Söntés F/WGE Presents: Francie and Fred Ginocchio


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The Söntés Fall/Winter Gallery Exhibition showcases the work of eleven regional and hand-chosen artists, and displays a mix of colors, styles, and mediums. All of the artwork is for sale, and all will be gone with the New Year.

We shine the spotlight on husband-and-wife artists Francie and Fred Ginocchio. Francie works with fabrics to create quilt art, and Fred works with pastels and oil pastels. Together, they share their thoughts on what it means to have a fellow artist—one who understands their work and personal creative process–living right under the same roof:

As artists, sometimes it’s hard to work in a vacuum, so occasionally we critique each other’s work.  This is especially helpful when we’re in transition periods and are “stuck.”  While our mediums and styles are different, we understand our individual process –– but we don’t always follow the other’s advice!
                                            –Fred and Francie Ginocchio

About their individual work and what inspires them, here’s what they have to say:

Francie Ginocchio

Francie Ginocchio

Currently I am learning an exciting heat-fused collage process. This involves altering many papers, coating them with acrylic medium, layering, heat fusing, painting, stamping and adding more paper layers.

I also experiment with dyeing fabric, deconstructed (breakdown) screen-printing, beading and surface design. My non-quilted work requires the viewer to look closely to discover the materials, patterns and subtle textures.

Fred Ginocchio

Fred Ginocchio 

I have worked primarily with both soft pastels and oil pastels. I enjoy the richness of color, the energy, and the immediacy of the pastel medium. My subject matter varies from portraits, to older buildings, to landscapes. 

Landscapes offer endless challenges to an artist. Every minute and hour of each day is unique. I am especially interested in the colors, shapes and patterns of the landscapes, and I try to capture their images and mood. Lately, I am experimenting with different and unique color combinations for landscapes.

I also am attracted to urban and small town street scenes with appealing colors and compositions. While I like images of realistic buildings with character and appeal, I continue to experiment with quick, looser, and more impressionistic compositions. In the summer of 2013, I completed a series of “Lanesboro Up Close” studies for the Artist Spotlight display.

The Söntés Fall/Winter Gallery Exhibition is up for a few more days only. With the close of the year comes the closing of Söntés to make way for our next endeavor, Grand Rounds Brew Pub.

Stop in for one last time at Söntés, one last look at the amazing local art which is all for sale, and if you’d like New Year’s Eve reservations for our very last night of Söntés, please call us at 507.292.1628.

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.


Söntés F/WGE Presents: Artists HeeJune Shin, David Tache, and J.M. Thompson


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The current Söntés Fall/Winter Gallery Exhibition includes the work of eleven talented artists from our region, had chosen to showcase their work at Söntés. The exhibit will run through the end of the year, and all of the artwork is for sale.

In their own words, artists HeeJune Shin, David Tache, and J.M. Thompson discuss their work and what inspires them:

HeeJune Shin

HeeJune Shin

Born and raised in Seoul, Korea, I came to the U.S.A. to study nutrition. With a Master’s degree in Public Health Nutrition, I am now pursuing the study of painting. Receiving McKnight Established Artist Grant in 2012 was an encouragement.

I consider myself a colorist in the tradition of Monet-Hawthorne-Hensche. Colorists attempt to create an illusion of realities in colors emphasizing the light key in which they are seen. I have sought this visual realism through years of painting en plein air, striving for finer color quality and truer interpretation. I mostly use a palette knife that produces not only immediacy of strokes but also a variety of textures and expressions.

David Tache

David Tache

Wide, detailed panoramas, especially landscapes, have a special place in my photography. I find them well suited to the rolling countryside and bluffscapes of the driftless area, where they reveal the relationship of natural and constructed elements in a landscape. But panoramas introduce technical and visual complexities, and the challenge is often to find the right light and vantage point to position detailed elements of a landscape properly to tell a story, in a way that draws the viewer.

A panorama is usually composed of 5-15 separate images, sometimes more. Photographing a panorama is fast-paced and success is not guaranteed. Generally I try to make panoramas that can stand up to the greatest enlargement, and to lengthy inspection.

J.M. Thompson
JM Thompson

In this digital age, speed and convenience seem to have trumped all.  We demand immediate information, constant connections, instant gratification and computer-enhanced everything. Art, however, is best done thoughtfully. That’s why I prefer to do my photography unplugged, using a film camera on a tripod and printing the negatives in my darkroom on silver-gelatin paper. Because the process from visualizing the image to exposing the negative, developing the film, and enlarging the print by hand is such a drawn out affair, it forces me to attend to detail each step along the way. 

All of the Söntés Fall/Winter Gallery Exhibition artwork is for sale, and as we are closing our doors January 1 to prepare for our next culinary endeavor, the Grand Rounds Brew Pub, time is of the essence for purchasing this amazing artwork. Get it while you can, as a treat to yourself or for that hard-to-shop-for person in your life!

