Swiss Hotel news; Grandma Linda’s ice cream shop; Laura Chenel celebrates first Leed creamery; ‘Kitchen Memories’ closing party

Kathleen Hill


Food emergency:

Everyone knows typhoon Haiyan, the worst ever in the world, devastated part of the Philippines a week ago. Locals Greg and Dulce Silvi and their children have set up their home to receive non-perishable foods such as rice, canned sardines and tuna and T-shirts. The Silvi family will ship all goods to hardest hit Tacloban City at their own expense. Dulce’s cousin, Earl Viernes, is director of surgery at Bethany Hospital there and will be the conduit for goods you donate. So far they have received enough food for 300 meals, and so much more is needed. We are also planning an adobo dinner to benefit the cause.

Take your donations to the Silvis’ home at 18496 Happy Lane, Sonoma.


Our under-publicized but ever popular Swiss Hotel, a fourth-generation-owned historic restaurant, just came out with its new menu last week. Those of us who have been dining there weekly or for special occasions over the decades might remember the great character “Italian” chef, Freddy Wing, who loved whiskey, women and horses, the racing type. Mrs. Wing cooked Chinese food, which was a great attraction in itself. And oh, for Freddy’s “steak sandwich,” a rich juicy steak without the sandwich part at bargain prices.


The San Francisco/Northern California chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international organization of the best women chefs, restaurant owners, cookbook authors and writers visited “Kitchen Memories” at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, and then went to the Swiss Hotel for lunch.

Kristen Marioni Schantz and Hank Marioni worked on the menu selections and the results went over with raves. Shrimp chowder or green salad, a selection of six entrées, followed by tiramisu with cappuccino sauces or sorbet or gelato, with non-alcoholic beverages included.

These guests especially mentioned the butternut squash ravioli with hazelnut sage brown butter and the Balsamic drizzle, as well as the specially ordered buttermilk fried oysters on Caesar salad.

Do try the Swiss Hotel again. 18 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 938-2884. swisshotelsonoma.com.


Laura Chenel’s Chèvre will celebrate its LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for its new Sonoma creamery today, Friday, Nov. 15 from 3 to 5 p.m. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The Eighth Street East plant is the first cheese production facility to achieve Gold, the second highest of LEED’s four levels of certification. Features that qualify it include 80 percent of the building’s energy emanates from more than 1,000 rooftop solar panels; lower emission boilers using from 20 to 100 percent less energy than conventional methods; monitored lighting with air controls for heating and cooling; reclaimed old growth California redwood panels on several interior walls; recycled materials in all walls, inside and out; and treatment of liquid waste material generated by milk processing using naturally occurring bacteria and aeration tanks.

Both Laura Chenel and Marin French Cheese are owned by the Rians family, a French family who owns several cheese operations in France.

Sonoman Charles Willard, who served as senior project engineer, will give tours of the plant at 3 and 4:30 p.m. Free. 3 to 5 p.m. 22085 Carneros Vineyard Way (off Eighth Street East), Sonoma. More info at 996-4477 or laurachenel.com.


You are in for a treat for the “Closing Party” of my “Kitchen Memories” exhibition at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art on Friday, Nov. 22, the last big public event of the show’s three-month stint.

Laura Chenel’s Chèvre and Marin French Cheese will provide the elegant nibbles, Crisp Bakeshop will serve sweet treats, and Buena Vista Winery will pour its fine wines, all donations to the museum.

At this party we will announce the wining guessers of mystery objects on the “What Is It?” table. You are also invited to bring kitchen treasures to donate to the collection or just to share that evening with others. Please also bring a “kitchen memory,” preferably written down, and even an old favorite family recipe. I would love to add them to the collection and its traveling exhibit. $10 members, $12 non-members. 5:30 to 7 p.m. 551 Broadway, Sonoma. 939-7862.


Troy and Dawn Marmaduke have proudly converted their Ben & Jerry’s to Grandma Linda’s Ice Cream Shop on First Street East. Troy’s mother, Linda Marmaduke, “was one fantastic lady whose generosity touched many hearts in Sonoma Valley.” Taken by ALS, Linda was the grandmother of Carly, Tyler, Kelsey, Shelley, Owen and Lindsey.

The Marmadukes now serve Umpqua ice cream because it “was what we enjoyed on our family vacations on the coast of Oregon, a place that Grandma Linda loved to be with her grandchildren. We will be celebrating her every day at our ice cream store.” Check out the new treats.


The recent Wine Country Marines 238th Birthday Ball at Jacuzzi Winery was its usual elegant self. All those men in fitted uniforms and women in gowns help.

Kathy and Bob Leonard chaired the event as usual, and Fred and Nancy Cline generously donated the space, their staff and wines for before and during dinner, which was attended by Sen. Noreen Evans and Maggie and Gen. Richard Hearney, he the former assistant commandant of the United States Marine Corps.

