A Giant story; New Michelin ratings
Knives come out at Sign of the Bear; Community soup
Last Saturday, I missed loads of culinary events and experiences to attend our granddaughter Mackenzie’s second birthday party in Concord. Pizza, Sonoma Market’s Caesar salad kit and a “Caillou” cake posed as our gourmet lunch. But Mackenzie’s birthday must figure in the Giants’ sweeping triumph in the World Series.
On Oct. 29, 2010, our daughter, Erin, was in a labor and delivery room at Kaiser Walnut Creek while game two of that World Series was in its torture phase. Erin held on, in labor mind you, until the Giants won, and “then we started to push,” she recounted this week. Mackenzie arrived within the hour.
So on Mackenzie’s birthday it was only fitting that the Giants win game four without a blip. A loyal fan of Pablo Sandoval, the series’ MVP, Mackenzie even chose to go to what she calls “The Panda Restaurant” (Panda Express) and drink “Panda juice” (lemonade), asking for more and more.
This evening (Friday) at The Epicurean Connection, Envolve Winery will pour its wines while Sheana Davis serves a Rosé Rose Petal Jam and compote made with Envolve cabernet sauvignon. Enjoy the simultaneous First Friday of the Month Art Show with guest artist Shotsie Gorman.
The “2013 Michelin Guide to San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country” is just out, with few changes for Sonoma restaurants. The biggest news was that Maya was dropped, as was Estate, the latter for good reason since the property was purchased and the restaurant closed.
Michelin rates restaurants with forks, so Santé at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn alone still enjoys three; Hot Box Grill, Café LaHaye, El Dorado Kitchen, Glen Ellen Inn, the fig café, the girl & the fig, Della Santina’s and La Salette all get two forks; while Harvest Moon Café remains at one fork.
I still wonder how often or when Michelin’s inspectors actually visit restaurants. Their write-ups are often repetitious from one year to the next and leave out significant dining spots, such as Carneros Bistro, Breakaway Café, Rancho Viejo and El Molino Central, as well as some brunch spots.
Sign of the Bear hosts a rare visit on Saturday, Nov. 3, from Harald Wusthof, seventh-generation owner of Wusthof Cutlery founded in 1814 in Solingen, Germany. Wusthof’s 300 employees make excellent knives, cutting boards, kitchen tools, scissors and knife blocks, one of the latter of which ($1,300 value) will be raffled off at Sign on the Bear. Expect good sale prices on Wusthof. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 425 First St. W., Sonoma. 996-3722.
Middle school fundraisers:
Altimira Middle School parents will stage “The Howl” dinner dance Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Moose Lodge. Chef Roger Declercq will prepare the meal of beef stew over soft polenta, salad and Basque Boulangerie & Café, with help from Sonoma Market and wine from Robledo Family Winery. Of course there will be live and silent auctions and a raffle.
The very local Cork Pullers and DJ Bubba will provide entertainment and music for dancing, or not. $35 advance, $40 at door, $15 after dinner dance only. Get tickets from Mark Curtis at 287-7683.
Adele Harrison Middle School’s sixth-graders will hold a great pasta feed to benefit their Outdoor Education Program on Friday, Nov. 9, in the school’s gym on Broadway. Enjoy Mary’s Pizza Shack pasta, salad and bread, plus a homemade baked yummies table at $1 a piece.
The funds raised go to make it possible for all kids to participate in environmental science classes including hikes, challenge courses and spending nights in a cabin with classmates, regardless of a family’s financial situation. $10 advance at school office, children under 5 free. To go plates available. 5 to 7 p.m. 1150 Broadway, Sonoma. For more info, call Liz Bauer at 935-6080.
Since the Giants won the World Series, Sonoma Raceway president Steve Page does not have to deliver lots of Ghirardelli chocolate and 12 turkeys to Bud Denker, of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Both raceways host an annual Izod IndyCar Series race.
Instead, Denker will deliver “a variety of pizzas from Detroit-based Little Caesar’s,” popular in Detroit, and 12 turkeys to Sonoma, symbolizing the 2012 win. Page will donate the turkeys to Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco for the church’s Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Cub and Boy Scouts to collect food for FISH: On Saturday, Nov. 10, local boys will “Scout for Food” by collecting non-perishable foods for FISH holiday food baskets. If you do not receive a bag by then, or yours isn’t picked up, you can leave bags of groceries at the Scouting-For-Food collection site at Fiesta Shopping Center at Highway 12 and Siesta Way in Boys Hot Springs. For more info, call Louise Bielfelt at 996-4701.
The Napa Valley Film Festival kicks off next Wednesday with screenings of “Somm,” a documentary on the rigors of passing the master sommelier exam, which is a rarity. According to festival co-founder and director Brenda Lhormer, more than 200 sommeliers will attend from throughout the United States. For more information visit napavalleyfilmfest.org.
Our strong and generous gay community turned out all turned out for Halloween last weekend at a couple of bashes.
Sonoma GayDar held its third annual Halloween Bash at Deerfield Ranch Winery, thanks to owners PJ and Robert Rex. Mark Lyon and Daniel Cisneros came as Batman and Robin, Douglas Van DeMark showed up as a big Gumbi, David Shuh as Kim Kartrashian (wearing a trash bag dress), and Anastasia and Steve Chirco went in complete “Day of the Dead” makeup.
According to Out in the Vineyard owner and party organizer Gary Saperstein, attendees “danced the night away to DJ Evan Dixxon spinning a blend of classics with the latest tunes. All the while mixing and mingling and drinking some great Deerfield Ranch wines paired with cheeses and charcuterie.”
