Cellar Door and Fresh close; Mardi Gras at Meadowcroft
Robert Arnold and Jeffrey Mayo have closed the Cellar Door tasting room at the Lodge at Sonoma, after 13 years of an excellent and productive relationship. The room will serve another purpose eventually.
Mayo has other tasting rooms but Arnold and his Chandelle wines and Guerrero Fernandez of Windsor are looking for locations separately.
Until he finds another spot, Arnold says Chandelle wines are available online and at amazon.com, as well as in the Lodge’s Carneros Bistro, coming out of a highly successful holiday season. 938-5862, dhandellewinery.com.
Lisa Hemenway closes her Fresh café and grocery in SkyHawk Village today, Friday, with a final sale of everything in the establishment ending this afternoon. Hemenway, who owned two previous Santa Rosa restaurants and sold real estate, plans to reopen at a not yet disclosed location.
Two of Sonoma Valley’s popular and active residents, Jeanne and Chip Allen, will be crowned queen and king of Meadowcroft Wines’ third Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Cornerstone. Both Allens giggled when I mentioned this at Murphy’s Irish Pub after we went to a movie together Saturday evening. Jeannie is a past president of Sonoma Valley Newcomers Club and retired from Levi Strauss in San Francisco. Attorney Chip just finished his presidency of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce and also served as president of Sonoma Valley Rotary.
Enjoy music from Rythmtown Jive of Petaluma who play R&B, zydeco, jump/swing and New Orleans specials, and will lead the Second Line Parade around the shops and gardens of Cornerstone. Local groups will make mini-floats for the parade.
With food such as crawfish étoufée over rice flown in from Baton Rouge, red beans and rice with smoked Cajun sausage, Louisiana Sensation salad and king cakes from New Orleans, this should be an interesting taste experience, all served with Meadowcroft wines, of course. $60 food and wine included, $40 wine club members. Noon to 4 p.m. 23574 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Tickets at 934-4090 or meadowcroftwines.com.
Anya Ushakova-Crain is sweetening her get-in-touch-with-your-sensuality lot at Saturday night’s Boys & Girls Club Sweetheart Gala and Auction with an irresistible menu at the all-day session at the new estate of “Sweethearts” John and Deborah Emery.
The Emerys will provide breakfast, followed Catherine Venturini’s Olive & Vine light lunch of French onion soup with Gruyère gratinée, crôque monsieurs with St. George cheese and French ham, Tierra Farms greens and radishes, and madeleines and meringue cookies with French press coffees and sparkling
Cocktails and dinner start with oysters Rockefeller with Pernod and spinach, Sonoma foie gras, blini with smoked salmon and Oestra caviar appetizers. Then comes endive and watercress salad with pears and St. Agur cheese, seared dayboat scallops on cauliflower and celery root purée, a main course of Dijon and rosemary roasted French lamb rack with roasted baby carrots and potatoes, and a poached pear frangipane tart with raspberries. If you aren’t going and want to buy in, call Katie Holden immediately at 938-8544, ext. 106.
Yes, Virginia, Fred Franzia’s Charles Shaw “Two Buck Chuck” wine label that sold at Trader Joe’s for 11 years at $1.99, has gone up to a whopping $2.49 a bottle. Another of Franzia’s labels, Crane Lake, which was always a little more expensive and is available at Sonoma Market, has crept up to three for $10 or $3.34 each. Oak Leaf is Franzia’s Target stores brand. Two Buck Chuck has long sold for $2.99 in Trader Joe’s on the East Coast.
Franzia spokesman Harvey Posert says Charles Shaw wines average five million cases a year and have sold about 55 million cases, or 700 million bottles, in 11 years.
Ty Caton reopens his tasting room after a redesign by Lisa Arrowood on Saturday, Feb. 9, in the Kenwood Village Plaza, full of light appetizers, music and Ty Caton wines. His former tasting room partner, Michael Muscardini, moved down the road to the old red schoolhouse. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 8910 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 938-3224, ext. 4.
While gasoline prices seemed to have gone up around 25 cents a gallon locally in the past two weeks, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Chevron’s earnings rose 47 percent in the last quarter of 2012. Hello?
Sonoma Valley Democrats invite anyone interested to watch President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Speech on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 5:30 p.m. at Round Table Pizza. Obama was formally inaugurated on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and gives his next State of the Union on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. No-host food and beverages. 5:30 p.m. 201 W. Napa St., Sonoma. More info from Beth Hadley at 939-8322.
The City of Sonoma’s reception honoring 2013 Alcaldes Les and Judy Vadasz was both funny and tear jerking. Prior to the ceremonies and greetings by Supervisor Susan Gorin and Mayor Ken Brown, who presented a plaque and keys to the city, loads of friends and admirers of the Vadaszes enjoyed cheeses from Gary Edwards of Sage Marketing, guacamoles from the Boys & Girls Club, and wines from Charles Creek, Buena Vista, Chateau St. Jean, Francis Ford Coppola and Meiomi wineries. Teen Center volunteers doing their community service, Yajaira Marin and Luis Mercado, poured Pellegrino water with squirts of Italian sodas for some guests. In the large crowd were former alcaldessas Mary Evelyn Arnold, Helen Fernandez and Elizabeth Kemp; along with ‘Zanne Clark, Claire and Jack Bock, Steve and Holly Kyle, Steve Hightower, Sy Lentz, Donna Halow, Beth and Joe Aarons, Mary and Adrian Martinez, Simon and Kimberley Blattner, Arlene Curry and Ann Weeks, Jack and Kathleen Carter, Bob Rice, Joan Geary and Peter Whyte, Caroline and Bob Stone, Manuel Merjil and Paul Curreri, Helen Marsh, Martha Rosenblatt and Marcelo DeFreitas, Linda and Jim Kuhns, David Cook, Dennis Ziemienski, Steve Barbose, Laurie Gallian, David Pier, Keith and Cherie Hughes, Wayne and Celie Schacke, Justin Frese, Mabeth and Bill Sanderson.
