Crocodiles at Buena Vista? Wine Auction Bollywood
Studebaker BBQ; La Chaine des Rotisseurs; National Heirloom Exposition; Winery tragedies
At the celebration of Jean-Charles Boisset’s renovation and reinvigoration of Buena Vista Winery, Chef Michel Cornu, who serves as Boisset’s director of cuisine and hospitality, indeed created crocodile sliders, which many people mistook for crabcakes. I actually preferred the crocodile to the excellent pulled pork sliders.
Guests also nibbled on excellent cornbread bites topped with butternut squash purée and little cups of “goulash.” And then there were the wines. Everyone took home the best gift bags in ages containing a bottle each of 1999 Tokaji Asz and “The Count of Buena Vista” Founder’s Red Wine, along with an Almanac and Biodynamic Calendar and a Count of Buena Vista bobblehead doll. Not sure if it is modeled after Abraham Lincoln, the “Count,” or George Webber, currently employed fulltime by Boisset to play “The Count.”
We welcome Boisset to Sonoma with open arms, particularly as he seems to involve himself in the community when he owns wineries throughout the Napa Valley, France, Quebec and Italy. He attended last Sunday’s Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean and sat with Gene and Ethel Daly, both of whom are recovering from Gene’s recent knee
Watch for Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s “celebrity” fundraiser Saturday, Dec. 1 at Buena Vista featuring both Jean-Charles Boisset and his wife, Gina Gallo.
Speaking of the Dalys, they will host La Chaine des Rôtisseurs event at their “Hacienda de los Arboles” on Sunday, Sept. 9. The nibble and sip event is billed as “Un Grande Festa Antipasti” featuring the Napa-Sonoma chapter’s wine guru, Ron Fenolio.
Fenolio will prepare antipasti based on those at Da Paolino on the Isle of Capri, and serve Italian wines from his own collection. Play bocce, croquet, horseshoes or “just curl up in the hammock for a post-tiramisu nap.” Three Tenors will perform. Anyone who might like to join is welcome. $95. 2 p.m. 21925 Hyde Road, Sonoma. RSVP quickly to email@example.com.
Studebaker Cheesecake will barbecue hamburgers, lamb, chili, savory scones and lots of side dishes in front of the bakery/café Saturday, Sept. 8, to welcome 48 Studebakers for “International Drive Your Studebaker Day.” This should be interesting. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 248 W. Napa St., Sonoma.
The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers’ and Sonoma County Vintners, “Sonoma Shambala” Harvest Wine Auction Sunday at Chateau St. Jean topped everything on the spectacular scale. Among my favorites were Douglas Keane of Cyrus Restaurant’s lobster with avocado purée and melon served as an appetizer in porcelain spoons and the extremely sexy and acrobatic Indian dancers. As guests arrived they also nibbled on Yeti Restaurant’s naan with olive oil and Ramekins’ curry and red chili cured lomo with paneer and tomato.
That would be both the professional dancers and the Ladies of Magnum Force, led by choreographer Suzy Fridell with some help from Ramona Nicholson, who actually knows lots of traditional Indian dances. Students from the Santa Rosa Junior College Culinary Program served food all afternoon, aided by a large group of local volunteers garbed in attractive turquoise Shambala Sonoma T-shirts.
Always fun and serious Duskie Estes of ZaZu restaurant & farm made a delicious saffron roasted cauliflower puri with mint and tamarind chutneys; Catherine Venturini of Olive & Vine prepared a salad with figs, pistachios, Redwood Hill goat cheese and pomegranate vinaigrette; Carlo Cavallo of Sonoma Meritâge made a stacked “lasagna” with rock shrimp and squash with curry Pernod sauce; Josh Silvers of Petite Syrah did spiced braised lamb with lentils, and desserts were created by Octavio Alcantar of Barndiva and Moaya Scheiman and Andrea Koweek of Crisp Bakeshop. While the desserts were served back outside the white tent and many of us missed them, they were reportedly divine including Crisp’s chocolate ginger goat cheesecake, Mano saffron ice box cake and chai shortbread cookies.
Keane said that “talks are going on” between him and Kenwood Investments for possible restaurant sites, “not at Estate,” he emphasized. For now, Keane’s smile stretches from the sun to the moon while talking about his Green Dog Rescue Project.
While there were two bids at $25,000 and one at $50,000 to fund-a-need, possibly the most thrilling lot went to Barbara Pascoe for a helicopter ride under the Golden Gate Bridge. You go, girl!
In the huge crowd were Daryll and CeeCee Ponicsan, Anya and Michael Crain, Ginny and Larry Krieger, Alis and Richard Arrowood, Joe Benziger, Ellie Price and Chris Towt, Jan and Congressman Mike Thompson, Darius Anderson, Joel Peterson, Carolyn and Bob Stone, Jean Arnold Sessions, Eva Bertran and David Brown, Cherie and Keith Hughes, Vickie Mulas and Dennis Pallo, Ed and Barbara Pascoe, David and So Jung Dolquist, Erin and Dale Downing, Steve Sullivan, Liz and Bruce Green, Sharon and Richard Nevins, Nancy and Tony Lily, lots of Sangiacomos, Andrew Mariani, Mark and Mona Couchman, Charlie Smith and Ninie Phoon, John and Judy Serres, Lori and Rick Miron, and Marchelle and Curt Carleton.
