Lady Gaga? Not; Fairmont buys Fairmont SMI
SVVGA grant to School Garden Project; Savor Sonoma Valley this weekend; St. Patrick’s Day offerings; “BenFit” for Becoming Independent
Index-Tribune file photo
Today’s column will be shorter than usual, to catch up slightly, and hopefully you all understand what a difficult couple of weeks our family has experienced and how much we miss Jerry.
Next week I will be back with full steam, so thanks for your indulgence.
We are so cool, sophisticated, laid back and unimpressionable here in Sonoma that no one would ever flock to a location where a media star was rumored to be hanging out. Not!
So there were television cameras, a blonde with stilettos and sunglasses, a fancy Audi and an apparent entourage back at Sonoma’s Best (Eighth Street and Napa Road) Monday morning. Facebook went wild with rumored Lady Gaga sightings.
It turns out, according to Sonoma’s Best co-owner Gayle Oberti Jenkins, that, “It was a Lady Gaga impersonator from Sacramento Channel 13 taping the live show ‘Good Day’ here at Sonoma’s Best this morning.”
Jenkins continued, “They were going to all the places Lady Gaga was spotted on her visit here in Sonoma … After leaving Sonoma’s Best they went down to the square outside the Basque Café and got reactions from locals. Fun!”
Sunflower Caffé hosts Ben Flajnik, Mike Benziger and Danny Fay tonight, March 16, for their Envolve wine tastings to benefit Becoming Independent to help people with developmental disabilities. Hopefully Benziger’s charming brother Chris will be there in his wheelchair. Not sure about Courtney. Flajnik had told me he had moved back home with his mother until the show ended earlier this week. Hmm … 5 to 7 p.m. 421 First St. W., Sonoma. sonomasunflower.com.
Also tonight, Rob Larman’s Cochon Volant BBQ presents an “early spring barbecue dinner at Valley Wine Shack,” which will include an à la carte menu of asparagus with smoked shrimp ($8); a barbecue plate of 14-hour Five Dot Brisket, baby back ribs, baked beans, slaw and pickled red onion ($22); and blood orange olive oil cake with lemon curd ($8). 5:30 to 8:30. 535 W. Napa St., Sonoma. Reserve at 938-7218.
Among the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance grants this year is one for $25,000 to the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation for our Sonoma School Garden Project. According to Laura Zimmerman, executive director of the foundation, “This is a big jump from last year’s grant of $15,000.”
The grant application asked specifically for support for the “Farm to Cafeteria Program,” through which students will grow food that will then end up in their school salad bars, snacks and cafeterias. The learning process here is potentially vast, with students learning how to grow their own food, how to cook it, how good it can taste and how it can make families healthy.
As founder and director of the School Garden Project, I am thrilled to pieces with this validation of and vote of confidence in the program and the SVVGA’s recognition of the lifetime value to young people.
Larson Family Winery has already planted an educational vineyard at Adele Harrison Middle School, and we hope to plant smaller versions at every school while shaping up and revitalizing old vines.
Specific SVVGA board members we want to thank include president Eva Bertran of Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards; Paul Hoffman of Hoffman Family Cellars; Realtor Mark Stornetta; Mike Pucci of Sangiacomo Vineyards; Phil Coturri of Enterprise Vineyards; Realtor Michael Crain; David Dolquist; J. Bruce England of EnglandCrest Vineyards; Squire Fridell of GlenLyon Vineyards and Winery; Tom Menzies of Pasatiempo Vineyard; Michael Muscardini of Muscardini Cellars; Doug Nickle of Bennett Valley Cellars; and Brian Shepard of Jack London Vineyards.
Last minute St. Paddy’s opportunities:
Françoise Hodge’s Basque Boulangerie has lots of rounds of its famous Irish soda bread at the bakery/café through this weekend, and is even donating specially baked loaves to St. Francis Solano’s annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner Saturday night. You can also indulge in it at Murphy’s Irish Pub.
As a bonus for visiting the café, you might even indulge in a Parisian almond macaroon cookie, or pastry chef Karene MacGregor’s green princess cake slices or yummy hot cross buns available through Easter. 460 First St. E., Sonoma. 935-7687.
Murphy’s Irish Pub will have its usual festival party with live music from 2 to 10 p.m. 464 First St. E., Sonoma. The Town Square bar on First Street East will again serve corned beef and cabbage (hopefully to regulars) all day.
Bob Rice’s Breakaway Café offers a fun-sounding St. Paddy’s evening Saturday to include its first annual “Limerick-athon” for which customers can bring in a limerick for on-the-spot judging and treat yourself to a traditional Irish-American dinner. Breakaway’s “Leprechaun Libation” will be made with Jamison’s Irish Whisky, Meyer lemon and a splash of ginger ale ($7.95).
Dinner itself includes sweet pea and mint soup, corned beef and cabbage with boiled vegetables and a strawberry and rhubarb compote with vanilla ice cream ($18). 19101 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma. 996-5949.
