Rumor department: new Mexican bakery open
garden tours; ‘Bachelorette’ events?; historic cars fest in Plaza
Special note: If you want to send me information of any kind, I am open for business at my new email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bruce Riezenman of Park Avenue Catering of Santa Rosa has taken over the restaurant at CornerStone, blessing it with the new name of Park 121, undoubtedly because of the highway number, also known as Arnold Drive. This is great news for diners and CornerStone. Riezenman’s food is always good and fun. The new restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with beer and wine, according to his office.
Margie Tosch Brooke, who catered the pleasant event last Sunday at Hanna Boys Center to dedicate a plaque honoring the late five-star Gen. Hap Arnold whose former ranch borders on Hanna property, is converting the building next to her Community Café to Annex Wine Bar, expected to be an interesting tasting room and wine bar.
Bruce MacKay, who oversaw tasting rooms at Justin and Landmark wineries, will be managing “sheriff” according to Brooke. The tasting room’s ambiance will be “early American,” and will feature Bruce and Kitty MacKay’s extensive collection of early American furniture.
Incidentally, the new owners of the Arnold property reportedly have demolished the old Arnold family home to build something new.
Rumor department: Cheveux Salon has relocated to the house, now called “The Yellow Cottage,” just east of La Haye Art Center on East Napa Street, clearing the road for Envolve Winery, a.k.a. Bachelor Ben Flajnik, Mike Benziger and Danny Fay, to move into the former Cheveux space in so-called “Vine Alley” on Napa Street across from Sonoma Plaza.
Rumors abound that the guys want to have “Bachelorette” parties at their new tasting room and rent an apartment or two upstairs in Melissa Detert’s complex. Hence, Detert’s application to turn those office and meeting spaces into apartments, as posted on telephone polls in the vicinity.
Some kind of try-outs maybe? Hmmm …
Tonight, June 1, Barbara White Perry will welcome guests to an exhibit of her 21 most recent paintings at Gen. Joseph Hooker House Gallery. The paintings ask and attempt to answer the question: “What is A Garden?” See the outstanding paintings, sip some wine, nibble cheese and enjoy her husband Fred “The Cookie King” Perry’s fabulous cookies. Free. Opening reception 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and open during Cottage and Garden Tour Sunday, June 3, without wine and goodies. 10 percent of painting sales will go to Sonoma League for Historic Preservation. El Paseo Courtyard, 414 First St. E., Sonoma.
You can also view White Perry’s skilled line drawings of Sonoma’s historic buildings at Maysonnave House, along with my baking display, at 291 First St. E., Sonoma.
Sunflower Caffé’s “First Friday” tonight celebrates oil painter Carol Myer with wines from Robledo Family Winery. Reception 5 to 7 p.m. 421 First St. W., Sonoma.
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s “Wet Paint” gala dinner and auction on Sunday, June 17, dubbed “Feast on Art” this year, will be at Ramekins Culinary School and Events Center to support the museum’s year-round exhibitions and programs and is nearly sold out already.
Fine local artists will create new work on the spot in Ramekins’ courtyard. You can watch pizza making in a wood-fired oven and sip wines before a three-course dinner, wines from Charles Creek, Hughes Family and Muscardini Cellars, and more art in Ramekins Grand Ballroom. The always hilarious Squire Fridell will serve as auctioneer.
A special raffle features a trip for two to Cuba, while the auction offers a “private safari” for 40 people at Lyon Ranch, a trapeze class and lunch party for 10, and a private tour and dinner for 12 at the newly renovated Spreckles mansion. Bid on art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Chester Arnold, Brigitte McReynolds and Will Combs for starters. $250. 5:30 p.m. Get tickets at 939-7862.
Speaking of our fabulous art museum, 10 members recently traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, on a museum-sponsored trip to visit art museums in and around the small town of Marfa, which has a great collection of minimalist art. Stanley Abercrombie and Paul Vieyra report that they dined sumptuously on foods from the Middle East, Spain and India at Samar’s in Dallas; jalapeno soup, bacon-wrapped shrimp and buffalo rib eye at Reata in Fort Worth; cocktails, cucumber sandwiches and pimiento cheese at Fort Worth home of Kay Fortson, founder of Fort Worth’s Kimbell Museum; and escargot, gorgonzola soufflé and wood-grilled rack of lamb at Cochineal in Marfa. And after a dinner at Maiya’s of fennel tartlet, raw beet salad, penne Puttanesca and profiteroles, they concluded that Marfa’s “Shark Truck” may have been the best and is rated one of America’s 10 best food trucks.
Sonoma Raceway, formerly known as Infineon Raceway, presents its Historic Car Race Festival on Saturday, June 2, culminating on the festival that brings 30 classic racecars to the horseshoe in front of City Hall. The entire event benefits Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, which includes funding for our Sonoma School Garden Project, which now has nutritious gardens in all 11 public schools.
At the event, you can view the cars, chat with the drivers, nibble on foods from the Basque Boulangerie, Maya Restaurant, Community Café, Café Scooteria, The Epicurean Connection, Murphy’s Irish Pub, The Red Grape, Swiss Hotel, Ben & Jerry’s and Tuscan Cowgirl Dezerts.