Klieg lights marked the hillside home where Len Handeland and Byron Hancock hosted a “Legends of Hollywood” party where Handeland turned himself into Errol Flynn as Robin Hood and Hancock became Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Kourtney Parry went as Audrey Hepburn, Bob Leonard as Indiana Jones (Kathy L. was with Slow Food in Italy), Stefanie Shackelford as Josephine Baker, Tom Arrowood as Robert Mitchum, Adam Cottingham as John Wayne, Maureen Cottingham as Maureen O’Hara, Byron Nichols as Ronald Reagan, Jeni Nichols as Dale Evans, Squire Fridell as Carmen Miranda, Suzy Fridell as Tito, Elizabeth Turner was Marilyn Monroe, Terri and Caleb Miller were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and Gayle Arrowood turned up as Lucille Ball.
Rick Vargas of La Bodga provided the dinner, while bartender Curtis Jones and server Matt Ciaramella wore tuxes and white gloves to set the aura of a bygone Hollywood.
Guests enjoyed Haywood, Two Amigos and Gloria Ferrer wines as well as the guys’ “house cocktail” called “The Dream.”
Murphy’s Irish Pub will present another hilarious Jack Benny Radio Program live as part of its Snug dinner theatre on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 11 and 12, featuring Benny’s unique shows from the ’40s and ’50s. Players include Jeremy Berrick, Julia Maffei Holsworth, Sherrill Peterson, Jeff Dreyer, Sharry Simpson and Cameron Stuckey as Rochester. $35 includes dinner, glass of wine or beer and the show. 5:30 p.m. both nights. Reservations via Sharry Simpson at 815-6159 or email Hunt Bailie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mentions: Mike the Bejkr (and don’t say baker) was praised highly in the November issue of Sunset magazine. Sheana Davis’ Epicurean Connection enjoyed a positive review in the Bay Guardian’s “Feast” section.
Roger Declercq’s and Jesus Ceja’s first chili cook-off last Saturday at Carneros Brewing Company was a great success with 23 chili entries. Judges including chefs Micheal Laukert and Norman Owens, master brewer Jesus Ceja, and Susan Weeks and Sue Holman of Sonoma’s Meals on Wheels, who tasted and judged all based on five criteria: aroma, color, consistency, taste and aftertaste.
Winners included Mark Curtis, who also won the People’s Choice Award; Rick Lachmiller, Ed Meehan, Don Caruso, Alfred Robles, Dianne McAuliffe (who won in two categories), Mike Watson and Dick Graver. The event raised nearly $1,000 for our local Meals on Wheels.
Ledson Hotel’s Centre du Vin chef Anthony Schumaker just launched a new fall menu to include burgers, vegetarian risotto, corn crusted halibut, herbed goat cheese chicken breast, beef bourguignon and grilled pork chops.
Daily specials will include Monday’s meat loaf with mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables, Tuesday’s crispy pork chops with oven-roasted potatoes and veggies, beef stew on Wednesday and buttermilk fried chicken with garlic mashes on Thursday, all at $17.
As part of the regular fall menu, you might try the frites with blue cheese butter; French onion soup; the BLTD of Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and duck confit on toasted brioche; or the half-pound short rib burger with Gruyère cheese ($4 to $15.)
Ledson Hotel also offers newly reduced seasonal room rates.
Nibs and Sips:
Sonoma Valley Democrats will have an Election Watch Potluck and Party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at their headquarters at 20079 Broadway. Bring a dish to share …Chef Curtis Dorsett expects to be back at work at Sunflower Caffé next week after a hip replacement three weeks ago at Sonoma Valley Hospital … Rebecca Gosselin and Christian Chotkowski’s revamped Proof’d tasting room and retail liquor and wine shop opened with great support last weekend … Caterer Issa Jacoby’s “Community Soup” offering at Tuesday’s final 2012 farmers market party was a huge success. Last week she scooped up veggies from vendors and created the soup. Many didn’t know they had to bring their own bowl but found a way … Colbrook Kitchen, an online new kitchen tool purveyor based in Calistoga and owned by Piper Cole, will soon start selling at home parties where customers can actually touch the utensils then might want to buy. 942-9524. Colbrookkitchen.com.
The Fat Pilgrim down on Broadway will have a “Christmas Open House” Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10 and 11, with discounted ornaments and lots of refreshments and food product samples. Fat Pilgrim will donate the large, lit Christmas tree you will see at the shop to Valley of the Moon Children’s Home. Bring a non-glass ornament or purchase one at the shop to add to the tree. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“Breaking Bread” on Sunday, Nov. 11, at Sonoma Community Center will raise funds to complete a documentary movie being made by Colin Blackshear based on Mike the Bejkr and tracing bread baking from locally grown wheat to Mike’s oven-on-wheels and our tummies.
Guests will see a sneak-peak at the film, enjoy food from Chez Panisse alum Charlene Nicholson Cannard, flatbreads from Mike himself, local beer and wine from Lagunitas and Coturri, and veggies from Oak Hill Farm and Paul’s Produce.
Arann Harris and the Farm Band, the Penny Hens and Sean Carscadden and Marty O’Reilly will play their tunes. $100 or $75 each for table of eight. 5 to 10 p.m. Tickets at brownpapertickets.com. Visit thebejkr.com for more info.
I will have to save my Amtrak food update and Los Angeles tricks and treats for next Friday. Let’s keep those suffering in the eastern U.S. in our thoughts and prayers.