Kathleen Hill: Basque calls off the dog, salami news and a supermarket remodel

Dog takes off with Basque table

So there were a few of us sitting at a few sidewalk tables in front on the Basque Boulangerie & Café, enjoying our coffee and goodies.

All of a sudden we sensed a commotion beginning. Noises we had never heard, noises of chairs moving by themselves, coffee cups breaking, sweets splatting on the sidewalk.

One of the guests had apparently tied his golden retriever's leash to the base of the last table at the north end of the storefront – that little corner one next to the planter.

Something that none of us noticed must have spooked the golden retriever and it suddenly took off nearly flying and pulling the table it was tied to between two cars (one of them was mine) at a high rate of speed, with coffee, pastries, napkins and other items scattering on the sidewalk and street behind the dog and table.

A couple of men chased after the dog and finally stopped it and the table in the middle of First Street East, luckily before a car came along. People picked up the table, chairs and food and put them back in place, and the owner retrieved his retriever. When he got back to the righted table with the dog, it became very aggressive toward other dogs parked at other tables with their owners who were also sipping and nibbling. Finally someone suggested to the high-strung dog's owner that perhaps it didn't belong at a table at the Basque, at least at that moment.

Delicious Dish has big plans

This month Delicious Dish, the fun take-out food spot on Arnold Drive near Craig Avenue, offers 'a vegetarian version of our Greek, Japanese, and Sloppy Joe menus.'

If customers show interest (order and purchase) in these plant-based alternatives, Delicious Dish will offer more of them.

Examples: a vegetarian eggplant Moussaka casserole instead of beef and eggplant moussaka casserole; vegetarian grilled teriyaki tempeh instead of teriyaki chicken; and a vegetarian lentil Joe instead of turkey Sloppy Joes with cheddar slices. All items on the Delicious Dish menus are marked if they are gluten-free and/or dairy-free. Order by noon weekdays. $25 meal for two $40 meal for four. Order at 721-4231 Pick up at 18709 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.

Chef and owner Lauren Cotner is working on expanding to offer dining on the Delicious Dish back patio with counter ordering, and on sit-down service inside the main dining room for lunches only, that is whenever they start to offer lunch. Date uncertain.

Ovello update

Sonomans seem to be salivating for Ovello's salumi and Italian imports.

Doreen and Andrea Marino hope to open in a couple of weeks, but are just waiting for the arrival of some equipment at their West Napa Street location.

Doreen Marino says, 'We are stocking the shelves in our store and Andrea has made many types of salumi, which are in our aging refrigerator now. He is also making some of his other housemade products that will be ready for the opening.'

While some observers have seen the ABC license posting in Ovello's window, they will open without beer and wine due to the City of Sonoma requiring a change of their use permit. City officials informed them it could not be brought up until October, according to Marino.

Safeway's 'remodel'?

As of this week, Sonoma Safeway's remodel seems to be following the pattern of the recent re-do of Lucky in Maxwell Village shopping center.

They both started by moving all stock around to different aisles, which is called a 'reset' in grocery store terms. Often this means staff move everything around and sometimes remove some products, including your favorites, and bring in others that might become your favorites. Some of this makes sense and some of it is done just to make shoppers buy things they usually would not on their way to finding their favorites.

But in Safeway's case, they moved all of the fizzy water and soda pop eastward a few aisles and replaced the original location with Halloween candy on both sides of the aisle, from the front of the store to the back. Makes one wonder if dental professionals are supporting this placement.

According to some staff, new floor tiles are to come, and Safeway is a great store to get in your walk since it expanded into the old Sprouse-Rietz store years ago.

Safeway now belongs to Albertson's, and Whole Foods belongs to Lucky and Save-Mart are family owned, as are all Nugget markets. Broadway Market is Sonoma's only remaining locally-owned grocery store.

Du Jour Dining offers new popup delights

Vance Rose of Du Jour Dining, who is one of the best chefs in the Bay Area in my humble opinion, is back offering a new 'underground' nine-course dinner with seven wines and his 'modern cuisine' on Friday, Sept. 13 – your lucky day.

Depending on locally available ingredients 'du jour,' guests will enjoy a coconut saffron cream sandwich with Sterling caviar, an Arpège egg, Toy Box tomatoes with charred corn, baby Shiitake mushrooms with sweet pea sorbet, red and yellow heirloom tomato soup, shrimp noodles, braised heritage pork cheeks, Biggs Ranch ribeye with smoked red beet purée with horseradish Hollandaise, and hibiscus-poached rhubarb, caramel custard and shortbread. Whew! $160 inclusive with wines. 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. 809 Central Ave., Sonoma. Reserve via or at

José Andrés at it again

How does he do it?

José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen were already at work on Sunday morning in the Bahamas to feed masses of people in need, bringing kitchens and gas-fed paella pans with him and his volunteer crew.

As he has done for several California fires in the last two years, José Andrés beat more formal organizations to the rescue.

Interviewed on MSNBC, he mentioned several hotels where managers said their kitchens were untouched even if their lobbies were flooded, and would move in his volunteers to cook for those in need and suffering the ravages of Hurricane Dorian. Andrés reportedly served 2,000 sandwiches to hurricane victims Tuesday evening.

No wonder Andrés has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

SVMA renews passport parties

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art launches its '2019 Great Places, Great Spaces' trips around town to see other people's art collections and unique homes, and enjoy fabulous views and great foods.

The first event will be Friday, Sept. 20, with a progressive dinner within one block of Second Street East. Guests start at the 1886 home of Kimberly and Simon Blattner, then on to the newly-expanded 1907 Craftsman home of Keith and Cherie Hughes for the main course. Nancy Nagle will cater with a hearty harvest time dinner of an amuse bouche of tomato and red pepper gazpacho, a classic pot roast with buttery mashed potatoes and sautéed Blue Lake beans with crispy shallots.

Then the party progresses back up Second Street East to Suzanne Brangham and Jack Lundgren's colorful home that is full of slightly-wild art for dessert, coffee and cordials. $250 with limit of 30 guests. 5 p.m.

Next month will be cocktails, conversation and art on Friday, Oct. 18, at the lovely Lovall Valley home of Pam and John Story. $125. 30 guests. Time TBD.

Guests at the Nov. 16 passport event will have the special pleasure of seeing 'The Art of Accessibility,' Chip and Jeanne Allen's Sonoma Greens home. The Allens recently 'reimagined for seamless and easy living,' meaning the ultimate artful re-design and re-do of a home for wheelchair accessibility. This event includes dinner for eight people. $200. 8 guests. 6 p.m.

And finally, on Friday, Dec. 6, Jeanne Montague and architect Chad Overway offer their stunning home of glass and steel on quiet Austin Street, where guests will get to sip champagne. $125. 30 guests. 5:30 p.m.

For more info on all four events call 939-7862 or visit

Pass the syrup

Join local Girl Scout Troops 10112 and 10102 at the VFW Car Show from 7:30 a.m. for pancakes, scrambled eggs, fruit, juices and Java Wagon coffee at the Vets Building. During the day-long car show there will be corn dogs, more or less regular hot dogs, and hamburgers with chips, along with beer offered by the Home Brewers Association. $7 adults, $5 nine and under.

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