Rudy Sonoma replaces Café 522; Global Tasting Room to replace The Cave
Food Truck Friday; Rumor department: Ceja Winery and Distillery?
Rudy Mihal and his mother, Mary Kay Hartley, have opened Restaurant Rudy Sonoma on Broadway where the most recent tenant was Café 522.
Hartley, who describes herself as an architectural designer, brought in a Feng Shui expert who said the glass chandeliers and fabric sound drape should come out, which they have. Hartley has chosen interesting colors, is replacing the upholstery and has added metal chairs and new tables and plants in the back patio. I warned her that while there is a real psychology to loud restaurants (noise supposedly makes us drink and eat more and faster), the decibel levels in that location have been a problem previously.
Meanwhile, Mihal has opened for lunch Thursday through Sunday to start, expecting to serve dinner in a couple of weeks. With six wines “on tap,” his lunch menu now starts with an iceberg lettuce disc (slice) with Point Reyes blue cheese, bacon and roasted tomatoes ($10), a raw kale salad with carrots and avocado, duck and pork terrine and English pea soup with dungeness crabmeat ($8 to $14).
Sandwiches and lunch entrées include a short rib black truffle burger, meaning roasted short rib ground with black truffles and encased in 25 percent fat ground beef ($18); veggie burgers made from eggplant and zucchini; Moroccan spiced crispy chicken sandwich; pulled Kurobuta pork sandwich with savoy cabbage slaw and pan seared wild skate wings with chard and wax beans ($14 to $18). Glasses of wine range from $9 to $14.
According to Hartley, Mihal’s Odyssey restaurant in Windsor closed due to a bad location even though it received four stars from Jeff Cox and three stars from Michael Bauer. She and Mihal said he had learned cooking on the job, rather than at culinary school. He cooked in Italy for a year, then at Gramercy Tavern, followed by Daniel Bolud’s Café Bolud in Palm Beach and at Spoonbar in Healdsburg.
Next door, Janet Lee Estes has applied for an ABC license under the name Global Tasting Room & Wine Bar, which sounds a lot like what The Cave was trying to do before it was shut down by various agencies for serving food without a license, among other things.
Watch for Rebecca and Christian Chotkowski’s Proof’d liquor, wine and beer tasting and shop to open within a couple of weeks at the old Plaza Liquors site.
Organizing for America and Sonoma Valley Democrats will nibble pizza and salad at Round Table Pizza for a “Watch Party” when President Barack Obama accepts the nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, Sept. 6. All are welcome. 5 to 8 p.m. Contact Beth Hadley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo beans and more offers a “New World Pantry” class at Ramekins Culinary School on Thursday, Sept. 6, a must see for those who love to cook beans and other Mexican specialties at home. Steve is a really nice guy who has reinvigorated whole Mexican villages by restoring their bean crops. He also moved from the Napa Valley to Sonoma recently.
Learn to make and sample “a perfect pot of beans,” dried chile sauce, fresh chile salsa verde, Cascabel chile salsa, handmade tortillas, pozole with roasted chicken and seasoned Requesón cheese. $80. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 933-0450 or ramekins.com.
Ramekins also has a few spaces available for a special Sunday, Sept. 9 “Spice Tasting and Cooking” class with Ronit and Shuli Madmone, who own Whole Spice shop in Napa’s Oxbow Market. Learn to make chicken with Moroccan Harissa sauce, coconut salmon curry, Mediterranean bean salad and learn to smell and taste a wide variety of spices. $85. 4 to 7 p.m. 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 933-0450. ramekins.com.
Keith and Cherie Hughes, who generously sponsored the Lawrence Ferlinghetti exhibit at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, also donated an auction item at the museum’s recent Wet Paint fundraiser that included an evening of jazz and fine food at their home and vineyard.
Catherine Venturini of Olive & Vine prepared chilled corn soup shooters, seared scallops on wonton crisps, perfect grilled citrus and rosemary seared salmon, lavender lamb skewers, her father’s pole bean salad and sweet white corn and Parmesan risotto cakes while San Francisco jazz vocalist Rebecca Dumaine and her father, Dave Miller of the David Miller Trio, entertained. Rebecca is a longtime friend of the Hughes family and their daughter Amy.
Among the strong museum supporters attending were Drew and Ellen Bradley, George Rathman, Steve and Diane Bieneman, Paul and Betsy Mead, new museum and Mentoring Alliance boardmember Jill Simpson, Gerry Snedaker and Diane Krause, Jane and Al Milotich, Steve and Troy Hightower, artist Douglas Fenn Wilson who just got his occupancy certificate for that new house you see growing along the creek in Glen Ellen, Yvonne Hall, Dan and Tery Parks, Nicki Naylor, Harriet and Randy Derwingson, Joe and Debby Dyar, Barbara Pascoe, Stanley Abercrombie and Paul Vieyra, Jeff Walter and Valerie Pistole, Marde Ross, Marty Buchart and Amy, Chris and Avery Ainsworth of Newport Beach.
Meanwhile, Hughes Family Vineyards 2008 Signature Reserve Syrah won a gold medal in the Sunset Magazine’s 2012 Wine Competition, the result of efforts by vineyardist Phil Coturri and winemaker Rolando Herrera.
