Kathleen Hill: Dirty Girl Donuts, B&V Whiskey Bar and more

Food news from around the Valley.|

Dirty Girl Donuts opens on Broadway

Dirty Girl Donuts has found a home in what used to be the Subway sandwich shop at 927 Broadway.

“Dirty Girl” Marisa Wondolleck, who moved here from Cobb in Lake County, says she creates “everything you ever wanted in donut form.”

She makes all sorts of sweet donuts that range from maple icing topped with bacon chunks, to fruit and all sorts of candy toppings. Wondolleck has been making her donuts at Ramekins since the original location she had planned on occupying, at Eighth Street East and Napa Road, never came to fruition.

She then tried to open a shop in the former Massage Envy location at 452 First St. E., which didn’t work out for lack of permits. Since that closed she has been selling her donuts on weekends at Sonoma’s Best deli on East Napa Street as the donut shop, according to its website, is part of Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group.

Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group bought the Subway location more than two years ago from Maria Lounibos at about the same time that it purchased the building next door, formerly home to CocoaPlanet chocolates.

Noodlespring closes for the season

Now that it’s almost March and we are seeing some sunshine, Noodlespring has closed for the season.

It all started with Girl & the Fig owners Sondra Bernstein and John Toulze’s idea to host Wednesday Ramen Nights at their Suite D location. There they offered some delightful ramen with small marinated cucumber salads and extras available, plus occasional tryouts of dishes like sticky riblets.

At the time no other restaurants were serving ramen, and the closest offering was wonton soup at Chinese restaurants.

After the pandemic first caused shutdowns, including Suite D gatherings, and then allowed food to-go, they opened their side door takeout on the Spain Street side of the Girl & the Fig. That idea did well, so they added Noodlespring ramen, those finger-licking riblets, and many other choices. Noodlespring had originally been planned to be part of the container project developer Ken Mattson envisioned in Boyes Hot Springs, which seems to be in limbo.

The only problem with the ramen at Noodlespring was that you had to heat and add the noodles at home, so it didn’t work to take to the Plaza park as one might take a hamburger with pommes frites.

Now that the Girl & the Fig and the Fig Café & Wine Bar in Glen Ellen have reopened for outdoor and take-out dining, let’s hope as well that someday ramen fans can gather again one night a week at Suite D.

In the meantime, other Sonoma restaurants have started to serve ramen, including Pho Ha, Oso, Reel & Brand when it’s open, and the Epicurean Connection when it is on the menu.

Elaine Bell delivers 1,600 free meals in Sonoma

Sonoma Overnight Support and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley are the lucky recipients of 800 meals each from Elaine Bell Catering.

How did this happen?

Like many caterers, Elaine Bell has had several wedding catering jobs canceled due to COVID-19 and pandemic rules against large gatherings, which has been devastating to caterers, wineries, and the staff that cook and serve these events and crowds.

Elaine Bell actually had one couple, who prefer to remain anonymous, cancel their wedding and, instead of asking for a refund, asked Bell to use the money to feed the hungry. So she called friends and, with the couple’s approval, settled on SOS and the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Bell has had a longtime and generous relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs and that seemed logical. In fact, she has catered the annual Sweetheart Gala for years, including a lovely boxed meal for sponsors this year.

SOS is most grateful to receive its 800 meals over the next few weeks as it already serves up to 200 breakfasts and lunches on weekdays to the homeless and just plain hungry neighbors at the Springs Community Hall, and they can use all the help they can get.

It all starts today, Feb. 26, when Elaine Bell delivers 400 meal kits to the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma, followed by another 400 meal kits on Friday, March 3.

This week, the menu will include beef Bolognese pasta with Parmesan cheese; grissini bread sticks; and black bean, corn and green pea salad with assorted dinner rolls, fresh fruit, pretzel bites with mustard sauce, and assorted cookies.

On March 3 and 4, Sonoma Overnight Support will receive waffles and ham to supplement its breakfast service and lunches to serve at least 140 guests per day. The nonprofit will receive an additional three days of lunches for clients.

