Kathleen Hill: Dining Out for Life

Dining Out for Life

As we give thanks for whatever degree of health we enjoy, the Dining Out for Life program really is what it says: dining out for life, to improve HIV/AIDS sufferers’ chances at life and enjoying it as much as they can as well.

Once a year, a national network of restaurants agrees to give a percentage of diners’ bills to local food banks that specifically distribute to those suffering this unfortunate disease.

In Sonoma County, your donation through local restaurants will go to Food for Thought, headquartered and with its food bank in Sebastopol. They also have an excellent antiques and collectibles shop southwest of Sebastopol across the road from the Antiques Society collective.

Food for Thought’s services are free and confidential and include distribution of fresh produce and groceries weekly, vitamins, nutritional supplements, delivery to the homebound, frozen meals for the very ill, nutritional counseling, an organic gardening project, cooking and nutrition classes, recipes and occasional social gatherings. All this for 650, yes 650, Sonoma County residents suffering from this disease.

So check out these opportunities to give nourishment through eating at HopMonk Tavern, Mamma Tanino’s Ristorante, Maya Restaurant, Saddles Steak House and the Plaza Bistro. All of them have agreed to give 25 percent of what you spend to this cause. Rocket Sushi agreed to give a fixed sum.

Just a way to give thanks next Thursday, now that Thanksgiving leftovers have hit the compost pile or garbage bin.

Julie Atwood invites people to join her at Woodfour (woodfourbrewing.com) in Sebastopol’s the Barlow for lunch and at Handline for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. (handline.com).

Christmas Gala coming at Copia

The Napa-Sonoma chapter of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, led by Sonoma’s Gene Daly, will hold a spectacular dinner and pre-opening preview of the new CIA-Copia campus on Saturday, Dec. 10 in Napa.

Several Sonoma residents will enjoy the dinner in the new restaurant that includes hors d’oeuvres such as squid chip with smoked salmon roe and gougères, followed by thinly shaved Brussels sprouts with pear, walnut and cured egg yolk; seafood stew with tomato and sourdough broth, fennel and herb salad; pan roasted quail with sunflower seed risotto and roasted and puréed sunchokes; hay-smoked venison loin and sausage with sweet potato Romesco and coffee scented root vegetables; topped off with caramelized banana cake, coconut sorbet, chocolate soil and banana chips. Black tie. $275. Reception 6 p.m., dinner 7 p.m. 500 First St., Napa.

Santa’s Brunch at Ramekins

Just to steam up for Christmas and other holiday shopping, consider Ramekins’ Santa’s Brunch on Sunday, Dec. 11, complete with photos with Santa, cookie decorating and craft station for kids, and then there’s the food.

Dive into an omelet station with everything to put in yours from wild mushrooms to Black Forest ham, shrimp, broccolini an goat cheese, to a smoked bone-in ham carving station, to an overnight yeasted waffle bar, fruit, granola, butternut squash soup, and a buffet of kale salad, salad, frittatas, potatoes, maple glazed thick cut bacon and chicken apple sausage rum raisin bread pudding, and lots of fresh fruit, sweet and savory pastries, coffee, hot cocoa and pomegranate mimosas for grownups. Adults $65, kids $25, kids 5 and under free. 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 450 W. Napa St., Sonoma. Register at ramekins.com or 933-0450.

Garden of fruits

Sonoma Mission Gardens says that they now have lots of bare root berries, small fruits and vegetables in stock.

A great way to say thanks this long weekend is to plant something in honor of a loved one. You might consider bare root strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries, raspberries, asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb and blueberries. Manager Lydia Constantini says, “With a whinny and a snort, plant some horseradish. They’re plump and juicy, just as we all will be after Nov. 24. They already have garlic, shallots and onion sets.” 851 Craig Ave., Sonoma. 938-5775.

Message about school gardens

Alice Waters sent this email last week. I only excerpted the non-political part of the email.

“Two days ago, Berkeley High School students and teachers walked out of school and marched peacefully through the streets of the city. One of the Berkeley High students, an Edible Schoolyard alumnus, addressed the group of thousands about the importance of love and working together. These are the basic human values we teach at the Edible Schoolyard, and our work in edible education is more important than ever now. Edible education reaches and nourishes children deeply. It recognizes their worth and their power. It connects them to each other and to nature. It teaches them one of the fundamental values of democracy: that we are all dependent upon one another. The restaurant has always been a gathering place during difficult times. Please know that you have friends here. You are not alone. With hopefulness and love, Alice Waters.”

Napa restaurant updates

While Michael Chiarello has a few sexual harassment claims against him and his Gruppo Chiarello by employees in his vast empire, which were reportedly “settled” last Tuesday despite Chiarello’s denial of the claims, he was arrested early last Wednesday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) and possession of a controlled substance, the nature of which was not disclosed.

Chiarello was pulled over by a CHP officer at Yountville Cross and Silverado Trail across the Napa Valley from Yountville where his Bottega restaurant is located.

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The famed Morimoto of Napa has had salmonella problems in the last six weeks during which at least six customers got sick, according to the Napa Register.

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Seeming to have perfect timing, Kenzo and Natsuko Tsujimoto, owners of the 3,800-acre Kenzo Estates Winery on Mt. George, just opened Kenzo restaurant in downtown Napa.

The 27-seat restaurant serves “contemporary Kaiseki” cuisine, which Kenzo says is perhaps “the most authentic Japanese restaurant in the United States. A little Japan in Napa,” apparently ignoring the famed Morimoto’s efforts. Kenzo offers a choice of three nine-course prix-fixe menus ranging from $225 to $270. Wines by the glass start at $20 and bottles of wine range from $60 to $450. Reservations at 294-2049 or kenzonapa.com.