Magazine article Sunset

Surprises in Santa Rosa: There's More to Nosh on Than Peanuts in This Wine Country Town

Magazine article Sunset

Surprises in Santa Rosa: There's More to Nosh on Than Peanuts in This Wine Country Town

Article excerpt

In Santa Rosa, happiness is a warm puppy--and a warm scone. You can find it all in this town, from original Peanuts comic strips at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center to cozy meals at new restaurants and old favorites.

The hottest addition downtown is the Culinary Cafe and Bakery (bakery 7:30-2 Man-Fri, lunchroom 11:30-2 Wed-Fri; in the Santa Rosa Junior College Culinary Arts Center, 458 B St.; 707/576-0279), which opened earlier this year. It's staffed by students of Santa Rosa Junior College's Culinary Arts Program under the direction of chef instructors. Modest prices and academic enthusiasm are the icing; stellar pastries and elegant meals in a humble-looking lunchroom are the cake.

If you're in town on the weekend (when the cafe is closed), there are still many great dining choices near Historic Railroad Square, the shopping district west of U.S. 101 (downtown exit). This is where you'll find antiques stores and stately basalt buildings such as the 1904 railroad depot (now a visitor center) and the 1907 Hotel La Rose.

Start off with a few local hangouts: a hearty plate of eggs at Omelette Express (112 Fourth St.; 707/525-1690) or caffeinated beverages at Flying Goat Coffee (10 Fourth; 707/575-1202).

Because it's adjacent to the big, new Vineyard Creek Hotel, Spa & Conference Center next to the highway, you might miss the Seafood Brasserie (170 Railroad St.; 707/636-7388). That would be a mistake. The year-old eatery has many surprisingly distinctive dishes. …

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