Kathleen Hill: New produce stand, Gun-Bun event and hold the sea salt

Shake Your Bundschu’ harvest party is back on

Known for generations as a great historic and fun winery, Gundlach Bundschu resurrects its “Shake Your Bundschu” harvest party on Saturday, Sept. 25 and is “going full-on honkytonk” to celebrate their post pandemic coming-out party.

Lots of Bundschus and family with other names, winemakers, and their whole production team will help guests enjoy dinner, dancing and lots of wine overlooking their vineyards off Denmark Street.

The Bundschus strongly suggest you “get out your rhinestone cowboy outfit and enter the costume party challenge” to win two tickets to their annual Huichica Music Festival.

DJ Golden Gram starts it all off with “smooth grooves,” and then DJ Jeff Bundschu gets you dancing (maybe) after dinner.

The dinner will be catered by Chef Valentin Atayde of El Mercadito who will serve his exceptional Mexico City-style tacos with slow-cooked carnitas, chicken pibil, or calabacitas (vegetables) cradled in handmade tortillas, all finished with lively salsas, plentiful sides of black beans and rice, along with a fresh-from-the-garden salad. If you still have room, give in to your sweet tooth with churros con cajeta (churros with dulce de leche) or fresas con crema (strawberries and cream).

All of this will be accompanied by the finest GunBun wines and some of their special library wines from the family cellar.

Plus there will be a cowboy-themed photo booth where you and the evening can be memorialized “in all your rhinestone glory.” $150 wine club members, $165 non-members. 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. Tickets at Eventbrite or

New produce stand replaces Hardin’s Gardens

Many Sonomans remember the gorgeous vegetables grown several years ago by the Hardin family down Broadway just this side of Daniele’s Auto Body shop.

We remember the gorgeously rich soil, luscious slow-grown vegetables, and at least two generations of the Hardin family involved in growing and selling the results of their hard work.

Old is new and there is hope for that land.

Rafael Oseguera, whose day job is working for his father’s Oseguera Vineyard Management Company, on weekends he works his little farm and sells his vegetables.

Mike Delaney says of Rafael’s effort, “Young Rafael planted this garden late, from seed, but it took off nicely. The corn is as high as 16 feet in some places, with a wide variety of vegetables including tomatoes, summer squash, sweet peppers, along with eggs from his chickens on an adjoining property. “

Delaney emailed, “They open no later than 10 a.m., and I’ve driven by at 5 p.m. and he’s still there. Sometimes his mom is keeping him company. I sampled one of the tomatoes last night, and it reminded me of Hardin’s. The heirlooms are gorgeous. Thanks for giving them a look. Again, nothing formal about the place. Just a good old fashioned roadside produce stand. The signs are hand painted on pallets propped up on each end of the approach.”

Give it a try. And Kivelstadt Cellars is just down Highway 12 in Schellville. Maybe go there for brunch and then to the produce stand so you aren’t making lots of left turns across the road.

Muscardini without Muscardini

Muscardini Cellars in Kenwood has just two of their popular “Wine Downs” left this season while Kate and Michael Muscardini are on a long sojourn in Italy.

First up is a Wine Down on Friday, Sept. 24, with Jami Jamison and her band singing her heart out.

You can purchase shareable cheese and charcuterie boards or partake of the Zapata Grill food truck selling their specialties in the Muscardini parking lot until 7:30 p.m.

No reservations. Pay $15 cover charge at the door, with $5 discount if you bring a Muscardini glass.

Then comes their Fall Release Weekend with catering by The Bejkr and music from the Don Trotta Duo, on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3.

Guests will enjoy Muscardini’s sangiovese, barbera, cabernet sauvignon, and Rancho Salina wines with classic margarita pizza, seasonal vegetable pizza, and a fingerling potato and caramelized onion pizza. $35 public, $15 wine club. Noon to 5 p.m. Reservations required. 9380 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 933-9305.

Salt vs. Salt

Over last weekend, Narsai David, the food editor of KCBS, caught my attention on my car radio when he was talking about salt.

His main point was that almost all sea salt contains microplastics from discarded plastic bottles. Those are the same culprits that end up in whales and other large sea animals or fish.

According to National Geographic, it turns out that 90 percent of table sea salt contains these microplastics. That publication also says that salt from Taiwan, China and France have the least microplastics.

As it happens, some French salts are sold in Sonoma. None of these contains iodine, which National Geographic and Narsai David agree that we all need.

Sign of the Bear sells a new-to-them salt from Artisans du Sel – Gros Sel de Guêrande.

