Kathleen Hill: Rhone Room closes, Layla training and more
The Rhône Room closes this weekend
From Sondra Bernstein, one who always knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em:
'It is with a heavy heart that we are closing the Rhône Room Saturday, Jan. 27. It has been a passion project for over the past two years, and though we have had some great milestones, (strong club membership base, new relationships, and fun open house events) we have decided to consolidate our efforts with our other properties.
'I have learned in 21 years that no risk, no reward. We realized that staffing five buildings was too complicated and that we have to rethink the model,' Bernstein said referencing the Fig Café and Wine Bar, the Girl and the Fig, Girl and the Fig Caters, Suite D, and the Rhône Room.
'So we are consolidating our resources and offering even better benefits to wine club and social club members,' she continued.
'We have come up with creative ways to take care of all of our members (Wine Club and Suite D Social Club), continue to educate about all things Rhône, produce amazing Rhône varietals with our talented winemaker friends and keep the lineup of fun events going in both Suite D and at the Fig Farm.'
Bernstein said, 'I am truly grateful and really appreciate everyone who has worked so hard at the Rhône Room, with a special shout-outs to Melissa Chavez, Mark Kaufman, Jenn Adams, local landscapers. Craig Miller and our other management team members.'
Starting March 1, the new clubs' discounts and Wine Shop website will be launched.
In the meantime, visit the Rhône Room through Saturday and enjoy 25 percent off on the remainder of the wine stock in the store. Don't forget to visit Craig Miller's Fat Pilgrim and Harvest Home while you are there.' Bernstein added.
'PS: If you know someone interested in a tasting room just outside the Sonoma city limits, or another business possibility please let me know.'
Super Bowl pancake breakfast
Brilliant idea by Seth Dolinsky to have the Springs Community Hall, formerly Sonoma Grange, pancake breakfast on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3.
Chef Sean Paxton, aka homebrewchef.com, will create the breakfast menu for the second time. It's pretty incredible for the price. Here we go.
Seasonal frittata with local eggs, Paul's Produce leeks, onions, potatoes, Oak Hill Farms Delicata squash, Kale infused pesto, Straus milk, and all topped with pea shoots; Bloody Mary infused sausage made from ground pork shoulder made with Eat beer products, caramelized onions, mole and roasted garlic.
Try Sean's buttermilk pancakes with freshly milled flour (a tradition at this breakfast), buttermilk, melted butter, local eggs and vanilla, served with mulling spiced honey infused maple syrup and orange bourbon butter. Paxton might also throw in a pancake inspired by the Rams' and Patriots' regional flavors. Bloody Mary mix available. BYOB. $12 adults, $6 children, coffee and juice included. 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 18627 Highway 12, Boyes Hot Springs. 935-1322.
Chinese New Year's luncheon soon
Celebrate Chinese New Year's right here in Sonoma with a large Chinese banquet prepared by Bruce Riesenman's Park Avenue Catering on Sunday, Feb. 17.
Hosted by Sonoma Sister Cities Association's Penglai, China committee, the 'Year of the Pig' luncheon will feature a roast pig and multiple other courses and choices, accompanied by wines generously donated by Jacuzzi Family Winery and Cline Cellars.
One of the goals of the Penglai committee is to build a Chinese pavilion, known as a Ting, in Depot Park where the cupola was. Their hope is to honor the Chinese laborers who worked hard to build Sonoma County's wine industry in the 19th Century. Buena Vista and Simi wineries are the only two I know of whose owners admit to or credit Chinese workers' important roles in their construction.
Special guests at the luncheon will include Wang Donghua, consul general of the People's Republic of China in San Francisco, and soprano Morgan Harrington.
Park Avenue's menu will include passed hors d'oeuvres of pan-seared tofu dumplings, shrimp dumplings (both with chili sauce), and salt baked chicken and ginger lettuce cups. When guests arrive at tables they will find scallion pancakes, pickled vegetables and pistachios.
Large dishes to pass (now called 'family-style') will offer choy sum or steamed flowering cabbage with hoisin and oyster sauce with steamed rice; chao nian gao or sticky rice cakes with mustard greens, pork, bamboo shoots and black mushrooms; traditional roast pig; and dessert of dan tat or egg custard tarts with orange wedges. And, of course, fortune cookies.
Come for the lion and dragon dancers if nothing else, and leave happy, entertained and satiated. $88. Noon to 4 p.m. Tickets at Sonoma Community Center until Jan. 29 (938-4626, ext. 1) or online at svbo.org. Advance sale only. sonomasistercitiesassociation.org.