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Krave jerky recall; Mollie Katzen in Sonoma next Wednesday; VJB buys Wellington Vineyards; Bodega Bay Lodge to Moose Lodge in one day

Kathleen Hill has the inside scoop on food and wine.

Kathleen Hill has the inside scoop on food and wine.

Kathleen Hill

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Health officials say the Rancho Feeding Corporation recall includes one day’s production of Krave Jerky’s Garlic Chili Pepper Beef Jerky. That flavor of Krave Jerky was made from beef that came out of the now-shuttered Petaluma slaughterhouse and has the number EST 18951 on each 3.5 ounce package. A total of 1,000 cases were recalled.

Krave Jerky was founded by Jonathan Sebastiani of Sonoma, with offices located in the Sonoma Index-Tribune building on West Napa Street. Krave has grown quickly to a huge, multi-million-dollar business. Much of Krave’s jerky is processed in Southern California, although this particular batch came from Utah.

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John McReynolds and his “Stone Edge Farm Cookbook” won two national awards last Sunday from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, as reported in Tuesday’s Sonoma Index-Tribune.

Another Sonoma writer, Bella Andre, just had one of her books, “Come A Little Bit Closer,” enter the New York Times paperback best sellers list for mass-market fiction at number 19 of the top 20.

After publishing her Sullivan series as eBooks, Andre signed a multi-figure deal with Harlequin Mira books to publish her downloadable novels in print. Get yours at Safeway.

I feel a wee extra pleasure in both McReynolds’ and Andre’s accomplishments. I “hired” McReynolds to write a rotating monthly column as one of 12 food and wine experts when I was food and wine editor of the Sonoma Sun and nursed him through his first writing experiences. Andre joined the Sonoma Writers Group that I started about 15 years ago and moved from a binder-paper publication on how to turn your garage band into a success to where she is today. Congratulations to two Sonoma stars.

While McReynolds’ cookbook did not make the list of finalists for the James Beard Awards for 2014, John Ash’s “Culinary Birds; The Ultimate Poultry Cookbook,” made the cut in the Single Subject category.

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Meanwhile, back on the corner, Carlo Cavallo has gained local fame for his Burgers & Vine pirate flag and has posted on Facebook that he will soon feature belly dancing and karaoke evenings in what was once the Sonoma Creamery, a hamburger and shake coffee shop run by the Benedetto family, a deli and restaurant run by Lonny Dunlap, followed by a deli and restaurant run by members of the Sebastiani family.

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Alan Wastell was totally correct in his Tuesday letter-to-the-editor in which he said that the Sonoma Creamery Building never housed a saloon called the Hog Leg Saloon, a photo of whose sign was published in this paper recently. That sign was, indeed, hung for a few days for the filming of what Wastell referred to as “a truly god-awful movie called ‘Mr. Billion.’” Hundreds of us hung around to watch the filming, as we did for deodorant commercials and the movies “Tucker” and “Bottle Shock.”

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Shiso Sushi and Robledo wine fans are in for a treat in a rare pairing of both Saturday, March 22, at Robledo Family Winery. Guests for the evening will sample miso soup with Robledo 2012, 7 Brothers Sauvignon Blanc, local Japanese pickled salad with 2010 Lake County Pinot Blanc, Ed Metcalfe’s three-piece sashimi special with either 2012 pinot noir or 2010 chardonnay, a macadamia nut crusted roll with 2012 tempranillo or 2007 El Rey Cab from Lake County, and dessert with Mamma Maria’s White Port. $65. 6 to 9 p.m. 21901 Bonness Way, Sonoma. Reservations at 939-6903 or nadine@robledofamilywinery.com.

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Mollie Katzen, the Berkeley author and James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame inductee, will join us for the Last Wednesday Food Group get together at Readers’ Books next Wednesday, March 26 at 7 p.m., with her newest book, “The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation.”

With more than six million books in print, Katzen is one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time, according to the New York Times. She is also a charter member of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Roundtable and of the Natural Health Hall of Fame.

Katzen illustrates all of her books with her own drawings, which add color and fun.

Katzen has been credited with moving vegetables from the fringe or edge to the center of the plate. Personally, I see her books as vegetable cookbooks that are also totally suited for vegetarians. Among her bestsellers are the “Moosewood Cookbook” and “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.” In fact, her “Moosewood Cookbook” (1977) just won a Culinary Classics Award from the IACP last weekend.

I encourage anyone who has one of Katzen’s books to prepare an appetizer from one of them and bring it to share, although this is certainly not required. In fact, nothing is required. No charge, no requirement to buy a book. Just come.

Readers’ Books offers a 15 percent discount on all books featured in The Last Wednesday Food Group discussions.

See you Wednesday, March 26 at Readers’ Books, 130 E. Napa St., Sonoma. Call 939-1779 for more information. Free.

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Saul Gropman and his Café LaHaye served a fabulous dinner last week for the Sebastiani Theatre Foundation’s monthly dinner prior to the screening of “Rain Man.” Guests first enjoyed a tasty arugula salad with fried goat cheese balls and sun dried tomato dressing, served with donated 2012 Ravenswood California Chardonnay.

The entrée included perfectly pan-seared chicken breast with wild mushroom ragoût, yummy creamy polenta and sautéed broccolini, with a 2012 Ravenswood Zinfandel. For dessert, guests indulged in either a vanilla bean crème brûlée or butterscotch and vanilla pudding.

So many people signed up that some of the group dined around the corner at Ledson’s Centre du Vin for an impromptu 89th birthday party for Diana Rhoten’s mother, Sonoma resident Helen Krueger. Susan Ballach rushed to the Basque Boulangerie to get a birthday cake, followed by birthday songs at the restaurant and by the large crowd at the Sebastiani.

