Sonoma County has had its fair share of bad fortune this year (as they still need help recovering from the massive fires), but the county continues to rebuild and move on and create new and exciting experiences for locals and travelers to the region. We’ve found some new developments in the area as well as recently opened spots to visit during your next trip.
Salt & Stone Debuts in Kenwood
Salt & Stone is a brand-new casual-chic California eatery and oyster bar in Kenwood. Proprietors Diane and David LaMonica, who owned Mendocino County’s critically acclaimed Café Beaujolais for ten years, remodeled and revamped the former KenWood restaurant to create a warm and cozy atmosphere for this new community gathering spot.
The menu offers rustic California Mediterranean cuisine, starting with oyster bar selections like steamed clams, crispy curry calamari, dungeness crab cake, and grilled octopus. Appetizers include duck leg confit, steak tartare, and winter squash ravioli. Entrées include butter-poached petrale sole, cioppino, steaks, braised short ribs, and pan-roasted pork chop.
Hard Rock Hotel Gets OKed
City property currently used as a Caltrans park-and-ride lot in Cotati, in central Sonoma County, will be developed as a 152-room Reverb hotel, a new brand of the Hark Rock Café International hotel and restaurant chain. In early December 2017, the Cotati City Council approved a nearly $2.4 million price tag for a development agreement with Cotati Hotel LLC, a Sonoma County company that will be among the first to sign a franchise agreement for a Reverb hotel.
The Reverb hotel brand is promoted as “a new contemporary hotel brand for movers, shakers, and creators.” Initial plans call for a pool and rec area, a garden area for wedding ceremonies, a coffee bar, a lounge for serving wine and beer, a stage for local performances, a fitness center, and about 3,000 square feet of adaptable meeting space.
The developer hopes to open the hotel in late 2019, but the city estimates it will open by June 2021.
Petaluma Gap Added to Official Sonoma County Wine Regions
Fans of Sonoma County wines now have a new wine region to explore — the Petaluma Gap American Viticultural Area (AVA), which recently became Sonoma County’s 18th official wine appellation. A formal application to recognize the new AVA was filed in 2015, and the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau gave its stamp of approval on Dec. 7, 2017. This means wineries that use grapes from the area can put a “Petaluma Gap” designation on their labels, letting buyers know exactly where the wine came from.
The Petaluma Gap covers a 200,000-acre region in southern Sonoma County and northern Marin County, which includes 4,000 acres of vineyards planted mainly (75 percent) with Pinot Noir, as well as Chardonnay and Syrah. The area is noted for the afternoon wind and fog that comes from Bodega Bay on the coast and passes through the hilly areas and into San Pablo Bay, cooling the vineyards and allowing the fruit a longer hang time to give more flavor.
Eat Up at Red Brick in Petaluma
Take a break from the wine scene and enjoy bar food with outstanding beer and cocktails at the new Red Brick in Petaluma, in southern Sonoma County. The menu utilizes local, seasonal produce, and dining is available both indoors and on the outdoor patio.
Samples from the small bites menu includes crispy chicken wings, a local cheese plate, caramelized Brussels sprouts, crispy calamari, and prime rib sliders. Examples from the big bites include shepherd’s pie, stuffed brick chicken breast, grass-fed New York strip steak, and fish and chips.