Frenchie Picnic & Provisions on Sonoma Square
Wine Country living often includes picnics, as we soak up year-round good weather, beautiful Sonoma County landscapes, and bountiful, locally made food and drink.
Packing a perfect picnic basket is even easier now, with the opening of Frenchie, just south of the Sonoma Plaza. A chic, contemporary general store from owners and Sonoma locals, Sarah Ellison Pinkin and Elizabeth Payne, its shelves are stocked with lots of locally sourced, artisanal food, local beer and wine, and picnic supplies.
Set in a historic building that previously was Shone’s Market, the upscale deli is a brick-and-mortar realization of an earlier Frenchie concept run out of a restored vintage Citroen car and a retro hot dog cart.
Now, customers can browse the small shop for grab-and-go specialties like a Moroccan salad of turkey-quinoa meatballs, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, butter lettuce and spinach in cumin-orange vinaigrette, or a ham, brie, butter and Dijon sandwich. Snack boxes are packed with varieties of cheeses, charcuteries and crudités, and you can round out feasts with guacamole, caramelized onion dip, hummus and other spreads.
Plan a meal around special sandwiches of the day, too, like Saturday’s muffaletta of ham, prosciutto, olive tapenade, Vella dry jack, tomatoes and Dijon.
Conveniently, Frenchie also sells picnic baskets and bags, perfect for filling with goodies such as Dick Taylor chocolate, Big Picture Farm goat milk caramels, and a whimsical Sonoma Roots homeopathic hangover cure.
Should you want to picnic in your hotel or at your home, meanwhile, the shop also offers heat-and-eat dinners. The selection changes nightly, for lemon roasted salmon over fall veggie quinoa, perhaps, or tender beef pot roast atop grilled polenta.
If such extensive menus sound ambitious for the tiny storefront, it could be, except that the owners are professionally trained, and run a catering business, too. Pinkin holds a degree in Culinary Arts and has worked in restaurants and corporate dining. Payne previously served as pastry chef at Bacar in San Francisco, and managed the culinary programs at Sonoma’s Ramekins Cooking School and Williams-Sonoma.
Details: 521 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-343-7559.