B.R. Cohn, Cellar Door and Chandelle Winery, Deerfield Ranch, Highway 12, Peter Cellars, Robledo, Roche, Valley of the Moon and VJB Vineyards and Cellars will pour their wines. Meet fascinating car owners, including a woman doctor who runs a tattoo removal clinic in Washington. $30 advance, $35 at Plaza event. 5:30 to 8 p.m. For tickets call 800-870-7223. racesonoma.com/scc.
The annual Ox Roast smokes in this Sunday, June 3, in the Plaza following Hit the Road Jack, the local running/walking/wheeling race resurrected this year by the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation (hittheroadjack.org). Dedicating the day to the late super-volunteer Howie Ehret, volunteers will slow-cook beef, fresh corn, baked beans and Basque Boulangerie bread, with kids’ plates and sausages available. Wine from Highway 12 Vineyards for sale along with micro brews from Olde Sonoma Public House supplement the meal and soft drinks. $12 ox plates, $10 sausage, $7 kids. 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 938-4626, ext. 1 or sonomacommunitycenter.org.
Cristina and Miguel Garcia just opened their new Garcia’s Bakery across Fifth Street West from Safeway and next to Sonoma Valley Office Supply, with a little help from their daughter, Nancy, one of our happy and enthusiastic Altimira horticulture students.
When I dropped in Monday they had a case full of those yummy Mexican pan dulce and cookies, many of which looked identical to those at La Mixteca behind Palms Grill. The Garcias plan to offer focaccia, bagels, sour dough and other breads, flan, cupcakes, espresso and juice drinks and “cakes for all occasions” by the end of this week or next.
Their ultimate dream is to open a Mexican restaurant next door as well. The family has lived here two years and previously owned a bakery in Santa Rosa.
Places are selling fast for Wild Thyme’s next “Dining Club Rive Gauche,” dubbed “Spring in Paris,” on Wednesday, June 6, at Sonoma Valley Grange that will feature popular Junny and Guillermo Gonzalez’s Sonoma Artisan duck and foie gras, complimented by one of my favorite of their guest musicians, Queen of Boogie Woogie Wendy Dewitt. She is a pianist to behold, who moves within one piece from somber and serious to shear ecstasy by the musical climax.
With a menu of a sorrel soup cocktail with a mousse of foie gras crouton, spring vegetables with duck confit, grilled duck breast with cherry sauce and wild rice, green salad with cheeses and a local strawberry tart with coffee, the dinner is a bargain. Wild Thyme offers a vegetarian option if requested with reservation. $35. BYOW, no corkage. 7 p.m. 18627 Sonoma Highway, Boyes Hot Springs. Reservations required at 996-0900 or email@example.com.
Garden tours everywhere:
Sonoma Ecology Center offers an unusual “Tour de Coop” to homes of Sonoma Valley chicken owners for those of us who want to learn how to raise chickens and eggs on Saturday, June 2. See 10 home coops from rustic to super fancy, including the home of Sam Mogannam, owner of San Francisco’s famed Bi-Rite Market and strawberry shortcake at the Community Garden. Each stop offers light refreshments. Tickets $20, children 12 and under free available Saturdays at Sonoma Garden Park or via sonomaecologycenter.org. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sonoma League for Historic Preservation’s popular Cottage and Garden Tour is Sunday, June 3, with peeks at five homes and their lovely gardens as well as the Blue Wing, Maysonnave House and Gen. Joseph Hooker House, the last of which houses artist Barbara White Perry’s new collection of paintings. Docents will answer questions at each home on the self-guided tour. Nibbles by Café 522 and wines from Kaz Winery will be served at Maysonnave House.
Gardens include one at Sonoma’s oldest residential adobe with a Helen Van Pelt-designed garden, a garden designed by Penny Magrane, a rural getaway, a garden of an historic Craftsman home and other fabulous houses and inns.
The League’s Cottage and Garden Tour is its main source of funds for running and maintaining three important historic properties: the Heritage Center at Maysonnave House, the Toscano Hotel and Gen. Joseph Hooker House. Should be gorgeous, with perfect weather. Tickets are available at The Corner Store, Wedekind’s Garden Center and Pharmaca, or at “will call” June 3 at 553 Second St., E., Sonoma. $45. Noon to 4 p.m.
Valley of the Moon Garden Club’s garden tour Saturday, June 2, is only open to members. Call club president Bonnie Brown if you want to join quickly. 935-8986.
Beekeeper Randy Sue Collins will speak at the Garden Club’s next meeting on Thursday, June 7, on “The Wonderful World of Honeybees.” Great refreshments and raffles follow the meeting. Free. 7 p.m. 264 First St. E., Sonoma. 935-8986.
Lunita Farm now has a CSA, which costs $26 a week for vegetables and fruit grown on Nancy Lang’s property near Donum Estate. Farmer Rachel Kohn Obut includes 10 varieties of veggies, fruit, herbs and her weekly newsletter with each delivery. She also sells to EDK and the Epicurean Connection. Boxes are delivered to the Yoga Community, Sonoma Valley Hospital and Sonoma Developmental Center. Home delivery costs $4 more a week. To sign up call Rachel at 494-9210 or lunitafarm.net.
I have to save my Amtrak culinary chronicles until next week because of so much news, but they will be worth the wait.