Wolfert wins James Beard Award; Home Winemakers results
Farmers market news; Foie gras in Sonoma; Mother’s Day opportunities
Sonoma resident Paula Wolfert, internationally known cookbook author, just won another James Beard Award for her newest book, “The Food of Morocco.” Congratulations on this highest award in food writing, Paula!
Wolfert may be one of the most praised cookbook authors alive. In 1994, her “The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean” won both the Julia Child Award for best international cookbook and the James Beard Award in the same category. Her “Mediterranean Grains and Greens” book won the James Beard Award for best international cookbook and was a finalist for the Julia Child Award in 1999.
In 2004, she was a finalist for the James Beard and won the Julia Child award for “The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook;” And in between came the French Tastemaker’s Award and a Cook’s magazine prize.
And she loves our farmers markets.
Farmers market news:
The Tuesday market opened last week with several new prepared food vendors including Shiso Sushi, Savannah’s, The Farmer’s Wife’s fabulous creative grilled cheese sandwiches with salad, 599 Thai restaurant, Rancho Viejo, Chai’s Gourmet where the owner is a recent Santa Rosa Junior College culinary graduate who hopes to cook at the Teen Center, Ultra Crepes, Short & Sweet Cupcakes, Neufel Farms of Kingsburg, Tulare County dried fruits, Cochon Volant’s new grilled veggie sandwich and fruit crisp and Harvey’s new donut sundaes.
Check out the interesting artists’ and crafts people’s work scattered among the food booths, where you can find great earrings, leather belts and unusual repurposed clocks.
The Friday farmers market is doing very well selling food to cook at the Arnold Field parking lot and will have a decorated hat contest today, Friday, at 10 a.m., with loads of fascinated children visiting with their teachers and parents.
As many of us have heard or read, there is a gooey controversy mixing over the raising and feeding of ducks to make the most of their fatty livers for foie gras, an ancient delicacy served privately in homes and at fine restaurants.
Square in the center of it all is the Sonoma family of Junny and Guillermo Gonzalez of Sonoma Foie Gras, renamed Artisan Foie Gras, whose onetime restaurant on Sonoma’s Plaza was vandalized before it even opened. Said to be the only California farmers growing animals primarily for their livers, the Gonzalezes will have to cease growing ducks for foie gras July 1, if the legislated ban isn’t reversed.
Signed by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California State Senate Bill 1520 bans force feeding ducks and set July 1 as a deadline to force growers to devise other methods.
Now the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (CHEFS), which includes chefs such as Thomas Keller, Tyler Florence, Michael Mina and Michael Chiarello, is asking the State Senate to reconsider their original decision.
Several chefs and restaurants have held dinners to raise awareness and funds to fight the ban. Locally, Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection will host a foie gras dinner with the Gonzalez’ on Wednesday, May 16, featuring courses prepared by Antonio Ghilarducci of The Depot Hotel Restaurant and Norm Owens of Hot Box Grill, with wines from the Ghilarducci Family Vineyards.
Be ready for a menu of torchon with pistachios and apricots; duck leg confit; roast breast of duck, pan-seared Sonoma foie gras, and bosc pears poached in Ghilarducci Merlot with Zabaglione Gelato. $75. Reserve at 935-7960.
Slow Food Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Valley Grange will have a joint potluck dinner (no joints, but great food) at the Grange on Monday, May 14. Bring food to share, either homemade, locally sourced or from a local farmer or grocer, and your beverage of choice. Free. 6 to 9 p.m. 18627 Sonoma Highway, Boyes Hot Springs. Slowfoodsonomavalley.com.
At Women for WineSense’s grand event last weekend, Margrit Mondavi, herself a former Mondavi tour guide, greeted a large crowd for a walk-around-tasting where Sonoma wineries Idell, Nicholson Ranch and Rocking K poured wines.
At the Sunday session at the CIA/Greystone Cellars, Ramona Nicholson of Nicholson Ranch received the “Lifetime Achievement” award for “her extraordinary leadership and as a role model for women in the wine business.”
Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation’s “Old Bags Luncheon” is not to be taken too personally. The Friday, May 18, luncheon and silent auction will include truly rare upscale collectors’ purses from the likes of Hattie Carnegie, Elizabeth Arden and lots of 1920s to 1960s New York designers.
Patricia England and Valerie Pistole will be honored, and gemologist Jennifer Bristow will speak. Enjoy a Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn menu of cobb salad, a chocolate peanut butter crunch bar with chocolate sauce and banana rum whipped cream. $100. 11 a.m. reception and silent auction, followed by lunch. For tickets contact Gina Jacquez at 935-5077 or email@example.com.
Sonoma Home Winemakers announced their medal winners at a recent sold-out dinner at Vintage House senior center, cooked by Rich Treglia and teens from Ragazze, the Teen Center and the Sonoma Valley High School Culinary program.
The teen servers, including Julie, Dora, Anthony, Abel and Rebecca, showed skills more sophisticated than some servers in Sonoma restaurants. Esther, José and Juan cooked alongside Treglia, producing excellent spinach salad, best mashed potatoes anywhere, tri-tip, grilled vegetables and bread.
Best of class winners included Steven Wyngard, of Nash Vineyards, who won best white for his chardonnay. Dr. Jeff Lopes, of Lopes Vineyard, won best red for his syrah, and Ken Thornton, of Red Lady Winery, got best label for his zinfandel.
Other medal winners included for individual wines include Chris Kukshtel (4), Jack Gray, Lou Leal (3), Steven Wyngard (4), Jack Gray, Raj Iyer, Neal Peaty (4), Jerry and Dale Sullivan (2), Dennis Przybycien (2), Salvatore Troia (2), Steve Smith (2), Lon Mclain, Doug Ghiselin (2), Ken Thornton (3), Scott Andrews, Jeff Lopes (2), Jeff Robertson (3), Lynn Cox, Brian Eagle, John Randazzo (2), Larry Castelli, John Sciocchetti, Doug Fritz et al, Bob Gilson, Jim Mc Cully, Steve Thomas, Chuck Vetrano and Scott Andrews.