Reminder: For your New Year’s Eve reservations, call us at 507.292.1628. For Chef Alex’s NYE Menu, click here

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

Out with a Bang! The Söntés New Year’s Eve Party to End All Parties!


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Out With a Bang! New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve is our last night as Söntés, so we’re throwing one epic party. Join us for live music from the John Sievers Trio, complimentary champagne, crowns and hats and noisemakers galore, a balloon drop at midnight to a live performance of Auld Lang Syne, and Chef Alex’s carefully chosen 7-course menu featuring our favorite Söntés dishes over our eight-year history.

Söntés New Year’s Eve 2014 Menu

Course 1
Braised Beef Ravioli with Demi Glaze
Grilled Artichoke Ravioli with Sundried Tomato Sauce

Course 2
Chorizo Stuffed Dates, Vegetable Empanadas,
and Patatas Bravas with Tobacco Gastrique
Vegetarian Empanadas, Patatas Bravas with Tobacco Gastrique, and Brussels Sprouts with Maple and Marcona Almonds

Course 3
Beet Salad on a Bed of Greens 
with fresh fruit and blue cheese with Basil Vinegar
Lox and Bagel Salad
house-cured lox with bagel chips, market greens, cucumber, red onion, and caper vinaigrette

Course 4
Duck Cassoulet 
confit duck, giant white beans, tomatoes, Andouille sausage, and Hart Farms bacon
Spiced Chickpea and Lemon Stew
 with chickpeas, tomato, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, 
lemon juice

Course 5
Cheese from the Vault

Course 6
Petite Filet with potato pave, roasted vegetables 
and béarnaise sauce
Pan Seared Salmon
 with confit sweet potatoes and mustard glaze
Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Vegetables

Course 7
Vanilla Panna Cotta 
with berry coulis and fresh fruit
Trio of Chocolate Truffles 
spiced coco powder, smoked sea salt, Marcona almonds 

For reservations, call us today at 507.292.1628. The cost of this event is $75 per person, or $60 for the all-vegetarian option. Tax and gratuity are additional. Wine pairings that perfectly accompany the dishes are available for $30. (Söntés can accommodate Gluten-free diners with advance notice.  Please alert us when you make your reservation.)

Join us for our last and best hurrah! It’s going to be one momentous celebration!

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

Söntés Will Close Its Doors January 1 to Usher In Our Next Endeavor: Grand Rounds Brew Pub


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Grand Rounds Brew PubThe news is out! Söntés is excited to share with you that we are embarking on a new partnership to bring a craft brewery to downtown Rochester. Grand Rounds Brewing Company (GRBC) will open in the spring of 2015 at our location at 4 Third Street SW. To accommodate this transition, Söntés will be closing its doors on January 1, 2015.

Grand Rounds Brew Pub (GRBP) will feature hand-crafted beer brewed on site by Master Brewer Steve Finnie and food by Executive Chef Alex Sjoberg. GRBP was born out of a love of good food, good beer, and good company with the ultimate goal of offering an authentic pub with a neighborhood feel in the heart of the city.  Chef Alex is planning a menu that unites traditional pub fare with local favorites and unique flavors. And GRBP will continue Söntés’ tradition of sourcing food locally and engaging local artists and musicians. And vinophiles, fear not: GRBP will serve wine, too!

Tessa’s Office Wine and Spirit Boutique, our wine shop co-located with Söntés, will remain open through the transition and will expand into additional square footage made available during construction of the brew pub. Sommelier Barbara Claire Pitcher will remain as the shop’s manager and resident wine expert. Many of your favorite wines from Söntés will be available for purchase at Tessa’s Office.

Söntés will continue to serve the community as a catering company under the GRBC umbrella and will continue as one of three caterers serving the Rochester Art Center as well as offering catering in-homes and at other venues in the area.

Why Grand Rounds?
Grand Rounds is a ritual of medical education consisting of presenting the medical problems and treatment. Grand Rounds involve a passion for knowledge, a passion for caring, and a meeting of the mind, all integral parts of medical education. We say: an integral part of life. Solutions to life’s troubles are often discovered over a pint, and no doubt there will be some lively discussions over a pint of Grand Rounds fine craft beer! Comfortable and unpretentious, everyone will feel welcome at GRBP. It’s a place to meet your friends for a pint, share delicious local food with your family, or celebrate the large and small events in your life.

On behalf of Söntés restaurant, we thank each and every one of you for letting us into your hearts and lives these past eight years. We are truly honored by these amazing memories and we can’t wait to welcome you into our next endeavor, Grand Rounds Brew Pub! For updates on our progress toward opening, like Grand Rounds on Facebook.

For Söntés reservations during our final weeks, please call us at 507.292.1628.

