Va de bye: If you wondered what had become of Shane McAnelly, the Oakley native who was exec chef at Walnut Creek's much loved Va de Vi up until December, here's an update. McAnelly has just opened Chalkboard in the old Michelin-starred Cyrus quarters at Healdsburg's Hotel Les Mars. The decor, by Catherine Macfee Interior Design, evokes an airy, rustic vibe with its high blue banquettes, custom metal grates and a custom communal table made from old-growth white oak. Menuwise, think small plates -- of course -- that rely on seasonal offerings from McAnelly's kitchen garden. Among them: a shot glass of spring green, English pea soup with Dungeness crab, buttermilk biscuits with maple-glazed pork belly, kampachi crudo and, for your sweet tooth, a doughnut semifreddo with white coffee foam and mocha-glazed doughnut holes. As for Va de Vi, Andy Phillips took over the exec chef toque earlier this year, after stints at Palo Alto's Gravity Bistro & Wine Bar, Danville's Esin and Livermore's The Restaurant at Wente. Looking for more details? Find them at www.chalkboardhealdsburg.com and http://vadevi.com.
Sweets, tout de suite: Speaking of sweet tooths, er, teeth, Lafayette is getting a See's of its own. The venerable sweet shop opens June 21 in the Lafayette Shopping Center -- that's the Safeway/Whole Foods one at 3518 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Stop by on opening day for free lollipops and hats for the kiddos.
Stellllaaaaa: Sorry, we just had to channel that "Streetcar Named Desire" scene for a moment. Call it an homage, if you will, to North Berkeley's new Stella Nonna, which just opened on San Pablo Avenue. (OK, North-ish. More Northwest, really.) It's a sit-down bricks-and-mortar venture for longtime caterers Tim Carlon and Sarah Nasgovitz, with a menu of American comfort fare with the occasional global twist. Think lamb Bolognese ($16) with ricotta and fresh mint, Hampshire pork carnitas ($18) with a side of mac 'n' cheese-stuffed chili rellenos and Korean fried chicken wings ($9.50 as a starter), plus classic cocktails and local beer. Open from 5 to 10 p.m. daily, except Tuesdays; lunch and brunch service to come. Details: 1407 San Pablo Ave.; www.stellanonna.com.
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