Rin’s Thai in escrow; Olive Season roundup weekend
New crab class; Community Center dinner series
Rumors swirl around Rin’s Thai restaurant primarily that the owners have sold the Victorian building between Della Santina’s restaurant and the Sojourn tasting room to a winery for a tasting room.
Listing realtor Chuck Lamp confirms that Rin’s is in escrow, but would not respond to questions of to whom it has been sold and for what purpose. No one wants to jinx a sale, especially me.
Olive Festival final weekend:
Tonight, Friday, brings VinOlivo, the final big party of Sonoma’s Olive Festival. The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance’s lively tasting fundraiser will rock The Lodge at Sonoma.
About 50 Sonoma Valley wineries will pour, while Carneros Bistro, Chicham’s Brunch & Grill, Crisp Bake Shop, El Dorado Kitchen, HelloCello, Hopmonk Tavern, Sonoma Meritâge, Mia’s Kitchen, Olive and Vine, Ramekins, the Epicurean Connection, the Girl and the Fig, the Red Grape, Shiso Sushi, the Olive Press, the Red Grape, the Strudel Guy, Vineyards Inn and Wild Thyme prepare food delights. You can also expect an olive bar, port wines, a pommes frites and Bubble Lounge sparkling wine bar, a hot DJ and a free mobile app for every wine you try. $75 by 3 p.m. Friday, Feb 15; $85 after 3 p.m. 1325 Broadway, Sonoma. More info and tickets at 935-0803, ext. 1.
Seats remain for two of the three winemakers’ dinners that accompany the weekend. Keating Winery at Cornerstone will feature dinner by Bruce Riezeman of Park 121 and Park Avenue Catering and Larson Family Winery will host Chef Paul Ludovina of Ludy’s Catering for a five course dinner. $85 each dinner. Call 935-0803, ext. 1 for reservations soon. Sonomavalleywine.org.
Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club hosts its annual luncheon to raise funds for the club, today, Friday, Feb. 15, at its clubhouse. Josh Little and the Sonoma State Big Band will play “old tunes.” You can probably still get tickets at Readers’ Books. Noon. $20. 574 First St. E., Sonoma.
Ramekins Culinary School has added a second Dungeness Crab Feast class this Sunday, Feb 17, because the first scheduled class sold out in two days.
Respected Chef Jill Silverman Hough will demonstrate making chilled cucumber and avocado soup with crab-stuffed baby portobello mushrooms; lettuce cups with curried crab salad and pickled onion; jalapeno crab cakes with sour cream and salsa; and crabby pasta carbonara with sugar snap peas. Sounds divine. $125 includes ample tastes. 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. Call 933-0450 immediately to reserve your place.
Amateur olive curers bring their finest olives Saturday and Sunday Feb. 16 and 17, to the Olive Press and Jacuzzi Family Winery’s Tuscan courtyard, under the leadership of olive expert Don Landis. Enjoy tours of the Olive Press’ olive mill, olive oil tastings, olive tree and growing experts, and loads of yummy locally grown and cured olives. Free. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 24724 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. 931-7500. jacuzziwines.com.
The Sonoma Community Center re-starts its three-course Community Table Dinner Series on Saturday, Feb. 23, in the center’s Rotary Community Kitchen, with sponsorship from Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Foundation. All wines will come from SVVGA members.
The first dinner in this series will be prepared by Rob Larman of Cochon Volant and will include roasted beet and citrus salad, duck legs braised in red wine with Yukon gold potato purée and root vegetables, followed by blood orange cake with lemon curd and mixed berries, all accompanied by Cline Cellars wines.
Subsequent dinners will feature the fine food of Café La Haye’s Jeremy Lloyd on March 30 with Gundlach Bundschu wines; Wild Thyme Catering and Chef Beau Filipello on April 2; and Sondra Bernstein and John Toulze’s Girl and the Fig on May 30. $65 each person, each dinner; no series price. Reserve at 276 E. Napa St., Sonoma, 938-4626, ext. 1, or visit Sonoma Valley Box office at sonomacommunitycenter.org.
A gaggle of friends giggled, sipped and nibbled at Meadowcroft Winery’s Mardi Gras event last Saturday to support the “coronation” of King Chip and Queen Jeanne Allen.
Among the 60 attendees were locals Byron and Jeni Nichols, Bill and Dian O’Neal, Lucy Weiger, Christine Mueller and Tom Wright, Barbara and Jim Morris, Rick and Connie Balduc, and Marck and Alison Zuehlsdorff.
Our next door neighbor, Henry Moras, celebrated his 100th birthday in good health Sunday with about 40 family members from throughout the west, and never-ending good food. Four generations of the family and its extensions seem to specialize in healthy cakes, pies, lace cookies and macarons. Originally Canadian, and a retired Chevron engineer, Moras was married to the late Jane Moras, the beloved late manager of Sonoma Valley Hospital’s As Is Shop, once located in the Cuneo property on the Spain Street side of Sonoma Plaza. Moras deputizes a golf club as a cane saying, “I don’t need it.” Several of us try to convince him to use the putter end as a handle and the leather end to stab the ground, but no dice on the advice. Many more happy birthdays, Henry! We all love you.
Women for WineSense will host a rare Sonoma Valley event, “Bubbles, Brix and Buzz” at Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards next Wednesday, Feb. 20. Women for WineSense is open for membership to any women involved at any level in the wine and hospitality business, or to women who are wine fans. Great bubbles and bites. $25 members, $35 non-members, $15 student members, $45 at door. 5:30 p.m.