Locals Kurt Krauthamer, famed drummer Roy Blumenthal, and Nancy King of Pets Lifeline combined efforts to give birth to a budding new music festival last week at Sonoma Community Center’s Andrews Hall. The music opened with Sean Carscadden and Marty O’Reilly, and moved on to the brand new (they had rehearsed twice) Talk That Talk band featuring Blumenthal and lead singer Stephanie Keyes, who replaced Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Some great pick-up food picked up the Rotary Kitchen with a lovely quinoa salad with dried fruit and toasted almonds, a freshly-made gazpacho, three flavorful pizzas made on large flour tortillas and Blue Bottle Coffee, all overseen by Tom Jenkins of Sonoma’s Best. Harvey Cohn and his Gourmet Donuts were there to tempt after all those healthy choices, along with Bonnie Tempesta and her fabulously crunchy and light Boncora Bicotti, currently available exclusively at Sonoma’s Best.
Boy Scout Troop # 222 will host its inaugural Pancake Breakfast during the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ “All American Bad Ass Car Show” Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building on First Street West to raise money to “go on exciting outings and buy the equipment they need.” Adults $7, children and seniors $5. 8 to 11 a.m. Tickets available at the door.
The famous Johnny’s Appliances and Classic Ranges is for sale. A mere $495,000 will get you the building and all of those fabulous old stoves from the 1900s to 1960s, some modernized and some waiting for TLC. The owner wants to flee to his vacation home in Mexico. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays or by appointment. 17549 Sonoma Highway, Boyes Hot Springs. 996-9730 or 415-334-2187.
Food fans might consider attending the second National Heirloom Exposition next Tuesday through Thursday, at the Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. Speakers will include Monsanto GMO foe Percy Schmeiser, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, and India’s Dr. Vandana Shiva among 73 others. Lots of vendors of interesting foods and products. Organized by the Petaluma Seed Bank. Adults $10, $25 for all three days, kids 17 and under free. More info at 773-1336. Tickets at TheHeirloomExpo.com.
Local Democrats will host a Grand Opening Party at their new headquarters with lots of potluck appetizers and beverages on Thursday, Sept. 13. Meet local and regional candidates. Free. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 20079 Broadway, Sonoma. svdemocrats.com.
Join me Friday, Sept. 14, to celebrate the opening of my Dairy & Egg utensils and collections exhibit at the League for Historic Preservation’s Maysonnave House. You will see everything from old Romberg Dairy bottles and cans to egg beaters and poachers and all sorts of equipment in between. Alex Mitchell and Barbara White Perry serve, thankfully, as curators again. Free. 5 to 7 p.m. 574 First St. E., Sonoma.
Don’t miss the fabulous barbecue at Larson Family Winery to support Sonoma Future Farmers of America and Sonoma Valley High School’s Agriculture Program on Saturday, Sept. 22. We now have 500 students in the ag program at the high school, which makes us all optimistic about our food future.
Expect barbecued meats, chili, Caesar salad, three cheese polenta, oysters, desserts and live music by the Rich Little Band, a silent auction that includes meat for a year and a live auction with Ed Vaughn. Oh yes, beer and wine too. All proceeds to ag program. $40 includes two drink tickets. Call Becky Larson at 938-3031, ext. 24, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Len Handeland recently opened his Red Loft Salon back in Vine Alley, the Detert development off both Broadway and Napa Street. Friendly neighbors Danny Fay poured Envolve’s new rosé, Nancy Lang poured Haywood wines, Bryter’s award-winning winemaker Terrin Ignozzi pouring her fine bubbles, in addition to generous long pours from Two Amigos and Westwood. Margie Brooke of Community Café provided substantial sandwiches and sliders loaded with tuna or chicken salad, ham, turkey and lots of other dinner substitutes. 27 E. Napa St., Sonoma. 576-3196, lendoesmyhair.com.
Sonoma Valley Historical Society will throw “A Picnic Without Ants” to celebrate its 75th birthday at the Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club on First Street East, Friday, Sept. 14. Expect pulled pork on soft rolls, coleslaw, Caesar salad, homemade baked beans and birthday cake accompanied by wines. Reservation deadline is today, Sept. 7. $20. Noon. Call 938-1782 to reserve immediately.
Dinner in the Veneto at Depot Sonoma Cooking School (Depot Restaurant) on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 17 and 18, will feature classic Venetian cooking of seafood salad, rice and pea soup/risotto, a special and quick chicken dish, broccoli with ginger and garlic, and an almond tart. $90 includes class and dinner. 6:30 p.m. Call Gia at 938-2980.
Two winery family tragedies:
None of us has control of our lives or those of our dearest friends and relatives, a fact I know all too well. In the last two weeks, Arrowood’s founding winemaker Richard Arrowood, his ex-wife Allison Stone, and winemakers Margo and Don Van Staaveren lost children – the worst of the worst.
Certainly the entire winemaking (and drinking) community mourns their loss as if they were their own.
Holly Arrowood was 42 and worked with horses and therapy for those of us who are handicapped.
A graduate of Justin-Siena High School, Jacob Robert “Coby” Van Staaveren was 22 and a senior in physics at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. According to the Press Democrat, Coby apparently was flying at about 30 mph down a hill on his skateboard, skated through a stop sign into the intersection of Mill and Grove streets, and ran into the side of a pickup truck.
Our hearts go out to these and all parents who have lost a child, whether at home, having fun or in war.