Film Festival Food Trucks in Plaza
Readers' Books and Epicurean Connection connect; California Artisan Cheese Festival; Sushi shortage?
Cheese alert: You can still check out the body-to-body California Artisan Cheese Festival big tent Marketplace all day this Sunday at Petaluma's Sheraton Sonoma County if you order tickets today. Lots of local products and cookbook authors including Laura Werlin, with her new book "Grilled Cheese Please!," and Kristine Kidd. Artisancheesefestival.com. This event is not to be confused with Sheana Davis' recent professional cheese festival at MacArthur Place.
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Local food trucks and "street vendors," or local food purveyors will set up mobile units in the "U" in front of City Hall during this year's Sonoma International Film Festival, which runs Wednesday, April 6, through Sunday, April 10.
"The Street Food Court" will feature goodies such as Mary's Pizza Shack pizza by the slice (check out Mary's trailer); Murphy's Irish Pub's hamburger and oyster sliders; Chicago-style Hot Dogs; Dim Sum Charlie's noodle bowls and freshly steamed dim sum; Harvey's Gourmet Donuts, coffee and cocoa while Harvey introduces his new "Donutzilla" donut machine; Fork Catering specialties such as Sebastopol mushroom bruschetta; and Mike the Baker's divine wood-fired whole wheat pretzels.
The whole food court is open to festival goers and to the public from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Film Festival Season Passholders will also have access to excellent food and wine in the Backlot Tent behind City Hall. Sonomafilmfest.org.
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Ever inventive, Readers' Books and The Epicurean Connection have "partnered up and exchanged shelf space at one another's stores, according to their respective owners, Andy Weinberger and Sheana Davis, creating "annexes" at each other's stores.
The Epicurean Connection now hosts a few shelves of Readers' cheese books and cookbooks, while Readers' Books will host some shelves of Epicurean Connection products, such as Arden Coturri's olive oil, Jimtown glass-jarred jams, Teddy Tucker's Chocolate from Kenwood and Caryn and Bill Reading of Sonoma Portworks' nearly drinkable Sonomic vinegar.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Davis has been a busy caterer, serving Gleason Ranch chicken, roasted Paul's Produce and Oak Hill Farm vegetables, organic West County potatoes and sweet butter chocolate cake on the Sebastiani Theatre stage for the pre-movie reception Monday night hosted by friends of the Sebastiani Theatre. Tuesday evening, she was off to cater cheese, along with Dog Fish Brewery, for 600 attendees at the San Francisco Craft Brewers get-together at Sony Metreon.
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St. Francis Solano School's "Roaring Twenties" fundraiser at Cline Cellars on Saturday, April 2, is ideal for fans of Charleston, trot and shimmy, enlivened by martinis, wine, beer, hors d'oeuvres, a sit-down dinner by excellent Mamma Tanino's, a live auction, cigars and dancing to the sounds of JD and Company. Remember the Speakeasy password: "St. Francis is the Cat's Meow." $100. stfss.maestroweb.com.
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Anya Ushakova-Crain, who held her last "Awakening of the Sacred in Everyday Life" and writing from the soul séance at the elegant home of (among other things) wine expert Barbara Walkowski, takes her devoted group and anyone interested to the Kenwood home of Chef Catherine Driggers and soulful musician John Burdick on Sunday, June 5. Expect exceptional food, fine, thought, music and soul searching.
If you miss Anya here, you can catch up with her session at the Golden Door spa in southern California for a week starting July 31, or at Rancho La Puerta in Mexico starting Dec. 3. John and Deborah Emery, Barbara Walkowski, Linda Viviani and Ginny Krieger have already signed up for that gathering. For more information contact Anya at email@example.com.
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Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers just announced the hiring of Stephanie Hahn as marketing director. With a master's degree in international business, Hahn has a super interesting background in international marketing and branding for Robert Mondavi, Allied Domecq and Burt's Bees, and has researched and worked the wine industries of Chile and South Africa.
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Winemakers can enter the 2011 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition through Monday, March 28. Taylor Shellfish Farms of Shelton, Wash., opens the contest to California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington wineries that make dry, crisp, clean-finishing white wines. Judgings are blind and each wine is consumed with a Kumamoto oyster.
Judges rank the "bliss factor," meaning the "wine's affinity for the oyster." Five surviving judges will make final decisions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle the last week in April. Oysterwine.com.
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Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa joins in the World Wildlife Fund's efforts to support Earth Hour 2011 by turning off their lights for one hour at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26, as will 60 Fairmont hotels and resorts around the world. Light the candles and take advantage of the romance.
FSMI general manager Kelley Cosgrove said, "Earth Hour is a unique opportunity for Fairmont colleagues and guests to participate in the world's largest global climate change initiative. It furthers our ongoing support of environmental awareness and demonstrates the resort's ongoing energy conservation stewardship."
