4-H fluffy flapjacks; Weekend wine tours
Historic Car Race fest; GayDar at Viansa
4-H fluffy flapjacks; Weekend wine tours; Historic Car Race fest; GayDar at Viansa
La Chaine des Rotisseurs’ recent dinner at the elegant indoor-outdoor new Ram’s Gate Winery across Highway 121 from the Roche family home north of Infineon Raceway was a superb introduction to the culinary skills of chef Taylr Benham, whom many of us hope gets the permanent job.
General Manager David Oliver explained Ram’s Gate owners’ many changes including adding a pond south of the winery with plans for vegetable gardens and olive groves in the future. Sommelier Ian Burrows described various wines and the vineyard sources Ram’s Gate draws from. Ram’s Gate now makes up to 7,000 cases of wine a year.
Led by Ethel and Napa/Sonoma La Chaine leader Gene Daly, the group of serious gourmands, wine growers and winemakers first enjoyed hors d’oeuvres on the terrace with sparkling wine, and progressed to the winery’s library for a dinner of roasted baby beet salad, perfect pan-seared sea bass, crispy Sonoma duck breast, unusual cheeses and a yummy berry croustade and a blood orange olive oil gelato.
In the group were Sonoma residents and vineyardists Maria and Dan Hountalas, who own San Francisco’s famed Cliff House; James Nevin and Mary Thorne; Joseph Baldanzi and Michelle Du Casse; La Chaine leader Michael Martelo; Donald and Peggy Thomas; Brooke Bledsoe and Peter Chiarella; Kelly Crane and Cynthia Kee, owner of Crane Vineyards; KC and Anne Branch; Steven Sullivan and Holly; Frank clothing designer Andi Espina and local wine consultant Ron Fenolio.
La Chaine’s next educational dinner tasting will be at Michelin one-star Sante at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. FSMI’s new General Manager Ric Corcoran is a decades-long member of the international group. Call Gene Daly at 996-8666 for information about joining or dinner reservations.
Speaking of Ric Corcoran, he hosted a party to introduce himself last week to food and wine fans. A GQ could-be model, Corcoran spoke tastefully briefly, dressed in a dark wide pin-striped suit and tie on his athletic frame with dark hair slicked back.
Corcoran has a hard act to follow in former GM Kelley Cosgrove, who moved on to manage the Fairmont San Jose; but like Cosgrove, Corcoran is Canadian. His Quebecois origins showed slightly as he told the story of how when he got the call to move from managing the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, he was afraid he would go to a hot remote place or even Winnipeg. When the caller said Sonoma he immediately said yes.
Fluffy flapjacks at firehouse:
Sonoma Valley 4-H members will cook and serve “light and fluffy flapjacks” (pancakes) along with sausage, fruit, milk juice and coffee Sunday, May 20, at the Schell-Vista Fire Station. Expect fun, great kids, great community and a great time. 8 to11:30 a.m. More info at 529-6085.
Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance hosts a new event this weekend that involves several in depth tours of vineyards and wineries rarely opened to the public. The first includes a “Family Winery Tour” of MacLeod Family Vineyard, Beltane Ranch, Little Vineyards and Winery and Nicholson Ranch, where in every case you get to meet the families involved.
The “Limited Production Tour” takes guests to Sojourn Cellars, Three Sticks Wines, Hamel Family Wines and Akome Zoume at Mountain Terraces Vineyard, all of which produce limited numbers of cases annually.
The “Spring Release Tour” focuses on four wineries’ spring releases including Annadel Estate Winery, Muscardini Cellars, Keating Wines and Ram’s Gate Winery.
Other tours include a “Wine and Food Pairing Tour” of Annadel Estate, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Ram’s Gate and Viansa; while the “Sommelier Tour,” led by Christopher Sawyer, visits Beltane Ranch, MacLeod Family Vineyard, Muscardini Cellars and Audelssa Estate Winery. An “Alternative Varietals Tour” goes to Bryter Estates, Viansa, Gundlach Bundschu and R2 Wine Company. You can also select a cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay or pinot noir tour. $95 one day, $150 for two days. More information at 935-0803 or ReserveSonomaValley.com.
Patti Britton, a daily bike path walker, designs lots of wine bottle labels and recently was asked to submit five wine label concepts in six days to Cost Plus for their house wine. Congratulations to Patti. Cost Plus chose one of her designs. She is also responsible for lots of the girl & the fig’s graphic art.
Gourmet Taco Shop, next to Starbuck’s in Maxwell Village, apparently has changed hands following an “indefinite” suspension of its beer and wine license, and is now owned by Blanca Estella Botello Zarco, according to her ABC posting.
Zarco offers menudo (always good for recovery) Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon, “Taco Tuesdays” on which any taco or beer costs $2, and ceviche tostadas for $2.25. The new taco shop is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with menudo earlier on Sundays.
The NextGen Wine Competition for Millennial Wine Drinkers deadline for registration is May 22. Wineries can submit their commercial and fruit wines and fruit distilled spirits for this group of drinkers/consumers to judge for a $10 per wine entry fee. More information at sonomavalleywine.com.
