Peet’s on Broadway? Glen Ellen Star pigs out
P.J. Clark at HopMonk; Olive Press and Sonoma Syrups featured at State Department; Superintendent completes triathlon
The Sonoma Planning Commission last night considered allowing Peet’s Coffee & Tea to open at 591 Broadway, which most recently housed Cecchetti Wine Company. Cecchetti owner Roy Cecchetti moved his office home since he markets wine very successfully, and is, incidentally, the brother of Nancy Sebastiani. Unfortunately the meeting’s results were too late for my deadline.
The site, owned by Henry Mayo, is next to 599 Thai, Broadway Catering and The Frame Factory, all in the building purchased a few months ago by Williams-Sonoma. I reached Mayo in Chicago where he and Diane are visiting friends on their way to his 60th high school reunion, which he is chairing, in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Glen Ellen Star now serves a “full-on P.B.R. pig roast” dinner, which we sampled this week at the Glen Ellen’s newest highly successful restaurant. Chef and co-owner Ari Weisswasser and crew make a tasty salad of bitter greens, heirloom tomatoes, cleverly chilled watermelon and crispy “panzella” bread strips served before the pièce de résistance and its accompaniments.
All prepared and served with a sense of casual humor and the presence of Erinn Benziger Weisswasser and her large family, next came the whole roasted 22-pound suckling pig, which Ari brines for hours, cooks in a conventional oven for four or five more hours, and finishes of in the wood-fired oven at 600 degrees, the latter creating a Worcestershire sauce-coated crispy skin worth sucking and
Sides, served in casuelas from Bram, included kale perfectly braised in bacon fat, fabulous “blackstrap molasses baked beans” with brown sugar crumble, a tasty corn with queso fresco and chipotle powder, and crunchy pickled summer wax beans. All followed by half pints of rich housemade ice cream served in containers to go, which they did.
While I took cookbook author Paula Wolfert as my guest, it turns out Tim Hollingsworth, chef at The French Laundry where Ari once worked, was there dining as well.
To experience this bounty, reserve 72 hours ahead, and your party must include eight or more guests. $75 a person includes a case of P.B.R., or Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, in this case a digestive aid. 13648 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. 343-1384. glenellenstar.com.
Next feast up will be a Thanksgiving dinner featuring goose, duck or turkey available starting
P.J. Clark, who started Maya Restaurant with her former husband, returned Tuesday to the Sonoma restaurant scene as general manager of HopMonk Tavern on Broadway. The Clarks opened Mustard’s Grill in Yountville for Cindy Pawlcyn, Piatti in Sonoma (now EDK) for Claude Rouas and partners and then went on their own to launch Maya.
In between, Clark had a fun photo booth business and recently departed from Fish Story in downtown Napa.
Meanwhile, her son, Riley, started his freshman year at San Francisco State and also started in his first soccer game there and played the whole game.
Join us for the opening today, Sept. 14, of my new “Egg & Dairy” exhibit at the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation’s Maysonnave House. Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection will provide her great Creole egg salad, rose petal butter and Le Tois de Fromage (her own blend of cow, goat and sheep milk cheese) and Costeaux breads. Davis recently catered an elegant grilled salmon winemaker dinner at the home and vineyard of Susan and Richard Idell as part of Wine Country Weekend. Fred “The Cookie King” Perry will bake a special batch of his famous cookies. Free. 5 to 7 p.m. 291 First St. E., Sonoma.
Deborah Rogers, representing The Olive Press and the California olive oil industry and Karin Campion of Sonoma Syrups just returned from Washington, D.C., where they participated in the State Department’s reception launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative: Setting the Table for Diplomacy.” Celebrity chefs José Andrés, Ming Tsai, Rick Bayless and State Department chef Jason Larkin among others and 300 guests from around the world received extra virgin olive oil from Rogers and vanilla extract from Campion.
Capricia Penavic Marshall, State Department chief of protocol; and Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, hosted the reception for high profile chefs, artisan food producers and farmers.
Let’s hope this “culinary diplomacy” reaches the millions of people in many countries who simply don’t have enough to eat.
Spaces are filling fast for my Retro Favorites class at Ramekins Culinary School, Thursday, Sept. 27, given by me and Lisa Lavagetto, where you will learn to make such fun recipes as Jackie Kennedy’s seafood chowder, Jolie Gabor’s paprika chicken (she was the Jewish mother of three jazzy blonde actor daughters Magda, Eva and Zsa Zsa), Fannie Flagg’s fried green tomatoes, Lucille Ball’s Sunday night rice and Hillary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies, all to music from the period and old radio commercials. $85. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 933-0450. ramekins.com.
Sonoma Valley’s Superintendent of Schools Louann Carlomagno completed a grueling triathlon at Pacific Grove last weekend. Great example for our kids!
Wild Thyme’s next don’t-miss-it “Dining Club Rive Gauche” will be on the lawn under the cooling oak trees at FAHA next Wednesday, Sept. 19, at a new time, 6 p.m. Chef Keith Filipello will present an “Italian Harvest Menu” of melons and prosciutto, heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil, herb roasted organic chicken with polenta, and frangipane pear tarts with coffee. Popular Dave Aguilar and Peter McCauley of Tudo Bem will entertain. $35 or 30 euro. 6 p.m. BYOW, no corkage. Reservations required at 996-0900 or email@example.com.
