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Pop-Tarts turn 50; Violence at Star Grocery; Sonoma Gaydar parties at Ravenswood; Saul Gropman on set of ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’

Kathleen Hill has the inside scoop on food and wine.

Kathleen Hill has the inside scoop on food and wine.

Kathleen Hill

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The Kellogg Company has announced that, to celebrate Pop-Tarts’ 50th anniversary, it will stage several concerts as part of their “Crazy Good Summer.”

The company contends that, “For 50 years, teens have been toasting to ‘Crazy Good’ mornings with Pop-Tarts toaster pastries.”

Actually, “crazy good” is a new phrase in American jargon, certainly unheard of 50 years ago. Teenagers are not the only people who eat Pop-Tarts, but maybe they will dominate Kellogg’s “Crazy Good Summer” concerts, featuring Demi Lovato, Jasmine V, Emblem3 and Austin Mahone.

According to Kellogg’s and other websites, the “nutrition” labels on Pop-Tarts usually list 30 to 35 ingredients (I counted them), with high fructose corn syrup, other corn syrup and dextrose high on the list.

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Early Sunday morning, animal rights activists began a spate of violence against Berkeley’s Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue by throwing a rock through a window. According to ABC News, the attack, allegedly by a group called “Bite Back,” was to protest the fact that, while the grocery store’s butchers say they carry humanely raised and organic meat, the animals have still been killed and butchered to sell to carnivores. The FBI even showed up because they had been tracking “Bite Back.”

I suspect that using violence to combat violence runs contrary to the beliefs of the Pappas family, owners of Star Grocery. My mother used to tell me that during and after World War II, current owner Nick Pappas’ father “carried” anyone in Berkeley who was short of cash and needed food on charge accounts, written in little receipt books. “Mr. Pappas” told me it took some of them decades to pay off their debts, but everyone did, and most of those old Berkeley families remain loyal to Star Grocery. Even in Berkeley.

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Sonoma Gaydar hosts a “Party with the Ravens” tonight, Friday, Aug. 8, in the Ravenswood Winery tasting room, nestled privately just a tad up the hill from Sonoma. Meet new or old friends and enjoy Ravenswood’s zinfandels, small lot white wines, rosés and moscatos, along with local artisan cheese and charcuterie, and one glass of wine. Bottles of wine will be available at 15 percent discount or 30 percent for those who join Ravenswood’s wine club on the spot. $20. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 18701 Gehricke Road, Sonoma. Contact kirstin.wastell@cbrands.com or at 933-2336 for required reservations.

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I love Williams-Sonoma’s banner over their new/old store saying “Williams-Sonoma Re-opening Fall, 2014.” Let’s see, that would be re-opening nearly 60 years after Chuck Williams moved from his first store, next to the Sonoma post office, to San Francisco.

I bumped into Williams-Sonoma’s CEO and president at Peet’s recently, and she was off “to check on our new store.” Hopefully, they will be ready to open Oct. 2, Chuck Williams’ 99th birthday.

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Café LaHaye owner Saul Gropman spent a week in France on the set of Helen Mirren’s new blockbuster movie, “The Hundred Foot Journey.” His brother, David Gropman, was the set designer, and previously received Academy Award nominations for his work on “Life of Pi” and “Cider House Rules.”

Saul arrived in Cayucac sur Ver, outside Toulouse, just as the rain started to pour, which led to the scene where Helen Mirren is shielded by an umbrella. According to Saul, the directors wanted to stop filming and she insisted they go ahead in the rain. Apparently, co-producer Oprah Winfrey arrived just after Saul left, but his brother appeared on “Entertainment Tonight” with Winfrey.

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Bruce Riezenman is excited to have “finally” opened his Park 121 After-Hours Pizza & Empanada Kitchen at Cornerstone Gardens yesterday, Thursday, Aug. 7.This should be a great place to stop on your way home or after wine tasting, and dine there or pick up delish wood-fired pizzas, large house-made empanadas, salumi and antipasto platters, big cookies and brownies and beverages. ($5 to $15.95) 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday “every week while the sunshine and warm weather last.” 793-9645.

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Jeanne Pinsof, daughter of part-time Sonomans Donna and Leslie Pinsof, enjoyed a Chicago Tribune front page teaser to an inside story on her and her Organic Gardener company and its accomplishments. Many of us had the pleasure of spending time with Jeanne when she was here to visit her parents, visit Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard and have lunch at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse.

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Sondra Bernstein hosted an extremely informative artisan beef tasting at her Suite D, put on by Carrie Oliver of the Artisan Beef Institute and Kristine Beck of Twisted Horn Ranch, where she and her husband raise Longhorn cattle. The tastes of beef were extraordinary, with various levels of fat, tenderness and flavor.

Carrie Oliver has set out to establish “The Provenance of Beef,” hoping people will taste and respect beef as they do wine. Her “mission” is “to create a new language for beef, like wine has its own” (sometimes overdone) descriptors, such as raspberry, cigar box and chocolate flavors for wine.

As a self-described “beef geek,” Oliver says the impact of marbling on the flavor of cooked beef is only 5 percent. Various speakers explained that what influences taste and tenderness are the breed of cattle, the feed it eats, such as native grasses, the rancher, and the butcher. Stress effects beef just as it does grapes and even people.

