New Café in town; SVMA Cuban art exhibit spectacular
GayDar at Grist Mill; Cottage Foods rules; Out of Towner: Simply Vietnam
Studebaker Cheesecake bakery next to Curves on West Napa now also houses Golden Hawk Café. Actually, it takes up the front of Studebaker, with the same décor. The café kind of formalizes the “$4 organic omelet” menu already going on, with slightly higher prices.
Golden Hawk will continue to serve Studebaker cheesecake and Cynthia’s fabulous scones, which are now everywhere around town, plus cereals and grains, and eggs and omelets, “all natural, fresh, local and organic when possible ingredients,” according to the menu. ($2 to $10) 248 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 287-2982.
Speaking of breakfast in that block, more than 60 people gathered at Black Bear Diner Monday morning to watch the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, and most of them ordered breakfast. Black Bear’s staff, led by new hands-on General Manager Donna Scoates-Nixon, did a fabulous job of keeping orders straight and delivering varied breakfasts to a group of guests who all arrived at different times.
Wendy Peterson, executive director of the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, said Tuesday that the Feast of the Olive dinner Saturday night is sold out, and includes “lots of new people, which is exciting.” Peterson is keeping a wait list though, which already includes Sonoma fans from Connecticut and Texas. If you want to get on that wait list for a feast to be created by several Sonoma Valley chefs, call 996-1090.
Those lucky enough to have tickets to the Boys & Girls Club’s sweet Sweetheart event will indulge in Catskills smoked salmon, Sonoma County Liberty duck, Tarbais beans cassoulet with Hobbs bacon and pastry chef Jamon Harper’s Moulin Rouge baked Alaska with local organic eggs, Valhrona chocolate and Tahitian vanilla beans, all prepared and catered by Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Executive Chef Bruno Tison and crew.
A favorite home breakfast: Fifth Street Farms honey (I have met the bees) available at Friday’s farmers market and Julie Cebula’s Rangpur Lime jam from Maggie Haywood’s trees, on toasted Della Fattoria seeded wheat bread from Sonoma Market. Last week I got to be part of a small crew slicing Rangpur Limes for Cebula’s next batch.
Leaving an Index-Tribune editorial meeting this week, I followed a giant Pepsi truck that first turned left illegally from First Street West to head east on Napa, rolled through the stop sign at Broadway, and then ran the stop sign to turn left onto First Street East. What, no brakes? Look out!
Sonoma GayDar will gather at the Grist Mill Restaurant in Glen Ellen’s Jack London Village on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 8:30 p.m. until closing. I have heard good reader reviews of the Grist Mill’s new menu and chef, with dinner specials such as chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, New York steak, salmon, smoked baby back ribs, braised lamb shanks and peppercorn ribeye ($16 to $24). Reserve and dine before the party. 14031 Arnold Drive, Suite 19, Glen Ellen. 933-3005. gristmillusa.com.
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s exhibition of the Sarah and Darius Anderson Collection of Cuban Art is a spectacular must-see and must-experience. Those if us lucky enough to listen to Darius and artists Ruben Alpizar and Esterio Segura speak at the museum’s biggest-ever-opening or at the Saturday afternoon presentation came away with new knowledge of how Cuba and the United States really work. If the Andersons give another talk, please go for the enlightening information.
Bob Rice of Breakaway Café donated the quickly disappeared “Cubanish” appetizers for the contributors’ first hour of the opening with slider-sized Cuban sandwiches grilled on a soft roll with pulled pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickle and mustard; grilled prawns in garlic citrus mojo; and papaya and pineapple skewers with lime cream. Guests enjoyed mojitos and more appetizers from the Andersons’ Ramekins Culinary School for the rest of the evening.
Saturday evening the SVMA board and most generous contributors enjoyed a very special treat of cocktails and a buffet dinner as Sarah and Darius Anderson’s guests at The General’s Daughter. Catered by Ramekins, the evening included lots of drinks and appetizers, more talks by the artists in the Wine Room, lined with bottles of the Andersons’ Tygh William Sauvignon Blanc, followed by dinner.
Tempting appetizers included bite-sized ahi tuna tostadas, Sonoma duck breast on potato gaufrette, and little leek and Gruyère quiches.
The buffet featured wild arugula and frisée salad, carved New York strip, salt-baked sustainable king salmon, three-cheese tortellini with pumpkin cream and roasted Fifth Street Farms vegetables such as fingerling potatoes, butternut squash and pearl onions. Raspberry mousse, salted caramel brownie bites, mini olive oil cakes with whipped mascarpone and great French roast coffees completed the meal.
In the substantial crowd were Stanley Abercrombie and Paul Vieyra, Diane and Stephen Bieneman, Brenda Buckerfield, Harriet and Randy Derwingson, Jeanette and Whitney Evans, Yvonne Hall, Troy and Steven Hightower, Kathe and Fred Hodgson, Carol and Kurt Krauthamer, General’s Daughter and Ramekins developer Suzanne Brangham with Jack Lundgren, Manuel Merjil and Paul Curreri, Martha and Steve Rosenblatt, Gerry Snedaker and Diane Krause, Bonnie Tempesta, Judy and Les Vadasz, Cal Vander Woude and next SVMA board president Jill Spencer.
Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance has new board members and a new president. Paul J. Hoffman of Hoffman Family Cellars replaces two-year president Eva Bertran of Gloria Ferrer.
New boardmembers include Danny Fay of Envolve Winery, Bill Hooper of Kenwood Investments and Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa general manager Rick Corcoran.
Squire Fridell of Glen Lyon Vineyards becomes vice president, treasurer Cathleen Gorham of Rabobank, and Becky Jenkins of Madrone Vineyard Management is secretary.