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

Söntés F/WGE Presents: Artists Michele Combs, Kapril, and Lori Miller


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When Söntés began gathering art from talented local artists for display and sale at the restaurant, we had no idea that five seasons later the Söntés Gallery Exhibition would be this popular or this successful!

The current Söntés Fall/Winter Gallery Exhibition includes the work of eleven talented artists from our region, and will run through the end of the year. As all of the artwork is for sale, it tends to move around as it is sold and the artists bring in new pieces.

In their own words, artists Michele Combs, Kapril, and Lori Miller discuss their work and what inspires them:

Michele Combs
Combs 304382x150

Emerging into an artist was been a learning, growing, and maturing process… Painting has become a way of cataloging my life. Each painting is a small representation of what I’m drawn to, where I’ve been, and what I’ve experienced.

I’m an impressionist, landscape oil painter. I love filling my canvas with color and thick paint. Though I am drawn to a variety of subjects, my favorite subject is landscape.


Kapril DSC7562_2

Not long ago, my passion and craving for artistic expression rekindled. My joy is communicating what I see through the lens and by blending color and motion in a seamless experience that coalesces in a single image.

My fulfillment is realized in sharing these deeply personal images with other. They are the product of a long and challenging journey that I now have the privilege and opportunity of sharing. 

Lori Miller
Miller Autumn  24 x 36

Lori Miller’s art emerges from her insatiable curiosity about life and nearly palpable passion for meaningful connection and emotional intimacy with people, animals, and, at times, even the inanimate.

Her artist expressions reveal that intense curiosity and enthusiasm, but the discerning observer will see patterns that expose her deeply spiritual, sensuously contagious, and rebellious personality, punctuated by a mysterious balance of dependence and independence.

…From all things joyous, color and vibrancy can be found.

Get inspired every time you dine at Söntés through art and ambiance and amazing local fare. As always, feel free to move about the restaurant and take in all of the exceptional artwork. You may just find the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for person!  

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

Home for the Holidays


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Home for the HolidaysThere’s no place like home for the holidays. But for those of us who’ve lived away from home for many years, there’s holiday travel to consider: weather, delays, and cramped compartments and cranky travelers carrying bulky coats, bags, and gifts. Upon arrival and hugs and kisses, it dawns on you that you could really go for some hot food, a good drink, continued company with the ones you love, and of course, you need to unload all the stuff you’re carrying. Söntés is calling.

Check your coat at the door, along with the scarf and the gloves. There are fireplaces to toss off the winter chill. Check your boots if you like, and put on the indoor shoes you’re carrying in that extra bag. Check the extra bag, too. Relax and unwind, knowing you don’t have to brave Aunt Elsie’s pot roast for the third day and the suspect deviled eggs, and you don’t have to worry about washing all the dishes and trying to get the spots out of the good cloth napkins. Did you forget to get a gift for that person who has everything? Glance around: the one-of-a-kind artwork on the walls is all for sale. Where else could you shop with a glass of wine in your hand?

This holiday season, enjoy getting together with friends, family, and coworkers-turned-second-family over amazing local food where there’s something for every picky taste. Enjoy conversation while passing dishes like empanadas, chorizo dates, and gourmet cheeses back and forth before diving into lamb as you’re offered a bite of perfectly cooked scallops from the left and a bite of savory local duck breast from the right.

It’s all these little things that Söntés does so well, like offering a complimentary coat closet, a fireplace atmosphere, a knowledgeable staff to pair your wine and take care of all the details so you can let go of holiday stress and enjoy the company around you to the fullest.

This season, come home to Söntés.

Reminder: Please join us this Saturday from 11-2 for our annual Holiday Wine & Spirits Tasting and Sale! Find the perfect complement for your holiday feasts with the help of our sommelier. No need to order, take the wine home with you that same day!

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

Söntés F/WGE Presents: Artists David Allen, Margy Balwierz, and Kathy Braud


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Söntés is pleased to be a fulcrum for our region’s talented artists. The Söntés Fall/Winter Gallery Exhibition showcases an attractive mix of colors, styles, and mediums from eleven hand-chosen artists. This newest exhibition will run through April 1, 2015, and the art will move around as it is sold and the artists bring in new pieces, creating a fluidity of art and ambiance.

In their own words, artists David Allen, Margy Balwierz, and Kathy Braud discuss their work and what inspires them:

David Allen

Allen Don Quixote's Swimming PoolI have been a doodler all my life. I doodle while waiting for an appointment in class or in meetings. I constantly sketch the basic shapes we were instructed to draw as art students. Over the years these shapes have taken on a life of their own. They bend, melt, break apart, fracture and interject themselves into landscapes and rooms.

Several years ago I decided to use these doodles in my paintings and have been pleased with the results. They offer unlimited possibilities and are enjoyable to paint because they seem alive and organic to me.

