Schellville Grill national news; New chef at Murphy’s
Four Sonoma wines make Chronicle Top 100; Nibs and sips
Some people have all the luck. Bad and good.
Last weekend Matt Nagan had to close his Schellville Grill for awhile because of water rushing all around it at the infamous intersection of highways 121 and 12.
So Nagan’s sister, Emily, kept posting “we’re closed for lunch, opening for lunch, going to the movies in Napa, open for dinner” notices on Facebook, which just reflected the ping pong nature of the ebbing and flowing of tides and the storms. While they shifted their plans publicly online, television news crews looked desperately for disaster stories in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties.
So where does CBS show up, but at Schellville Grill. Not that it just happened. But that’s beside the point.
Emily Nagan also posted that they would be on CBS 5 Bay Area news at 5 p.m. Sunday, so I watched. Great coverage of the restaurant, Matt slicing his smoked brisket in the kitchen and cracking jokes.
Then came the national CBS Evening News, and there was Matthew Nagan again, different footage. So being closed for a few hours after cautioning customers to “come on down with boots, water wings and a sense of humor,” turned into a gold mine of national publicity. Just pile that on with the intermittent rerunning of Guy Fieri’s “Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives” segment on the joint, and CBS spells success.
Only 25 tickets remain for Pets Lifeline’s Miracle on 8th Street at Ramekins Culinary School on Sunday Dec. 9, featuring a holiday dinner prepared by several of Sonoma Valley’s best chefs.
Bryan Jones, of the fig café, Ed Metcalfe, of Shiso Restaurant, executive chef Doug McFarland, of Ramekins, John McReynolds, of Stone Edge Farms, Norm Owens, of Hot Box Grill and Gaetano Patrinostro, of Mamma Tanino’s will cook up a storm to benefit pets who need care and homes.
Ramekins’ Chef Ambassador Lisa Lavagetto will lead the VIP private cooking class to prepare hors d’oeuvres of sweet onion and brie tartlets, seared beef crostini with horse radish crème fraîche and salmon mousse on cucumber slices.
McFarland and Owens will make 5th Street Farms winter squash soup; Jones and Metcalfe will make a zinfandel-braised short ribs or portobello with sautéed greens; McReynolds will offer his delish potato and root vegetable au gratin; and Patrinostro will offer tiramisu, zabaglione con lamponi (berries) and profiteroles. $125 or $150 VIP includes private cooking class at 4 p.m. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. Tickets at 996-4577, ext. 109, or petslifeline.org.
Back by popular demand, Ramekins Culinary School, Inn and Events Center will host its fun “Santa’s Brunch” on Sunday, Dec. 9, for the whole family and Santa. Get a kick out of cookie and ornament decorating for the kids, photos with Santa and great food and cocktails.
Enjoy housemade pastries, artisinal sausage, a Wine Country scramble with farm eggs, made-to-order omelette station, skillet potatoes, cinnamon raisin French toast, housemade dessert station, beverages, Mimosas, cocktails and wine by the glass or bottle available for purchase. $50 adults, $25 kids 12 to 18, kids under 12 free. 11 a.m. 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 933-0450. ramekins.com.
Murphy’s Irish Pub chef Sarah Pinkin, who has given birth twice while changing up the food at the pub and helping us start our Sonoma School Project Farmers Market in the Snug, has decided to leave Murphy’s to spend her time with her children. We applaud her choice and thank her for all of her community help, including teaching cooking with the Mentoring Alliance.
Stepping in to fill her big shoes is Detroit native Derek Belanger, a graduate of the CIA in Hyde Park, where he did his externship at the Manele Bay Hotel in Lanai, Hawaii. He then worked at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, where he met his wife, Sonoman Renée Momsen.
Having cooked at many fine resorts, Belanger worked as sous chef under chef Charles Holmes at Gaige House, eventually succeeding him as executive chef.
Next Belanger helped Peter Schumacher of Buckeye Roadhouse and Bungalow 44 open Dish in Mill Valley, where he warmed up his comfort food portfolio.
