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Oktoberfest begins, winery event updates, plant sales, Depot Hotel sale

Some of the tastiest tidbits in town from the Index-Tribune’s longtime food and wine columnist.|

Sausage Emporium, Sonoma Valley Soccer and HopMonk Tavern all plan special events and foods to celebrate Oktoberfest starting Friday, Oct. 1

Sausage Emporium

Sausage Emporium is first off the blocks with their Oktoberfest attraction starting today, Friday, and running all weekend.

“Craft local beer” will only cost $5 all weekend, with a free stein of beer presented to all who come in costume Friday through Sunday. They are also serving German sausages and Bavarian sauerkraut. 31 E. Napa St.

Sonoma Valley United Soccer

On Saturday, Oct. 2, Sonoma Sunrise Rotary Club will host the annual fundraiser for Sonoma Valley United Soccer and will break out the “Howie,” a huge portable barbecue, to cook hamburgers, hot dogs and brats (sausage variety) along with beer, games and Bubble Soccer. Noon to 7 p.m. Sonoma Plaza.

HopMonk Tavern

HopMonk will add a sausage board, bratwurst sliders and sauerbraten to their regular menu for the month of October.

Nestlé USA Inc. recalls DiGiorno pizza

On Monday Nestlé USA Inc. recalled early 30,000 pounds of frozen DiGiorno Crispy Pan Crust Pepperoni Pizza due to “misbranding and undeclared allergens,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

It turns out the 26-ounce pizza in the carton might actually contain frozen three-meat pizza, which contains textured soy protein and was produced on June 30, 2021 with Best By date of MAR2022.

Winery updates

Ty Caton Vineyards

Ty Caton has had to cancel his Oct. 2 in-person barrel tasting and wine futures event out of caution to keep everyone safe from COVID-19. He recommends enjoying his event virtually from Oct. 2 through 10.

Buena Vista Masquerade Ball canceled

“With a bit of sadness,” Jean-Charles Boisset has canceled his JCB company-wide Halloween Masquerade Ball for this year due to pandemic precautions. So they are scheduling the next one for Oct. 29, 2022.

Of course his announcement encourages ordering wine “for your Halloween celebration at home.” Jcbcollection.com.

Larson Family Winery

The entire family at Larson Family Winery has turned their back pasture into a pumpkin patch starting today, Friday, Oct. 1. Pumpkins are available only to guests who either pay for wine tastings in the tasting room or purchase reservations to the brunch, lunch or happy hour events.

They offer lunch and brunch packages on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 24. Brunches and a pumpkin are at 10:30 a.m., lunch and a pumpkin at 12:30 p.m., and happy hours at 3 p.m. $60 adults for brunch and lunch, $50 for adults at happy hour. $35 children at brunch and lunch and $25 at happy hour.

Hanson of Sonoma Distillery

Hanson of Sonoma Distillery makes loads of spirits, including their original organic vodka made from grapes instead of from potatoes or grain.

They invite spirit tasters and samplers to make their way to Hanson’s “Spirits Garden” and pond, which we assume refers to where you can sip their spirits, and not that you will be seeing intangible spirits floating around the garden. But then if you consume too many spirits, you might just see the other kind hovering.

They just added a new Bianco pizza to their menu with bacon, mozzarella di Bufala, nectarines and crème fraiche on a 72-hour hand-tossed sourdough crust, topped with chili oil ($22). They also offer a charcuterie plate ($35) and six Kollar chocolates ($30), or Thomas Keller’s caviar selection ($80 to $300). Sunday there’s Bloody Mary’s ($15). Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 22985 Burndale Road, Sonoma. 343-1805.

Garden Club plant sale

Thinking about fall and winter vegetables and plants and wondering if rain will water them?

Valley of the Moon Garden Club holds its annual Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, Oct. 9, at Altimira Middle School.

Look for vegetable starts as well as succulents, perennials, herbs, annuals and plants from some of the 150 members’ gardens at reasonable prices.

All proceeds go to a high school scholarship, our school and community gardens, and the Monarch Pollinator Garden. 9 a.m. to noon. 17805 Arnold Drive, Sonoma just north of Boyes Boulevard. Enter at south entrance to the circle drive in front of the school. More info at vom-garden-club.org or 935-8986.

Remember that year-round local nurseries Sonoma Mission Gardens and Wine Country Garden Center are also selling vegetable plants.

