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Kathleen Hill: Mushrooms, Meryl and more


Wine and mushroom celebration

John McReynolds and Stone Edge Farm invite mushroom enthusiasts and food and wine lovers to join in an epicurean adventure way up in the clouds at Silver Cloud Vineyard on Saturday, Jan. 21. The Stone Edge Farm Culinary Team will feature many wild and cultivated mushrooms from our region paired with Stone Edge’s signature wines.

Bring your boots and explore beautiful mountain vineyard along with a local mycologist on site who will answer questions and discuss how mushrooms grow in the wild and how they are related to the local flora.

Lunch will include Candy Cap popcorn, Porcini porchetta, mushroom bread pudding, assorted flatbreads, Acorn ravioli with celery root, mushroom ragout, Sable fish conserve, trumpet mushrooms, winter salad, wild pecans, Cara Cara oranges, Candy Cap churro, and dulce de leche, Valrhona chocolate. Silver Cloud Vineyard, 5700 Cavedale Road, Glen Ellen. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $95 for collectors, $125 for non-collectors (wine club members) RSVP to Kim Bandel by Friday, Jan. 13 at kim@stoneedgefarm.com. 935-6520.

Chinese New Year luncheon celebration

Sonoma Sister Cities Association invites everyone to join in welcoming the Year of the Rooster on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, with former longtime weatherman Joel Barlett as emcee, all to support Sonoma’s Penglai, China Sister Cities Committee.

Guests will enjoy lion and dragon dances and Morgan Harrington, known as the Red Soprano.

The multi-course Chinese feast, to be prepared by Bruce Riezenman of Park Avenue Catering, will include minced chicken lettuce cups; scallion pancakes with pickled vegetables and soy black vinegar dip; Shandong steamed Jiaozi chicken dumplings; black bean shrimp and Chinese broccoli; steamed rice; bamboo shoots with Wood-Ear mushrooms and braised Chinese cabbage with carrots and snow peas; Tee Pon braised pork shoulder with cucumber and bean sprouts; and mango pudding, all accompanied by Jacuzzi and Cline Cellars wines.

Proceeds, including ticket and silent auction revenue, will go toward building a Chinese-style pavilion, known as a “ting,” in Depot Park to honor forgotten Chinese laborers who built the Sonoma County wine industry in the mid-19th century in many cases. Both Buena Vista and Simi wineries tell stories of Chinese workers building lasting stone structures and caves. Noon to 4 p.m. 24724 Arnold Drive. Tickets in advance only at Sonoma Valley Box Office, 938-4626, ext. 1 or at sonomacommunitycenter.org.

Fondue at Starling Bar

Sheana Davis will offer a “Winter Fondue Pop Up” on Thursday, Jan. 19 at the new Starling Bar.

She will make fondue with Valley Ford Fontina, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company’s San Geranimo and Moonside Creamery’s Lunetta cheese. Enjoy live music by Kalei Yamanoha and Ben Weiner to accompany three fondue seatings at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. $20. Contact Davis at 235-9530 or sheana@vom.com.

Signups for Ramekins classes

There are openings coming up for Chef Pierre Lagourgue’s “Winter in France” class with Boeuf Bourguignon, salmon rillettes, Salade Niçoise, and lemon tarts on Friday, Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $95.

Chef Chat Mingkwan will teach how to make an eight-course “Chinese New Year Feast” on Saturday, Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. $115, and Chef Michael Kalanty will show how to make bread three ways from one dough, i.e. into sandwich bread, chocolate swirl buns and onion rolls Sunday, Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. $95. Reserve for all at ramekins.com.

‘The time just seemed right’

“The time just seemed right” is a quote of Bob Rice, Linda Richardson and Marsha McBride, to name a few restaurateurs.

What do they have in common? They all just sold their restaurants, from Glen Ellen to Sonoma to Berkeley.

What does “the time just seemed right” mean? My guess: “I’m tired of this after decades of ownership and hard work on my feet, and someone made me an offer I could no longer refuse.”

In the case of McBride, a Bay Area pioneer in onsite butchering, she told the Chronicle’s Inside Scoop that it was getting more and more difficult to find good people to work, which is a universal problem in California restaurants. When Michele Samson and I took some students from the Valley of the Moon Children’s Center to Santa Rosa Junior College’s café for a “tablecloth lunch,” front-of-house manager Betsy Fisher encouraged them to enter the JC’s culinary program because she has calls every day from restaurants looking for workers and can’t fill their needs.

All of these restaurants have buyers who take over sometime in January.

Golden Globe menu

Thirteen hundred movie industry folks at last Sunday’s 74th annual Golden Globe Awards suddenly stopped sipping their Moët Chandon champagne and nibbling on bread when Meryl Streep started to talk. First they silenced themselves just out of respect for her lifetime award, and then they cocked their heads slightly as they actually listened.

We got to know Streep slightly when she spent some time in Sonoma and slipped into the audience at Broadway Bound Kids performances. The only way we knew she was here was that a young man proclaimed, “Mommy, Mirl Street is sitting behind us!”

A good 20 years later we watched Streep deliver an historic speech that was good for us all to hear.

Before the evening began, those of us watching the entire glamour orgy were subjected to so many questions of “Who are you wearing?” that we changed the channel. The question really means “Which designer loaned you a dress so you would say his or her name when we ask you that question?”

Needing to feed lots of people who look like they don’t eat, Beverly Hilton Executive Chef Alberico Nunziata created the menu.

Guests started with a “ceviche-style winter salad” of roasted beets, arugula and citrus. The main course was a surf ‘n’ turf duo of Chilean sea bass and filet mignon. The fish came with a celery purée and sun-dried tomato pesto, while the beef was served alongside risotto with aged Parmesan.

Desserts by pastry chef Thomas Henzi included a Neapolitan almond cake with orange mascarpone cream; profiteroles filled with amaretto vanilla cream and topped with crunchy sugared almonds and chocolate sauce; and chocolate gianduja crunch bars.

Producing all that took 800 pounds of Chilean sea bass, 600 pounds of filet mignon, 4,000 pounds of vegetables, 125 cases of Moët Chandon, 1,500 Moët minis and 500 signature cocktails.

Just another night at the movies!

M.F.K. reminder

Sondra Bernstein and my M.F.K. Fisher dinner is on Friday, Jan. 20. The M.F.K Fisher menu will be her favorite oyster stew, pork chops baked with cabbage, cauliflower gratin, glazed white onions and chocolate mousse.

M.F.K. Fisher was one of the best known American writers of her time, and finished her life at her “Last House,” located on the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen, now part of the Audubon Canyon Ranch.

At this dinner I will tell stories of her life and my time spent with her covering most weekdays over seven years, including the day she passed away, and will tell you her truly favorite dish and drink. $45. 6:30 p.m. Reserve at figsuited.com. Event is at Suite D, 21800 Schellville Road.