Woody Allen at Epicurean Connection; Red & White Ball Saturday
Julia Child’s 100th birthday; Wining and dining for Wine Country Weekend;
Caution: The California Department of Public Health has warned that Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has voluntarily recalled shucked and jarred and bagged in-shell raw oysters, either in bags dated July 17 through Aug. 8; or in jar lots numbered 363 through 421. The oysters may include vibrio parahaemolyticus, which can cause (pardon the details) vomiting, abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea, headache, fever and chills. If you see these for sale, call CDPH’s hotline at 800-495-3232.
Filmmaker Woody Allen stopped into Sheana Davis’ Epicurean Connection on Sunday, totally unannounced. Much like a long ago spotting of Sharon Stone at Readers’ Books, Meryl Streep watching Broadway Bound Kids at the Sebastiani, or the more recent visit of Lady Gaga to Sonoma’s Best, no one was sure it was Allen until someone asked or Googled him.
Part-time worker James Fanucchi, who also freelances as an Index-Tribune photographer, prepared chicken salad crêpes made with Lunita Farms basil pesto, fresh peaches and Davis’ Crème de Fromage. Reportedly Allen loved the food and cleaned his plate. Allen has been filming around San Francisco and Marin County.
Don’t miss tomorrow night’s Red and White Ball, which benefits the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation and the programs it funds to help our schools including Sonoma Schools Garden project, is Saturday, Aug. 18, in Sonoma Plaza.
Ticket options range from a $25 Dance Only DIY Zone where you bring your own everything, to a Picnic Party where a barbecue dinner is served at provided tables at $75 to an elegant catered sit down dinner with cocktail reception, dinner and dessert with veggies from our Sonoma School Garden project, dinner prepared by Grapevine Catering and local wines at $150.
The $150 guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, local salad, hanger steak with blue cheese potato dumplings, roasted school garden vegetables and wild berry galette. Picnic guests will receive choice of four meats and sides, such as pulled pork, ribs, tri-tip or chicken and baked beans, salad and coleslaw, with desserts made by school district bakers. Music by the Cork Pullers and David Martin’s House Party Band for dancing. Raffle tickets for an adorable bright red Fiat 500 are only $20. Tickets at svgreatschools.org.
We are most grateful to David Bolling for his super positive editorial in Tuesday’s Index-Tribune about the school garden project, just one of the programs for which the Education Foundation raises funds.
One of our next goals is to bring local chefs into classrooms to show students how to cook what they grow to feed themselves and their families. Little by little we hope to improve our community’s general health and way of life.
Ravenswood Winery’s next bash will be a Release, Party on Saturday, Aug. 25, featuring their “Family of Rock Star Growers” who will pour Ravenswood wines from Barricia, Belloni, Bedrock, Cooke, Chauvet, Dickerson, Teldeschi, Old Hill and their own estate zinfandels.
Rock star winemaker Joel Peterson will schmooze with everyone while you enjoy super wines, sliders, hiking up Mr. Raven (or not), dancing, toe tapping and a birthday cake celebrating Ravenswood’s (legal at last) 21st birthday. $20, club members $15. Noon to 4:30 p.m. 18701 Gehricke Rd., Sonoma. RSVP to email@example.com.
While the great-sounding Labor Day weekend Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood is nearly sold out ($500), there are still places at the table available at some of the winemaker lunches, dinners and barbecues.
Friday lunches ($85 at 12:30 p.m. Aug 31) with spaces include Deerfield Ranch Winery, Hamel Family Wines with a five-course menu prepared by EDK’s Armando Navarro, Hughes Family Vineyards with an Olive & Vine luncheon and Phil Coturri managed vineyards, Landmark with lunch prepared by Donna Wegener of Pacific Connection, Matanzas Creek Winery in Bennett Valley, and Repris Wines features lunch by Nick and Jen Demarest of Harvest Moon Café.
Winemaker dinners ($150 at 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31) available include Muscardini Cellars catered by Olive & Vine at Michael Muscardini’s home with views of San Francisco; Keller Estate, serving lunch by Austin Perkins of Nick’s Cove; Benziger Family Winery; Ravenswood with wines and food paired by Joel Peterson and winery chef Chris Stillwell; and Sangiacomo Vineyards where you will dine with three generations of the family.
On Sunday, if you can’t go to the auction you might want to try the less expensive barbecues ($85, 12:30 p.m. Sept. 2) at Eric Ross Winery, Little Vineyards or Larson Family Winery where you can play bocce ball or horseshoes, follow wildlife in the creek, and the whole family is welcome.
