Kathleen Hill: Carneros Wine Alliance leadership, Delhi Belly still currying favor and Valentine’s specials

Carneros Wine Alliance elects new directors

The Carneros Wine Alliance, made up of wineries and grape growers in the Carneros American Viticultural Area, just elected a new board of directors for the year. The Carneros area includes the relatively cool area that straddles the Sonoma-Napa county line south of Sonoma.

The new officers and current board include Hilary Berkey of Vintage Wine Estates and Emily Byrne of Etude Winery, who will be co-chairs. Nichole Peterson of Artesa was elected vice chair, and Carneros Wine Alliance ambassadors Carla Bosco and Crista Johnson will serve as treasurer and secretary, respectively. Additional board members include Mike Cox of Schug Carneros Estate, Scott Billeci of ZD Wines, Anne Moller-Racke of the Donum Estate and Alison Crowe of Garnet Vineyards.

Delhi Belly not sold after all

Last week we mistakenly announced a sale and ownership change at Delhi Belly restaurant on Broadway – but founding owner Bhupender Singh said this week the Indian-cuisine favorite is still in his hands. Here's where the confusion arose: Bhupender, with his friend and business partner Raj Singh, opened Delhi Belly on Broadway in 2015. Recently Raj moved to New York and Bhupender bought out Raj's part of the restaurant.

Bhupender had to transfer the Alcohol Beverage Control license to sell alcohol to himself or his company and name someone as the onsite manager. So the yellow ABC license transfer notice in the window, and some of the staff, suggested to this writer that the restaurant had been sold. Actually, one of the owners bought the other half from his former partner.

Sorry for spreading confusion, but it is confusing.

Valentines for everyone?

On Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, we celebrate something, but some people aren't quite sure what. A brief history of the day has appeared several times in this column, but it stems from both a Christian myth and pagan ritual called Lupercalia that celebrate health and fertility.

A few soldiers who were forbidden to be married in ancient Rome because it was believed marriage would make them weaker risked their lives by sending letters to their ladies, hence we send Valentine's cards.

Americans will, in fact, send 150 million Valentine's cards this month.

And we have inherited the belief that men are supposed to stimulate romance by giving everything from flowers and candy to jewelry and cars to their ladies.

But guess what, ladies. Men love to be surprised too. Try giving your man, your spouse or your partner some flowers, their favorite candy, a plant, or a gift certificate of time doing their favorite activity.

If no one in the household wants to cook, Sonoma offers several outside opportunities on Valentines' Day and evening.

Pick it up and take it away:

Ramekins Culinary Center offers a petite cheese platter with Marin French brie, Humboldt Fog, Vella Dry Jack and Bellwether Carmody cheeses; red wine poached pear, bacon and chicories salad with candied nuts and Point Reyes blue cheese; roasted wild mushroom soup with truffled croutons; short ribs with jus or salmon with Romesco and salsa verde; sides of root vegetable gratin and roasted winter vegetables; followed by silken chocolate tortes with graham crust and port and cherry compote. $125 for two. Order by Feb. 12. 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. Order at or 933-0450.

Frenchie will prepare a pre-order and pick-up Valentine's dinner of a classic shrimp cocktail; grilled New York steak with rosemary fennel potatoes and grilled broccoli, and chocolate mousse with whipped cream. Add a bottle of Schramsburg Blanc de Blanc for $40 or an artisan Tesoro flower arrangement ($45). $60 feeds two. Order at343-7559 or at

At the restaurant:

Glen Ellen Star offers a four-course prix fixe dinner of baked oyster Rockefeller spinach artichoke dip for two; winter chicories salad with sugar beets, blood orange, toasted pistachios and tarragon-buttermilk dressing; wood-roasted shrimp scampi with housemade tagliatelle; and chocolate-huckleberry tart for two. $61 per person. 13648 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. Reserve at 343-1384 or at

Glen Ellen Inn adds their favorite 'housemade lobster ravioli gently reclining on silky sheets of saffron crema, blanketed with warm winter greens' to their regular menu. How's that for food porn? While they are nearly sold out, cancellations often open tables. 13670 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. Call 996-6409.

