Food Truck Friday; Foie Gras Rive Gauche at Grange
GayDar at Viansa; Tour de (chicken) Coop; Nibs & Sips
Food Truck Friday enlivens the east side this evening at Sebastiani Winery with great music by BackTrax and six food trucks. Just back from Los Angeles, where food truck fads started and now breed and multiply, I hope we will get some diverse choices this year.
Remember, you cannot bring your own wine. All beverages (Sebastiani wine) must be purchased inside the winery, a real boon to Bill Foley and friends. But it’s a fun community party for sure.
Back at the ranches, Foley just expanded his U.S. and Australian wine empires by purchasing the 49-acre, 20,000 gallon Sawyer Cellars in Napa and is trying to buy The New Zealand Wine Company. New Zealand Wine grows mostly sauvignon blanc on 250 acres, makes about 200,000 cases a year and is in trouble. Foley already owns New Zealand’s Goldwater and Clifford Bay brands.
Sign of the Bear owners Steve and Laura Havlek will host a Le Creuset (must be heavy) “truckette” event Saturday, May 26, to introduce new Le Creuset colors and products, along with lavender lemonade, madeleines and music of Piaf, Aznevour and Trenet, plus a customer appreciation raffle. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 435 First St. W., Sonoma. 996-3722.
Greek food fans should flock to the Marin Greek Festival called “Food of the Gods – Fruit of the Vine” Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27. Friday (tonight) brings a Greek dining and wine tasting event where Ravenswood, Keller Estate, Suacci Carciere, Small Vines, Roessler Cellars, Fotinos and Mahoney Vineyards will all pour their wines. Greek grandmothers prepare all the food from their families’ recipes. Great Greek music, dancing, folk dance performances. Free admission and food, $15 wine tasting. 5 to 10 p.m. Park at 1800 Ignacio Blvd., Novato for free shuttle to festival. Maringreekfestival.com.
Sonoma Ecology Center offers an unusual “Tour de Coop” to homes of Sonoma Valley chicken owners for those of us who want to learn how to raise chickens and eggs on Saturday, June 2. See 10 home coops from rustic to super fancy, including the home of Sam Mogannam, owner of San Francisco’s famed Bi-Rite Market and strawberry shortcake at the Community Garden. Each stop offers light refreshments. Tickets $20, children 12 and under free available Saturdays at Sonoma Garden Park or via sonomaecologycenter.org. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sheana Davis’ Epicurean Connection hosts a New Orleans “Crawfish Boil” Friday, June 1, boiled and steamed up by New Orleans native and new Sonoma resident Carl Delaney, complete with crawfish, sausage, potatoes, corn and the rest, all served on newspaper, Friday, June 1. $25. 122 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 935-7960 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Davis offers a home cheesemaking class Sunday, June 3, at the Sonoma Valley Inn on the “Crème de Ricotta and Paneer” she demonstrated recently on the Cooking Channel. $45. 1 to 3 p.m.
Wild Thyme’s next “Dining Club Rive Gauche,” dubbed “Spring in Paris,” on Wednesday, June 6, at Sonoma Valley Grange will feature popular Junny and Guillermo Gonzalez’s Sonoma Artisan duck and foie gras, complimented by one of my favorite of their guest musicians, Queen of Boogie Woogie Wendy Dewitt. She is a pianist to behold, who moves within one piece from somber and serious to shear ecstasy by the musical climax.
With a menu of a sorrel soup cocktail with a mousse of foie gras crouton; spring vegetables with duck confit; grilled duck breast with cherry sauce and wild rice; green salad with cheeses and a local strawberry tart with coffee, the dinner at $35 is a bargain to behold.
Sheana Davis’ dinner two weeks ago in support of the Gonzalez’s efforts to reverse the legislature’s July 1 deadline for changing duck feeding practices was a total sell-out and reported as perfection, as prepared by Norm Owens of Hot Box Grill and Antonio Ghilarducci of Depot Hotel. Many restaurateurs support the Gonzalez’ efforts.
Wild Thyme offers a vegetarian option if requested with reservation. $35. BYOW, no corkage. 7 p.m. 18627 Sonoma Highway, Boyes Hot Springs. Reservations required at 996-0900 or email@example.com.
Ramekins launches Taste-Thursdays on June 7 featuring free admission, one free taste of wine from each of four wineries, and the opportunity to purchase wood-fired pizza, cocktails, wine by the bottle or glass and produce from owners Sarah and Darius Anderson’s Fifth Street Farm.
Ram’s Gate, Long Meadow Ranch, Audelssa and Scribe will pour on this first Taste in Ramekins’ courtyard. Kids are welcome with free cookie decorating thrown in and lots of family-friendly music. Free admission. 5 to 8 p.m. 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 721-8835.
Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation’s Old Bags Luncheon and Celebration of Women appeared to be a great success last Friday in the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn’s big white tent. The cobb salad was excellent and the chocolate peanut butter crunch bar seemed sinful but delish, with champagne and wine flowing freely.