Vicki Stollmeyer, Kate Eilertsen, Cherie Hughes, Kimberly Blattner, Mollie Collins, Nancy Bruce, Holly Kyle, JaMel Perkins, Kathe Hodgson, Yvonne Hall, Patsy Wynne, Sandy Larson and Martha Rosenblatt enjoyed lunch at Rancho Mineiro, the estate of Scott Smith and Marcelo Defreitas, an auction lot sold three times at La Luz’s Noche de Luna last year. Surprise of the day: It was La Luz’s executive director Yvonne Hall’s birthday.
Defreitas, who chaired last year’s “Copacabana” event, favored by many as “the party of the year,” will chair this year’s “Noche de Casbah,” an event not to be missed. Raffle tickets at $100 are going fast. Contact any La Luz board member (such as me) to get yours. For event or raffle tickets email Marcelo Defreitas at email@example.com.
Chef Dean Carvalho, partner of La Luz board member Tim Freeman, demonstrated cooking techniques as he prepared chilled pea soup shots; scallop, arugula and lemongrass pot stickers; and deconstructed lemon meringue pie of lemon curd on toasted phyllo dough. Olive oil expert Arden Kremer, who is married to organic vineyardist Phil Coturri, led the guests through an extensive olive oil tasting.
Sonoma GayDar’s next elegant big event will be at Viansa Winery & Italian Marketplace on Saturday, May 26, when guests will explore wines from Tuscany and Sonoma Valley and chef Guillermo Rodriguez’s risotto cakes, spicy primavera pasta, stuffed chicken muffaletta and double chocolate cookies. Crossfire will play fun uplifting music. Reserve early by calling Brent Johnson at 939-4881 and mention that you are with GayDar. $40. 1 p.m. 25200 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Viansa.com.
Guy Fieri, Santa Rosa chef turned television star who hardly ever misses a race at Infineon Raceway, will drive the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 later this month.
Speaking of Infineon Raceway, its annual Historic Car Race Festival on Saturday, June 2, culminating on the festival that brings 30 classic race cars to the horseshoe in front of Sonoma City Hall. The entire event benefits Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, which includes funding for our School Garden Project, which now has nutritious gardens in all 11 public schools.
At the event you can view the cars, chat with the drivers, nibble on foods from the Basque Boulangerie, the Epicurean Connection, Murphy’s Irish Pub, the Red Grape, Swiss Hotel, Ben & Jerry’s and Tuscan Cowgirl Dezerts.
B.R. Cohn, Chandelle Winery, Deerfield Ranch, Highway 12, Robledo and Valley of the Moon wineries will pour their wines. Meet fascinating car owners, including a woman doctor who runs a tattoo removal clinic in Washington. $30 advance, $35 at Plaza event. 5:30 to 8 p.m. racesonoma.com/scc.
“The Art of Eating,” a fundraiser for Audubon Canyon Ranch and the Bouverie Preserve on Sunday, June 3, again honors “the spirit of M.F.K. Fisher” who spent her last years and days living at Bouverie in Glen Ellen.
Dame Patricia Unterman, a member of sponsoring organization Les Dames D’Escoffier, will emcee the event, themed “Women who have changed the way we eat,” but there will not be a panel discussion this year. Sondra Bernstein of the girl & the fig, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith of Cowgirl Creamery, Contra Eisely of Patisserie Angelica, Pam Ferrari, Jill Giacomini of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., chef Isa Jacoby, Eve Love of Marin Sun Farms, Mary Risley of Tante Marie’s Cooking School, the Oyster Girls, Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras, Sheana Davis of the Epicurean Connection, Liz and Molly Hyerley of Rocket and the Wicked Bonbons will cook on site and offer their delicacies. $125. 1 to 4:30 p.m. 13935 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen. Tickets at 415-868-9244 or egret.org.
Hit the Road Jack: Sonoma Valley’s Wine and Cheese Country Run returns Sunday, June 3, with the help of Paul Giusto and Michael Sebastiani of Highway 12 Winery to benefit the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. Sonoma Community Center’s Ox Roast benefiting Sonoma Community Center follows after the run/walk.
Sponsors of this 25th annual run include Whole Foods Market, Bank of Marin, the Red Grape, Mary’s Pizza Shack, Krave Jerky, Inov8, Highway 12 Vineyards & Winery and Athletic Feat. For more information contact Laura Zimmerman at 935-9566, hittheroadjack.org or svgreatschools.org.
David Darlington, author of “An Ideal Wine,” will speak at the Sonoma Home Winemakers’ next meeting at Vintage House on Thursday, June 14, accompanied by food and wine pairing before the event, which starts at 7 p.m. Readers’ Books will sell copies of Darlington’s book at the event. SHW members free, guests and non-members $10. 264 First St. E., Sonoma. 592-1601.
Lotte Klugman’s memorial at the Shainsky Road home of Muriel Robbins was as charming and warm as was Klugman. Superintendent Louann Carlomagno told the crowd how Lotte, a lifelong singer from her childhood in Germany, brought an opera and music program to El Verano School that has now spread throughout the district. While her daughter described that her mother was health food fan who also hid chocolate in her bedside table.
The food at Robbins’ home just kept coming, with chopped liver topped with chopped egg the most remarked about dish. Many people said, “I never have it any more” as they/we dipped in for a second scoop. As the program said, “Love, Joy and Peace,” Lotte.