Valentine's Dinner Under the Stars at B.R. Cohn Winery, now part of Vintage Wine Estates, will host a Valentine's 'romantic intimate dinner' in a covered pavilion to be catered by the Girl & the Fig Caters to accompany live music and B.R. Cohn wines on Thursday, Feb. 14.

The evening starts with passed hors d'oeuvres and Brut Sparkling wine, followed by a first course of roasted beet salad with goat cheese crema, watercress and pistachios with the winery's 2017 Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay.

The main course brings braised short ribs with black truffle risotto paired with 2016 cabernet franc from their own Olive Hill Estate Vineyards. Top it all off with a chocolate and salted caramel tart with an estate grown 2014 Cabernet Port. $120 public, $100 wine club with promo code VDAY2019. 5:30 to 8 p.m. 15000 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen. Tickets at 931-7933 or

B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille, soon to switch its name to Bisteca e Vino, features chef and co-owner Carlo Cavallo's salad of pan-seared scallops 'picatta style' with Yukon potato and black truffle aioli; homemade black linguini with jumbo prawns and spicy garlic white wine sauces, Maine lobster risotto with asparagus; Petaluma duck 'meatloaf' stuffed with wild mushrooms and goat cheese served on roasted butternut squash; seafood stew with jumbo prawns, Manila clams, and mixed fresh fish in tomato saffron broth; and New York strip loin steak with Cavallo's Sinatra sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and broccolini. A la carte $16 to $27. 400 First St. E., Sonoma. 938-7100.

Swiss Hotel adds à la carte lobster bisque, crab cakes, chicken cordon bleu with mashed potatoes and green beans, filet mignon topped with fresh Dungeness crab and Béarnaise sauce with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus; pan seared halibut with roasted potatoes, cipollini onions and baby carrots and a tomato broth topped with lobster butter to its regular menu. And a chocolate pot de crème. $8 to $42. 18 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 938-2884.

Depot Hotel Restaurant prices its dinner by the cost of the entrée, with other courses included. Everyone gets lobster bisque with gougères puffs. Then guests choose between seared scallops with bacon and frisée, a salad of mixed chicories, Marcona almonds, red Anjou pears and Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese or Cotechino sausage with lentils for a first course.

Entrées include choices among Dungeness crab cannelloni, roast loin of lamb with red potatoes and sweet peppers; spinach and ricotta ravioli with Swiss chard and tomato coulis; poached filet of sole stuffed with mushroom duxelles with melted leeks, cabbage and Béarnaise sauce; or slow-roasted Pittman Farms chicken with glazed root vegetables and potato purée. ($54 to $60). All of this is followed by dessert choices of tiramisu, limoncello cake and mango sauce, or flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn creates 'Yours' and 'Mine' menus and you choose one or the other. Both start with a Kusshi oyster with blood orange aqua chili with tapioca and a shiso cloud. 'Yours' continues with a roasted Riverdog Farm beet, chocolate beet ice cream and Tsar Nicolai reserve caviar with sorrel blooms; foie gras torchon with rhubarb; Maine lobster grilled over embers; Sonoma County duck breast, strawberry rose sorbet and passion fruit coulis, followed by strawberries various ways. 'Mine' offers confit of sunchokes with watercress; hot foie gras on ice lettuce; turbot, yogurt and Haricot verts with caviar; dry aged rib eye with rhubarb mostarda and red cabbage; Valrhona chocolate soufflé with passion fruite and chocolate fruttle sauce. Each $115.

Not sweating the small stuff:

Picazo Café owner Sal Chavez says they will be 'doing bottomless mimosas on Valentine's Day for any of those wanting to start their celebration early with their loved ones.'

Tiddle E. Winks owner Heidi Geffen reports she has those coveted Sweetheart little heart candies by Necco and she also has the Brach's version, but she says Brach's taste different.

Wine Country Chocolates owner Betty Kelly says they are basically doing their usual lip-licking chocolate truffles, available either in El Paseo off First Street East or in Jack London Village in Glen Ellen.

Heavens! This is my 520th weekly column, which means I have been sharing food and wine gossip at the Sonoma Index-Tribune for 10 years.

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