Café La Haye in Wine Spectator
Olive & Vine food & wine wedding; Foie gras fade; New old names at SVVGA; More Father’s Day; Nibs & Sips
Café La Haye and owner Saul Gropman enjoy a great story in the June Wine Spectator, while Olive & Vine had a terrific review and spread in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Speaking of Olive & Vine, owner/chef Catherine Venturini and her sommelier/guitarist John Burdick actually got married a couple of weeks ago at Villa Pietra, a friend’s elegant Italianate estate high atop Kenwood.
Previously I wrote about how Burdick wrote her a song, took her to their favorite Sonoma Mountain secret spot and sang his proposal to Catherine. As part of the wedding ceremony he sang the song again to her for all of us, with most guests, including me, left in tears.
With others, I had teased Catherine about who would cater the wedding, and she ended up having her “girls” do the food. Large ample platters were passed at each table set up in the house’s courtyard, ranging from salad and salumi to platters of pork, chicken and sausage and endless food through the evening, complete with a Mexican wedding cake. Burdick’s sister sang an aria and music played until the wee hours.
A few seats remain for Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s Wet Paint gala dinner and auction on Sunday, June 17, dubbed “Feast on Art” this year, will be at Ramekins Culinary School and Events Center to support the museum’s year-round exhibitions and programs. Former Ramekins owner Suzanne Brangham promises an artistic and fun evening.
Fine local artists will create new work on the spot in Ramekins’ courtyard. You can watch great pizza making in a wood-fired oven and sip wines before a three-course dinner, wines from Charles Creek, Hughes Family and Muscardini Cellars and more art in Ramekins Grand Ballroom. The always hilarious Squire Fridell will serve as auctioneer.
A special raffle features a trip for two to Cuba, while the auction includes dinner for 12 at the newly renovated Spreckles mansion. Bid on art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Chester Arnold, Brigitte McReynolds and Will Combs for starters. $250. 5:30 p.m. Get tickets quickly at 939-7862.
Last Wednesday’s “Dining Club Rive Gauche” cooked and hosted by Wild Thyme’s Joanne and Keith Filipello at Sonoma Valley Grange, was
such a sell-out that Wild Thyme had to keep a waiting list.
Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras producers Junny and Guillermo Gonzalez contributed foie gras, which everyone sampled on small toasts that accompanied sorrel soup from Wild Thyme’s garden. Having ceased production at their Central Valley farm because of a new state law prohibiting the duck feeding process, Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras will be out of ducks and livers by the end of this month. All they have are committed. But don’t worry. The Gonzalez family is extremely enterprising and industrious and already has plans for alternative endeavors.
Sonoma’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Grand Marshal’s Banquet will be at Cline Cellars again on Friday, June 22, featuring Oakland A’s former manager, vegetarian and animal rescuer Tony La Russa and legendary drivers Donnie Allison and Marvin Panch. La Russa also managed the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals after becoming a lawyer.
Elaine Bell will cater the reception and sit-down dinner. Wines will come from Thirty-Seven Winery and Paradise View Wines. All proceeds benefit Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. $250. Reserve via Denise Silver at 933-3950 or email@example.com.
Wild Thyme’s next Rive Gauche on Wednesday, June 27, at the Sonoma Valley Grange will feature a Southwest theme with Sonoma’s Tommy Thomson, the king of western swing and blues, accompanying a menu of gazpacho and pickled shrimp, Caesar salad, green chili cornbread, baby back ribs with potato salad and an old fashioned peach and berry shortcake with coffee. $35. BYOW, no corkage. 7 p.m. Reserve early at 996-0900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance just hired two recent Cal Poly graduates who majored in wine, viticulture and agriculture business, Taylor Serres and Mia Stornetta. Both are daughters of distinguished Sonoma Valley farming and viticulture families, Judy and John Serres and Mark and Pat Leveroni Stornetta.
Michael Muscardini, his Muscardini Cellars and Ty Caton host a “Friends and Family” (everyone is a friend or family) tasting and sale on Tuesday, June 19, at 8910 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. Muscardini will offer 50 percent discounts on most wines and 30 percent off merchandise from 5 to 8 p.m.
Muscardini will move his tasting room at the end of this year down the road to the “Red Schoolhouse,” currently the Family Winemakers Tasting Room. Muscardini will add a deli case for picnicking on the grounds. Jennifer Kosko will manage the tasting room and Muscardini will have his office on site.
Tin Barn Vineyards winemaker and founder Michael Lancaster will present a winemaker dinner outdoors at Estate Restaurant on Wednesday, June 20. Lancaster will introduce his “Joon” Rosé of Syrah. According to Amy Tsaykel, Joon means “dear” in Persian, not June as in swoon.
Estate chef Brian West will prepare a baby spinach and arugula salad; Arctic char with summer squash risotto or penne with spicy lamb sausage, followed by rosé-basil sorbet with a black pepper agnolotti cookie. $75 public, $50 wine club members. 7 to 10 p.m. 400 W. Spain St., Sonoma. Reserve at 938-5430 or email@example.com.
Frozen Art Mexican ice cream store just opened next to Shiso Sushi in Maxwell Village, with owner Jorge Alcázar competing directly with Michoacana Natural Ice Cream next to Plain Jane’s. Alcázar makes his ice cream in Santa Rosa and suffered the opening day misfortune of having one of his display freezers conk out. He also sells at the Tuesday night farmers market.
Personally, I prefer the more intense fresh flavors at Michoacana, but Alcázar offers some unusual tastes including rose petal, strawberry butter, red zin and cinnamon-fried tortilla ice cream. 331-2899.
