Chuck Williams visits Sonoma; Schell- Vista Chicken BBQ Sunday
Sonoma Valley Fund launches with delicious eats; Envolve Winery opens tasting room
Happy Friday the 13th to all! Our lucky day!
Chuck Williams, the gentleman founder of Williams-Sonoma, recently visited the storefront he converted from a hardware store next to the U.S. Post Office into the beginnings of the corporate empire of today. As many have learned, Williams-Sonoma has purchased that building, and Williams reminisced about the black-and-white tile he installed years ago. Apparently Williams-Sonoma plans to create an historic replica of Mr. Williams’ first store on the site.
Following their tour, he and accompanying W-S staff enjoyed lunch at Sondra Bernstein’s the girl & the fig. Bernstein gave each visitor one of her new “Plats du Jour” cookbooks. In return, Mr. Williams sent her one of his biographies and tremendous compliments for her lovely book.
Check sonomanews.com for all of the Bastille Day events in my last Friday’s column.
Do not miss the Schell-Vista Fire Department’s annual chicken BBQ, Sunday, July 15, at Station 1, meaning in Schellville. It’s a great local social event with silent auction, a great feast of half barbecued chicken, beans, salad and bread, with Mrs. Mitch (Nilda) Mulas herself serving the beans for the umptiumpth year. Fun food and people. Support our much needed and valued fire departments. $10 bargain. Noon to 6 p.m.
Ravenswood Winery’s annual “Sonoma Ink” Tatto “Coming Out” Party and Poetry Slam on Saturday, July 14. Those with the David Lance Goines-designed Ravenswood logo permanently tattooed somewhere on their bodies get free wine tastes. You can also get air-brushed tats on site, best tattoo of the day award, appetizers, sips of Ravenswood Single Vineyard Designate Zinfandels. Poetry welcomed. $15, waived for wearers of permanent Ravenswood tattoos. Noon to 4:30 p.m. 18701 Gehricke Road, Sonoma. 933-2336.
Robledo Family Winery offers a Hog Island oyster and wine pairing on Saturday, accompanied by chef Maria Robledo’s salsas and sauvignon blanc. $35 wine club, $45 public. Noon to 2 p.m. 21901 Bonness Road, Sonoma. Contact Nadine at 939-6903 or email@example.com.
Larson Family Winery will host an all-hospitality industry party and Cowboy Cookout Barbecue on Wednesday, July 18, with music by the Cork Pullers, dancing, wagon rides, Cowboy Golf, pulled pork sliders, beans and cole slaw. Bring a bottle of wine to share. 6 p.m. 2355 Millerick Road, Sonoma. Reserve by calling Jen at 938-3031, ext. 25, or larsonfamilywinery.com.
Sommelier Christopher Sawyer launched his third annual outdoor “Stars Under the Stars Film Festival” Thursday night at St. Francis Winery, showing Mel Brooks’ classic “Blazing Saddles.” Sawyer pairs St. Francis wines with each movie, sometime with several scenes, all his own interpretations.
Next up will be Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” on July 19, followed on July 26 by Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun.” Other films to be screened include “Mamma Mia,” “Groundhog Day” and “American Beauty.” For more information and schedule, check stfranciswinery.com.
Following a special WillMar Artist Series Barrel Tasting event at Gloria Ferrer recently, Gloria Ferrer Vice President of Production Mike Crumbly gave WillMar executive director Barbara Cullen a check for $25,000 as an advance on expected sales of their special 2011 WillMar Pinot Noir, to be released in 2014.
Plan to attend Gloria Ferrer’s annual Catalan Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22. The sparkling and still wines are always excellent, the Catalan and Spanish food is always delicious, and the Flamenco dancing and other entertainment are definitely happy-making. Eric Symons will play classical Spanish guitar and there will be paella demos, grape stomps, wine seminars and a new re-creation of the popular Barcelona main street Las Ramblas. $50 advance, $55 at door, $42.50 wine club members and under 21. 933-1999 or gloriaferrer.com/catalan-festival.
Sonoma Valley Fund launched its “Legacy Circle” with a reception organized by Karen Collins and Martha Rosenblatt at the elegant home of Jerry Biers a couple of weeks ago. An affiliate of the Community Fund of Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley Fund encourages people to commit a portion (of any size) of their estate either to the fund or to one or more of the fund’s 21 Sonoma nonprofit members.
Bob Rice of the Breakaway Café catered the event and several guests insisted we try the curried chicken salad sliders, which were fabulous. Many people assembled a dinner from the salmon confit on crostini, asparagus spears and sweet ripened apricot quarters draped with prosciutto.
Among the generous supporters and representatives of recipient agencies were Libby Brady, whose husband, John, tended the wine bar with Randy Derwingson, boardmember Manuel Merjil, Marchelle and Curt Carleton, former Ambassador Ted Eliot, Mabeth and Bill Sanderson, Marcia and Jim Levy, former school Superintendent Marilyn Kelly, Nancy King, Paul Curreri, Jean and Roy Knapp, Holly and Steve Kyle, Janette Evans, Whitney Evans, Joyce and Steve Pease, outgoing Sonoma Community Center Executive Director Kathy Swett and new Executive Director Toni Castrone, Deborah and John Emery, Jeff and Laura Zimmerman, Phyllis and John Gurney, Barbara Wimmer, Bettie Allen, Beth and Joe Aaron, Jane Milotich, Jim Wittes, Cynthia Scarborough, Donna Halow, Hope and Jack Nisson, and Kathy Witkowicki. Another former superintendent of schools, Barbara Young, served as emcee.
