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Kathleen Hill: Busy parklets, amusing limericks and Restaurant Week

El Dorado Cantina to open March

El Dorado Kitchen’s El Dorado Cantina plans to open on Thursday, March 4, daily noon to 8 p.m.

The Cantina, a sidekick operation to EDK, will accept only walk-up or online ordering using Toast for orders, and no phone-in orders will be available.

According to EDK staffer Lila Sommier, “This is really more of a taco truck with no wheels. Pick up and go. No seating at our property will be available” and customers will not be able to order Cantina items from within the restaurant.

The menu will offer a variety of Mexican foods including tamales, quesadillas, tacos, and burritos and some new items not seen in the restaurant previously. More to come when they have the details. 405 First St. W., Sonoma. 996-3030.

Last weekend Sonoma was packed

Partially due to a sunny three-day weekend that combined Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, the entire valley was packed with visitors from Kenwood to Schellville.

Salt & Stone, with its huge patio and fabulous sunny views of the Kunde vineyards, was loaded, as was Kivelstadt Cellars in Schellville where Jordan Kivelstadt reported their best day ever on Saturday.

In between, patios and parklets were filled with lines of people waiting for tables.

Especially busy were parklets with some sunshine at downtown Mary’s Pizza, Plaza Bistro, Basque Boulangerie, Maya and Della Santina’s. B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille just cranked up and Tasca Tasca has spread tables almost the full length of the north side of their block of West Napa Street, with a long “sidewalk extension” built by the city for pedestrians to walk around the table.

Cars were parked for two to three blocks on residential side streets in all directions last weekend.

Parklets everywhere, but where to park?

Another parklet is growing at Oso and Adastra as we become something like a temporary European village.

Many of us rejoice at the sight and ideas of parklets for their charm and beauty of them and enjoy the romance and fresh air mixed with good and interesting food. We are all happy to see our restaurants find a fun way to try to survive all the pandemic’s restrictions.

Assistant City Planner Wendy Atkins confirmed that there are now 59 parking spaces filled with parklets or “sidewalk extensions” around the Plaza and in the first blocks off the Plaza on East and West Napa streets, First Street East, Spain Street and First Street West.

Asked how long the parklets and structures might stay, Atkins responded, “The parklets are valid through Nov. 1, 2021 with the possibility of extension.”

Larson Family Winery’s Limerick Contest opens

Larson Family Winery has kicked off its annual St. Patrick’s Day Limerick Contest. The Larsons encourage everyone to enter to “get lucky in Sonoma.” Why not? Kids, teens and adults all need distractions, entertainment and fun. Entries come from all over the United States.

The two entrant age categories are pretty simple this year: ages 20 and younger and 21 and over. One winner will be selected from each age category and the prizes will be age appropriate.

As a frequent judge of this contest, I can verify that many of the entries are hilarious and creative, and some in the older category get a little raucous, shall we say.

Limericks must pertain to Larson Family Winery, wine, grapes, Sonoma or winemaking. A limerick does not have to be funny to win. Entries must be received by March 5, 2021 with prizes to be awarded during Larson’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebration. Contest rules and entry forms are available at larsonfamilywinery.com. For more info call 1-800-WINE, ext. 20 or email Lee Kruse at lee@larsonfamilywinery.com.

Here is an example of a Limerick from Larson Family Winery:

There once was a wine from Sonoma

That had quite a fine aroma

When friends took a sip

And the wine passed their lip

They said, “I must take some home to Tacoma!”

Restaurant Week update

More Sonoma Valley restaurants have signed up for Sonoma County Restaurant Week which starts today, Feb. 19 and runs through Feb. 28.

Last week only Delicious Dish and Kivelstadt Cellars had connected with the county-wide effort

As of Monday, Café La Haye, and Taub Family Outpost in Sonoma and Palooza Brewery & Gastropub and Salt & Stone in Kenwood added their names and restaurants to the list.

Lauren Cotner at Delicious Dish had a sensible bright idea: she is going to offer two lunches for the price of one if consumed on their newly decorated patio. 18709 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Deliciousdishsf.com.

Jordan Kivelstadt of Kivelstadt Cellars offers a fun dine-in (patio) lunch menu of KC Slaw of peanuts, radish, carrot and pickled shallot with apple cider vinaigrette with “family secret” sauvignon blanc, riblets and frites with vanilla chipotle and Fathers Watch Red Rhône Blend; and cheesecake made with an Oreo cookie crust and local honey paired with KC Labs Carbonic Zinfandel. $29.21 per person. Available 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays; and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays during Restaurant Week. Dine-in only, meaning on the patio now. 22900 Broadway, Sonoma. 938-7001. Reserve at exploretock.com/kivelstadtcellars

‘The Count’ cooks at Buena Vista

Count Agostón Haraszthy, aka George Webber, has launched a series of cooking demonstrations on Buena Vista Winery’s Facebook page.

Each class features a Buena Vista wine paired with one of “the Count’s” recipes.

Each show is done in front of the Buena Vista Champagne Cellars, safely spaced with lots of fresh air and the slight wafting aroma of sparkling wine. A week before each episode the recipe is posted on their Facebook page so viewers have time to purchase ingredients and cook along with the Count. Or later if you prefer.