After tasting samples grilled by Suite D chefs from True Grass Farms, Open Space Meats, Sonoma Natural Beef and Twisted Horn, we indulged in a family-style meal of grilled peach salad, wood-fire roasted chicken, Twisted Horn Longhorn beef, Butterball potatoes, skillet blistered Padron peppers, grilled garden veggies, sliced Heirloom tomatoes with Balsamic drizzle, mini desserts and gelato. To hear about such events, get on the girl & the fig’s “fig bits” newsletter email list. Thegirlandthefig.com.

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Ingrid Martinez plans to close her successful Changing Seasons Gallery at West Napa and First Street West soon. Since she owns the Feed Store building, she and her husband have decided to re-direct her gallery time to traveling and enjoying each other. Sounds good to me.

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Upcoming food and wine events:

B. R. Cohn Winery will host a “Lobster Feed & Gator Beats” and pre-party barrel tasting on Sunday, Aug. 17, in the winery’s Picholine olive grove.

Gator Nation will play zydeco beats while you enjoy an old-fashioned lobster throw-down, prepared by Lobster King John Sorensen and crew from Napa Valley. Sorenson’s lobster feeds are dramatic and delicious. I have watched the order in which they put the feast in the large pots of boiling water, starting with artichokes and building up to the lobster itself. $100 public or $75 for wine club members. Barrel tasting 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lobster feed 1 to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets at 931-7933 or at brcohn.com.

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Sondra Bernstein and her Suite D have two sipping and dining opportunities coming up.

You can taste Campovida wines from Hopland on Thursday, Aug. 21, along with appys of salumi cones, panisse fries and heirloom radishes, followed by a dinner of paella with seafood, a deconstructed fig salad, chicken thighs with ratatouille and crispy potatoes, a cheese selection, and panna cotta with grilled peaches. $85, $75 for Campovida wine club members. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

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Possibly one of the most fun winemaker events anywhere will be a Kale Winemaker BBQ & Ping Pong at Suite D, with live music by the Sow Belly Trio, photography by Suzanne Becker Bronk, girl & the fig passed nibbles from the kitchen, antipasti with mano formate charcuterie and salumi “brisket from the old country slow roasted pork ribs,” kale salad (pun intended), mac ‘n’ cheese with baked Rancho Gordo beans and bacon, and a buffet of miniature desserts. All this plus Napa’s Kale wines from Kick Ranch, Alder Springs and Stagecoach Vineyards, plus ping pong. Hence, only room for 40 guests. $75. 21800 Schellville Road, Suite D., Sonoma Reserve Suite D tickets via eventbrite.com.

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Jacuzzi Family Vineyards offers a “Some Like It Hot” summer barbecue on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 23. Expect wine tasting from the barrels and bottles, extra virgin olive oil tasting, and winemaker for both Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi, Charlie Tsegeletos.

Alex’s Catering will make heirloom tomato salad Caprese, grilled vegetables, mac ‘n’ cheese, grilled chicken breasts, grilled tri tip with chimichurri and horseradish crème fraîche, focaccia and artisan breads, and frozen delights made from Jacuzzi Moscato wines. The Caroompas Quartet will sing songs from the 1950s to 2000s, with emphasis on vocal harmonies and dance-ability. It all takes place in the piazza and barrel room of Jacuzzi and The Olive Press, both built by Nancy and Fred Cline to honor his grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi. $75. Noon to 4 p.m. 24737 Arnold Dr., Sonoma. Tickets at jacuzzifamilyvineyards.com.

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Valley of the Moon Music Festival, whose musical wonders some of us got to experience first at the home of Kimberly and Simon Blattner, performed last weekend at their new home at Hanna Boys Center.

This is an extremely accomplished group, who specialize in instruments from at least a century ago, and intermingle explanations of the instruments’ histories with elegant music and fun. We can look forward to a full music festival next summer.

Eric Zivian and Derek Tam played fortepiano, Tanya Tomkins played cello, and Joseph Maile brought his violin to life.

Among those soaking up the sounds in Hanna’s fine acoustics were the Blattners, Antoinette Khoury and Tom Haueser, Vanessa Robledo and her daughter Jocelyn, Carolyn and Bob Stone, Fred and Barbara White-Perry, George and Buffy Miller, Michael Wood, Joan Riebli, Carole and Bob Nicholas, Christy and John Coulston, Harriet and Randy Derwingson, and Nancy Ramsey and Rusty Schweikart.

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Stone Edge Farm celebrated the completion of Silver Cloud, high atop Cavedale Road Saturday, with a fabulous luncheon cooked by culinary director John McReynolds from his prize-winning cookbook. Guests enjoyed lots of salads, such as panzanella with toasted whole grain bread, watermelon and feta and green beans; heirloom tomato gazpacho, cheeses and homemade charcuterie, grilled salad with cherry tomatoes, grilled pork chops and peaches and strawberry shortcake.

In the culinary crowd were Susan and Richard Idell, Susan and Joe DuCote, Wendy and Richard Grahman, Kathleen Statler, Gains Robinson, Leanne and Mike Sussman, David Walker and Rob Barnum, Deepa and Thanpy Thomas, Vel and Steve Cox, Melanie and Fred Schwartz, Lorna and David Grohol, Ann Kelly and Henry Seurer, Jim Otwell and Doug Brailey, Sephanie Johnson and Les Mayberry, Anna White and Michael Devlin.

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Today is National Zucchini Day in the midst of National Peach Month. How appropriate for Sonoma. Bon appétit!