Kathleen Hill: Plant sale, Mary’s honor and sayonara Sizzler
Plant sale helps school gardens
September through mid-October is the prime time to get perennial plants in the ground. Their roots will spread through the soil to help the stems and leaves grow in spring. Keep them watered between rains and you will be rewarded with beautiful flowers next year or vegetables all winter.
The Valley of the Moon Garden Club will hold its Autumn Plant Sale tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 26, at its new location, Altimira Middle School on Arnold Drive, just north of Boyes Boulevard, from 9 a.m. to noon. Garden Club members will be there to assist with choices and sales.
Get the new lineup of fall vegetable starts, annual flowers, perennials, succulents and pollinator plants at bargain prices, ranging from $2 for 4-inch pots on up.
Garden Club members ask that you bring some $1 bills. Cash and local checks are accepted. Altimira’s School Garden and farm program will have items for sale as well. Masks and social distancing are required. Park in Altimira’s front parking lot. Stay in your cars and a club member will get you when it is time to view the plants and purchase in order to have the right number of people shopping at one time.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit Sonoma Valley school gardens. 17805 Arnold Dr., Sonoma.
Larson Family Winery offers Halloween solution
Like everything else these days, Halloween on Oct. 31 just won’t be the same. While the CDC recommends not trick-or-treating, masked residents are trying to think up all sorts of projectiles to launch wrapped candies out the door to carefully watched kids.
Just to spook things up a bit, this Halloween will offer a “blue moon,” which occurs when there are two full moons in one month.
Larson Family Winery has come up with a fun alternative, if you can afford it. Larson will host a pumpkin patch brunch or lunch every Saturday and Sunday from Oct. 3 to 25. A kid- and dog-friendly winery, Larson lets guests bring them both along.
Each guest gets a boxed lunch from Basque Boulangerie and a glass of wine or other beverage that can be enjoyed at well-spaced picnic tables by Larson’s pumpkin patch.
Guests will be escorted to a table to have some private time in the patch where they can pick out a pumpkin. Each experience is 90 minutes.
The pumpkin patch will be open to other Larson guests from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays; and 10 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Physical distancing rules will apply. Brunch or lunch and pumpkin patch: $55 adults, $35 children, kids under 2 free. Larson wine club members get 20 percent off. Book your reservation online at larsonfamilywinery.com or call 938-3031, ext. 28.
Mary’s Pizza Shack wins big, adds to menu
Mary’s Pizza Shack’s Sonoma Plaza location just won the Traveler’s Choice Award for 2020 from TripAdvisor, placing it among the top 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor.
In 1959, Mary Fazio opened the original Shack up Highway 12 from Sonoma Plaza in Boyes Hot Springs, where she used her father’s recipes and her own home kitchen’s pots and pans. Mary created a warm and cozy place where friends and family gathered to enjoy her home-cooked meals.
Janet Nicholas and I still remember the evening years ago when we took our little kids to the original shack for dinner since our husbands were out of town and it snowed! Such a treat.
Over 60 years later, Mary’s Pizza Shack still uses the recipes, ingredients, love and care that they learned from Mary. The family-owned company operates 17 locations.
“We strive to give every guest the best possible experience. Your reviews mean so much and we appreciate the time you took to tell the world about your experiences with my grandma’s recipes and ambiance,” said Vince Albano, Mary’s grandson and CEO of Mary’s Pizza Shack, about the Tripadvisor honor. He continued: “We are so honored to receive this award, and we will work hard to continue to deliver the food and service that our visitors expect.”
Meanwhile, the Fazio-Albano families have introduced two new dishes seemingly aimed at different gustatory audiences, starting with a crispy chicken sandwich made with what they call “a giant chicken breast bulging out the sides and is served with cabbage and arugula slaw mixed with homemade Italian salsa verde and topped with tomato, Parmesan, and a Calabrian chili mayo served on a toasted brioche bun and garnished with slices of red pickled onion.” ($10 plus option to add soup, salad, or fries for $4).
Mary’s second new specialty is a super healthy looking ancient grain salad full of red and brown rice, black barley, and red quinoa mixed with Romaine lettuce and arugula, chickpeas, cranberries, walnuts, and feta cheese, topped with Mary’s new homemade lemon Dijon vinaigrette, available at all Mary’s locations. ($12.95)