Peet’s approved for Broadway; Hostess with the leastest
Guy Fieri’s bad day; Picking olives; SVMA at Buena Vista; Sweetheart Gala preview party
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Monday evening the Sonoma City Council unanimously overturned the Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny a use permit and approved the application for a Peet’s Coffee & Tea in Diane and Henry Mayo’s building next to 599 Thai Café on Broadway.
Responding to public input and an overflowing crowd at the council meeting, the council almost had to vote this way since they seem to favor the eventual development of the Williams-Sonoma chain’s historic store at the site of Chuck Williams’ first shop next door.
Did Hostess Brands’ Twinkies bite the dust? No more “Twinkies defenses?”
After threatening to begin closing plants permanently if striking union members didn’t cross picket lines to keep production going, Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn announced the closure of its entire operation nationwide last week.
That could mean no more Wonder Bread, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and Sno Balls, unless another company scoops up the twice bankrupt operation and capitalizes on its name and recipes. Well, formulas anyway.
According to last Saturday’s New York Times, the last Hostess cakes rolled off the assembly line last Friday after 82 years. Nearly 19,000 employees lost their jobs, including 145 at Hostess’ Colombo Bakery in Oakland.
Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, employees resisted the company’s attempt to cut pay by 8 percent, cut back pension contributions, and a 17 percent increase in cost to workers for their health care, after raising his own bonus many fold. The CEO got them back. They are now without jobs, at least for the moment. Great timing before the holidays.
Hostess brands also include Dolly Madison, Drake’s and Nature’s Pride. Many Bay Area
residents have depended upon Hostess Bakery Thrift shops for less expensive breads, cakes and stuffing.
It looks as if other massive bakeries might scoop up Hostess’ more popular items. Entenmann’s and Sara Lee’s delivery guys were quickly filling in the shelf gaps all over town last weekend. Entenmann’s makes little and big donuts and several other similar products. Sara Lee makes the Wonder Bread-like Rainbo brand bread with similar colored plastic wrappers.
On Monday, the same day Hostess said it would start to liquidate its assets, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York in White Plains suggested that Irving, Texas-based Hostess Brands, Inc. and the union try mediation to resolve their differences.
According to Bloomberg News and the San Francisco Chronicle, CEO Rayburn, on behalf of Ripplewood Holdings, which acquired most of Hostess during its 2009 bankruptcy, the parties will have to agree quickly, because he says it is “costing $1 million a day in overhead to wind down operations.” I wonder how much it would have cost per day to stay open and get mediation?
Note: The “Twinkies Defense” refers to the late San Francisco Supervisor Dan White’s 1979 claim that he shot and killed Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk because he was high on sugar from eating Twinkies to cure his depression. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
The Tuesday farmers market folks, headed by Realtor Bill Dardon, treated all vendors to dinner at the Moose Lodge last week featuring music by popular BackTrax band, pastas from the Depot Hotel Restaurant, bread and desserts from Costeaux Bakery, salad from Greenleaf Produce and dressings from Sonoma Gourmet, all pulled together by Sheana Davis. Davis now serves pumpkin, peppermint and eggnog lattes, and cinnamon Chai for the holidays at The Epicurean Connection.
Santa Rosa resident Guy Fieri (he pronounces it “Feehddy”) had what most people would consider a bad day last Wednesday when New York Times food writer Pete Wells sarcastically blasted Fieri’s new Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in New York’s Times Square.
Wells referred to the restaurant’s “no-collar food,” a blue drink “that glows like nuclear waste,” and asks how “Rhode Island’s supremely unhealthy and awesomely good fried calamari … end up in your restaurant as a plate of pale, unsalted squid rings next to a dish of sweet mayonnaise with a distant rumor of spice?”
Many restaurateurs would blush with wonderment and be embarrassed by links to the scathing review being passed around by the likes of Claudine Pépin and many other food fans.
But Fieri got a whole segment on NBC’s “Today Show” to answer his critic, basically saying that he personally designed the restaurant and menu, trained the chefs and cooks, and that they are doing their best and everything is just fine. As Jerry used to say, “Just spell the name right.”
Many Sonomans got their first taste of Fieri food via his Johnny Garlic’s food truck at our Tuesday farmers market. Now he seems to be on the Food Network all the time, tasting and eating unusual American food prepared by others, all of which does wonders for those eateries. Schellville Grill, Sunflower Caffé and Café Citti all enjoy increased business when their segments re-run on Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” show.
Accidentally watching a “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ re-run of the Sunflower Caffé on a recent Sunday, where Guy Fieri extolled the virtues of chef Curtis Dorsett’s grilled lamb burgers and soup, I remembered interviewing Fieri during that taping. That wasn’t the point. I managed to spill my whole cup of soup we were sampling everywhere, and the Food Network crew cleaned it up before we could blink. Lots of guffaws about that being my only resemblance to Julia Child ensued.
Early last Sunday I had the privilege of joining a merry band of friends who grow olives and every year dedicate a day to roaming from one friend’s house to another picking each others’ olives. Cathy Gellepis and UFO Jim Ledwith invited me into the group, and apparently I passed the picking test.
Traditionally, Audrey Chapman and friends Mary Johnson and Prudence Dreyfus prepare lunch for the usually damp and hungry gang.
