Cookbooks bring hugs, tears and smiles
Having had nightmares of no one showing up at all, Girl & the Fig owner Sondra Bernstein and I and her staff were somewhat astonished when hundreds and hundreds of fire victims, many from Kenwood and Santa Rosa, showed up at Bernstein’s Girl & the Fig warehouse Sunday morning.
The Delicious New Chapters free giveaway party had arrived. Some stopped at the entrance to get a cup of coffee and one of Andrea Koweek’s chocolate chip cookies or a brownie, and then some of our 40 volunteers guided them to paper bags and boxes, made orderly by Sudan Idell, and then on to the cookbooks organized by category, famous chef’s name, or region.
So much emotion. There were lots of hugs and screams among neighbors who hadn’t seen each other since their homes burned exactly six months earlier on Oct. 8. Then came the tears, a few giggles and more hugs.
Whether they are currently living in a borrowed trailer, RV, on someone’s couch, or in a large rented home, they had all lost their cookbooks to fire, and their cookbooks were among their ties to the past.
While a cookbook might have looked strange or esoteric to one person, it could evoke a shriek of thanks because it was a precious gift passed on by someone’s mother – exactly what that person was hoping to find. And she did.
Kudos to Bernstein, her staff, many volunteers, many cookbook drop off sites, generous book donors, including authors and publishers, and to the drivers who roamed three counties picking up book donations, as well as Laura Havlek who brought us elegant metal bottles of ice water, and Megan Morphy Moll who dropped off a Red Grape pizza that three of us devoured.
A great day to slightly improve the lives of many who have suffered.
Restaurant and tasting excitement
Sigh bubble lounge owner Jayme Powers will host Jacob Talbert and his Sushinoma and a special sushi menu paired with Champagne and sparkling wines on first and third Sundays starting this weekend, April 15. Talbert will prepare some of everyone’s favorites such as a Sashimi Fantasy (nine pieces), Butterfish carpaccio, Tahitian poke with Ono, shrimp, ahi and more, his Sonoma and Vallejo rolls, “The Bubble wrap,” “Baby Maker in the Sheets,” and seaweed or edamame salads. ($4 to $22). 6 to 9 p.m. 120 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 888-2106.
Mi Ranchito Restaurant opened last week to rave reviews at the old Plaza Tequila site. Lots of salads, soups, a “cevicheria” with nine ceviche choices, nine burritos, tortas, tacos. ($3.99 to $19.25) Beer and wine. 19315 Highway 12, Sonoma. 933-9496.
West Hamburgers finally got its building permit and now can begin construction on the highly anticipated burger joint.
HopMonk to lose, Monterey to gain PJ Clark
P.J. Clark, manager of Sonoma’s HopMonk Tavern, will preside over her last evening there tonight, Friday, April 13. She will move to Monterey where she and her business partners will open Alta Café and Bakery after renovating the Cooper Molera Adobe. The 2.5 acre property is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Partners include restaurateur and realtor Kirk Probasco and Monterey pastry chef Ben Spungin.
Clark learned restaurant management from Cyndi Pawlcyn at Mustards Grill in Napa Valley, opened the Piatti in Montecito, came home to manage the Piatti in the El Dorado Hotel, managed the General’s Daughter, and started Maya on the Plaza.