Some SVMA supporters were treated last week to informative tours of Stone Edge Farm, led by head gardener Colby Eierman, who took everyone through the artful gardens, vineyards, chicken coops and even composting piles. The morning ended with tastes of Stone Edge wines, made by Jeff Baker in our “wine ghetto” on Eighth Street East, and presented by Dorothe Moller-Racke, daughter of Ann Moller-Racke of Donum Estate and formerly of Buena Vista Winery.
Steve Ledson and former wife Michele led Ledson Hotel’s Centre du Vin’s first winemaker dinner last week featuring 12 of Ledson’s 85 wines. Ledson, dressed in his trademark tight Wrangler jeans and T-shirt, this time covered with a striped short-sleeved shirt, led guests through seven “tasting wines” before dinner beginning with his sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, malbec, zinfandel reserve, Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and Alexander Valley cab. Ledson has just hired Andrew Bilenkij, former winemaker at Cumulus Wines in New South Wales, Australia, who also trained under the famed Philip Shaw, as his new winemaker.
For dinner, a peppery butter lettuce salad with roasted cherry tomato and Hass avocado came the Zina Hyde Cunningham Russian River Sauvignon Blanc, a peppery pan-seared jumbo prawn with sautéed kale served with chardonnay, excellent duck confit ravioli with pinot noir, a sizeable filet mignon with fingerling potatoes and asparagus, all followed by chocolate mousse with whipped cream and Zina Hyde Cunningham 2008 Knights Valley Primitivo Sweet Kerry Port.
Among my interesting tablemates were two couples who collect and race Corvettes and hope to rent Sonoma racetrack for a future race “outside the oval.”
Deborah Emery put on an enormous 80th birthday party for husband, Dr. John, last Friday at their new estate just north of Sobra Vista. His equally handsome brothers, David and Victor, traveled from their native Canada and England to join a celebratory cast of hundreds. John’s real birthday was in January, for which Deborah gifted him with a heli-skiing trip to Whistler, British Columbia. He’s still the athlete who, with Victor and others, won a bobsled gold medal in the 1964 Winter Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria.
The Fat Pilgrim “contemporary general store” with a sense of humor, just north of Presentation School on Broadway, now sells organic vegetables and eggs from its little farm in back of the store and has part of my cracker tin collection displayed in the shop.
Watch for their new (and Sonoma’s only) Christmas store to open at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, next to the main shop. 20820 Broadway, Sonoma. 721-1287. fatpilgrim.com.
Quarryhill Botanical Garden will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 14, with “Cocktails in the Garden” to include founder Jane Davenport Jansen’s private garden. Jansen’s mission has been to “sustain and advance the conservation, study and cultivation of Asian flora in Sonoma County.” She, staff and friends have imported plants from throughout Asia, which guests will see in their unique setting.
Park Avenue Catering of Cotati will serve Vietnamese vegetable rolls, ahi poke, barbecued pork and papaya and pulled duck sliders as hors d’oeuvres. The Asian Grill Station will offer seared portobello skewers, beef satays with Thai peanut sauce, grilled and skewered flank steak strips and barbecued chicken skewers with Shiso leaves. The Dim Sum Table will offer a wide selection of shrimp, pork, chicken, mushroom and vegetarian dim sum in Chinese steamer baskets. No auctions or fund-a-need. $100 members, $150 non-members. 6 to 8 p.m. Reserve at 996-3166 or quarryhillbg.org.
Linda Welch, whom many of us knew when she ran Culinary Kids Cooking Classes that she taught at Ramekins and in our schools, has been spa operations supervisor at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn for several years and takes off soon for Africa as part of the Fairmont Working Holiday Program.
Welch will train staff and cook at the Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club throughout September and will prepare “Bush Dinners” and go on safaris while there.
Food Truck Friday is tonight, possibly the best part of which is BackTrax band, which plays oldies and goodies.
Band lead James Marshall Berry also produced the pre-dinner show at last Saturday’s Rotary dinner at Hanna Boys Center. Ron Lawson, of Field of Greens, planned the dinner of antipasti, local greens salad, roasted brined chicken, short ribs with potatoes au gratin (formerly scalloped potatoes?), asparagus and elusive candy bars. Rotarian Margie Brooke of Community Café oversaw the actual cooking by assorted Rotary members. Hanna Boys Center residents and Boys & Girls Club members served and cleared tables; while Max Simonet, son of Rotary president Vicki Whiting, passed a hat to collect tips for the servers, and Rick Wynne emceed.
A medical emergency on the raised dance floor stopped BackTrax opening song, “Rock Around the Clock,” midway, while everyone attended the fallen dancer. As guests were commanded to leave the building, many paused long enough to re-cork their wine bottles and take them along.
The entertainment was superb, and event chair Bill O’Neal’s creative departure from the well worn golf tournament and auction dinner was welcomed by all.
There’s much talk wafting around that Ceja Vineyards will build and open a new winery and distillery on the west side of Arnold Drive just south of Sperring Road. Amelia Ceja did not answer emails by my I-T deadline. Some neighbors are concerned about water and effluents. With a winery in the Carneros region, Bistro Sabor restaurant in Napa, and a budding Carneros Brewing Company on Fremont Drive, the Cejas are busy people.