Margy Balwierz

Balwierz AwarenessI am inspired by the magic of reality, the endeavor of creativity acknowledges the magnificent vibrancy, beauty and complexity of existence… Each effort at tile-making is a gift of absorbed concentration and timelessness.

The unique quality of making one tile at a time feels right to me. Coarse red clay is rolled out and cut. I etch and compose a design to fit within the framework of a nearly dry cut tile shape after one day of drying. The cut may be freeform, shaped or with a randomly lopped off corner. Glazed, each layer of color is laid three coats thick between etch lines with very small paintbrushes. After the clay becomes bone dry, it is high fired to stoneware in an electric kiln. Another glazing and firing to a low temperature adds intensity to colors. The process stretches over three to six weeks.

Kathy Braud

Braud Reflections in Color KBraud 1000px-1For me, Art has been a lifelong journey of creativity… When I realized this medium could capture the essence of a mood, a memory or describe a pleasure, I fell in love with watercolor.

I like to create drama and boldness in my paintings by playing with light and shadows. I enjoy the serendipity of mixing paint on paper, rapid spreading of color, and the use of layering and texture. I am currently exploring a path of light theme with mostly representational art, and I enjoy experimenting with acrylics, watercolor and gouache (watermedia) to capture the advantages of each medium.

For more art and local fare inspiration, stop in to Söntés for lunch or dinner, and feel free to move about the restaurant and take in all of the exceptional artwork. Our dining room is truly never the same twice!

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

That’s What I Like About You


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You know the lyrics from the song by The Romantics:

“That’s what I like about you.
You keep me warm at night.”
Et cetera. That was released in 1979. Now, it’s 2014 and we at Sontes want you to know what we like about YOU, our guests. 
No, you don’t keep us warm at night (for the most part), but you are ADVENTURERS. We keep introducing new dining and embibing experiences and you’re always open to trying new things. 
You’re LOYAL. We love seeing new faces, but it’s so great to be able to create relationships with the folks that keep coming back. We always do our darnedest to remember your preferred flavor profiles, then turn them upside-down and encourage you to broaden your horizons. 
You’re APPRECIATIVE. You enjoy our continued efforts to broaden, expand, and improve every aspect of your dining experience. You usually even say, “Thank you!” to which we reply, “It’s our pleasure!”
You’re BEAUTIFUL. Each in your own way, according to your own style, your own tastes, uniqueness, and individuality – and we appreciate unique individuals around here.

In all, THANK YOU, Sontes guests, for being YOU. You are what makes this whole endeavor so much fun, so fulfilling, and something about which we can feel truly proud!

Unplug and Unwind


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The world keeps changing around us. How can we possibly keep up with everything? Frankly, we can’t. All of the new technology, the latest health and wellness information, fitness fads, what’s good, what’s bad… Let’s face it: it’s beyond overwhelming.
On top of it all, we are inundated in perpetuity with new information. Facebook was too windy, so we found Twitter and lost our patience with 140 characters. Then there was Instagram, which told us, in a single photograph, everything that was missing from our lives. We can download apps to tell us anything we couldn’t possibly need to know and what to do in any scenario. Now, as we try desperately to keep up with all of it, we are glued to our screens. We have the perfect quip for any digital situation, but we forgot the importance of eye contact and a handshake. We no longer call our mothers. We don’t meet to go over papers. We text, we email, and we sign documents digitally. 
I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe it’s time to disconnect from our devices and reconnect with some humans. In person. Maybe over a glass of wine and a shared plate with some live music on a Saturday night. Come see us!
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Come As You Are


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So often, people ask us, “Do you have a dress code?” There is a long answer and a short answer. The short answer is YES. 

The long answer is: we won’t let you in if you’re naked.
Here is a list of acceptable Sontes attire: 
  • Business dress
  • Casual dress
  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Sundresses
  • Sandals
  • Pumps
  • Tennis shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Sweat pants
  • Sweatshirts
  • Team jerseys
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Swim trunks
  • Hula hoops
  • Gym clothes
  • Yoga pants
  • Baggy pants
  • Tight pants
  • Ties
  • Pocket squares
  • Articles of clothing made from bandanas tied together at the ends
  • Hats
  • A garbage bag
  • Halloween costumes, to include scary masks
  • A cape
  • Sarongs
  • A trench coat with nothing under it (providing the sash remains tied)
  • Bowling shirts
  • Long sleeves
  • Short sleeves
  • No sleeves
  • Cut-offs
  • Chaps (but don’t get carried away)
  • Shants (one leg shorts, one leg pants)
  • Helmets
  • Hat and/or helmet hair
  • No hair
  • Big hair
  • Facial hair
  • Potato sacks
  • Bunny slippers
  • Wall clocks on thick chains a la Flava Flav
In other words, Rochester, come as you are. We love you even at your ugliest!
<– To be clear, this is totally acceptable attire for adults and children alike.