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El Dorado Corner Café will host wine expert Leslie Sbrocco on Thursday, March 31, to demonstrate benefits of "wine on tap" as a finale of the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau's "Girlfriends Getaway" promotion. Nationally known author, television and social media commentator Sbrocco is founder of Thirsty Girl, LLC and has been quoted on everything from TGTV, CBS to Oprah's O magazine. Sample wines with foods prepared by EDK Executive Chef Justin Everett. $25. 6 p.m. For reservations and information call 415-380-2523 or visit eldoradosonoma.com.
As another part of the promotion, movie critic Jan Wahl will be at My Girlfriend's Closet from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 26, before moving on to the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and the El Dorado Kitchen.
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Sunflower Caffé hosts their April Artist of the Month, Dorallen Davis, a Plein Air California Impressionist on Friday, April 1. Local artist Sara Radke is a student and great fan of Darallen's work. Enjoy fabulous Hughes Family Vineyards' Phil Coturri-managed certified organic chardonnay, syrah, zinfandel and syrah rosé while viewing the paintings. 5 to 7 p.m. 421 First St. W., Sonoma. 996-6645.
Sunflower Caffé debuts on Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives" next Monday night at 9 p.m.
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Right in the middle of mad blowing winds and rain deluges, Sonoma Valley Grange hosted a fabulous dinner Sunday night, mostly organized by Grange president Jim Callahan and Diana Lee Craig to celebrate the new interior of the Grange Hall.
Removal of ceiling coverings revealed wood planks, the natural wood floor was polished, and loads of volunteers served including Alcaldessa Mary Evelyn Arnold and Councilmember Ken Brown. Italian string lights, colored lanterns and The Cork Pullers band contributed to the relative blast of the past.
Paul Wirtz and Candi Edmonson of Paul's Produce brought vegetables including sautéed carrots and broccoli rabe. Chef Matt Murray of Whole Foods and formerly of the girl & the fig made a silky leek and potato soup, Tom and Linda of Broadway Catering braved the rain and barbecued brined Rosy chickens on two grills, Diana Lee Craig ground flour and made whole grain breads, John McReynolds made a perfect colorful potato gratin and Broadway Catering provided a strawberry rhubarb crisp. Hungry yet?
Join the Grange.
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While the people of Japan are suffering, mourning and searching for uncontaminated food and water, Japanese grocery stores and sushi bars throughout the U.S. are concerned about shortages of products they normally get from Japan. With revelations that some milk and vegetables in Japan have tested positive for radiation, we should all read fresh fish and vegetable source signs in our markets. According to restaurateurs, prices of seaweed and fish may increase dramatically. In fact, other countries are shipping food, fruits and vegetables into Japan where possible.
American fast food chains have closed hundreds of "stores" in Japan, including Yum Brands (Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut), McDonald's and Starbucks due to earthquake damage. Starbucks alone has closed about 100 of its 900 outlets in Japan.
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Ramona Nicholson of Nicholson Ranch announced the first "bud break" in her Sonoma Valley vineyard with their hillside chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. Nicholson is one of our most southern vineyards, closer to San Pablo Bay than most and just across the road from the official Carneros Region. Nicholson Ranch also boasts blooming daffodils and California poppies.
You can still make reservations for Nicholson's famous annual Spring Lobster Boil on Saturday, April 9, if you reserve by April 2. Wine and cheese will be followed by finger-dripping lobster and all the fixings. $120 public, $95 wine club members. Wine and cheese served 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dinner 7:30 to 10 p.m. Reserve at 938-8822, ext. 15.
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Plan way ahead:
Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival floats in with the tide on Saturday, April 30, on Westshore Road in Bodega Bay. Originally a celebration of start of the salmon season with the annual Blessing of the Fleet, the festival basically celebrates Sonoma County life with wines from 25 wineries, local lamb, oysters, local fish and chips, veggie burgers, salads, sandwiches, live music and loads of arts and crafts. Blessing of the Fleet will be Sunday morning with a parade of boats, followed by the actual blessing by local clergy slightly off shore.
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Jean's Pajama Party, the hilarious local annual cancer cure fundraiser "Celebrating Women Who Thrive, Strive and Survive," comes up again Monday night, May 4, at El Dorado Kitchen. Wear your old-fashioned PJ's or not. Well, wear something. EDK buffets start with dessert first, cocktails, then entrées, loads of music, dancing, and more frivolity, including hot volunteer male servers "to cater your every whim." Reservations and information at 815-9187.
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Personal note: As many of you know, my husband, Gerald Hill, had serious surgery recently and is recovering rapidly here in Sonoma. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, concern and continued prayers. We can all use all of those we can get. Jerry looks forward to getting back to entertaining you with history in the Index-Tribune.