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Kathleen Hill: Glorious Bites’ glorious finale, and more

Glorious Gloria Ferrer contest gesture

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards has canceled its Glorious Bites Challenge finals contest that was to be held here in Sonoma at Gloria Ferrer. Three finalists from around the country were supposed to compete for the $5,000 grand prize for creating the best appetizer to go with Gloria Ferrer’s sparkling wines.

Instead, Gloria Ferrer has generously replaced the finals by awarding $5,000 to each of the three finalists.

All tickets to the event will be refunded in full. The new “co-winners” include Ellen Verdugo of Gloucester, Maine with a smoky Spanish paprika dusted sea scallop seared in duck fat; Ashley Mincey of Columbus, Ohio with a sweet and savory harvest pizzette; and April Timboe of Siloam Springs, Arizona with tandoori shrimp falafel with lemony mint yogurt.

Instead of the event, Gloria Ferrer will focus its efforts toward fundraising to help rebuild our local Sonoma Valley community. Bravo!

One cookbook at a time

Former “One Day At A Time” star and current Food Network star Valerie Bertinelli will be at Liana Estates Winery this afternoon and evening, Friday, Nov. 10 with her new cookbook, “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” which also happens to be the name of her cooking show. And, yes, she was once married to Eddie Van Halen.

Liana Estates, owned by Peju Provence winery, is behind Domaine Carneros where Acacia Winery used to be. $120 includes the book, meal, and wine, $195 per couple with one book. 4:30 p.m. 2750 Las Amigas Road, Napa.

MFK Fisher talk at Depot Park Museum

Join me Saturday, Nov. 11 and talk about “Hundreds of hours in Last House with MFK Fisher” to celebrate the all-day re-opening (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) of the Depot Park Museum and its “Second Saturday Lecture Series.”

Under the leadership of Sonoma Valley Historical Society president Patricia Cullinan, the museum has been remodeled and completely revitalized, and will be back open to the public starting Saturday. Enjoy new Sonoma Valley agriculture and kitchen exhibits as well. MFK Fisher conversation at 1:30 p.m. Free. 270 First St. W., Sonoma.

Sonoma Springs Brewing fundraiser

With loads of thanks to first responders, Sonoma Springs Brewing Company will breakout its week-old Sottile Red beer on Saturday, Nov. 11 to honor and benefit the Sonoma Valley Volunteer Fire Association, who played a big part in saving the town of Sonoma. The event originated to celebrate surviving another fire in the back of the former Nicholas Turkey headquarters in 2014.

Sottile Red is a double red ale brewed with Simcoe and Citra hops, so be a first to taste it in the brewery’s parking lot and taproom with brats grilled by volunteer firefighters. Rubber Soul will play, and there will be commemorative merchandise for sale.

Sonoma Springs and Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Co. are joining many other brewers throughout the country to create Sonoma Pride benefit brews. Free admission. Brats and beer for sale. 1 to 6 p.m. 19499 Riverside Drive, Sonoma. Suite 101. Sonomaspringsbrewing.com.

Landmark Vineyards’ generous gifts

Landmark Vineyards, now owned by Stewart and Lynda Resnick of the Wonderful Company, known for Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice, is donating $100,000 to the Redwood Credit Union’s North Bay Fire Relief Fund “to assist victims and aid relief efforts,” according to Landmark spokesman Timothy Hall.

Landmark has “also pledged $10,000 toward the rebuilding initiative at Dunbar elementary School in Glen Ellen, which lost its kindergarten playground and outdoor theater.” Dunbar also lost its popular and well-used school garden. All of this out of gratitude for their Landmark Vineyards and Russian River properties having survived the October fires in good condition.

Hall added in response to my question about the garden that “The pledge is going toward outdoor play areas and instructional areas. The funds can be used at their discretion for any of those outdoor areas.”

Umbria Glen Ellen dining room opens

After feeding loads of first responders during the fires, Giulio Tempesta will apparently fully open his redecorated dining room at Umbria in Glen Ellen on Sunday.

Sonoma Fire & Rescue pancake breakfast

While their pancake breakfast on Sunday is billed as a “Thanking our Community Open House and Pancake Breakfast,” we can all say thank you in person to our local volunteer and professional firefighters on Sunday, Nov. 12 at their pancake breakfast at the downtown fire house. Pancakes, sausage, orange juice and plenty of coffee are on the menu for only $5 this year.