Chhiring Sherpa and Nima Sherpa (who works at Sonoma Meritâge) have opened the new Himalayan Sherpa Kitchen at 1148 Main St., in St. Helena, across from Sunshine Market. The location used to house C-C Blue, a Japanese restaurant. Chhiring’s wife, Shova, manages Taste of Himalayas in Sonoma and supports our Sonoma School Garden Project by buying eggs and vegetables every Thursday afternoon from the farmers market across the way in Murphy’s Irish Pub’s Snug.
Meanwhile, Neela Paniz will soon close her Neela’s Contemporary Indian Restaurant, which opened in downtown Napa in 2009. Neela, who had owned restaurants in the Los Angeles area, became an “overnight” national media star with her personal version of Indian food.
In March, Neela renamed the place Neela’s and Paco’s, adding Cuban food on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Apparently that didn’t work, and she looks forward to spending lots more time with her grandchildren.
Paul’s Produce has opened a Saturday-only produce stand behind the old Romberg’s across from Brocco’s Old Barn on Arnold Drive. Take the east side of Orange Avenue behind the buildings.
Most of us have driven with precious cargo in our cars: spouses or partners in labor, babies, soufflés, mousses, people coming home from surgery, even deviled eggs sliding around on trays.
Monday, I drove my still-fueled Olympic torch, wrapped in a towel and seat belted into the back seat, to our grandson, Sawyer Freschi’s, pre-school in Concord. The school was celebrating “Torch Day” as part of learning during “Olympics Week.” After the session, daughter Erin and I took, Sawyer to Pixieland, also in Concord, for a special treat. Erin, wisely, got half-price tickets off the Internet for the mini-amusement park.
Then came lunch, an orgy of junk food: Sweetish deep fried corn dogs came with deep fried fries and/or onion rings (actually good), hot dogs and Polish dogs not deep fried, and then fries and/or onion rings. Or there was ice cream or candy. Erin’s corn dog squirted grease at her but, thankfully, mine didn’t. More healthful food, maybe?
The Sonoma-Napa chapter of La Chaine des Rôtisseurs dines at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn’s Michelin one-star Santé restaurant on Saturday, July 21, with chef Andrew Cain’s finest. Guests will enjoy a sparkling wine reception, hearts of palm salad with poached peaches, brioche-crusted Loch Duart Salmon and artichokes, coulotte of wagyu ribeye and a white and dark chocolate mousse with toasted espresso and Grand-Marnier Sabayon, wines included. $250. 6:30 p.m. reception, dinner at 8 p.m. Call Eugene Daly at 996-8666 for more information.
In a rare treat, the super private Sangiacomo family opens its vineyards for a Mentoring Alliance benefit luncheon on Sunday, July 22. The Carrtunes will entertain along with lunch and special Sangiacomos’ treasured red and white wines. $100. Reserve at 938-1990.
Ramekins Culinary School hosts Petaluma meat expert Marissa Guggiana for a class called “Making a Chicken Last: Butchering Techniques” on Sunday, July 29. Many of us heard Guggiana at Readers’ Books a few months ago. As founder of the national Butchers’ Guild and part of a longtime meat butchering and packing family, she knows her stuff and will teach how to butcher the chicken and make the most of all of its parts. She is also author of “Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers.”
In this hands-on and demonstration class, Guggiana will show how to butcher a chicken brick style, half-boneless and a chicken galantine. In the end, it will all be served with roasted potatoes and vegetables. $80. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Limited to 20 people. 933-0450 or ramekins.com.
Petar Kirilov just officially became winemaker for Tom Meadowcroft’s Meadowcroft, Thomas Henry and Foyt Family labels, all made in Sebastopol. Kirilov is also founder of vinoenology.com. Kirilov grew up in Bulgaria, graduated from its University of Food Technologies with a master’s in beverage technology, and first worked at a Bulgarian factory making high alcohol beverages. Beginning in the U.S. at Truchard Vineyards in 2003, he next moved to Vinovation. Sample Kirilov’s wines at Meadowcroft’s tasting room at CornerStone, 23574 Arnold Drive, Sonoma
Nibs & Sips:
Kate Eilertsen, executive director of Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, and exhibitor Lawrence Felinghetti were featured in most of “Miss Bigelow” column in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle … Envolve Winery and its famous bachelors have opened their tasting room in “Vine Alley” off Napa Street and pour tastes and good looks daily … Café 522 is no longer open for lunch, but still serves brunch on the weekends and dinner Tuesday through Sunday … Laura and Mark Havlek served yummy root beer floats to friends and family behind their Sign of the Bear kitchenware emporium on July 4. Watch for a Japanese master knife maker from Sakai to forge a knife in front of the store on Aug. 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. … Smart Sonoma brewer and restaurateur Dean Biersch will expand his HopMonk Tavern mini-chain to the short-lived Southern Pacific Smokehouse space near Costco in Novato’s Vintage Oaks Shopping Center north of the junction of Highways 101 and 37.