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Madrona Manor the new Cyrus?

Cocktail and lounge menu features tastes from one of Sonoma’s top chefs

Epic Social Bar + Lounge

More than a bar. Less than a tweet-up.

Rendez Vous Bistro | Santa Rosa

Downtown French bistro has two happy hours, solid bistro fare, late night dining

$10 Tasting Tuesdays at Willi’s Wine Bar

Wine and small bites are a steal at Willi’s Wine Bar

Casino Bar & Grill | Bodega

Mark Malicki returns to Wine Country cuisine in Bodega

Luma | Petaluma

Neighborhood eatery in Petaluma’s warehouse district boasts a wood-oven, SF chef and creative winelist

Brasserie | Santa Rosa

Eclectic Railroad Square restaurant eatery gets an updated menu

Flavor Bistro | Santa Rosa

Consider this Santa Rosa’s living room — cause everyone comes to hang out here.

Spoonbar at h2hotel | Healdsburg

Healdsburg’s best luxe bar scene is complimented by eco-chic and Cal-Mediterranean small plates

Fresh by Lisa Hemenway | Santa Rosa

Fresh: Lisa Hemenway’s new market focuses on gourmet-on-the-go eating for families

John Ash & Co | Santa Rosa

Classic Wine Country cuisine from one of Santa Rosa’s most venerable institutions

Stark’s Steakhouse | Santa Rosa

Top dry-aged steaks, sides and cocktails in a retro-chic setting.

Jackson’s Bar & Oven | Santa Rosa

Casual, family-friendly spot focused on dishes from the kitchen’s wood-fired oven from Josh Silvers. Late night/cocktails.

Boon Eat + Drink

What the dime-sized boon lacks in diameter, it makes up for in taste — both in its pared-down decor and simply done menu of spot-on eats.

Norman Rose Tavern | Napa

Nouveau-tavern grub reigns at this downtown Napa pub from the owners of Pizzeria Azzuro

Summer Cocktails: Sipping through SoCo

There’s no sound more beautiful than the clink of ice in a cocktail glass on a hot summer day. Because whether it’s 5pm or just north of noon, ’tis the season for salted rims, muddled mint and tiny paper umbrellas.

El Coqui Puerto Rican Restaurant | Santa Rosa

Puerto Rican cuisine in Santa Rosa doesn’t skimp on the plantains or pique

Underwood Bar & Bistro | Graton

A favorite of night owls and winemakers, it’s a meet and eat rendezvous in the tiny hamlet of Graton.

Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar | Santa Rosa

With a menu that reads like a Sicilian love letter, Chef John Franchetti’s Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar ain’t your average pie shop

The Return of Happy Hour

Cheap eats and door-buster drink specials return

Whiskey A Go-Go

Love whiskey? Even know what whiskey is (and isn’t)? A primer on this ancient drink and where to get it.

Jack and Tony’s Whisky Bar opens: With liquor license

Jack and Tony’s Whiskey Bar opens

Carneros Bistro

Carneros Bistro: Chef Janine Falvo weaves in fun, innovation and an eye for seasonal local foods into her menus at the house restaurant for The Lodge at Sonoma.

Moss Room Restaurant at the California Academy of Sciences

The menu is brief, with a strong focus on seafood. Because the duo are committed to using line-caught, ecologically-harvested foods, expect to see ingredients change up frequently. Best appetizer bets: Grilled squid with jalapeno pesto and chickpeas ($11) or salt cod fritters with peppers and lemon aioli ($9). The pork terrine ($11) brought over from Coco500 was a huge disappointment, served too cold to be very enjoyable to eat. (Think cold bacon grease.)
Where things get really interesting are with entrees: A perfectly poached line-caught black cod blanketed by its own crisp skin, Himalayan truffles and wild mushrooms ($26) or rich Kobe beef with charmoula, a Moroccan marinade ($25). What could be a spice-rack gone wrong in less adept hands becomes a rich, perfumed, exotic experience. Other dishes pasta with duck, pork loin and a whole baked fish.
The wine list features a handful of organic and sustainable wines, along with a healthy number of wines by the glass. Californian and European wines are fairly equally represented, but what’s even more fascinating are a number of beers and ales and specialty cocktails featuring artisan distilleries (and made with no more than three ingredients).
Pace yourself to include dessert. Though ice cream always seems a cop-out to me, pastry chef Rachel Leising’s Cookies and Cream is a scoop of fresh mint leaf ice cream with chocolate cookies. The tarte Tatin is a personal-sized pastry with Calvados ice cream. But tops is the vacherin, a meringue with creme anglaise, chocolate sauce and coffee gelato.
Worth the drive: What could easily seem a bit hokey with all its earnestness about sustainability and artisan foods has serious cred with so many solid cooks in the kitchen. There are still some staff kinks to work out (there were a few long waits) and the menu doesn’t have the broadest appeal. But what works well works REALLY well. Prices are reasonable, considering the quality and location, but not cheap. There aren’t any views and the minimal decor can feel a bit stark. But like so many destination restaurants, dinner at The Moss Room Restaurant is a singular event that will give you plenty of mileage around the water cooler.
Provided you can find the place.
The Moss Room Restaurant at the California Academy of Science, dinner daily from 5:30pm to 10pm, 415.876.6121. 55 Music Concourse Dr., Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Vodika Lounge

Channel your inner czarina at the new Vodika Lounge in Petaluma, NorCal’s first 28-degree premium vodka tasting room. As in it’s actually 28 degrees inside (four degrees below freezing).