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Bachelor Ben and Mama Kardashian ‘envolved?’; Sheana Davis to expand; ‘Black Friday Eve’; Run on hot sauce?; Poor Nigella Lawson; Sonoma events

Kathleen Hill has the inside scoop on food and wine.

Kathleen Hill has the inside scoop on food and wine.

Kathleen Hill

By

But first:

The food world lost one of its quiet stars, Judy Rogers, chef and co-owner of Zuni Café in San Francisco since 1987. A sister Dame d’Escoffier, Rogers passed away Monday at Berkeley’s Alta Bates Hospital after trying to overcome cancer for at least two years.

Rogers won James Beard Awards for Outstanding Restaurant as well as Cookbook of the Year in 2003 and Outstanding Chef in 2004. Her roast chicken for two is a destination entrée.

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So now Sonoma’s “Bachelor” Ben Flajnik, 31, co-owner of Envolve Winery with Mike Benziger and Danny Fay, and mama Kris Kardashian Jenner, 58, seem more “envolved.” As aired last Tuesday evening, NBC’s “Access Hollywood” program showed film of them in Mexico together, despite Kardashian’s ear-to-ear grin while saying she isn’t dating anyone. The current issue of US Weekly features them (separate photos) on its cover, referring to him as “bad boy Ben Flajnik.” Oh my.

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Back home in River City, an energized Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection, for whom another successful fundraiser helped with her medical expenses, is partnering with Bill Foss, new owner of the “new” Kenwood Restaurant, Sausalito’s Fish and Two X Seafood Company, in a Penngrove venture.

According to Davis, the refurbished building will be called the Penngrove Hatchery, which will be owned and managed by Foss, Kenny Belov, and Davis. Davis will “host the cheese shop,” and Foss will manage the building and restaurant. Davis says “The creamery and the bakery will be operated by someone else,” and she will run wholesale and retail distribution of regional cheeses.

The whole concept seems to follow in the successful patterns of Cowgirl Creamery’s operation in Pt. Reyes Station, The Shed in Healdsburg, and The Barlow in Sebastopol. Cowgirl Creamery and The Barlow both repurposed and added onto old buildings for trendy, convenient, easy-to-taste-and-shop ethical food venues.

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ABC News and several other news outlets cheerfully referred to “Black Friday Eve.” Didn’t that used to be called “Thanksgiving?”

Thanksgiving Thursday’s San Francisco Chronicle enveloped three (3) pounds of printed ads. Yes, I weighed them. Did anyone look at all those former trees?

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Shopping as a competitive contact sport apparently supplants time dining and sharing with family, and seems to have spread from the United States to Great Britain.

WalMart ordered its 350 Asda supermarkets around Britain to offer discounts for Black Friday, some stores of which were wiped out of tablets (not writing) and televisions early in the morning. One British analyst, Bryan Roberts with Kantar Retail, said that at an Asda store in Wembley “an altercation between two customers over a television gave it an air of American authenticity.” Love the British humour.

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Fat Pilgrim, Craig Miller’s delightful outpost in the late artist Irma Wallem’s onetime Jackpot Gas Station on lower Broadway next to Presentation School, now offers lots of local food products. You can pick up girl & the fig salts and chutneys, Bob Rice’s Breakaway Picante Sauce, Shiso Szechwan Sauce, Sola Bee honey from Sonoma County wildflowers, and Bonnie Tempesta’s Boncora biscotti, to say nothing of Fat Pilgrim’s own preserves, mustards, olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. Sonoma Embroidery produces Fat Pilgrim hats, and you can also stuff a stocking with “Praise the Lard” T-shirts. 20820 Broadway, Sonoma. 721-1287. fatpilgrim.com.

Miller and his partner, Tim Farfan, also own Harvest on the corner of West Napa and First Street West, and the Sonoma Hotel, which houses the girl & the fig. Miller also co-chairs tonight’s Wall to Wall art auction at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art with Martha Rosenblatt.

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Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers encourage you to run around and vote on the super creative gingerbread winery contest in which you get the list at any participating winery and vote for your favorite.

Check them out at B.R. Cohn, Bryter Estates, Buena Vista, Chateau St. Jean, Deerfield Rancy, GlenLyon and Two Amigos, Gloria Ferrer, Gundlach-Bundschu, Hamel Family Wines, Highway 12, Larson Family, and Mayo Family. If you want to go in luxury, call Pure Luxury Transportation and mention “Winery Gingerbread Contest” for special rates. For more info call 935-0803 or visit sonomavalleywine.com.

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A run on Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce? That is if you don’t get runs from it. We are talking about the grainy red hot sauce made of chili peppers that is a staple on many ethnic restaurant tables and comes in a plastic bottle with a green plastic squirtable lid. For some people, it seems almost as if the food supplements the taste of the hot sauce, instead of the other way around.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled last week that Huy Fong Foods has to stop making the sauce immediately because the company didn’t do enough to prevent the smells and irritation to noses and throats of the plant’s neighbors.

Meanwhile, Huy Fong claims to have enough chiles already roasted to make next year’s sauce supply.

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Chocolatier Betty Kelly of Wine Country Chocolates has a new salty chocolate “bark” that is divine, addictive, and non-GMO. Get yours either in her El Paseo tasting shop or at her chocolate kitchen in Glen Ellen’s Jack London Village right on Arnold Drive. She actually makes Scharffenberger’s chocolates for their shops as well.

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Lisa Leeb, executive director of Sonoma Overnight Support, one of the original “SOS’s” in Sonoma, reports that proceeds from See’s Candy sales at Sonoma Market go to this important service that provides folks with emergency overnight lodging. Do indulge, at least for a gift. See’s Candy is also available at Sonoma Valley Hospital.