Foundation founder Carolyn Stone emceed, and it was great to see women from old Sonoma families mixing with newer comers. Among the happy and generous throngs were Mary Ann Sebastiani Cuneo, Marie Lambert, Patsy Wynne, Jean Arnold Sessions, Lisa Cavalli, Francine Maffei, Debbie Roualdes, Carole Downing, Cathy Witkowiki, Cherie Hughes, Kathy Kennet, Bob Stone, school superintendent Louann Carlomagno, school trustee Helen Marsh, Erin Riley, Cele and Wayne Schake, Kimberly Blattner, Suzanne Brangham, Lorraine Sangiacomo, Fran Meininger, Marcia Levy, Ann Hollister, Kate Carney, Elizabeth Kemp, Laura Zimmerman, Susan Idell, Susan Scarborough and supervisorial candidates Gina Cuclis and Susan Gorin.
Innovative dining with winemakers:
Michael Muscardini of Muscardini Cellars has started portable winemaker dinners, meaning he will host a winemaker dinner with him in your home, barn, open field or vineyard. He is also a great cook, but I don’t think that is included. All sorts of possibilities. Michael@muscardinicellars.com.
Ram’s Gate Winery, an elegant moderne space where Roche Winery started across form Infineon Raceway, now offers picnic baskets and planned food samplings in its various indoor and outdoor tasting venues. Presumably these are not just bread, cheese and a few grapes, as their press release refers to “a sumptuous array of local, seasonal dishes, a cozy blanket and choice of wine.” Great by the new pond. Served at 11 a.m., noon, 1 and 2 p.m. $28 per person, wine not included.
Ed Metcalfe of Shiso Sushi has stepped out of the kitchen after 28 years (hard to believe) and has hired a new chef, John-Paul Kuhn, a Chattanooga product who originally learned sushi from Chef Jay Cooney in Tennessee, and then studied at the CIA in St. Helena.
After working at Metcalfe’s original Shiso on Broadway (now Café 522), Kuhn worked at the now-closed Ubuntu under original chefs Jeremy Fox and Aaron London, followed by stints at Morimoto New York and Napa and then at Redd in St. Helena. Back at Shiso in Maxwell Village, Kuhn will balance Japanese sushi with local vegetable-driven menu selections. Metcalfe will run the front of the house. 650-862-6633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reminder this weekend:
Sonoma GayDar’s next elegant big event will be at Viansa Winery and Italian Marketplace on Saturday, May 26, when guests will explore wines from Tuscany and Sonoma Valley and chef Guillermo Rodriguez’s risotto cakes, spicy primavera pasta, stuffed chicken muffaletta and double chocolate cookies. Crossfire will play fun, uplifting music. Call Brent Johnson at 939-4881 and mention that you are with GayDar. $40. 1 p.m. 25200 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Viansa.com.
Gundlach Bundschu’s Huichica Music Festival Friday and Saturday, June 1 and 2 includes its first-ever Friday night “Farm to Table to Amplifier Dinner” in the Gun Bun barn, for which they have partnered with Chad Harris of Fremont Diner for a family-style dinner, followed by “booty shaking dance party featuring the sweet beats of the Chicago Afro-pop Occidental Brothers Dance Band International,” according to Katie Bundschu. Saturday’s all-day festival will include bands, bands, bands, food trucks, local cheeses and charcuterie and coffee purveyors.
Fremont Diner’s Friday menu includes Oak Hill Farm frisée and arugula salad with goat cheese; the Bekjr’s green garlic bread; asparagus with Vella asiago cheese; baked mac ‘n’ cheese; Rancho Gordo pinquito beans with chili Colorado; Five Dot top sirloin; oak-grilled whole chicken with lemon and Santa Maria spices; and caramel cake, all accompanied by Gun Bun gewurztraminer, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon. $120 Friday dinner and concert; 6 to 10 p.m. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. 938-5277. huichica.com.
Sonoma League for Historic Preservation’s popular Cottage and Garden Tour comes around quickly on Sunday, June 3, with peeks at five homes and their lovely gardens as well as the Blue Wing, Maysonnave House and Gen. Joseph Hooker House, the last of which houses artist Barbara White Perry’s new collection of paintings. Docents will answer questions at each home on the self-guided tour. Nibbles by Café 522 and wines from Kaz Winery will be served at Maysonnave House.
Sponsors include Rabo Bank, Massage Envy, Viansa Winery and Italian Marketplace and all mentioned businesses. Tickets are available at the Corner Store, Wedekind’s Garden Center and Pharmaca, at “will call” June 3 at 553 Second St., E., Sonoma or at sonomaleague.org. $45. Noon to 4 p.m.
Bachelor Ben Flajnik, Danny Fay and Mike Benziger expect to open a tasting room in Melissa Detert’s “Vine Alley” off Napa Street soon, joining Haywood, GlenLyon and Bryter wineries’ tasting spots. While there is some concern that having the television phenom in the alley will bring lookie-loos who want a date more than wine, there is also the “more-the-merrier” idea spreading.
Nibs & Sips:
Local chef Charles Holmes is “helping out” and cooking at the new Glen Ellen Star restaurant. Holmes has been written about in several food magazines, including Cooking Light …You can submit your recipe for Sutter Home winery’s annual “Build a Better Burger” contest staring now, with a $100,000 grand prize at stake/steak. Sutterhome.com … Haywood Winery offers Thursday “Wine Down” with Vella cheese and wine tastings at 25 Napa St., 5 to 7 p.m. … Kraft is trying out new mango, green tea and orange flavored Oreos in Asia. How about here? ... Sonoma Ecology Center has CSA shares for sale at $20 a week for 25 weeks for a box of produce to pick up Tuesdays at Sonoma Garden Park. email@example.com or 996-0712, ext. 120.
Next week: Amtrak culinary adventures.