December 21, 2020
Megan Kane, Collections Manager
We are in the thick of the holiday season, and there is no denying that our usual celebrations look very different in 2020 than in years past. As I was trying to reimagine the holidays in a new smaller version, I found some inspiration in an unexpected place, a vintage restaurant menu in the Museum’s collection.
Menu from the Topaz Room, located at 216 Hinton Avenue (now 96 Old Courthouse Square), December 1944 (MSC Collection).
1950s postcard of the interior of the Topaz Room (MSC Collection).
The Topaz Room was THE special occasion restaurant in Santa Rosa for four decades, a place to see and be seen. It was built during World War II and occupied an important place on Courthouse Square until the 1980s. Not only was it the place for a special night out, its location right next to city hall and the courthouse meant that it was also the ultimate spot for a business lunch or a political dinner. We can only imagine how many deals were made over the tables and at the bar of the Topaz Room!
When I stumbled on this 1944 menu and postcard of the Topaz Room, they positively dripped with mid-century glamour. It is just the kind of place where I can imagine Don and Betty Draper enjoying a night out. Perhaps taking some inspiration from “where the finest people meet” is just what my holiday celebrations need this year, a little glitz and style from the past for my holiday menu. “Broiled live lobster” and “chicken, a la Kiev” may be a little bit beyond my cooking skills, but the “chicken sauté, a la Topaz” sounds delightful and the “soufflé potatoes” are a must! And the “cherries flambee au Kirsh” may be just right to add some excitement to a two-person New Year’s Eve.
Happy Holidays from the Museum of Sonoma County! We hope that all of your celebrations are special and safe this season and ask that you consider supporting our local restaurants and hospitality workers during this challenging time.
The Museum of Sonoma County maintains a permanent collection of over 18,000 objects, documenting the region's rich history and celebrating local artists.
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The mission of the Museum of Sonoma County is to engage and inspire our diverse community with art and history exhibitions, collections, and public programs that are inclusive, educational, and relevant.