Fred and Barbara White Perry will host “Art in the Vineyard,” featuring guests’ art and their vineyard, to benefit Vintage House on Saturday, June 23. The combo watercolor workshop and lunch cooked by Freddie “The Cookie King” Perry is sold out, but 12 lucky seats remain for lunch tickets at $100, to be accompanied by wines from Buena Vista Winery. Perry is a talented home chef. Barbara recently left me some meatloaf Fred made and it was elegant and delish.
Lunch will be served in their vineyard courtyard with a “dessert buffet fit for Picasso.” All money will be donated to Vintage House. The Perrys are donating everything. $100. 12:30 p.m. To reserve a seat at lunch call Delores or Linda at Vintage House 996-0311.
Ethel and Gene Daly hosted substantial supporters of the Bay Institute in the lovely gardens behind their home Saturday, where we all got brief and fascinating recitations of nine San Francisco Bays’ histories over several thousand years. Among the Institute’s goals is to restore bay wetlands to the level when ships sailed up Petaluma River and Sonoma Creek.
Bay Institute president and CEO John Frawley explained that the organization bought the “Aquarium of the Bay” on Pier 39 from Darius Anderson three years ago and is working
to turn it into a major attraction.
Among the Sonomans who enjoyed a healthy lunch from Executive Chef Bruce Riezenman of Park Avenue Catering in Cotati and the new Park 121 at CornerStone were Maggie and Peter Haywood, Suzanne Brangham and Jack Lundgren, Ann Peden, Karen Collins, Anne Brewer, Helen Giss, Marty and Norm Buckhardt, Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie, and Jim Kuhns, who, with wife, Linda, is super involved with Bay Keeper, which works to keep the bay waters clean.
The buffet lunch included grilled chicken Provençal with feta and roasted, farfalle pasta salad with snap peas and corn; roasted beets and orange salad; and crème brûlée with a sous chef who torched each ramekin individually to crystallize the sugar.
More Father’s Day:
My own father, George Edward Thompson, specialized in cinnamon toast on Kilpatrick’s bread, loaded with butter, sugar and cinnamon. Every day was father’s day chez Hill and I cooked Jerry’s favorites always. The more mayonnaise the better. The kids used to call him “the human garbage can” who would eat anything.
Here are more suggestions of places to honor your father, aside from just being with the family and spoiling him at home. Probably a low-cholesterol diet should follow.
Breakaway Café will feed dad a flat iron steak and eggs with grilled onions and mushrooms, red potatoes and toast ($15.50); eggs scrambled with chicken and habanera sausage, corn, pasilla peppers, onions and cheddar ($11.95); Grand Marnier French toast with strawberries and blueberries ($10.50) and a salmon cake and avocado Benedict with chipotle Hollandaise ($13.50). 996-5949.
Centre du Vin in the Ledson Hotel will offer a “Man’s Benedict” consisting of “prime filet,” eggs and Hollandaise on ciabatta bread for $20. 480 First St. E., Sonoma. 996-9779.
Rancho Viejo will have Carlos Herrera Trio playing from 5 to 8 p.m. with their regular menu. Try their new sautéed mushroom and shrimp enchilada-delish. Great new patio seating. One free beer for dad from 2 to 5. 18976 Sonoma Highway next to McDonald’s.
Santé restaurant at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Michelin one-star chef Andrew Cain will prepare a “manly 13-ounce Kobe-style Wagyu beef sirloin with mashed potatoes and baby vegetables ($75) and a Marin Sun Farms 10-ounce burger with fries and a draft beer for $20 at the poolside Water Tower Café. The Big 3 will have a mixed grill plate of New York steak, shrimp and chicken breast with veggies and mac ‘n’ cheese ($39). Reservations: 938-9000.
Nibs & Sips:
Pearl’s Diner offers a new weekday summer breakfast special of two eggs any style, a pancake or French toast and two bacon strips or sausage links for $5. Add coffee or small juice for just $1. 8 to 11 a.m. 561 Fifth St. W., Sonoma. 996-1783 … Café 522 now serves Chef Alex’s southern shrimp po’ boy sandwich and a grilled chicken sandwich made with Mary’s organic chicken and braised bacon, pickled onion and sweet apples, a lunch size pan-roasted sole, and a Niman Ranch burger. Plus regular menu … Sunflower Caffé owner James Hahn will keep the café open “late” until 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting tonight with new tofu and minted pea bruschetta, grilled Persian chicken and herb salad flat bread, and black bean grilled cheese on Basque multigrain bread, plus the regular menu.
A special note: Someone who signed her email “Sandy B.” wrote to me about the delightful free Memorial Day lunch where Rotary cooked burgers donated by Santa Rosa Burger King, served by veterans and Native Daughters of the Golden West Sonoma Parlor 209.
Sandy B. told me I “trashed” Burger King by saying their burgers shrank from six to four inches across, as is the way with all hamburgers. The quarter-pounder burgers were still good and more than filled their buns, and everyone thankfully enjoyed and appreciated them.
Sandy B. called me “ungrateful” and “snide” and suggested Burger King would never donate to us again because of me. I certainly hope they do. The Memorial Day luncheon at the Sonoma Valley Vetrans Memorial Building is a true community treasure. We also loved the charming service and attention the Daisies, Brownies and Girl Scouts gave to everyone. Besides, we find Burger Kings reliably consistent fast food joints to stop at while traveling our highways and byways.
Send your goodies to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.