Future classes feature coq au chardonnay with Buena Vista’s Eleonora’s Selection Chardonnay on Feb. 24; hanger steak with a cabernet/balsamic reduction sauce and mushrooms paired with North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon on March 3; “drunken spaghetti” with Arpad’s Selection Zinfandel on March 10; scallops in a chardonnay garlic lemon sauce with Private Reserve Chardonnay on March 17; eggplant and porcini mushroom balls in pinot noir sauce with Private Reserve Pinot Noir on March 24; and ancho-spice glazed lamb chops with a coffee/balsamic/cabernet reduction sauce with Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Of course the Count and Buena Vista would love you to buy their Private Reserve wines, but that is up to you.

“Cooking with the Count” appears on the Buena Vista Facebook page every Wednesday at noon. For more info contact thecount@buenavistawinery.com. 260-9511.

Mamma Tanino’s now serving weekend brunch

One of many people’s favorite authentic Italian restaurants, Mamma Tanino’s, has started to serve weekend brunch in its protected and heated patio in the Valley Mart Shopping Center. If that doesn’t ring a bell, it’s where Valley Mart grocery store was, now Sonoma Market. Brunch is also available to go.

The weekend brunch, served Saturday and Sunday, ranges from several salads to entrées and add-ons. Everything will be excellent, such as the strawberry crêpes; pasta with seasonal vegetables; calabrese frittata with eggs, calabrese sausage, chicken and mushrooms; spinach and ricotta dumplings with pesto sauce; Katarina’s vitellina of sautéed veal with artichokes, mushrooms and capers in a lemon and white wine sauce; and a lobster roll with coleslaw and chips. ($18 to $28.)

Extras might include pork link sausages, roasted potatoes, warm bread and jam ($2 to $8).

Mamma Tanino’s continues to serve its takeout dinner menu Friday through Sunday and takes early reservation for dining on the patio from 5 to 7 p.m., limited because of cold.

Some of our favorites (well, everything is) include the fried calamari, antipasti, seared prawns and scallops, veal scaloppini, Katarina’s vitellina, and several pastas with choices of sauces and accompaniments. ($18 to $36). 500 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 933-8826. Mammat512@gmail.com. Mammataninos.com.

The Panel Wine & Champagne Shop opens

The Panel Wine & Champagne shop (slightly new name) has moved from the south side of West Napa Street into a corner of the Valley Mart Shopping Center. Just walk or roll past Mamma Tanino’s and turn left at Vinny’s Shoe Repair. And there you are.

Darlene Rhodes and friends specialize in “small-production wine and exciting grower-producer champagne with something for everyone.”

The Panel was founded by Windee Smith, currently board president of the Boys & Girls Club. Darlene says, “Windee is family - we adore her and can’t say enough positive things about her or how blessed we feel she chose us to purchase the business from her.”

“Dar” says she grew up on French and Italian wines and her husband is longtime Sonoman Charlie Rhodes, a fulltime battalion chief for the Napa Fire Department and part-time Champagne buyer. Their daughter, Zoë Colaso, works as part-time wine notes writer and luxury wine educator for Larkmead Vineyards. The entire family is into wine.

When asked what some of her favorite rare ones are, Dar sent me a list of biodynamic and organic wines, plus great wines from Luxembourg, France, Paso Robles, Italy, Walla Walla, Snake River Idaho and small allocations from some Sonoma wineries. You will also find wines from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and Spain. Open 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; and until 8 p.m. on Friday. Wines purchased at the Panel get a discounted corkage at Mamma Tanino’s. 500 W. Napa St., Suite 522, 938-7152, Sonoma. dar@panelwines.com, pandelwines.com.

Jam’s Joy Bungalow back at Harvey’s Donuts

One of the most popular food trucks that frequents Harvey’s Gourmet Donuts on weekends on Railroad Avenue is Jam’s Joy Bungalow, that mostly features Filipino food or American food with a Filipino flair. She sold out the last two Saturdays she was there and has promised to come back fully loaded Feb. 20 and Feb. 27.

Part of her menu includes “Go Balls” of crispy curry rice, fried Brussels sprouts with sauce, crispy chicken wings tossed in spicy ginger-tamari and vinegar over cabbage, skewers with peanut sauce with cabbage salad, banh mi sandwiches, a super popular curry bowl, and the “Charlie Hustle,” a fried chicken sandwich with tamari pickles, sweet honey sauce, sriracha, and cabbage on a brioche bun. ($7 to $13).

Harvey’s Gourmet Donuts is now open on Saturdays from 9:30 to 8 p.m. Who wouldn’t like donuts for breakfast? 19030 Railroad Ave., Sonoma. 935-5908. Harveysdonuts.com.

Missing Charley Malkassian

Vella Cheese Company sent out this tender farewell to its longtime cheesemaker, Charley Malkassian:

“We are absolutely devastated by the loss of Ig's right-hand man, our hardworking and devoted head cheesemaker of 40 years, Charley Malkassian. When Chuck retired in March 2020 he left just like he lived, quiet and humble with a big smile and a wave. He trained all of our current cheesemakers and imparted his humor and sweet disposition on our make room and factory for generations. We are eternally grateful to have been the recipients of his dedication to the craft of cheesemaking and his legacy will live on in our product everyday. Charlie was a part of our family and he will always be honored as a pillar of Vella Cheese Company. You will never be forgotten and will forever have a place at our vat. We love you Chas.”

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