Eva Bertran continues as a director as do Phil Coturri, Tom Menzies, Michael Muscardini, Mike Pucci and Brian Shepard.
Jack London Saloon was happening last Sunday for 49er watching. Lots of Glen Ellen neighbors who wisely walked to the saloon and home again, and additions such as Jason Ghiselin, hamburger fans Lisa Cavalli, Marchele and Curt Carleton and Katie Holden, whose mother, Ellen Holden, dined on the rustic back deck with Sandy Snorey and Marilyn Duggan Caselli, celebrating the latter’s birthday with fish and chips.
The Sebastiani Theatre Foundation showed its first old movie of the spring series on Monday, preceded by a subscription dinner at Della Santina’s. Prior to viewing the 1957 classic Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn “Desk Set,” members enjoyed an excellent green salad, chicken cacciatore that all-Italian Susan Bellach called “the best ever” with polenta, followed by Chef Luis Hernandez’s irresistible tiramisu.
When asked how he made the perfect chicken cacciatore with a dark sauce and olives, Hernandez said honestly, “I followed the owner’s mama’s recipe.” Hint: A little Balsamic vinegar was a key darkening ingredient, along with eight hours of slow cooking.
Cline Cellars donated all of the wines consumed to save the Sebastiani, but we learned that server Pablo Montejo makes all of Della Santina’s “R” label wines including rosé, pinot noir and chardonnay.
Others cheering up the 40 movie fans and serving quickly to get us to the Sebastiani on time were Santiago Blanco, Manuel Echeverria, Luis A. Murillo, Luis Sanches and Benedicto Echeverria.
Sonoma’s Best deli and wine shop has a new “Sonoma’s Best Wine Club,” which is quite a claim and name. Members will get an assortment of wines from small producers, with no membership fees and with tasting notes with each shipment. Most wine clubs ship only that winery’s products.
Some local boutique wines on the list include those from Emery Estate, Ridge, Annadel Estate, Canihan, Ernest Bloom, Victor Hill, Egret, Pellegrini, Joseph Phelps and Clarbec. For more info or to sign up visit sonomas-best.com/wineclub or call 996-7600, ext.3.
Mara and Phil Kahn threw their usual fabulous annual party in their new home featuring her ever popular specialties such as homemade gravlax, meatballs, turkey, pozole and endless salads, plus Phil’s high demand Maui Wowie cocktails.
Alexandra Allen; Amee and Gary Scott (she made fab brownies); Amy Alper and Mark Hummel; Carol and Kurt Krauthamer with son Collin and Camille Volz; Cyl Levy and her Merrill Gardens friends; Dan Sondheim; Donna Halow; Gail Stroupe; Jane Wicklund; Jean and Roy Knapp; Jen Lieb; Jessica and Dan Sacks; Joe and Beth Aaron; Karen Collins; Kay and Roger Heigel; Laura and Stephen Havlek; Leah Richards; Lori Bremner; Michael, Peggy and Louise Lipson; Monika and Vance Sharp; Nancy Troy and Wim DeWitt; Patricia and Charles Willard; Phyllis Berenson; Rich Isaacs; Rickie Roark; Roberta Cohen-Ciera; Sam Friend; Rose Galanty; Sam Friend; Sandra and Leonard Leib and Sy and Harriet Lenz.
Have you or a friend always wanted to make your specialty food bright idea go commercial, but the cost of renting a certified kitchen is prohibitive? Thanks to the California State Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown, you can do it all from home now – with some limits.
To all who make great jams, cookies, flavored nuts and lots more and have heard a little about California’s new rules on Cottage Food Operations (CFOs), here’s the scoop.
If you are interested in selling your products from your home, or at farmers markets, bake sales and community events only, you need a Class A annual registration or permit to operate. To get this, you have to complete a “Class A Cottage Food Operation Self-Certification Checklist” and its attachments. Class B CFOs fill out another form to sell to local shops, restaurants and other third parties.
Within three months of obtaining a registration or permit, you have to complete a Food Processor Course run by the California Department of Public Health.
Here are the foods you can make at home that the state deems to be “non-potential hazardous:” Baked goods without cream, custard or meat fillings such as bread, churros, cookies, pastries and tortillas; candy including chocolate covered nuts and dried fruit; dried fruit and pasta; dry baking mixes, granolas, cereals and trail mixes; fruit pies, empanadas and tamales; honey, jams, jellies and fruit butters; nut mixes, nut butters and popcorn; vinegar and mustards; roasted coffee and dried tea; and waffle cones and pizelles. Sonoma County Environmental Health and Safety, 625 Fifth St., Santa Rosa 565-6565. More at sonoma-county.org/health/services/foodcottage.asp.
Out of Towner:
Cathy Gellepis and UFO Jim Ledwith took me to Santa Rosa to sample one of their favorites, a humble restaurant called Simply Vietnam, and was I glad. What a delight, and not so simple. You, too, will enjoy fresh dishes including spring rolls (six variations), a wide range of noodle soups (Pho) with beef, pork or seafood, loads of vermicelli and rice plates featuring everything from several barbecued pork and lemongrass chicken selections to grilled pork meatballs and fish cakes; curries, stir fries and vegetarian dishes of all kinds. Simply Vietnam is the only restaurant I know of in the region that actually prints separate MSG- and gluten-free menus. 996 North Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa.566-8910. simply-vietnam.com.
To balance all this healthfulness, the Gellepis-Ledwiths took me for a real dessert treat: A chocolate tipped cone at Fosters Freeze on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa.
Next week: Reports from the national conference of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and the Winter Fancy Food Show.