Gloria Ferrer offers an enticing Catalan Holiday Luncheon on Sunday, Dec. 9, featuring a traditional Spanish feast prepared by chef Chris Dressick, of San Francisco’s The Station and served in Gloria’s sparkling wine caves.
Catalan treats will include special cheeses during the reception with Ferrer Brut Rosé, Blanc de Blancs and Carneros Chardonnay, followed by a buffet luncheon of grilled bread rubbed with garlic, tomato, olive oil and jamón serrano; beluga lentils with sofrito, American made chorizo ibérico; braised lamb with onions; bacalao salt cod with potatoes, tomatoes and manchego, all served with Ferrer Royal Cuvée, Carneros Chardonnay and José S. Ferrer Pinot Noir.
The Cataluna-style rice pudding with Korintje Indonesian cinnamon and Madagascar bourbon vanilla will be served with Gloria’s Va de Vi. $75 or $63.75 for wine club members. 1 to 4 p.m. 23555 Highway 121 (Arnold Drive), Sonoma. . 996-7256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vintage House’s “Vintage Evening” fundraiser a couple of weeks ago was a well attended success, with many of their programs’ supporters showing up loyally, including Marilyn and Bob Albright, Mary Evelyn Arnold and David McFarland, Gerry Brinton, Susan and Niels Chew, Susan and Lew Cook, Christy and John Coulston, Arlene Curry and Ann Weeks, Nancy and Steve Denkin, Harriet and Randy Derwingson, Sandy and Dick Drew, Helen Fernandez, Cathy and Robert Gorham, Phyllis and John Gurney, Kay Maynard, Rori Habas and Bob Smith, Byron Hancock and Len Handeland, Maida and Jim Herbst, Barbara Hughes and Greg diPaoli, Genevieve Ladha and Dan Viele, Dottie and Bill Lynch on their way to Cuba, Penny MacNaughton and Paul Bernard, Robyn Makaruk and David Lewis, Alice and John Micklewright, Barbara and Jim Nelson, Jeni and board president Byron Nichols, Hope and Jack Nisson, Dian and Bill O’Neal, Birgitta and Dom Paino, Peggy and Les Peterson, Mabeth and Bill Sanderson, Sherry and Don Shone, Colin Turek and Charles Smith, Marcie and Dave Waldron and Judy and George Weiner.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Jon Bonné revealed his annual “Top 100 Wines 2012” in Sunday’s Chronicle magazine, with just a few Sonoma-related wines making the West Coast list.
Tops of those mentioned was the 2007 Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Sonoma Sparkling ($28), followed by illustrious runners-up as Roederer Estate, Scharffenberger and Schramsberg. Bonné’s tasting notes on the glorious Gloria say “breadcrumb, fig and a well-modulated sweetness.”
Breadcrumbs and figs? Where do they get these ideas? Just like food, every wine tastes different to each sipper, influenced by their own taste buds, what they had to eat recently, what coffee they drank that day and even what toothpaste they used.
Hanzell’s 2010 Estate Sonoma Valley Chardonnay ($75) was the top chardonnay, and Bonné said it reminds him of a Corton-Charlemagne, with “savory oak, parsley and lime leaves, with amazing polish to its yellow fruit and an earth depth.”
Landmark’s 2009 Sonoma Valley Grenache ($25) scored in Rhône-style reds with “warm coffee and nutmeg aromas and surprisingly delicate berry and pomegranate fruit.” Might the allusion to pomegranate have anything to do with the winery’s new owner, Stewart Resnick, who also owns Pom Wonderful pomegranate juices and flown-in Fiji water?
The big Sonoma winner in the Chronicle ratings is Morgan Twain-Peterson, two of whose Bedrock wines made the list. His 2010 Bedrock Heirloom Sonoma Valley Red blend ($35), which the wine editor called “the pinnacle of California field blends.” His NV Bedrock Shebang Fifth Cuvée Red ($12) made the “top values from top wineries” $30 and under additional wines list. A Vassar graduate, Morgan made his first wine at age 5.