Lori and Rick Miron, who recently sold their extremely successful Trilogy Glass, will host a mongo St. Patrick’s party at their new home and ranch in Bennett Valley, seemingly to be attended by a cast of thousands of the North Bay’s hippest.
Sonoma Valley Rotary holds its annual “Sonoma-style” St. Patrick’s dinner Saturday night at Sonoma Community Center featuring corned beef, cabbage, buttered bay carrots, Irish maiden potatoes, salad, bread, coffee and tea. Enjoy the option of purchasing a $50 raffle ticket, the winner of which gets a trip to Ireland or $10,000. Dinner $30, cash beer and wine bars. 6 p.m. 276 E. Napa St., Sonoma. Call Bill O’Neal for tickets at 860-614-4972.
Sonoma Mission Inn:
As you may have read, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has purchased the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Big 3 Café. Confused yet?
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts had owned 20 percent of SMI and had been managing it for Crescent Real Estate Equities, which owned 80 percent. Now the Fairmont and partial equity owner, a Saudi prince, owns 100 percent of SMI, and reportedly (NBC-TV) is working on selling the Fairmont San Francisco to a Southern California developer for a rumored $200 million.
Meanwhile, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts just named Rick Corcoran as general manager of Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. Corcoran’s most recent post was as hotel manager/acting general manager of the Fairmont Vancouver, a lovely downtown hotel in, you guessed it, Vancouver, British Columbia. Lucky Corcoran has also managed Fairmonts in Dubai and at Battery Wharf and served as director of food and beverage at the Fairmont Manoir Richelieu in Charlevoix and Fairmont Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, both in Quebec, as well as at the Fairmont San Francisco. It is our good fortune to welcome Corcoran to Sonoma.
He replaces the popular Kelley Cosgrove who moved on to manage the much larger Fairmont Hotel in San Jose.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn will “go dark” for one hour on Saturday, March 31, at 8:30 p.m. for the fifth year in a row to participate in “Earth Hour,” a global event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WFF). All Fairmont hotels and resorts around the world will participate.
Santé Restaurant will offer a candlelight dinner experience, while the restaurant and lobby bar will highlight sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines, plus a special “lights-out” cocktail.
We all might consider following the Fairmont’s lead for earth’s sake. Many of us have seen our PG&E bills rise with SmartMeters and have selected not to return to the original meters because the utility charges extra to customers who make that choice. Using less energy can benefit all of us.
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts have committed $10,000 to Sonoma Valley High School’s school garden and agriculture programs and have already fulfilled their pledge to purchase animals raised by students.
Savor Sonoma Valley, the main event staged by the Heart of Sonoma Valley Association (Kenwood and Glen Ellen wineries) is this Saturday and Sunday, March 17 and 18. Twenty-one wineries will pour and serve appetizers from the likes of Rosso Pizzeria, Feast Catering, Olive and Vine, Doce Lunas, the girl and the fig caters, Preferred Sonoma Caterers, BBQ Smokehouse Bistro, Wine Country Chocolates, Yucatan Sunset Catering and Maria Belmonte. Weekend ticket $65, $20 designated drivers; $50 Sunday only. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. 794-9463 or heartofsonomavalley.com.
In support of Sonoma Valley Hospital’s emergency room, Gary and Marcia Nelson hosted a delightful concert and presentation by pianist and music history storyteller Richard Glazier, whom Gary discovered at a recent Sonoma International Film Festival. Glazier’s interest focuses on American music of the ’30s through the ’50s, bringing back memories, laughter and tears among the guests.
Breakaway Café catered with Asian veggie wraps, chicken sate, dungeness crab-stuffed mushrooms, pecan wine biscuits, and Parmesan crusted tarts filled with pear-thyme compote, all accompanied by Belvedere Chardonnay and Valley of the Moon and Benziger syrahs.
Enthralled guests included Dottie and Bill Lynch, Les and Judy Vadasz, Simon and Kimberly Blattner, Suzanne Brangham and Jack Lundgren and Jack’s sister Marilyn, Brenda Buckerfield, Sara and Bill Clegg, Robbie and Janine Cohen, Harriet and Randy Derwingson, J.D. Dierking, John and Phyllis Gurney, Steve Kyle, Dan and Janice Stites, Lucy Weiger, Barbara Young, Marck and Allison Zuerldorff, David Good, soon to be married John Musilli and Diana and Richard Harding.
If you would like to join in giving to the ER funds set up by the Nelsons, contact the Community Foundation of Sonoma County, Donations Officer Miguel Ruelas, 250 D. St., Suite 205, Santa Rosa, CA 95404-4773 and specify whether you want to give to the Gary and Marcia Nelson Emergency Care Expendable Fund or Endowment Fund.
Gloria Ferrer Winery & Caves will host a “Nantucket in the Caves” lobster feast on Saturday, March 24, to benefit the important Willmar Family Grief and Healing Center. Enjoy a wine and cheese reception, live music, a lobster feast in Gloria Ferrer’s cave, a silent auction and a special live auction emceed by Emmy Award-winning “Bay Area Backroads” host Doug McConnell. $175. RSVP by Monday, March 19 to 935-1946 or purchase tickets at willmarcenter.org.