Cinco de Mayo; Wedding bells;
CIA Café; Tastings and Tomatoes everywhere; Nibs & Sips
Yes, Virginia, Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow, Saturday already.
All of our Mexican restaurants will celebrate in some way, but Rancho Viejo’s plans sound especially enticing. Co-owner Genny Barrios, who did so much to feed people at last month’s Sonoma International Film Festival, relays that they will have $5 margaritas starting at 11 a.m., a Mexican folkloric dance group from 5 to 6 p.m., the Carlos Herrera Band trio from 6 to 9 p.m., all followed by karaoke from 9:30 p.m. on. Barrios said she liked their music so much at the festival’s Backlot Tent that she hired them.
All this set in their new patio festooned with colorful flowers and a protective wall to celebrate “our first official Grand Opening party” the restaurant never had, according to Barrios. 18976 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma. 939-3663. ranchoviejosonoma.com.
Robledo Family Winery will feature Executive Chef Maria Robledo’s personal Mexican cuisine paired with Robledo wines, folkloric dancing and live music by Luna Itzel of Cabo San Lucas on Saturday. Lots of wine specials. $45 public, $35 wine club. Noon to 4 p.m. Call Nadine at 939-6903 for tickets.
La Casa Restaurant across Spain Street from the Mission will offer its regular menu, including great margaritas, and DJ music in the El Paseo patio.
Sunflower Caffé features the colorful watercolors of former Sonoma mayor and Murphy’s Irish Pub founder Larry Murphy today at is First Friday Artist Reception. Murphy makes Sonoma look like Paris in his paintings. Michael Muscardini will pour his personal wines. 5 to 7 p.m. 421 First St. W., Sonoma. 996-6645.
Check out “Color Groove,” the ’60s-inspired Mix art party at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art Saturday, May 5, with music by DJ Couleur, colorful hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Café 522 and wine donated by Beaulieu Vineyards and Provenance Vineyards. The museum’s Café Gaga will offer refreshments while “Captain Lou” mixes cocktails. Be sure to see the “Color Theory” exhibit in the gallery. After party happens after at Café 522. Mix parties are no longer restricted to under 35s. 7 to 11 p.m. Free to museum members. Get discounted $25 membership at door for one entry, after party and one year membership to SVMA.
The national Women for WineSense’s 12-chapter organization meets for its three-day education and networking extravaganza on at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena this weekend, according to Napa-Sonoma chapter president Christine Mueller.
Today’s events include a welcome reception and grand tasting of wines from 15 wineries with hors d’oeuvres and Margrit Mondavi. $60 members, $70 non-members. A few tickets remain for Saturday’s winery tours of Gabrielle Collection, Round Pond, Signorello, Rodeno (Michaela Rodeno) and Tres Sabores (Julie Johnson). $60 members, $70 non-members.
Sunday brings seminars on food and wine pairings, careers in the wine business, Washington and Texas wine tastings, and a luncheon with awards and silent auction. $190 members, $240 non-members. grandevent.org.
Colby Eierman, the genius behind the late Copia’s vast gardens and now gardening at Stone Edge Farm and consulting to our Sonoma School Garden Project, will introduce his new book, “Fruit Trees in Small Spaces: Abundant Harvests from Your Own Backyard” on Tuesday, May 8, at Stone Edge Farm. Signed book $24.95. 5 p.m. Get address by emailing John McReynolds at email@example.com.
Wild Thyme’s Dining Club Rive Gauche at the Grange last week was such a huge sold-out success that Joanne and Keith Filipello have scheduled the next one, Cuisine of Morocco with the fabulous local belly dance superstar Nathalie Tedrick performing.
Keith will prepare one of my favorites, his Moroccan salad sampler of orange and radish, beet and cucumber salads; B’stilla chicken and almond filo; lamb tagine with chickpea couscous; and citrus sorbet with Moroccan coconut macaroons. Menu and music $35 or $25 to card-carrying Grange members and first timers; BYOW, no corkage. Service extra. Reservations a must at 996-0900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A whole gaggle of Sonoma Plaza Kiwanis members recently turned out to clean ceiling, cabinets, stove, freezers and fridges and anything tied down at Meals on Wheels headquarters kitchen at Trinity Church. Getting down and dirty were John Brady, Harry Boon, B. Cullen, Randy Derwingson, Pam Gibson, Sy Lenz, Bob Nicholas, Jack Nisson, Peter Nova, Swede Thoreson, Hon. Diane Wick, Roger Wright, Mary Evelyn Arnold and club President Lea Ronald.
Our local Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers two excellent meals a day to about 60 clients who cannot get out to shop or cook for themselves.
Help middle school sports:
The parent organizations of both Adele Harrison and Altimira middle schools will hold a fundraiser aiming to raise $52,000 to bring back cut sports programs to the two schools on Saturday, May 12. The ever family friendly Larson Family Winery will host a taco dinner cooked by Ramon Contreras and Tyler Phillips, formerly of Sage. Enjoy tacos de carne asada and pollo asada, rice, beans and cabbage slaw, plus dancing. $35. 6 p.m. Tickets on sale at all schools except high school.
Café 522 catered the opening last Friday of Bryter Estate’s opening in Melissa Detert’s “Vine Alley” next to the Church Mouse. Bryan and Terin Ignozzi (get it? Bry and Ter equals Bryter?) hosted sips of their interesting wines, which Terin makes herself in the old Italian basement-style her father and grandfather. Their fruit comes from Sonoma coast, Santa Barbara and Napa Valley. Bryan’s parents, Jan and Ken Ignozzi, flew out from Florida for the occasion.