Carlo Cavallo of Sonoma Meritâge cooked 200 pounds of beef brisket for 12 hours over French oak wine staves for 700 Sebastiani Winery wine club members for their Cherryblock release and pickup (wine) party last weekend.
Justine Ashton’s Wine Country Film Festival/Santa Rosa International Film Festival takes place this week through Sept. 23 both in the sexy cave and outdoors at Deerfield Ranch Winery. Ashton has attempted to pair food with each film according to its country of origin, such as Charlie Bruno’s Chuck Wagon with “American Songwriter,” Yum Yum Bistro Trolley with Clint Eastwood’s “Troubles with the Curve,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” from France and “Gypsy Spirits” from India.
The Strudel Guy will make strudels with pulled pork and wild mushrooms as well as caronada criolla with braised beef, dried apricots and raisins for China/Taiwan’s “Starry Starry Nights” and “Chinese Take Out” from Argentina. Gogi Restaurant will provide Taiwanese food for “The Raw and the Cooked” from Germany and Taiwan; Willie Benedetti and Willie Bird’s Restaurant will serve “The Mama Bird” sandwich with “Secrets of the Ant People” (not sure of that tie-in); and Bear Korean Restaurant will serve Korean food with “Baikonur” from Kazakhistan on the presumption that Korean food influences central Asian cooking. For schedule and ticket information visit winecountryfilmfest.com.
A record number of Americans are relying on food stamps, according to the Department of Agriculture. While some people disdain others’ use of food stamps, the stamps do enable hungry families to eat and to purchase food from growers and producers, helping those businesses.
Meanwhile, a new Stanford study suggests eating more expensive organic foods versus conventional foods really doesn’t do us much good unless you count not consuming chemicals and drugs that enhance growth of vegetables and animals. Uh-huh.
Kimberly and Simon Blattner have been busy lately presenting interesting conversations and fundraisers for organizations they strongly support. First they invited people passionately interested in the media to listen to Phil Bronstein and Robert Rosenthal of the Center for Investigative Reporting, which does a lot of the in-depth investigations that most newspapers no longer pay reporters to do. Bob Rice and his Breakaway Café catered with fabulous morsels enjoyed by Martha and Steve Rosenblatt, Steve Bieneman, Ned Forrest and Leslie Whitelaw, JaMel and Tom Perkins, Mollie and Dennis Collins, Georgia Kelly, Ann and Bob Mosher, Jane and Jerry Baldwin, Cathy and David Good, Judy and Les Vadasz, Joe and Beth Aaron, Kelli Anderson and Jim Callahan, and Marcia and Jim Levy.
A couple of weeks later, Elaine Bell catered the Blattners’ event bid on at La Luz’s Noche de Casbah with KQED’s Michael Krasney as featured speaker. Krasney talked about the ups and downs of being a talk show host, including his estimates of best and worst guests.
The Levys, Rosenblatts and Perkins were repeat contributors, along with John and Pam Story, Winnie and Bob Farwell, Laurie Hake, Yvonne Hall, Kathe Hodgson, Patty Hester, Scott Smith and Marcelo Defreitas, Patsy and Rick Wynne, Kate Eilertsen and Michael Muscardini, Jette Franks, Michael Beutel and Constance Grissal.
Bell served marinated top sirloin of beef stuffed with pesto and pine nuts, marinated halibut with caper and basil gremolada, roasted beet salad with walnuts and arugula, a tagliarini salad with goat cheese, zucchini and haricots verts, decadent chocolate brownies and fruit tartlets.
Santa Rosa Junior College’s Culinary Café and Bakery has opened for lunch Wednesday through Friday, with 15 percent discount at lunch for seniors 60 and better. At the program’s new location in the B. Robert Burdo Culinary Arts Center, culinary students plan, prepare and serve everything. They also offer baked pastries from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Pastries and desserts can be purchased to take out until 2 p.m. 1670 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. 522-2796 for reservations.
Nuestra Vos’ annual “Amistad Awards” at a breezy Robledo Family honored several locals, including Genny and Antonio Barrios who own favorite Rancho Viejo restaurant and catered the event. Guests enjoyed ceviche and tomatillo sauce with avocado with chips before dinner, followed by Ranch Viejo’s signature dishes, chile relleno fried in olive oil and Cochinita Pibil, slow cooked pork marinated in achioté red sauce with banana leaves and pinto beans.
In conjunction with his Charity Fall Music Festival that features many of the big name bands he has managed and which benefits loads of local organizations, Bruce Cohn of B.R. Cohn Winery & Olive Oil Company puts on an extravagant dinner, performances and auction on Friday, Oct. 5. This concert and dinner were just rated in winemag.com’s list of “Six Top Winery Concerts.”
Local chefs Jeffrey Lloyd of Café LaHaye, Peter Smith of The Lodge at Sonoma, Ari Weisswasser of Glen Ellen Star, Sondra Bernstein and John Toulze of the girl & the fig, Carlo Cavallo of Sonoma Meritâge, along with Scott Howard of Marin. This year’s auction features guitars autographed by major rock stars among other goodies. $200. 6 to 10 p.m. 15000 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen. Brcohn.com.
Just in: Sheana Davis and her Epicurean Connections just won a double gold (blackberry pomegranate) and a gold and a silver for her creative jams at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.