Sonoma’s Best will feature a tasting Morgan Twain-Peterson’s Bedrock wines Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6 and 7. If you ever liked dad Joel Peterson’s Ravenswood wines, you must try Morgan’s. 5 to 7 p.m. 1190 E. Napa St., Sonoma. 996-7600. sonomas-best.com.
After today, Shiso Sushi & Grill in Maxwell Village will not serve lunch again until next summer, but will now be open for dinner every night, including a Late Night Happy Hour from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Watch for $5 sake cocktails and $3 draft beer, along with fried pickles and chicken yakitori ($2 to $6.) 933-9331. shisorestaurant.com.
Sonoma Valley Teen Services, Lovin’ Oven and Valley Girl Foodstuffs host a sale of their food and art Friday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 9 at the No Name Café at Sonoma Valley High School.
Teen bakers will make and sell tasty sandwiches and wraps, soup, salad and desserts starting at noon, working with adult volunteers Teresa Alumpur and Rich Treglia.
Valley Girl Foodstuffs, led by volunteer chef Anea Kamahele, will sell their excellent preserves, condiments and banana and apple sauces.
Art participants at No Name Café will offer their paintings, etchings, ceramics and jewelry, with the teens earning half of net proceeds and the other half going to buy art materials, food and packaging. Dec. 7, 3 to 5 p.m.; Dec. 8 and 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 2000 Broadway, Sonoma, Suite E1. More info via Cristin Lawrence at 939-1452 or svteens.org.
Sonoma International Film Festival presents a great party and dinner on Thursday, Dec. 13, at Benziger wine caves beginning with cocktails in the Oak Terrace Barn followed by an Elaine Bell-catered dinner in the wine cave. Swedish Lucia Maidens, dressed in traditional gowns, will escort guests into the long cave for dinner, where guests will be serenaded by the Voena Children’s Choir between the dinner entrée and dessert. This unique choir from Benicia brings together kids from diverse ethnic backgrounds who sing in many languages, and they have performed at the 2012 Olympics and at 49ers games.
Dinner will include red and yellow beet Napoleon; mini potato pancakes with smoked salmon, seared beef and mahogany lacquered duck; savory lobster crème brûlée; cocoa rubbed petite tender with dried demi-glace; and caramelized brioche bread pudding, and coffee. $175. 6 p.m. Contact Ginny Krieger at email@example.com or go through sonomafilmfest.org for tickets.
Women for WineSense Napa-Sonoma will celebrate “Wine on America’s Table” holiday dinner on Thursday, Dec. 13, at St. Supéry winery in the St. Helena. The evening will include gift shopping to benefit four annual wine study scholarships. Shop for tastings of Sonoma Plaza tasting room gold medal winners’ wines including Adobe Road, Highway 12 and Spann. Paul Wagner, wine educator for Napa Valley College’s wine program, will speak about the “History of the Toast.”
Dinner will mean wild mushroom strudel, roasted squash salad, roulade of beef stuffed with Fontina, whipped potatoes, carrots with pistachio brittle, or “veggie Wellington.” Indulge in red velvet cupcakes for dessert. $85. 5:30 p.m. silent auction, tasting; 6 p.m. dinner seating. Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed and Jonnie’s Christmas Trolley will give evening tours of Sonoma’s Christmas lights full of Christmas carols, hot apple cider and mulled wine and cookies. Bring cameras for photos with Santa. Tours will run (weather permitting) on Dec. 7 through 9, 15 and 16 and 22 and 23. $25 all ages ($5 of which goes to FISH). 15 seats, no seat belts. Reserve at 484-9897
Nibs & Sips: Robert Redford dined at Insalata’s in San Anselmo last week. According to Mayor Deborah Fudge, Dr. Oz bought $5,000 in salmon from Santa Rosa Seafood at the Windsor Farmers Market. Beltane Ranch is featured in the London Daily Standard travel section.