And our family thanks both emcee Philip Sales and keynote speaker Jean Arnold Sessions for their memories of my late husband, Gerald Hill.
This year our kids are actually going to cook for me, which seems like the ultimate wonderful gift. Apparently they actually learned to cook. Should you prefer to go out or take someone out to relax, here are some choices of menu selections created specially for the weekend, listed alphabetically.
Breakaway Café: Brunch with a special omelet, hash, lemon pancakes, salmon cake and avocado eggs Benedict ($10.50 to $12.50); special dinner includes chopped Romaine and tomato salad with Green Goddess dressing; roast lamb sirloin or pan seared salmon with artichoke and asparagus; delish citrus pound cake, strawberries and cream ($24). Brunch 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; dinner 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.19101 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma. 996-5949.
Café 522: Special brunch of smoked salmon Benedict with roasted asparagus, poached local eggs, dill Hollandaise and greens served on potato pancakes and free Mimosa for mothers ($12) or Sonoma duck and waffles. 522 Broadway, Sonoma. 938-7373.
Chateau St. Jean hosts its Fête de la Fleur flower show on Saturday and a picnic hosted by winemaker Margo Van Staaveren on Sunday, with bocce and croquet. $45 adults, $25 children under 13. 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Reserve at 877-478-5326.
Depot Hotel Restaurant: Welcomes everyone with glass of champagne, mimosa or orange juice; two salad choices; main course entrées such as sirloin steak, asparagus Milanese with two eggs, dungeness crab cannelloni, poached Scottish salmon with artichoke-potato galette, butternut squash gnocchi with prosciutto, or porchetta. Dessert choices are divine. $39 adults, $20 children under 12. Brunch 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., dinner 5 to 9 p.m. 241 First St. W., Sonoma. 938-2980.
Epicurean Connection: special raspberry rose petal and Crème de Fromage crepes with champagne with raspberries or local citrus. $9.95 all day. 122 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 935-7960.
Estate Restaurant: Three-course prix fixe menu Sunday with house-cured salumi and Bellwether Farms yogurt, granola and fresh fruit; entrée choices of eggs Benedict; vegetable frittata with asparagus and goat cheese; baked eggs; brunch pizza or bacon panini with arugula and Fontina, followed by mixed berry semifreddo with chocolate-dipped almond biscotti. $32, $15 for age 10 and under. 400 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 933-3663, ext. 19.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn: A huge buffet with omelet station, carving stations from smoked fish and salmon to Niman Ranch filet mignon, English pea and ricotta ravioli, leg of lamb, lots of domestic and imported cheese, breads and salads. $89 adults, $44.50 children 6 to 12, 5 and under free. Complimentary valet parking. 939-2415.
Glen Ellen Fire Department hosts its terrific pancake breakfast in and out of the Arnold Drive fire house with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fresh fruit, juice and coffee, with cocktails available. $8 adults, $5 age 4 to 17, kids 3 and under free. 996-8200.
Gloria Ferrer: Sit on the terrace for bubbles, cheeses, dips and desserts with music by Dustin Saylor, who has toured with some bit names. $35. 2 to 4 p.m. 23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. 933-1931.
Larson Family Winery offers its annual family friendly barbecue on Sunday with chicken, tri-tip, pasta salad and tossed green salad, burgers for the kids, and Emily Nagan’s cheesecake. Includes wagon rides, music by the Cork Pullers, bocce, horseshoes, a jumpy house for kids and a picnic atmosphere. $35 adults, $15 kids 12 and under, $15 wine club members. 23355 Millerick Road, Schellville. Call Jennifer Russo at 800-938-9463, ext. 25, or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.
Ramekins: Gourmet buffet with omelet station, brioche French toast, eggs Benedict, scrambles, sausages, potatoes, salads, fruits, pastries and great dessert station with strawberry shortcake, mini brownies and more. Balloon animals, face painting, cookie decorating and crafts for kids. $40 adults, $20 kids 12 to 18, 12 and under free. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reserve at 933-0450.
Rancho Viejo: Brings back Carlos Herrera band on Sunday from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Three-course menu includes ceviche or cactus leaf and spinach salad; choice of chili rellenos, marinated beef, pork roasted in banana leaves, chicken mole or tilapia filet; followed by either a thick flan or fried plantain bananas with ice cream and guava sauce. $25. 18976 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma. 939-3663.
Saddles Steakhouse will give moms a free glass of sparkling wine to accompany lots of fruits, cheeses and baked goods for starters; salads, a seafood buffet, hot buffet of roast turkey, prime rib, rosemary potatoes, chicken apple sausage and eggs Benedict. $49.50 adults, $24 children 12 and under. 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 29 E. MacArthur, Sonoma. 933-3191.
Sonoma Community Center brunch fundraiser for Andrews Hall restoration will be prepared by the Twin Chefs, Lilly and Audrey Andrews, great-granddaughters of Dr. and Mrs. Carroll Andrews who bought an old school and created the Community Center. Personal chef Christopher Dever, formerly of Saffron restaurant in Glen Ellen, will “assist” the highly televised twins. $25. Seatings at 10 and 11:30 a.m. 938-4626.
Swiss Hotel will serve eggs Benedict, brioche French toast, veggie frittata, crab cakes, fettuccini with ham, leeks and peas, lamb T-bone and salmon Wellington. $7 to $26. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 18 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 938-2884.
Love and peace to all mothers.