Founders of Wine Country Marines who attended include Jeanette and Warren Jaycox and family, Loren and Kay Edred, Fred and Merilee Unsworth, Ray and Flo Beth White and JoAnn Zweiner. Other locals were city council member Laurie Gallian, Doug and Penny Mahon, Frank and Andi Espina, Byron Hancock and Len Handeland, Bill O’Neal and Jim and Claudia Levindofske.


Crisp Bakeshop offers a “Thanksgiving Menu” of special chocolate pecan bourbon, pear ginger and pumpkin caramel cakes at $50. All of its famously tall cakes are six inches in diameter and serve 12, according to co-owner Andrea Koweek. Nine-inch pie specials include pumpkin with bourbon maple pumpkin filling ($25) and cranberry apple ($30). Orders required by Saturday, Nov. 23. 933-9999 or koko@crispbakeshop.com.


The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art will receive “Wall to Wall” art donations Nov. 24, Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 for a sale of local collectors’ artworks that they want to offer to the museum to sell to someone else as a fundraiser.

Organizer Martha Rosenblatt and the committee want “the community to look in their basements or attics and bring in no longer favored art.” On Friday, Dec. 6, the community is invited for fun, food and wine and the opportunity to purchase artwork others might have finished admiring. One person’s tired art can be someone else’s bright light, happiness and inspiration. Bring your artwork to donate from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday,, Nov. 24, and Sunday and Monday, Dec. 1 and 2. 551 Broadway, Sonoma. Call Flynn or Celeste at 939-7862 or email zuri@vom.com for more information.

On Sunday, Nov. 24, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art will host a memorial gathering for the late Lois Gordon, a mainstay of both our museum and of San Francisco’s de Young, where she served as the museum educational director. Jerry, Lois and I used to search for the perfect chocolate milkshake and occasional hamburger to go with it.

Executive Director Kate Eilertsen asks that guests wear “crazy socks and shoes,” which Gordon used to love and wear. I will sport my weird orange and black shoes that she adored. Maybe I will even add orange and black polka dot socks for the occasion. 4 to 5 p.m. 551 Broadway, Sonoma.


Early December: Slow Food Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Valley Grange will host the third annual Holiday Celebration and Cookie Exchange on Thursday, Dec. 5 and ask guests to bring three-dozen of their favorite holiday cookies. One-dozen from each cookie baker’s cookies will be given to Brown Baggers or Sonoma Meals on Wheels, both excellent groups helping people truly in need. Those who brought some take home a couple of dozen made by someone else. Somehow it works out.

Members of both groups will make big pots of hearty soups – always good. Volunteers will be welcomed with open arms to help set up, decorate, wash dishes, serve, bring soup or any other thoughtful donation of time and heart. Free. 6 to 9 p.m. 18627 Sonoma Highway, Boyes Hot Springs. RSVPs welcomed by Margarita Ramirez at 939-7638 or margarita@travelingmatters.com.


Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers’ annual Holiday Party will be presented by Julie Atwood Events on Friday, Dec. 6 at the Atwood Ranch Barn. Park Avenue Catering will provide several stations of “winter” food to precede dancing, a cigar bar, festive holiday drinks and a dessert bar. Wear warm and festive attire. Shuttles are encouraged from Dunbar School and the Sonoma Barracks ($15). $65. 6 p.m. Reserve by Friday, Nov. 22 to 935-0803 or taylor@sonomavalleywine.com.


The Napa-Sonoma Bailliage of the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, led by Sonoman Gene Daly, will have its formal Holiday Dinner and Dance on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Artifact Design and Salvage in the Cornerstone complex.

Bruce Riezenman, owner/chef of Park Avenue Catering and Park 121 Restaurant, will prepare the food. Expect passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a terrine of three seafood elements with celery root salad, fennel and orange salad and pea shoots; wild mushroom ragoût with goat cheese croustade; roast loin of veal with lacinato kale, potato and leek terrine, Brussels sprouts and French epi bread; Andante Quarto Stargioni cheese with apple quince chutney and Penngrove’s Full Circle Bakery’s walnut baguette; followed by several chocolate treats such as a chocolate coupe with chocolate mocha ganache, zinfandel wine gelées, a Meyer lemon tartlet, and French press coffee. Entrée substitutions available when you make your reservation.

Artifact’s owner Dave Allen, will provide an unusual dinner setting with possible discounts for holiday shopping. Sonoma native Diego Garcia will conduct the Little Big Band playing dance music from the 1940s to the ’60s. Black tie. $295. Send your check to Frank Espina, 19484 Riverside Dr., Sonoma. For more info call Gene Daly at 996-8666 or email gene@dalyge.com.


Today is America’s “National Raisin Bran Day.” Oh my.


Help those who are hungry and starving.