be handed down to the next generation. 

The bespoke blankets and throws, each elegantly edged in lustrous silk charmeuse, are primarily woven from the soft, sustainably harvested wool of rare breeds of sheep. These heirloom breeds produce distinctively different fleece- the Wensleydale, for example, has long, fast-growing fleece that must be cut twice a year. 

I’m really going for small flock animals at risk,” explains Green. “I’m choosing for the quality of the wool and the softness. And the color is really important, because I’m an oil painter, and I think of it as painting in wool”. Much of the company’s wool is sourced from nearby producers, including Sue Gustafson in Sebastopol, who keeps a small flock of rare Bluefaced Leicester sheep on her 8-acre farm. “The fiber grows in ringlets and it comes in white and in brown,” Gustafson says. “It’s a nice fiber to use for clothing and other projects because it’s not scratchy. You can wear it next to your skin”…

Read more  |    January 2021

SONOMA MAGAZINE

SONOMA COUNTY’S BEST RESTAURANT DISHES 2020

SONOMA COUNTY’S BEST RESTAURANT DISHES 2020

It’s almost cruel to talk about the incredible food I have eaten this year as we begin another pandemic lockdown. Many of these restaurants are closed or only offering takeout, which pales in comparison to the summertime luxury of being able to eat al fresco. 

For that I’m sorry, but not that sorry. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s my most sincere wish that we’ll soon be able to enjoy the amazing food Sonoma County is known for. This look back at the best dishes I ate this year is also a homage to all the chefs who refused. to give up and pivoted over and over to meet the challenges heaped on them at every turn…

Blue Ridge Kitchen, Croque Madame: This showstopper is the Liberace of sandwiches. Its jeweled capelets of griddled brioche sit in a dainty puddle of golden saffron Bechemel. Up top is a jaunty chapeau of sunny-side-up eggs and sequins of caviar. Peering inside, you’ll find a symphony of fontina, county ham and even lobster. You can’t look away from that kind of fabulous…

Sushi Kosho, Japanese Eggplant with sweet miso glaze and walnuts and sushi made for a happy visit to one of my favorite chefs, despite the lockdown…

Acre Pizza, Detroit-style pizza: Caramelized crust, homemade sauce and loads of cheese make this thick-crust, gramma-style pizza too delicious to ignore…

Read more  |    December 2020

SONOMA MAGAZINE

IS THERE SUCH THING AS A CALIFORNIA-STYLE WHISKEY? FINALLY, THE ANSWER IS YES

IS THERE SUCH THING AS A CALIFORNIA-STYLE WHISKEY? FINALLY, THE ANSWER IS YES

Spirit Works Four Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey ($50/750ml, 45% ABV; Spirit Works Distillery, Sebastopol): This distillery, owned by husband-and-wife team Timo and Ashby Marshall, former merchant marines who worked with environmental nonprofits, opened in the Barlow complex of Sebastopol in 2012. Whiskey was always a goal for he distillery, and upon opening, he Marshalls began laying down whiskey in 53-gallon barrels. This bourbon from Spirit Works’ head distiller Krystal Goulart was fist released in April 2020, as it took a few years to source the organic California-grown corn that is essential to bourbon. Aged four years in new American oak, this bourbon has the classic flavors of cherry, orange and herbal menthol typical in the style, buttressed with more grain flavor in the form of whole-gran toast with honey and light floral aromas…

Read more  |    December 18, 2020

San Francisco Chronicle

WINES TO REMEMBER IN A YEAR TO FORGET

WINES TO REMEMBER IN A YEAR TO FORGET

Back in February, before 2020 took its dangerous turn, I flew to Northern California to, among other things, report an article on Pax Mahle Wines in Sebastopol, a winery that is home to six exceptional producers, all sharing space, working similarly in the cellar with no commercial yeast or other additives, but making very different wines…

Each of the labels – Martha Soumen Wines, Jolie-Laide, RAEN, Jaimee Motley Wines and Monte Rio Cellars – makes beautiful wines. But the one that stayed with me was a syrah from Pax Mahle Wines, made by the husband-and-wife team at the center of the group, Pax and Pam Mahle.

Read more  |    December 10, 2020

The New York Times

9 SONOMA BUYS TO KEEP YOU WARM AND COZY THIS WINTER

9 SONOMA BUYS TO KEEP YOU WARM AND COZY THIS WINTER

It just got cooler outside, which means there’s an imperative to get cozier. And with activities moving outdoors and remaining so for much longer this season, it’s really important to bundle up. Here are a few finds that will keep you warmer and cozier or both whether we’re in the field, on a hike or curled up on the couch.

This cozy hoodie is a stylish defense against dropping temperatures. The fact that it’s cut and sewn in the USA and screen-printed in a Mendocino studio should give you extra warm fuzzies. $68 Barge North Company, The Barlow, 6780 McKinley St. Ste. 140, Sebastopol, 707-503-6018, bargenorthcompany.com

Read more  |    November 2020

Sonoma Magazine