Vintners & Growers new Winter Gathering
Given the hardships many in Sonoma Valley have sustained, the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers will hold a “winter gathering” for members on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn instead of their usual holiday party.
SVVGA invites member winegrowers, winemakers, proprietors, chefs, hospitality teams, tasting room staff, restaurateurs, production and vineyard teams, and all of SVVGA’s members of any kind, to gather to enjoy holiday cheers as a community, something we all could use.
Thanks to sponsorship by the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa and Rabobank, a portion of members’ tickets will go to support the La Luz Center’s Fire Relief Fund. 6 to 9 p.m. 100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma.
Salt & Stone update
Last Friday I found Salt & Stone proprietor Diane LaMonica sanding a beautiful slice of reclaimed Mendocino black walnut tree trunk for her and husband David’s soon-to-open Salt and Stone restaurant, where Kenwood Restaurant was for years. She found the trunk slices at Anderson’s Alternatives in Mendocino. “Dressed up” in jeans, sweater and knit cap, she was obviously working hard, probably 18 hours a day.
And have they ever made improvements. The LaMonicas, who owned Café Beaujolais in Mendocino for 10 years, plan to offer what Diane calls “rustic California Mediterranean cuisine.” When asked what that would be, she said, “We will have an oyster bar, lots of seafood, pastas, steak tartare, duck, lamb, cheeses and charcuterie and beef Bourguignon.” I suggested they bring back Max’s liver and onions, and they seemed to be taking locals’ requests seriously.
A 30-year resident of Mendocino, Diane worked for Beaujolais founder Margaret Fox for several years, and bought the café after others owned it.
The LaMonicas left Mendocino for Rincon Valley four years ago because, as Diane put it, “I love to eat outside, and was tired of the rain.” Honest and understandable.
David LaMonica worked for many years at Scott’s Seafood in Sacramento. Arturo Guzman will serve as executive chef at Salt and Stone, having cooked at Meadowood for 20 years, starting at age 17. Krista McCracken came from Florida to Sonoma County to be near family and will serve as general manager.
But it’s the interior that is a real surprise. The LaMonica’s and a brother-in-law have opened up a second dining room, handsomely done with wood tables and black chairs, added a banquette and opened up walls, basically doubling the seating area. Will keep you posted. Full bar. 9900 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 833-6326.
Aventine has reopened after fires
After a total spiff up and replenishing of food and alcohol spoiled during the fires and power outages, Aventine Glen Ellen looks better than ever, the food is fresher than ever, and drinks and wine are better than ever.
Co-owner Toni Veronese says that they have added two items to the menu: a butternut squash ravioli, and they brought back their butterscotch panna cotta.
Glen Ellen patisserie still simmering
Chauvet Hotel owner Christine Hansson is converting what has been known in Glen Ellen as “the yellow building” that has housed art galleries and more into a French patisserie and bakery. Many locals have watched with drooling anticipation, wondering what’s going on and when those divine baking smells will be wafting through Glen Ellen.