Sonoma Artisan Cheese Fair and Academy Awards parties Sunday; Eighth Street Wineries tastes
Best foods for your hair? Homemade brew and wine contests
Happy birthday, George Washington!
Oh my! This is my 208th column written for The Sonoma Index-Tribune, which means four whole years with this newspaper, adding up to around 300,000 words. I did take a break one week for Jerry’s memorial, but otherwise have written from and received your emails on other people’s computers in England, Scotland, Mexico and Canada, and even in the Queen Mary II library while crossing the Atlantic Ocean 20 miles from the ill-fated Titanic. Thanks for reading.
Last minute: Valley Wine Shack will serve a “We Didn’t Make It to Mardi Gras Dinner” tonight, Feb. 22. Chef Rob Larman will make salad of little gem lettuce with fried Tomales Bay oysters remoulade, seafood and andouille sausage gumbo, and Hookers House Bourbon brioche bread pudding. $35. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 535 W. Napa St., Sonoma. Reserve at 938-7218.
Sonoma Film Society’s Party (they are not allowed to use the words “Oscar” or “Academy Awards”) will liven up Hanna Boys Center Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24, with “a unique premium lounge experience” with a 25-by-20-foot screen and surround sound. Treasury Wine Estates and Gloria Ferrer will pour wines, with cocktails and a “shush room” available for actually watching the awards. Locally, Treasury owns Chateau St. Jean, Beringer, Etude, Souverain and Stag’s Leap wineries.
Appetizers such as smoked salmon pinwheels and crimini mushrooms stuffed with Italian sausage will be passed, followed by a buffet of salumi and local cheeses, grilled chicken breasts, three-cheese tortellini with pesto, salads, grilled pizzas and eggplant Parmesan. The dessert buffet will offer mini red velvet cupcakes, mini blueberry crème brûlées and raspberry almond torte with chocolate ganache. $150. 3:30 p.m. For tickets contact Ginny Krieger at 933-2600 or sonomafilmfest.org.
Hunt Bailie suggests watching the awards at Murphy’s Irish Pub, and Jason Ghiselin has organized a watch event at Margie Brooke’s Annex Wine Bar.
Sheana Davis’ yummy Artisan Cheese Fair public tasting day will be Sunday, Feb. 24, at MacArthur Place. Cheese fans should go for great taste delights, a macaroni and cheese contest, good wines and artisan brews.
Davis, her daughter, Karina, and The Epicurean Connection enjoyed a full-page story in the Bohemian last week, leading up to her Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference.
The Cork Pullers will play, and wines will come from Hamel Family Vineyards, Idell, Envolve, Korbin Kameron, Robert Sinskey and Inkidu, with cheeses from Beechers, Cedar Grove, Cheese Plus San Francisco, North Bay Curds and Whey, California Artisan Cheese Guild, Carr Valley, Le Clare Farm, Roelli, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and the Beehive Cheese Company.
Enjoy beer from Moylan’s, Marin Brewing, Gordon Biersch, Hen House Brewing, Moonlight and Rogue Ales.
Chefs from HopMonk Tavern, Real Food Company, Good Earth Natural Foods, Glen Ellen Star, Hot Box Grill, Kendall Jackson Estate, Shiso Sushi and Grill, Sea Ranch Lodge, The Depot Hotel, St. Francis Winery and James Fanucchi of The Epicurean Connection will compete in the mac and cheese contest. Judges include Jessica Dur, who wrote the great story on Davis in the Bohemian, Heather Irwin of Bite Club, retailer Anna Wolfe, Steve Jaxon of KSRO, Heather Porter Engwall of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Kurt Dammeier of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and me. $40. 1 to 4 p.m. 29 E. MacArthur, Sonoma. Tickets at The Epicurean Connection, 122 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 935-7960. Sells out.
Former newscaster Betty Ann Bruno’s Hawaiian festival last Sunday at Vintage House was a sold-out blast apparently. Attendees learned Hawaiian dancing, ukulele strumming, heard story telling and much more. Lots of raves for the Kahlua pork and long-marinated chicken dinner.
School gardens update:
Becky Larson, Ysidro and their Larson Family Winery Vineyard Management crew planted our educational vineyard at Adele Harrison Middle School with students a year ago and showed up last Thursday to teach Shirley Austin-Peake’s science class the purpose and how-to of pruning, with some students even taking clippers to the vines.
Production garden begins:
The Sonoma School Garden Project and Sonoma Valley Unified School District have broken ground for a production garden at Altimira Middle School. Students will be growing lots of organic tomatoes and beans to supply the school lunch program with organic tomato sauce and beans for chili and other goodies. John McReynolds of Stone Edge Farm has offered to work with our dedicated food service team to can lots of sauce and beans.
Sharna Haver of Cheveux Salon forwarded the “10 Best Food for Your Hair” list from health.usnews.com, which includes lean red meat, eggs, bananas (greenish), beer, oats, raisins, dark green veggies, oysters, sweet potatoes, beans, veggies such as broccoli, leafy greens, green peppers, citrus fruit and strawberries, Omega-3 fatty acids from herring, mackerel, flaxseeds and walnuts and vegetable oils such as safflower and sunflower for shininess. I count 21, not 10, but good info for sure.
Eighth Street Wineries, those cult-ish wineries hidden in Sonoma Valley’s light industrial complexes on Eighth Street East, will hold their open house full of great wine and small tastes of interesting foods Saturday, Feb. 23. Some wineries have tasting rooms elsewhere but this is a chance to see where and how they make their wines and meet the winemakers.