Community breakfast pops up this Sunday

Aunt Momo is back in the kitchen for a good cause – scholarships, given out by the Valley of the Moon Knights of Columbus.

Aunt Momo says that the beignets are actually her mother’s recipe. "My mother's birthday is this Saturday and the Italian ricotta zeppoles (aka doughnuts) are her recipe and she would be tickled pink knowing they were being cooked at St. Francis ... you both worked hard on raising money for that school ..." which is a reference to her mother, the late Dr. Genevieve Roche, and myself serving together on the St. Francis School board.

The breakfast, cooked in St. Francis Solano School’s updated kitchen, includes lots of favorites such as scrambled eggs, sausages, French toast, pancakes with strawberry and blueberry toppings with whipped cream, fruit salad, sautéed vegetables, sautéed potatoes, and Momo’s super beignets filled with ricotta. Coffees, hot chocolate, tea and juice are also available. All that for $10 adults, $5 kids, and $25 for a family. 8 to 10:30 a.m. Outdoors on well-spaced tables. Park in the school playground off Church Street.

SOS Halloween drive-thru dinner

Sam Sebastiani and his La Chertosa Old World Wines have donated all of the wine being given out with Sonoma Overnight Support’s (SOS) fundraising drive-thru dinner on Oct. 16.

With entrée choices of herb-crusted prime rib or portobello mushroom steaks, dinner orders for two will receive a bottle of La Chertosa’s Samuele’s Quarry Red Blend wine, while purchases of dinners for four will receive two bottles.

Last week SOS served 1,149 meals to the hungry among us, and nearly 40,000 meals so far this year. Your purchase of one meal ($65) will provide 11 meals to a Sonoman in real need.

Samuele was Sam’s grandfather who had learned to make wine at the 14th century monastery, La Chertosa di Farneta, before he left Italy for the United States. Apparently he was more than curious to make a start for himself at his native craft, and founded Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery.

Sam Sebastiani has named this wine to honor his grandfather and his family’s origins in the wine business.

According to SOS Executive Director Kathy King, “Everyone who buys a meal or makes a donation will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate to Mary’s Pizza Shack or Reel & Brand — and the Grand Prize winner will receive a special dinner for eight, made by our chefs Dan and Dawn and delivered to your house.”

Chef Dan Kahn says the winner can choose from three cuisines: French, Spanish or classic American, and the dinner will include appetizers, salad, main course and dessert delivered to the winner’s home.

Place your order either at sonomaovernightsupport.org and click on “Halloween” or call 939-6777. Leave a message including your phone number, and someone will call you back.

Pick up at drive-thru at Springs Community Hall (formerly the Grange) from 4 to 6 p.m., Oct. 16. 18627 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma.

Nibs & Sips

Delicious Dish has added a kids’ meal of chicken breast, buttered noodles and steamed broccoli ($6) every week night when they are selling dinners to go. They also offer single entrée prices as well as dinner for two or four. 721-4231.

More on Mattsons and the Depot Hotel

Many locals are wary of the Mattsons’ purchase of the Depot Hotel & Restaurant, one of Sonoma’s most historic restaurants and buildings, in a deal to be consummated in another week or so. The asking price was $5 million.

Many locals boycott their enterprises partly due to Stacy Mattson’s now-removed posting on Facebook expressing anti-gay sentiments and remarks.

Others boycott because of the way their friends were treated and effectively forced to resign from Ramekins, Cornerstone and The General’s Daughter, the latter of which remains inoperative after the City of Sonoma stopped indoor construction done without a permit.

Others look at the never-completed houses or inn at Moon Mountain and Highway 12, or the vacant lot in Boyes Hot Springs where Lanning Structures (formerly Little Peter’s Melody Club) was torn down and nothing has been built. Or Schaal Hall on Eighth Street East and Napa Road reduced to two-by-fours where Ken Mattson told this writer that he wanted to build a food center while Vineberg Deli has served across the street for years. And their purchase of the commercial condo on First Street East where Massage Envy had been, where he tried to install Dirty Girl Donuts. Instead of making city-required improvements to operate a permitted food business at that location, Dirty Girl Donuts moved out and continued to make donuts at Ramekins while selling at Sonoma's Best until they could move that operation to the former Subway shop on Broadway.

And then there are all of the residential properties and inns.

In the Mattsons’ quest to establish an “enclave” here and “make Sonoma what it should be,” many locals wonder whether they want to be part of the community or just own it.

But it takes two: a willing seller and a willing buyer.

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