This year, they served salad from the Chapmans’ substantial garden, rustic Italian bread, two kinds of lasagna, one vegan and cheesy and the other with tomato meat sauce, followed by homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Each year Ron Chapman, who led the Mission Olive Preservation (MOPREP) efforts and gave two Mission Olive trees to each of our school gardens, takes the haul down to Deborah Rogers at The Olive Press, and eventually it all comes back as yummy olive oil.
Just as the Valley’s grapes and acorns are abundant this year, olive trees, which bore no fruit last year, are heavily laden with voluptuous olives.
According to the Napa Valley Register, Paul and Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s home off Zinfandel Lane near St. Helena was broken into recently via the subtle splintering of glass windows and glass doors. Apparently their alarm system prompted local authorities to investigate. Police caught the culprit.
Russ Johnson’s photographic exhibit featuring Sonoma and the larger world will begin Friday, Nov. 23 at Annex Wine Bar & Tasting Room. Johnson is a fascinating world traveling fellow who has worked in various media through 58 countries. 6 to 8 p.m. 865 W. Napa St., Sonoma. russelljohnson.com
Sonoma Girl Scouts present a fun pancake breakfast with Santa Claus on Sunday, Nov. 25, at St. Francis’ Father Roberts Hall. Santa’s elves will also be there with story time, crafts, a sing-a-long, and other fun activities. Bring your own camera for Santa photos. Children $8 (includes all activities), adults and seniors $6. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 469 Third St. W., Sonoma. For more into visit sonomagirlscouts.com.
Ty Caton Vineyards and Muscardini Cellars will host a Friends and Family Night on Tuesday, Nov. 27, in Kenwood. Some wines will sell for 50 percent off, and merchandise will be 30 percent off. This could be their last joint sale before Michael Muscardini moves his tasting room down the road. 5 to 8 p.m. 8910 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 833-0526.
Buena Vista Winery will host an elegant dinner and evening to benefit Sonoma Valley Museum of Art on Saturday, Dec. 1, with owner Jean-Charles Boisset and his wife, Gina Gallo, attending.
A civilization is often remembered by its art, and we must continue to exhibit, appreciate and teach art in Sonoma Valley.
While supporting our art museum, guests will enjoy some of Boisset’s French chef Michel Cornu’s unique crocodile sliders (they are good, folks) among other appetizers.
The first seated course will be lentil cappuccino with duck confit and homemade foie gras, followed by rich beef Bourguignon with celery and Yukon gold potato mash and a macédoine of winter vegetables. Dessert will include brioche pudding with bourbon vanilla sauce and vanilla bean ice cream with chocolate fondant.
Boys & Girls Club fans and those interested in France might want to attend the “L’Art from the Heart” preview Wednesday, Dec. 5 at El Dorado Kitchen for this year’s Sweetheart Gala Moulin Rouge Ball honoring Deborah and John Emery and featuring local artist’ and Arts Guild of Sonoma work. Try the Moulin Rouge Signature Cocktail ($10 goes to B&G Club) and limited hors d’oeuvres. 5 to 8 p.m. eldoradosonoma.com.
Slow Food Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Valley Grange invite the community to its second annual Cookie Exchange on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Participants bring three dozen cookies, one of which goes to Meals on Wheels and Brown Baggers, and then you take home an assemblage of two dozen cookies, usually from someone else’s contributions. Bring the dozen for the two food groups in a separate container labeled what kind of cookies.
Slow Food will provide non-alcoholic cider and warm hearty soups made by members. BYOB. Local music. 6 to 9 p.m. 18627 Sonoma Highway, Boyes Hot Springs. For more info call 939-7638 or email email@example.com.
Buena Vista Winery hosts another black-tie holiday induction dinner on Saturday, Dec. 8, for La Confrèrie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Société Mondiale du Vin, with new member Jean-Charles Boisset present to introduce wines from his more than 20 wineries around the world. Each course will be accompanied by two of Boisset’s wines, one from an American winery and one from another country, including from Sonoma’s French sister city of Chambolle-Musigny.
Guests will enjoy homemade duck foie gras with baby brioche, celeriac remoulade and Jerusalem artichokes; spiny lobster Wellington with sea scallops and lobster fumé; duet of veal and buffalo tenderloins with morel cabernet sauce and truffles gratin; cheeses from Burgundy with micro greens and a cold hazelnut soufflé with Amaretto vanilla sauce and opera cake. Music by Diego Garcia and Lauren Seva. $265 members and guests. 6 p.m. sparkling wine reception, 7 p.m. induction ceremony, 7:30 p.m. chimes for dinner. Call Gene Daly immediately for reservations at 996-8666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glen Ellen Star will be closed on Mondays now through February, and will be open Christmas and New Year’s Eve. While we missed their great-sounding salt-bake Thanksgiving turkey dinner, you can still order their whole roasted Christmas duck/goose dinner for eight or more diners, either to dine in or take home.
Enjoy the best of Benziger and Imagery wines, home-spun creamy ice cream and free bubble water. Special Sunday night football entrées. $75 a person for Christmas duck/goose. 13648 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. Reservations at 343-1384 or email@example.com.
Giving thanks for life!