Anaba Wines will serve cassoulet from Broadway Catering; Enkidu will have Santa Rosa’s Willowside Market sausages; MacRostie will feature music by the Easy Leaves Duo; The Epicurean Connection will make apricot Nectarine Relish with Crème de Fromage for Parmelee-Hill.
Patz and Hall’s chef Richard Visconte will serve parsley and cumin gougères and pork rillette on crostini; John McReynolds will serve red wine mushroom and speck farotto for Stone Edge Farm; Chef Tracy of Talisman will surprise guests; Three Sticks will serve food from nearby girl & the fig caters; and Tin Barn will serve cocktail tamales from El Molino Central. $40 by midnight Feb. 22, $45 at participating wineries. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info at eighthstreetwineries.com or call Janie Mumm of Enkidu at 939-3930.
Wild Thyme’s Dining Club Rive Gauche returns to Sonoma Valley Grange Wednesday, March 6, for a “Down Home Menu” to accompany Tommy Thomsen, king of western swing and blues, along with Gary Vogensen, guitarist with
Etta James, Elvin Bishop and Norton Buffalo.
Diners will enjoy empanadas with avocado salsa; Caesar salad with cornbread; baby back ribs with mashed potatoes (vegetarian option available if ordered with reservation), and a fruit crisp and coffee. $35, service not included. 7 p.m. BYOW, no corkage. Reservations required at 996-0900 or email@example.com.
Correction: Our neighbor, Henry Moras, who celebrated his first century of life nearly two weeks ago, worked for Stauffer Chemical, not Chevron. Driveway stories sometimes wander.
Several people have asked me “whatever happened to the guys who owned Café 522?” So I found out. Jay Gardner works as a manager for Palo Alto Foods, which distributes organic and “natural” foods to the likes of Apple, Google, Oracle and Linkedin, Filoli and the Olympic Club. Todd runs his own bookkeeping business in Sonoma, with several locally well known clients.
Wine Country home winemakers and home brewers have some exciting competitions and celebrations coming up.
Sonoma Home Winemakers invite submissions for their annual contest, which leads some producers on to successful professional endeavors. Get entry forms at sonomahomewine.com or at Valley Wine Shack, then take your wines to Valley Wine Shack where proprietor Windee Smith will keep them safely.
Each entry will receive written feedback from the judges, and awards will be announced at Sonoma Home Winemakers’ annual fun banquet at Vintage House on Thursday, April 18.
Wine entry fee is $10 a bottle and all winemakers must make their wine at home and be age 21 or older. You have to label your wine with your name or your winery’s name and varietal or blend in the bottle, and all entries should be delivered to Valley Wine Shack before Saturday, March 9. Make checks to Sonoma Home Winemakers. Banquet $30. 525 W. Napa St., Sonoma.
Bay Area home brewers may submit their entries for Sonoma Community Center’s third annual Beer-vana, “Nirvana for Beer Lovers”’ officially sanctioned amateur beer brewing competition and tasting party to be held at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building on Friday, April 5.
Beers will be judged professionally in one of 10 nationally recognized beer categories, with medals to be awarded in many categories and one “Best in Show” grand prize winner, who will received the Beer-vana Stein, a handmade ceramic stein that will entitle him or her to sample beers in brew pubs throughout Sonoma County.
Submit your original brews to the Sonoma Community Center office by 5 p.m. Friday, March 15. The whole competition is sanctioned by the Beer Judge Certification Program. Find more information and get entry forms at sonomacommunitycenter.org or call 938-4626, ext. 1, or in person at 276 E. Napa St., Sonoma.
Beth Casey, who has taught for years at California Culinary Academy and now manages the front of the house for Insalata’s restaurant in San Anselmo, has produced a clever and attractive Women Winemakers Calendar Girls calendar that you might find useful for the rest of the year. Every Tuesday through Thursday Insalata chef/owner Heidi Krahling creates a three-course prix fixe menu for $29.50 that includes two glasses of each month’s featured winemaker’s wine.
The closest the calendar gets to a Sonoma Valley winemaker is highly competent and funny Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros, who will be featured at the April 6 dinner. Other winemakers include Susie Selby of Selby Winery, Sarah Quider of Ferrari-Carano, Krisi Raymond of Five Vintners Wines, Kristin Belair of Honig, Susay Pey of Pey Winery, Laura Werter of Toasted Toad, Amelia Ceja of Ceja, Suzanne Hagins of Horse & Plow, Susan Lueker and Megan Schofield of Simi, Shawna Miller of Luna and Joy Sterling of Iron Horse. To get a calendar or make a reservation for a winemaker dinner, call 415-457-7700 or insalatas.com.
Sondra Bernstein’s “fig” products are now prominently displayed at Tyler Florence’s Shop in San Francisco Airport’s Terminal 2 and selling like crazy. You can find them right in the restaurant bar/lobby at the Girl and the Fig here at Spain and First Street West.
Shiso Restaurant offers 15 percent sushi and grill discounts to wine and hospitality industry workers on Monday evenings with $3 draft beers, $5 glasses of chardonnay, and $6 tall sakes. Maxwell Village Shopping Center. 933-9331.
My friend Anne Brodie, a prominent film critic in Toronto, was pawing through some old trunks at home and found a 1979 Architectural Digest with a several-page photo feature of Highclare Manor, which we know today through PBS as “Downton Abbey.”
Did anyone else notice in the short season’s finale Sunday evening that the merry-go-rounds and other rides all revolved to the right, whereas most of ours turn to the left? Perhaps it’s because British brains slant right since they drive on the right side of a vehicle?
Today is “National Margarita Day.” Cheers!