Sondra Bernstein, owner of “the girl & the fig” restaurant in Sonoma, hosts this weekly podcast along with her friend Brian Casey, veteran of the hospitality industry for over 30 years. They discuss all aspects of the food world, from seeds and beans to fries and foie gras. “If you can eat it, we want to talk about it”. Guests include famous chefs, food critics, local farmers, cheese makers and mushroom foragers. No subject is “off the table”. Sometimes controversial but always delicious.
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It was long overdue to catch up with Ari Weisswasser, Chef and co-owner of the Glen Ellen Star with his wife Erinn Benziger in Glen Ellen. As Sondra’s restaurant neighbor in Glen Ellen, we started the conversation about how Ari proceeded during the lockdown and how after a quick peek on email en route to Paris, the family vacation took a u-turn to come back to see what the situation was all about. Returning to Glen Ellen, Ari and a minimal team began serving it up for both lunch and dinner. He has been grateful and pleasantly pleased with the support from the neighborhood, his regulars and his ability to roll into another disaster focusing on the task at hand. We didn’t go back into Ari’s culinary training which has included some stints with some important names in the restaurant world including Thomas Keller at the French Laundry. He has culminated what he has learned and created his personal style by concentrating on simplicity and sourcing the absolute best products he can find. About 25% of the Glen Ellen Star’s restaurant comes from the family farm, Glentucky farm also in Glen Ellen. The menu is heavy on farm fresh vegetables with good reason. We converse about some of the inner workings and challenges that restaurants are having in maintaining reasonable margins, PPP, attracting staff and tipping, balanced life and guest perception. To be noted, not long before the whiff […]
With a small snafu in our scheduling, it actually gave Brian and I a chance to get caught up, especially since he has finally been called back to his real job. Other than talking about the changes in his workplace, he also told us about CALI-FORNO STREET EATS which is the Sonoma Fairmont Hotel’s new airstream food truck that just opened. Situated on the driveway of the hotel, guests and locals can order from the bar, get some truck food and drinks and relax in a physically distanced outdoor dining area with minimal service on Friday and Saturday. It was great to hear of something new happening in this crazy time. Always nice to catch up with Brian on our weekly calls! [EP91]