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Kathleen Hill: Stompers celeb; Brennan reschedules; salmon postponed

NASCAR Banquet in the winner’s circle

Sonoma Raceway’s NASCAR Grand Marshal’s Banquet to benefit Speedway Children’s Charities topped all of those I have attended. The program was the best and the food was the best ever. Both the program and the menu focused on Sonoma’s John Lasseter’s “Cars 3” characters and theme.

Sonoma Raceway president Steve Page emceed with his usual wry humor and introduced Disney and Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter of Glen Ellen, who told the story and showed a fabulous video about how the “Cars” concept hatched in his brain, and introduced the producer, director, artist, partner and Richard Petty and other NASCAR drivers who perform voices in “Cars 3.”

Stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo, the voice of “Cruz Ramirez,” told her life story, which Lasseter said contributed to Pixar weaving her into the character, and Page naming her Grand Marshal.

A first generation American, she grew up in “a small border town” in south Texas where “people didn’t have dreams. My parents dreamed of having electricity and water. When they got those they had arrived, they had succeeded.” So she wasn’t supposed to dream of being a comic or an actor, but of being a hairdresser.

She moved to Los Angeles and got a job in the office of a comedy club where people told her she was so funny she should be on stage – and she started performing. Someone brought a Pixar person in to see her standup act – and soon after she got a call asking her to visit Pixar, which she thought meant to work in the office, so she asked “What do you want me to do?” Now she is living her dream.

Georgeanne Brennan re-schedules

Due to an attack of high fever and flu, author Georgeanne Brennan called last Saturday morning to cancel her appearance at Readers’ Books, sponsored by the Last Wednesday Food Group.

She has rescheduled to join us at Readers’ at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26. All of you who have already bought her books at Readers’ can bring them then to have Brennan sign them. And everyone is welcome to bring tastes to share as well.

Golden Gate Salmon cancels Boxer dinner

The Golden Gate Salmon Association has postponed its fourth annual Sonoma Salmon Celebration Dinner & Fundraiser at Ramekins scheduled for July 21.

Michael Coats, emcee of the event, announced the cancellation of the fun dinner where former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer was to have been honored with the “Salmon Champion Award.”

Ari Weisswasser of Glen Ellen Star, Carlo Cavallo of B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille, Adolfo Veronese of Aventine Glen Ellen, Yoshiharo Sogi of Zina Lounge, and Kyle Kuklewski of Ramekins were to have prepared salmon caught by both commercial and recreational salmon fishers.

Let’s hope they can reschedule soon.

Nibs & Sips

Sonoma resident Mark Lyon, former longtime winemaker at Sebastiani Winery, celebrated his new Eco Terreno wines in Cloverdale on Saturday, June 24… Landmark Vineyards offers a new food truck series on the last Saturday of each month. It launched in May with neighbor Tips Tri-Tip trolley, followed by the Wurst with sausages, burgers and salads on June 24, Foodie Farmhouse on July 29, Picazo on Aug. 26, and Dabba on Sept. 30… Haute Living magazine has named Anne Moller-Racke of Donum Estate, Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros, and Margo Van Staaveren of Chateau St. Jean among the Top 10 Female Winemakers in Northern California.

Martha Stewart has started her own eponymous wine company, which, on her website looks more like a wine shop of other people’s wines, boasts of wines under $10. I did not find any of those on her website. Marthastewartwine.com.

The Olive Press just won another 10 medals at the 2017 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Professional Olive Oil Competition. Their Picual Extra Virgin Olive Oil won Double Gold, while their Sevillano, Arbequina, Koroneiki, and Jalapeno won gold medals, and their Italian Blend and Empeltre Extra Virgins got silver medals. Get their olive oils online at theolivepress.com or their stores adjacent to Jacuzzi Winery and in Oxbow Public Market in Napa. (800) 965-4839.

Sonoma Stompers celebrity attraction

Now that Jon Sebastiani owns the Sonoma Stompers baseball team, he seems to be able to attract some big names to grow attendance.

Ayesha Curry, proprietor or Zupa Noma, one of Sebastiani’s marketing clients at Sonoma Brands, will be on hand July 18. She will throw out the first pitch and promote her organic soup full of “super foods.” Some people hope her husband, Warriors guard Steph Curry, will also show up where she is. Sometimes he actually does.

Presented by Francis Ford Coppola’s Virginia Dare Winery, tickets are available at the Stompers Fan Shop, 234 W. Napa St., Sonoma or at the box office 30 minutes before each game. Tickets $12 to $26. 938-7277 or info@stompersbaseball.com.

Upcoming dinners

Beltane Ranch Farm Stay Inn has added a series of Sunday Suppers that include garden tour with Victor and Chef Lauren’s three-course chicken mole dinner on July 23; a wood-fired dinner from Beltane’s produce garden on Aug. 27; a summer winemaker dinner with Kevin Holt and the Beltane family on September 10, and the Oct. 1 late harvest grill with barbecued oysters, garden veggies and steak, all paired with Beltane’s elegant wines. Call 833-4233 for more info.

Fans of the “Kivelstadt” family and anyone else might check out the Kivelstadt Wine Dinner coming up at Suite D on Saturday, July 16 featuring their interesting wines, of course. Food will include smoked salmon; goat cheese and lavender honey toasts, and feta and olive skewers.

The next course will be smoked trout, trumpet mushrooms and spinach vin blanc, followed by Provençal duck breast, fresh shelling beans and seared heirloom peppers, followed by smoked short ribs, corn purée, roasted Toy Box cherry tomatoes, and crispy shallots. Then with their Wayward Son Orange Wine comes a trio of local hard cheeses, grilled apricot, a dehydrated apricot, nd apricot mostarda. Other wines Kivelstadt will serve have fun names like Twice Removed Rose, Family secret Sauvignon Blanc, Sibling Rivalry Pinot Noir, and the Inheritance Syrah. $75. Tickets at figsuited.com.

Also check out the Wine Wednesdays with ping pong and food specials. 5:30 p.m. at Suite D.

Planning way ahead

The Mayacamas Firefighters will have their Starlight Dinner and Auction fundraiser at the Gordenker Ranch on Aug. 19, all catered by Catherine Venturini of Cuvée Wine Country Events, starting with shrimp quesadillas, tamale bites, and tortilla crisps for appetizers.

Enjoy a “Hacienda barbecue” served “family-style” of grilled sirloin steak, Ancho glazed local salmon, watermelon and jicama salad, hacienda corn and black bean salad, and roasted sage and garlic potatoes. Churros, chocolate chili brownies, and fresh fruit top off the feast.

Some of the unusual auction items include a mountain lion hike with expert Quinton Martins of Audubon Canyon Ranch, a Ledson winemaker dinner for six, a trip to Tuscany, a catered dinner and movie under the stars, and a winemaker dinner with Bill and Susan Hawley at Random Ridge. And lots of wines.

Let’s support this small fire department that has a big job. Tickets $75 or table of 10 for $650. Tickets at mayacamasVFD.org or 933-8876.