Sonoma Sister Cities’ Penglai, China Committee will gather for lunch at Lily Kai restaurant in Petaluma on Sunday, Feb. 24, to celebrate the Year of the Snake with members of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China.
There are a few tickets available for the 10-course banquet, for what should be an interesting meal with interesting conversation. Food as diplomacy. $30. Tickets at SVBO.org or sonomasistercitiesassoc.org.
Michael Muscardini and staff are riding high. After hearing that Muscardini Cellars won gold medals for its 2010 Rancho Salina and for its 2009 Tesoro in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the fun and hot new tasting room in Kenwood had its best day ever last Saturday and practically ran out of wine. The weekend topped off with a full page great story in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Travel Section. Muscardini says, “If you keep drinking, I’ll keep making.”
Watch for your “Save the Date” cards arriving soon for La Luz Center’s next spectacular fundraiser, “Noche out of Africa,” to take place in Jack London State Historic Park on Saturday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m. This will be another Marcelo DeFreitas production, so get your tickets early for safari dancing, batik costumes, African food, tribal music and colorful performances.
Della Santina’s now features burger Thursdays in their Enoteca Next Door for $14.95 from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday nights the Enoteca serves sausage and beans with specialty beers for $15 as part of its new sausage and suds evening. 133 E. Napa St., Sonoma. 935-0576.
Fast Food Fish Fry:
So I picked up a “regular” sized box of McDonald’s new Fish McBites on my way to meet the Tuesday Lunch Bunch at Della Santina’s so we could all do a taste test. No one wanted a second wheat-battered tiny cube of “Wild caught Alaskan Pollack.” The entire bite seemed bitter to all of us. Paula Wolfert thought that might be due to the batter, but I took some off and the fish still tasted bitter. A dip into the tartar sauce spiked the bitter flavor with a little acidity. These are going into Happy Meals as healthy food, apparently through March as a McDonald’s nod to Lent. Most McDonald’s are franchise operations.
On a recent visit to In-N-Out burger in Petaluma I found messages on the burger wrapper that I hadn’t noticed before. Information includes that the first In-N-Out opened in 1948, all burgers made with never-frozen fresh beef, buns are made without preservatives from “real sponge dough,” they “hand leaf lettuce every day,” Kennebec potatoes are peeled and diced daily (watch staffers hand cutting potatoes), and they have cooked their fries in “100 percent cholesterol free oil since 1948.” And then there are the Bible passages recommended on the bottom of each paper cup.
As granddaughter of founders Harry and Esther Snyder, Lynsi Torres has inherited the whole company, races in NHRA (drag) races’ Super Gas and Top Sportsman Division 7 classes, was born into the founding Snyder family and acquired her two Hispanic names by marriages, according to L.A. Weekly and the company’s website. Said to be worth $1.1 billion, Torres is only 30, got her drag racing genes from her grandfather, and according to Bloomberg News, just paid $17.4 million for a nearly 17,000-square-foot mansion in Bradbury, near Los Angeles. Let’s see – that’s about $1 million per 1,000 square feet, right?
While visiting the Oakland Zoo and its café with daughter Erin and her 2- and 6-year-olds a week ago, we found really great tomato soup made by the café manager, as well as sweet potato fries, burgers, hot dogs and lots more. Unlike many grocery stores, the Oakland Zoo’s café displays the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Seafood Watch” West Coast Seafood Guide to “best choices, good alternatives and avoid” fish.
McDonald’s Alaskan wild-caught Pollack is in the “best choices” category, so it must be what McDonald’s does to it that creates the bitter taste.
Many grocery stores avoid displaying Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Seafood Watch” list because they sell some of the fish on the “Avoid” list. Get your copy to guide your fish choices in the front office of The Sonoma Index-Tribune, 117 W. Napa St., Sonoma. I order them directly from the aquarium as a public service.
Jim Witous and family hosted an opening party of his Café Mac next to the bike shop and across from Sonoma Valley High School recently. Many of us have seen his white Café Mac car scooting around to make house calls for computer problem solving.
Now he has a physical location and celebrated its opening with some of the best wines around and great appetizers served by his daughters, who are active in the business, and fun music by local Katie Benz and her band, Two Friends and A Benz. Katie’s mother, Rena, was there to support Katie and her sister, special needs teacher Maria Benz.
While Café Mac doesn’t have sit-down café tables, Witous sells healthy snacks from a case for high school students (or anyone else) such as Krave jerky, sweet potato chips, Volcanic mineral water, Mexican cane sugar Coca-Cola, Jody Purdom’s spiced Sonoma Valley Nuts and bottled Starbuck’s Frappucino to start. Broadway Catering’s healthy Bombay Burritos, which were served at the opening, will also be available.
Watch for a homework and conference room in the back, and Friday Night Socials where there will be four rules: no business questions; no chat about work; no cellphones or texting; and you must disconnect from the grid. 20093 Broadway, Sonoma. 666-1184. firstname.lastname@example.org, cafemac.net.
Watching the Grammy’s last week I was amused at how many female singers sort of imitated Adele’s uniform black dress and stand-still-and-sing style, while she broke her own fashion mold and showed up in a puffy pink and red flower print dress. Enjoy!