Chateau Sonoma sells its own brand of “French Grey Sea Salt” in a little re-useable jar.

Sonoma Market and others sell Fleur de Sel de Claude Chacornac, Saunier de Camargue.

Bottom line: Narsai David, whose Narsai’s restaurant in Albany reigned supreme for many years, concluded that he was sticking with plain iodized salt and skipping the “sea salts.”

Nibs & Sips

Signs of happier times: The Red Grape announced on Monday that it has new “opening days and hours,” meaning it is open every day except Sunday and Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 or 8:30 p.m. Enjoy their red umbrella-covered patio in back or a couple of cool tables in the breezeway.

Bill Howell is the new tasting room manager at Viansa Winery, having served in management at Tasca Tasca and HopMonk Tavern here in Sonoma.

Boisset to open Buena Vista in Napa

Jean-Charles Boisset, the flamboyant owner of several wineries including Buena Vista, De Loach and Raymond in Sonoma and Napa, will soon open a Buena Vista tasting room in the 20,000-square-foot 1929 Gordon Building on First Street in downtown Napa.

This after his Atelier cheese and French condiment shop in Yountville closed and he gave up plans to open a brewery next door. Since then, according to the Napa Register, Boisset has been planning a café, brewery and spirits tasting experience in Calistoga’s old train depot.

With partners Earth & Day Chocolates, Boisset plans to create a Chateau Buena Vista wine and chocolate tasting ambiance in Napa.

Anette’s Chocolate & Ice Cream at 1321 First St. in Napa for more than 20 years is the local chocolate favorite and produces chocolates, chocolate truffles, brittles, and dessert sauces.

Musical kitchen knives again

So far, Miranda Ives of the Sausage Emporium on Napa Street has not had good luck with chefs and cooks.

First her original chef passed away before they even opened. Then she hired Jodie Rubin and another chef, and Rubin left weeks ago. Now Ives has another opening for “an experienced line chef” to start immediately. If you are interested in working in a “fast-paced environment,” email

At another Plaza restaurant, a local woman told her server that she had extreme allergies to onions and garlic when she ordered chicken with mashed potatoes and spinach. “Our waiter reassured me that the kitchen could accommodate my dietary needs.

“There were about three tables with people that evening, so the restaurant was not busy in any way.

“I took a bite of my spinach and realized there were onions and oodles of garlic in the spinach. The result was I got extremely sick after dinner.”

She continued in her email to the owner and cc’d to me, “When we told the waiter he just shrugged his shoulders and said sorry about that.”

In response to the customer’s email to the restaurant owner, he said he had met with the chef, cook, and server separately to discuss the problem. He ended up suspending “the cook and server for five days without pay, whereupon the chef resigned effective immediately.”

Maybe that chef or cook could hurry over to Sausage Emporium and get hired immediately.

Cocktails on the go

Thanks to state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), who sponsored Senate Bill 389 approved by the legislature on Sept. 9, restaurants and bars can continue to sell cocktails to-go, called carry-out cocktails by Sen. Dodd.

Sen. Dodd’s thinking was that: ”Restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic and the ability to sell carry-out cocktails has been critical to ensuring they can survive. Making this permanent will assist their recovery, protecting jobs and our economy.”

SB 389 actually allows sale of carry-out alcoholic beverages with food orders, the latter an important contingency.

Breakfast at Reel & Brand kicks it

So many locals have said we need another breakfast place here. Now we have it with loads of outdoor vacation-ambiance seating, well-spaced tables, pretty easy parking, and good accessible restrooms.

Reel & Brand kicked off their Thursday-through-Sunday breakfast menu, served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. last week. On Sunday they served more than 100 of their Buttermilk Biscuit Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, crispy prosciutto, poached eggs and house Hollandaise sauce ($19).

Also on the menu is a West Side Platter with pancakes, sausages, bacon, potatoes and eggs ($17), chilaquiles with tortilla, homemade salsa verde, cotija cheese, eggs, black beans and chorizo ($15); Hawaiian Roll French toast with bourbon maple syrup ($13); Huevos Rancheros ($15); Buttermilk Biscuits and sausage gravy ($16); a rather small French omelet with spinach, mushrooms Swiss cheese and a few potatoes ($15); their eight ounce Angus burger with fries ($17); and Carolina gold BBQ pulled pork with cheddar cheese and cabbage slaw on a brioche bun with fries ($18). A fried egg can be added. Served 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Full bar. 401 Grove St., Sonoma. 938-7204.

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