Those actually going to the Chateau St. Jean event will enjoy a lunch prepared by Bruce Reizenman of Park Avenue Catering in Cotati, Josh Silvers of Jackson’s and Petite Syrah in Santa Rosa, Octavio Alcantar of Healdsburg’s Barndiva, Carlo Cavallo of Sonoma Meritâge, Duskie Estes of Zazu restaurant and farm in Forestville and Healdsburg, Douglas Keane of Cyrus in Healdsburg, and locals Andrea Koweek and Moaya Scheiman of Crisp Bakeshop, Doug McFarland of Ramekins, Narayan Somnames of Yeti and champion chef Catherine Venturini of Olive & Vine. $500 Tickets for everything at sonomawinecountryweekend.com.
Julia Child fans around the country, and particularly in Boston, celebrated what would have been her 100th birthday this week, as it was actually Aug. 15. Chefs everywhere created special menus they believed to include her favorites, but all the ones I found were different, which may be a key to her success – something for everyone.
A new book, “Dearie – The Remarkable Life of Julia Child,” just came out. The reviews sound interesting, although as is true of many book reviews, they often tell too much of the story. If you want to read more, Readers’ Books has a large supply at $29.95.
I had the great and distinct pleasure of meeting Julia Child a couple of times at M.F.K. Fisher’s house and one time actually had to pull together lunch for the three of us from what was in Mary Frances’ refrigerator. After Child suggested we “change the conversation from cookery to bookery,” all three of us decided to work together to translate an old French cookbook from Marseille, which resulted in many phone calls between Child and me after Mary Frances passed away.
Child used to call me for computer advice, something of a joke to people who know me, but I could take her as far as pressing the on/off button.
Betty Kelly of Wine Country Chocolates is very excited about the new chef and slightly Cajun menu at the re-opened Grist Mill, while Bonnie Brown strongly recommends Picazo’s newly housemade salad dressings and soups, sandwiches under $8, and Friday and Saturday grilled Niman Ranch burgers and chicken sandwiches.
Incidentally, Wine Country Chocolates has been selected to make specialty products with Scharffen Berger chocolate exclusively for their San Francisco Ferry Building location. Betty Kelly’s Jack London Square kitchen and shop is already supplying them with dark chocolate dipped figs and apricots, drizzled ginger, orange peel bark and Marzipan bars. Congratulations!
We have three fully-booked Carniceria Cruises (Mexican Market Tours) lined up starting in September. Leave a message at 938-8110 if you would like to join us. A fourth tour is forming.
Paula Wolfert and I tripped out to Hot Box Grill to try chef/owner Norman Owen’s cheeseburger ($9) and duck fat fries ($5). For the hamburger, Owens starts with eight ounces of Painted Hills beef, grinds it himself, and adds a little fat for flavor. Each burger ($9) comes with Swiss and cheddar cheeses, sliced house-made baby pickles, tomatoes, red onion, Crisp Bakeshop bun and ketchup and mustard.
Owens says his hamburger patties run about 22 percent fat. Donna Scala of Napa’s Bistro Don Giovanni was quoted recently as saying the secret to her popular burgers is including about 30 percent fat and lots of salt. Indeed, we found the fries a little salty to our taste, on the first visit, and perfect and crispy on the second.
Owens has reinstated the B.L.A.S.T.A. sandwich, which is bacon (ask them to cook it), lettuce, avocado, Swiss cheese, tomato, arugula and a fried egg (maybe rename it belasta, blaseta or blastea?) on barely toasted sliced sourdough – excellent and I enjoyed the second half the next day. Next time I will ask for it without the middle (third) piece of bread, which I removed. The Caesar salad was better than ever, and his wife’s chocolate chip cookies are still addictive. We skipped the Kool-Aid ($2). Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. All under $10. Thursday to Sunday, dinner from 5:30 Wednesday to Sunday. 18350 Highway 12, Boyes Hot Springs. 939-8383.
Sonoman Cindy Barker won Grand Champion for her pie at the Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sebastopol last weekend. Congratulations to Cindy.
Picadilly Fine Foods, of Santa Clara, recalled chicken and yam pie products that might include unlabeled shrimp in their curry sauce in pies. That’s not the point. The potential allergens were contained in what they call “Nosh Farmer’s Market Chicken and Yam with Coconut Curry Pies.” Just what “farmer’s market” might that be?
In other winery finance news, WineSpectator.com reports that the sale of Kenwood Vineyards to Banfi Vineyards (Mariani family) reported in March has fallen through. F. Korbel & Bros. owner by Gary Heck had expected the sale of Kenwood’s winery, 22 vineyard acres and all assets to close in July but instead announced July 30 that he would keep ownership. The Marianis own Washington’s Pacific Rim Winemakers and a
New York wine import company.
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