These menus are not yet determined but will include items such as empanadas, tamales, sausage and spinach stuffed pasta shells, meat and bean chili, potatoes, vegetable salads, fresh fruit, breads, snacks and desserts. Good wholesome foods.

The donor couple did get married in a small ceremony recently. According to Elaine Bell, “They had put down a substantial retainer, so they will be reaching about 1,600 meals to the public with (Elaine Bell Catering) contributing additional funds to cover packaging, staff and delivery. Fantastic!”

Pets Lifeline’s Tailwags & Handbags coming soon

As many locals know, Pets Lifeline is dedicated to improving the lives of cats and dogs by sheltering them when they need it and hopefully finding them “forever homes.”

Tailwags & Handbags, one of the nonprofit’s two fun fundraisers, comes again in April with its often hilarious handbag auction running virtually this year, from April 26 through May 3. In the past, hundreds of (mostly) women have gathered in Buena Vista Winery’s courtyard for lunch and a fashion show, originated by Deborah Emery and Marchelle Carleton, current president of Pets Lifeline. But that is not possible this year due to the pandemic.

Executive Director Nancy King, her staff and volunteers hope to receive more gently used handbags to auction. Supporters usually donate fabulous purses and bags after going through their closets. In fact I have bought several, some elegant and some rather dramatic, and they are all cool and different.

This year the Girl & the Fig will cater the luncheon again, and there are two fabulous-sounding menus to choose from: The VIP lunch for two will be delivered to your door and include a bottle of Buena Vista wine; a local cheese and salami plate with Fig Food condiments; spring pea chopped salad with rhubarb dressing; grilled flatbread; warm lentil and chickpea salad with curry essence; Harissa-rubbed cauliflower or wood roasted chicken; salsa verde; and strawberry trifle with hazelnut brown sugar crumble. ($225 serves two.)

The other choice, called the Take Home Lunch for two, includes all of the above, minus the cheese and salami plate and bottle of wine, and substitutes a toffee crunch cookie for dessert. It is not delivered but you get to pick it up at Suite D and have some laughs with Pets Lifeline volunteers. ($150 serves two.)

Take handbags to donate for the auction to 801 Broadway on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 2 and 5 p.m.

You can help Pets Lifeline handle, care for, and find homes for the expected fertile spring batch of kittens with your donation.

To purchase your luncheon tickets call 996-4577 or go to petslifeline.org.

B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille celebrates

They’ve made it to seven years, and co-owner Codi Binkley posted his gratitude saying Tuesday, Feb. 22, “was a huge milestone. Seven years (ago) on this day we opened B&V aka Burgers and Vine. This place has been a huge part of my life, nine years in total. I want to thank my landlords the Cuneos. If they hadn’t believed in us none of this would be possible. Not only have we survived multiple California wildfires, earthquakes, power shutdowns and a pandemic, we are still going strong. I have to say thank you so much to my partners, Carlo Cavallo, Lance Morgan and Earl Gordon.

“Throughout the years with many changes and many staff we are here. Thanks to the community of Sonoma for all of your support.”

As someone invited by Dick and Mary Ann Sebastiani Cuneo to be present for the signing of the lease, I say congratulations!

New specials at Epicurean Connection

A couple of new specials at Sheana Davis’ Epicurean Connection this week caught my eye: shepherd’s pie with garlic mashed potatoes and ground lamb, mozzarella and herbs; and Rancho Gordo’s cassoulet beans with green garlic, leeks, lemon and herbs with no meat, and roasted cauliflower Alfredo with a five-cheese blend. ($10 to $25)

Davis is not hosting any cheese chats or classes this week as she quietly celebrates “30 years in business,” saying they will have a party later when able to, post-pandemic. 19678 Eighth St. E., Sonoma. 235-9530. sheanadavis@gmail.com.

Stanley Tucci’s culinary tour of Italy

CNN has launched a great, calming, and informative series starring Stanley Tucci in his quest for the real food of Italy. He grew up in Westchester County in New York with his large family’s passed-down recipes for huge Sunday night family dinners.

“Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. Be sure to check listings because times seem to vary. I have also found make-up viewings on Saturday evenings. See the coming lineup at cnn.com/travel.

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