Both Vadaszes gave poignant talks that had people laughing and tearing, while El Verano Glee performed a hilarious song written by Tim Curley acknowledging and spoofing the honorees.
VinOlivo, the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance’s lively tasting fundraiser and part of the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau’s Olive Season, rolls around again on Friday, Feb. 15, at The Lodge at Sonoma.
Most Sonoma Valley wineries will pour, while Carneros Bistro, Chicham’s Brunch and Grill, Crisp Bake Shop, El Dorado Kitchen, HelloCello, HopMonk Tavern, Sonoma Meritâge, Mia’s Kitchen, Olive & Vine, Ramekins, the Epicurean Connection, the girl and the fig, the Red Grape, Shiso Sushi, the Olive Press, the Red Grape, the Strudel Guy, Vineyards Inn and Wild Thyme prepare food delights. You can also expect an olive bar, port wines, a pommes frites and sparkling wine bar, a hot DJ, and a free mobile app for every wine you try. $75 by 3 p.m. Friday, Feb 15, $85 thereafter, all plus a $2.50 “convenience fee.” 1325 Broadway, Sonoma. More info and tickets at 935-0803, ext. 1.
Seats remain for two of the three winemakers’ dinners that accompany the weekend. Keating Winery at Cornerstone will feature dinner by Bruce Riezeman of Park 121 and Park Avenue Catering and Larson Family Winery will host chef Paul Ludovina of Ludy’s Catering for a five course dinner. $85 each dinner. Call 935-0803, ext. 1 for reservations soon.
Winter Artisan Cheese Fair:
Sheana Davis’ yummy Artisan Cheese Fair public tasting day will be Sunday, Feb. 24, at MacArthur Place. All cheese fans should go for great taste delights, a macaroni and cheese contest, good wines and artisan brews.
To the music of the Cork Pullers, participating restaurants that will provide food include 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 and St. Francis Winery. Wines will come from Hamel Family Vineyards, Idell, Envolve, Korbin Kameron, Robert Sinske, 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. $40. 1 to 4 p.m. 29 E. MacArthur, Sonoma. Tickets at the Epicurean Connection, 122 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 935-7960. Sells out.
Sonoma Film Society’s Academy Awards Party will liven up Hanna Boys Center starting 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.
Without going into Valentine’s Day history again, we must say that it is currently sort of a Hallmark holiday with great excuses to give loved ones and friends special treats from cooking a favorite meal to flowers, candy and plant gifts.
Here are some suggestions on the culinary side to help make it easy.
Check out Andrea Koweek’s Crisp Bake Shop special Valentine’s menu starting with a red velvet ruffle, strawberry marcaron and chocolate raspberry cakes. Try the pink champagne cupcakes, Red Hot cinnamon macarons, heart-shaped black cocoa shortbread cookies and cakes for two. Call 933-9999 or email email@example.com to order 48 hours ahead.
In case you wondered, “red velvet” cakes are mostly chocolate with red food coloring and possibly a little raspberry extract, depending on who’s making it.
As usual, Bob Rice’s Breakaway Café offers the best financial deal with flatiron steak with Gorgonzola butter, mashed Yukon gold potatoes and chard or grilled prawns on red beet risotto with spinach and citrus pound cake with strawberry rhubarb compote for $23.50. No reservations.
Depot Hotel will feature fried local oysters, Sonoma duck breast salad, whole roasted cornish game hen, dungeness crab cannelloni, beef medallions, butternut squash lasagna, leg of lamb and poached salmon. Entrée price ($38 to $50) includes four courses. 938-2980.
Catherine Venturini of Olive and Vine in Glen Ellen offers a three-course dinner that might feature dayboat scallop, lobster chowder, Liberty Duck breast, wagyu coulotte steak, sea bass with saffron risotto, or farro with kabocha and kale, choice of three deserts including old school chocolate cake. $70, paired wines $30.
Carlo Cavallo of Sonoma Meritâge presents sea scallop ceviche, asparagus salad, Maine lobster risotto, bass paillard, pomegranate chicken, passion fruit and guava panna cotta and double chocolate espresso Grand Marnier milkshakes. 938-9430.
While the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn’s Santé restaurant is closed for beautification, the Big 3 will have a roulade of American Kobe wagyu-style beef sirloin with truffled Yukon gold potatoes with glazed carrots and spinach, pan seared diver scallops, roasted Liberty Duck breast with wild rice and Sebastopol mushrooms, and irresistible. profiteroles for two. Entrées $28 to $38. 939-2410.
Peace and love to all.