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Both Quizno’s sandwich chain and Sbarro mall Italian foods filed for bankruptcy last week. The Quizno’s at Maxwell Village shopping center closed long ago.

Quizno’s, known for its toasted sandwiches, still has 2,100 locations open during “restructuring” (its second in two years). Its main competitor, Subway, has 40,000 outlets. Sbarro only has a few hundred, but depends upon mall and airport impulse (or desperate) eaters for their business in expensive real estate.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Quizno’s has added toasted pasta to its menu, including one with lobster and cheese sauce. Somehow I don’t think Santé Chef Andrew Cain has anything to worry about. Quizno’s doesn’t serve black truffles in theirs.

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Last week Richard and Susan Idell, and daughter Elena Mara Idell, hosted their annual, fabulous tasting of wines made from their Michael Mara Vineyard here in Sonoma Valley. Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection poured each vintner’s wines and prepared a light lunch of arugula salad, several perfectly ripe cheeses, Costeaux breads, mixed nuts and fruits and delectable cookies and cream puffs.

I call it the Idells’ annual fermentation of the roses event, since so many guests (and hosts) spit and pour their excess tastes into the garden or large rose pots. The roses are doing very well, thank you.

Steve Mathiasson, named Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle, serves as a consultant to many prominent wineries but is an actual partner with the Idells in their Michael Mara Vineyard, where he oversees the soil and vineyard management. He and wife, Jill Klein Mathiasson, who runs their business, attended the Idells’ tasting and demonstrated his elegant and vast knowledge of the terrain and soil history of Sonoma Valley.

Representatives of Broc Cellars, Rowland Tebb Wines, Scholium Project, Young Inglewood, Cellars 33, Silenus vintners, Wine Thieves, Vintage Berkeley, SeriousEats, Bar Tartine and Tartine Bakery, and locals James Hahn and Jules Jansen of Chanamé Wines (and Sunflower Caffé), Chris Sawyer of Carneros Bistro, Doug Mo of Mo Wines, and Joan and Rich Little of Little Vineyards Family Winery all attended and sampled on a perfect spring day.

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VJB Vineyards in Kenwood announced Tuesday that they have bought Wellington Vineyards of Glen Ellen, enabling VJB to house its wines close to home instead of in a Santa Rosa warehouse. Wellington’s production facility and more than 21 acres of vineyards are included in the sale that culminates March 24.

While VJB specializes in Italian varietals, such as barbera, montepulciano and aglianico, it will be able to expand to Bordeaux-type blends and single vineyard zinfandels that include some 100-year-old vines.

Peter Wellington will continue to run what was his family’s tasting room.

VJB was started by brothers Victor and Henry Belmonte, and was named VJB to honor Victor following his untimely passing. Father Vittorio and mother Maria immigrated from Bonito, Italy and moved to Kenwood in 1976, where Maria started a small restaurant. She closed that café to open one in Santa Rosa, which later also closed. Now the Belmonte family’s winery and food emporium inhabits the villa-like structure in “downtown” Kenwood. They say they have doubled their case production from 5,000 to 10,000 in 2014.

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Bodega Bay Lodge to Moose Lodge via Rosie the Riveter Museum in one easy day:

About 40 of us spent blissfully sunny days at the Bodega Bay Lodge & Spa last week celebrating round-numbered birthdays of Mary Evelyn Arnold, Kay Maynard and Jack Nisson. The weather was perfect, in fact unbelievably gorgeous, with sunny days and nearly full moon evenings.

Among our culinary finds: The resort’s Duck Club Restaurant that served good breakfasts, including “James Beard’s French Toast,” cooked with cornflake crust and buttermilk batter, omelets, and dinner entrees of salmon, steak, crab cakes, good rib eye steak, salmon and Liberty duck confit.

This restaurant doesn’t just employ the over-used words “local sustainable.” Its menu thanks its local purveyors by name, including Valley Ford Cheese Co., Caggiano, Tomales Bay Oyster Co., Bellwether Farms, Redwood Hill Farm, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, Gourmet Mushrooms, Cowgirl Creamery, Liberty Ducks and Laura Chenel, and follows Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guidelines for sustainable seafood.

Across from the Spud Point Marina, we found the crab sandwiches and chowder almost orgasmic at the Spud Point Crab Co., apparently formerly known as the Crab Shack, where you order at the counter (first grab a table) and listen for your number to be called.

In the town of Bodega, the Country Store offers sample tastes of Boston, Manhattan and smoked salmon chowders, and a look-see at its entertaining collection of Alfred Hitchcock and “The Birds” filming memorabilia.

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Saturday took Pat and Russ Johnson and me to the Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond, organized by Sonoman Suzie Rodriguez and Bay Area Travel Writers. Four 90-something “Rosies” guided us around the fascinating exhibit, surpassed only by their personal stories.

Across the walkway from the museum is Assemble restaurant, where the group enjoyed bite-sized breakfast cupcakes and healthy fresh fruit, apparently a substitute for what we all thought would be lunch later. Some ordered lunch anyway and waited more than an hour for boxes to go. I had the crab roll just for comparison, and Spud Point won by a mile. Rodriguez’ snapper sandwich was excellent, as looked just about everything else on the menu. I look forward to going back when the permanent exhibit opens May 30 and trying it all again.

And then it was home to Sonoma and to the Moose Lodge to help prepare Sonoma Valley Rotary’s St. Patrick’s dinner/fundraiser. I loved opening bags of carrots with a 24-inch knife handed to me by Ron Lawson and club president Sam Morphy, and cutting potatoes into quarters or eighths, meaning big decisions, all resulting in team-produced mounds of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage and carrots. And a little beer and Jameson’s, but not together.

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Cheers!