Valley of the Moon Lions Club, Montgomery Village Lions Club, and Sonoma Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association are the event supporters. Grownups and kids can operate a fire hose, learn hands on CPR, gas and electric safety, vision screening, and have fun on fire engine rides, face painting, balloons and jumpy houses, and lots of information booths. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Al Mazza Fire station. $5 donation suggested. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 630 Second St. W., Sonoma.

Supermarket jobs

Whole Foods is seeking part-time cashier, culinary team member, and dishwasher as well as a full-time market team member and a full-time dishwasher in its Sonoma store in Sonoma Marketplace shopping center.

Sonoma Market and Glen Ellen Village Market placed a half-page full-color ad in last Friday’s San Francisco Chronicle front section saying they are “now hiring chefs” with “industry leading wages, awesome work-life balance, 401k retirement plan, health dental and vision coverage, and up to four weeks paid vacation.” Apply at sonomamarket.net/careers.

Steps to healing

The warmth of friendship seems to be growing like the green fuzz on our burned hills. Residents and those who no longer have their homes gathered on neighborhood streets and lanes in truly affected areas to share a meal and maybe even a glass of wine together to solidify the sometimes newly found bond that our shared tragedy has engendered.

John McReynolds hosted a celebration of “life and community” evening of Stone Edge wines and his cuisine at Edge’s dining room on East Napa Street last Thursday. It was open to everyone for free, just as a coming together gesture of friendship and giving.

Don’t forget: Edge has opened its Thursday night dinners to the public, and not just to its wine club members. West Coast Bouillabaisse with local Dungeness crab, Salt Spring Island mussels and ling cod; Wolfe Ranch quail with mushroom stuffing; and pavlova with huckleberry ice cream and Fuyu persimmons are on the Edge menu for Thursday, Nov. 16. All by John McReynolds and paired with Stone Edge wines. $150 inclusive. 139 E. Napa St., Sonoma. Contact Larry Nadeau at 935-6520 or larry@stoneedgefarm.com for reservations.

Saddles Steakhouse hosted a super four-course dinner for just $60, surely a nearly $80 meal à la carte. Saddles gave 50 percent of the price to La Luz for helping displaced members of the community.

Glen Ellen residents and family gathered for a community meal cooked by David Walker in the parking lot next to Garden Court Café to the delight and hugs of everyone.

Abigail and Dean Bordigioni hosted a party at their Annadel Estate, hired Twang Ditty to play their rockin’ happy music, and covered all expenses, which led to the crowd donating more than $5,000 to the six Kenwood School families who lost their homes.

Michael Muscardini’s “Sonoma Strong Relief Mini Music Festival” at Muscardini Cellars in Kenwood was a huge success, with 150 guests gathering for wine, food, and other attempts to smile. Lots of Kenwood and Glen Ellen residents gathered to raise money for fire relief and telling their fire stories.

James Marshall Berry gathered the Cork Pullers, the Mark Larson Band, and the John Burdick band, which played for free and donated their tips to the wildfire relief fund as well. Catherine Venturini of Olive & Vine/Cuvee Catering put together Sunday lunch of roast pork tostada verde, lemon Caesar salad with blackened shrimp, grilled Parmesan chicken sandwiches with tomato and arugula on ciabatta, and oatmeal cranberry and chocolate chip cookies. Catherine donated 100 percent of her food sales (close to $2500) to the Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief Fund, on top of the more than $5,000 raised by the rest of the event, that included Tips Tri Tips Trolley and Picazo Café.

Zippo Michelin stars in Sonoma Valley

No Sonoma Valley restaurants received any stars in the new Michelin guide. Since the books are not available yet, I will update you on Bib Gourmand and other designations when I can get my hands on one of the guides. Single Thread in Healdsburg received two Michelin stars.

Trump dining in Japan

According to Bloomberg News, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and wives dined at Ginza Ukai Tei, one of a teppanyaki chain, and ate Hokkaido scallops, steak and chocolate sundaes. The photo shows the two men apparently drinking Cokes, with an upside down Heinz catsup bottle on the table.

And after their golf game they had lunch at Kasumigaseki Country Club where Trump ate a hamburger from a burger chain called Minato’s Burger Shack where they use American beef.

On Sunday evening Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and their wives dined at Ginza Ukai Tei, a teppanyaki chain, where they were served special menu of grilled Hokkaido scallops, steak, and chocolate sundaes. Apparently the restaurant’s parent company’s stock price rose by more than 7 percent following news of Trump’s visit.

Trump’s Japan trip also involved golf and lunch at Kasumigaseki Country Club where he ate a burger, which was reportedly brought in from a popular chain called Minato’s Burger Shack. All of Minato’s burgers are supposedly made from American beef.