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Valerie Arelt performed her art at Sonoma Country Antiques’ “Festival Floral Arrangements Benefit” last Thursday to help our Sonoma School Garden Project. Arelt is an internationally renowned floral designer who once a year donates her humor, performance and flower arranging skills to a local nonprofit, this year to the Sonoma School Garden Project through the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation.

The crowd of interested and powerful women (and a few brave men) packed Sonoma Country Antiques’ barn. Areldt auctioned off the arrangements made during the demonstration and brought in about $2,600 from the auction alone.

As guests proceeded from the barn to the elegant English antiques emporium, Thomas Patrick poured hot tea, and then everyone was greeted inside by Joanne and Justine Filipello of Wild Thyme Events who provided crustless cucumber sandwiches, salmon triangles, deviled eggs and tables full of bite-sized desserts.

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Sonoma Raceway gave more than 7,300 pounds of non-perishable foods to food banks, including FISH and the Napa Valley Food Bank from its 13th annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. Speedway Children’s Charities gave out a total of $300,000 this week, including $2,500 to our Sonoma School Garden Project through the Education Foundation. The Raceway is in the process of donating 90 fruit trees to our schools, in partnership with UPS and the Arbor Society. Many, many thanks.

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Christopher Sawyer, sommelier at Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar at The Lodge at Sonoma, continues his free wine education series every Tuesday and Thursday with holiday white wines, Sharon Cohn’s Breathless sparkling wine, festive dessert wines, Christmas wine movies, and wines from Gloria Ferrer and Domaine Carneros, and other events such as cookie decorating with Santa Claus Saturdy, Dec. 9, and Presentation School carolers performing in the hotel lobby on Sunday, Dec. 17. For more information and dates, call 935-6600.

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Of Swedish origin herself, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art Executive Director Kate Eilertsen reports that Sweden’s Ambassador to the United States, Björn Lyrvall, San Francisco Swedish Consul General Barbro Osher, and Eilertson dined for lunch recently at the girl & the fig. The ambassador visited San Francisco to see the exhibit, “Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter,” at the Legion of Honor.

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Event reminders: Tonight, the first Friday of December, presents a great Art Walk around Sonoma Plaza. Start at Sunflower Caffé, head south to Ann Hollister’s show at Charles Creek Vineyard Tasting Room & Gallery, and then make it to new Bump Cellars on Broadway, to the hot Wall to Wall art sale (and it is wall to wall) at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, and then work your way down East Napa Street to the Arts Guild and more.

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Pets Lifeline’s Miracle on 8th Street performs its financial miracles Sunday, Dec. 8, at The Lodge at Sonoma. This important fundraiser for our only pet shelter will include special performances by Stephan Stubbins and Brooke Tansley of Transcendence Theatre’s Broadway Under the Stars, and a Pet Holiday Fashion Show of “doggie haute couture.”

Dinner will include a spinach salad, sea bass, grass-fed beef tenderloin, or a vegetarian option, and chocolate bread pudding with warm fruit. $125 or VIP for $150 to include entry in an exclusive raffle. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 1325 Broadway, Sonoma. Reserve at 996-4577, ext. 110 or petslifeline.org.

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Always family- and dog-friendly Larson Family Winery offers photos with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8. Bring the family and even the dog. Photos are $10 or complimentary with wine purchase and always complimentary to wine club members. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 23355 Millerick Road, Sonoma. 938-3031, ext. 25.

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Ramekins Culinary School’s annual Santa’s Holiday Brunch will be Sunday, Dec. 8, for family and friends, complete with Santa Claus and cookie and ornament decorating for kids.

Brunch will include sausage, a “Wine Country Scramble with farm eggs,” made-to-order omelettes; skillet potatoes, cinnamon raisen French toast, housemade mini desserts station; coffee, tea and hot chocolate; mimosas, holiday cocktails and wine extra. $50 adults, $25 kids 11- through 16, kids 10 and under free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. Reserve at 933-0450.

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McEvoy Ranch, which straddles the Sonoma/Marin border, will host a holiday open house full of music, light refreshments, their new Olio Nuovo and specialty foods on Sunday, Dec. 8. Bring a non-perishable food donation for the local food bank. Only the 2 p.m. time slot is left, so register quickly at mcevoyranch.com/open_house_2013. After you register they will send you directions. Free, purchases extra.

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Cornerstone’s “Lighting of the Snowmen” will be Sunday, Dec. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m., complete with drama, chills, cookies, music, holiday movies and pictures with Santa on the Big Blue Chair.

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Barbara White-Perry will be with her terrific local artwork on display at Hooker House in El Paseo Courtyard on Thursday, Dec. 14, in conjunction with the Mission’s Holiday Celebration. Her exhibit closes Friday, Dec. 15, so drop in, buy some of her lovely greeting cards, and enjoy her husband Freddy the Cookie King’s chocolate chip cookies and hot apple cider. More details to come.

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And finally, TV food seductress Nigella Lawson, whose now former husband, Charles Saatchi, sued two of her former assistants for misusing credit cards, finds herself on public media trial for alleged drug abuse. The assistants said they hid her drug habits and, in exchange, got to charge luxuries for themselves.

Subsequently Saatchi said he believed it, wrote an email calling her Higella, then said he loves her and was just being mean, and that she didn’t do drugs. Lawson claimed Tuesday in Isleworth Crown Court in West London that Saatchi is out to ruin her. ABC says it has no plans to cancel “The Taste,” a cooking contest show she co-hosts with Anthony Bourdain and Ludo Lefebvre. On Thursday Lawson admitted to some cocaine use.