Café 522 also catered Walt Wines’ opening last night to celebrate Ambassador Kathryn Hall’s purchase of Roessler, which she converted to Walt, her maiden name. Who turned up hosting at Walt and serves as Hall Winery’s newish events coordinator but John Cowles, late of his Hungarian-German Lokal restaurant on Broadway.
“Bachelor” Ben Flajnik, Mike Benziger and Danny Fay are looking for tasting room space around the Plaza, with strong rumors that they and another local wine family might also go into the “Vine Alley” complex.
By the way, Flajnik told me about three weeks ago that he and Courtney are, indeed, engaged and getting along just fine, thank you very much. He was most thoughtful when the first thing that came out of his mouth was his condolences about Jerry passing away.
After asking for tailoring contacts on Facebook, Crisp Bakeshop owners, pastry chef Andrea Koweek and Chef Moaya Scheiman got married Sunday at beautiful Beltane Ranch, according to bakeshop staff.
Sonoma’s Best co-owner Tom Jenkins is giddy with his new “Hot Diggity Dog Menu” featuring Hebrew National all-beef franks and Fra’Mani classic and spicy Italian sausages. Names range from “The Mutt-no breeding whatsoever” to “The Sonoma Dog – like Chicago only better,” and a weekly local naming ($3 to $6).
Jenkins is again making his not quite famous gazpacho and selling Michoacana’s homemade fruit bar popsicles. 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 1190 E. Napa St., Sonoma. 996-7600.
Last Saturday took us to the garage sale of Amelia and chef Todd Humphries (Campton Place, Martini House with Pat Kuleto, and now their excellent Kitchen Door at Oxbow) in St. Helena. The Humphries family is moving to Napa to be closer to their new and yummy restaurant. While we bought a few things, the gifts they gave me for the Kathleen Hill Culinary Collection are priceless. Amelia said, “I told Todd he just had to get rid of things.”
Some of their memorabilia will join Sondra Bernstein’s menu collection in the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s exhibit of my collection in 2013.
Meanwhile, since Pat Kuleto entered a new marriage and sold his winery to Bill Foley, Martini House closed and has just reopened as Goose & Gander under the guidance of owner Andrew Florsheim and chef Kelly McCown, with Scott Beattie, cocktail consultant to Cyrus restaurant, overseeing the bar.
Discovery: After we left the Silverado Trail we moseyed over to the Culinary Institute of America on Highway 29 (St. Helena’s Main Street) and discovered their brand new Bakery Café by Illy adjoining the retail store. Naming rights for almost very room at the CIA have been sold to sponsors.
CIA baking and pastry arts students and faculty create, bake, sell and serve everything in the café, with great success. You can expect light fare of salads, flatbread topped with salad, a half sandwich with soup or salad, housemade Kennebec potato chips, cold sandwiches such as a muffaletta with Molinari soppressata, spicy coppa and mortadella; Marin French Brie on a baguette, pork banh mi and a pretzel bread with prosciutto and gruyère, plus a selection of warm sandwiches ($3 to $8.25). The cookies, desserts and breads are delish, and the service was smooth and highly professional, all done by students. Inexpensive Illy coffee and espresso drinks ($1.25 to $3), specialty soft drinks, Dammann Frères loose teas, and beer and wine available. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Corte Madera’s Book Passage bookstore sponsored a dinner last Sunday at the Left Bank in Larkspur featuring hilarious Elizabeth (Liz) Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” and her new book, “At Home on the Range.” The book is really by Gilbert’s great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter, a once-wealthy alcoholic food columnist who lived “irresponsibly” and had a blast.
From the book’s recipes, Left Bank staff prepared toasts topped with shrimp with curried mayonnaise, ham salad and tasty avocado pâté. Second course was an excellent pea Vichyssoise, followed by lamb stew and a “triffle” that most people finished, whether or not they intended to. Wines poured freely, as did books.
All money from sales goes to McSweeney’s publishing founder Dave Eggers’ educational nonprofits, 826 National and ScholarMatch, which have tutoring centers around the country and help students with tuition and other expenses that make or break their opportunities to attend college.
Gilbert dropped into Readers’ Books on Wednesday and signed their copies as well.
Nibs & Sips:
The Olive Press just garnered best of show, best of class and a gold medal for Deborah Rogers’ Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition 2012 and two best of show awards and golds at the Yolo County Fair, continuing their reign as “the most highly awarded olive oil producer in California.” … Glen Ellen Star restaurant, the newest baby of French Laundry alum Chef Ari Weiswasser and Erinn Benziger-Weiswasser, will actually open Tuesday, May 18, at the old Saffron site in Glen Ellen. Watch for lots of wood-fire oven cuisine cooked in clay. The Weiswassers have pledged $5 of every $15 corkage to the new Jack London State Park Foundation to keep the park open. 343-1384 or email@example.com … El Molino Central in Boyes Hot Springs, Karen Waikiki’s newest venture, an outgrowth of her Primavera tamales and more, received a highly praising page in last Thursday’s San Francisco Chronicle “96 Hours” insert “Chow Down” feature.
Valley of the Moon Garden Club will have its Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, May 12, including perennials, annuals, veggies, herbs, succulents and lots more at 698 Broadway (pink house with cacti in front). 9 a.m. to noon.
Meanwhile, Sonoma Mission Gardens has hundreds of tomato plants and varieties and Wedekind’s Garden Center has Frank Wedekind’s special hearty tomato among many others.
Denise Ward will give a free vegetable patch seminar at Sonoma Mission Gardens Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m. Call 938-5775 to reserve your seat. Limited to 50.