Kathleen Hill: Food lost to the blackouts and pancake breakfasts

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Oh, my! ‘Annus horribilis’ again

How much of this can we all take? The fear (some people call PTSD) of not knowing, worrying about friends and family suffering worse than we are, losing everything, and going through it all again led many of us wondering how and when to get out and where to go if we need to.

Sonoma grocery stores powered up with new or borrowed generators they obtained after PG&E’s earlier power outage to keep open during the duration of future blackouts. And many downtown Sonoma restaurants didn’t lose power and were able to continue to serve, while Glen Ellen chefs were without power.

Ari Weisswasser of Glen Ellen Star hauled his mobile pizza oven down the street and cooked margarita, pepperoni and tomato cream pie pizzas as well as roasted half chickens and simple salads from noon to 2 p.m. next to Jack London Saloon until power returned.

Tips Tri-Tips Trolleys sought $5,000 on a page to support its feeding of first responders and posted a photo on Saturday of many of the 400 firefighters they fed on Saturday -- and Sunday parked one of their trollies in front of their restaurant. All of this after the generator they bought to keep their Kenwood restaurant open was stolen. Yes, stolen.

Several cooks volunteered to join TV chefs such as Tyler Florence and Guy Fieri with José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen while others joined Heather Irwin and Fran Meininger at Sonoma Family Meal’s kitchen in Petaluma, together doling out thousands of meals to those evacuated or who lost their homes.

Blackout angels

Thousands of us lost food and power during the past two power shutoffs by PG&E. And in a sense, food is power and necessary.

Many of those who lost power also had to throw away food spoiled by lack of refrigeration, and some locals cannot afford to replenish what was lost.

Several organizations are coming to the immediate rescue. Some restaurants and catering companies had food that could spoil and found ways to cook and share it with those who need food.

Ramekins at La Luz and more

On Thursday La Luz is hosting a community meal prepared by Ramekins Culinary School. Chef Kyle Kuklewski reached out to Golden Gate Meats, Marin-Sonoma Produce, and the Basque Boulangerie to prepare 250 hot meals for the Springs community of mixed green salad, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, marinated and grilled chicken breast, Basque Boulangerie rolls, and Ramekins sheet cake. Free. 3 to 5 p.m. Booker Hall, La Luz Center,

Ramekins will also donate 50 percent of revenue for its next three Tuesday Pizza & Pinot events to Sonoma Family Meal. All first responders are invited to P&P to dine for free.

Food available at El Verano and Flowery

Maite Iturri, principal at El Verano School, made impassioned pleas at Sonoma Valley Rotary and elsewhere for food donations to be distributed to families of El Verano and Flowery School families. Iturri explained that El Verano Elementary School feeds many of its students two meals a day, or 10 meals a week, and they have not been able to do that with the schools closed due to the power outages.

Iturri told the Index-Tribune, “This is for families affected by the power outage and food loss. The food is coming from every corner of our community. Individuals, families, organizations in the valley, and outside the valley as well.

Redwood Empire Food Bank will deliver bags of food for 200 families to El Verano School, which will be shared for distribution at Flowery School.

They need donations of canned tuna, bread, crackers, almond butter, jelly, juice, milk, cereal, avocados, tomatoes, canned soup, tortillas, and cheese. Take to El Verano Elementary School.

The distribution will be at El Verano and Flowery on Friday, Nov. 1 from noon to 3 p.m. They are accepting donations all day.

SOS – The Haven

While the Haven, Sonoma’s homeless shelter, had to close down during PG&E’s power shutoff, and its parking lot was needed for an emergency vehicle staging area, SOS has seen a rapid increase in food needs just before and during the power outage emergency. SOS and Brown Baggers served more than 70 meals last Friday, with barbecued chicken cooked by Larry Barnett, at La Luz Center and they expect many more clients this Friday. Former Ramekins chef Kay Austin, another SOS volunteer, made chili for more than 50 at the Springs Hall on Wednesday. SOS serves up to 100 evening meals to “food insecure” people at The Haven every day. They request casseroles. Contact chef Dan Kahn at 774-1221 to sign up your donation or our need.

Redwood Empire Food Bank

Redwood Empire Food Bank will pass out bags of non-perishable food at the Sonoma Community Health Center Friday, Nov. 1 from 9 to 10 a.m. and is prepared to serve more than its usual number of 60 recipients. They will be in Glen Ellen at Jack London Village Friday morning as well. Should Sonoma have ongoing needs, in addition to our recently added sites and three days/week visits, they say they can meet the need.

Chateau Sonoma opens downtown

Remember how much fun Chateau Sonoma was in the tin building on West Napa Street? Then owner Sarah Anderson moved it to Cornerstone, and now she will open a second Chateau Sonoma called Chateau on the Square on First Street West in the storefront where Beth LaBelle had her Kaboodle shop.

Sarah just got back from France, and she never comes home empty-handed. (I know, having traveled and shopped with her there.) And she always offers something for your kitchen, whether a tool or a tea towel.

Chateau Sonoma will participate in next Thursday’s Sonoma Art Walk with Wendy Addison’s creations and nibbles available from 5 to 7 p.m. 453 First St. W., Sonoma.

Starling Bar brings the Black Piglet

Duskie Estes and John Stewart and their Black Piglet food truck will be selling fried chicken, donuts, black kale Caesar salads, bacon-wrapped dates, onion rings and kimchi fries at Starling Bar every Friday night in November. Do not miss this chance to try Duskie’s food. They pulled their Zazu Kitchen & Farm restaurant out of the Barlow after last year’s disastrous floods. 7 p.m. to midnight.

Cook’s Mercantile open house Saturday

The Cook’s Mercantile side of Cook’s Vineyard Management will have an open house tomorrow, Saturday at owner David Cook’s warehouse on Eighth Street East. Cook will offer his own Olive Sonoma olive oil, Bee’s Wrap, Stonewall Kitchen jams, jellies and sauces; Rosie Rings and Thymes Candles, soaps and lotions; brewing, winemaking and cheese making supplies, cider pressing, owl boxes and farming supplies.

Besides all that, guests might enjoy beverages and bites. Noon to 3 p.m. 19626 Eighth St., E., Sonoma. More info at 938-7917.

Pancake breakfasts begin this weekend

The fire department’s pancake breakfast last Sunday had to be postponed for quite obvious reasons: the firefighters and engines are out fighting fires. Other organizations will fill our winterized pancake and carb needs.

Knights of Columbus monthly pancake breakfast

Valley of the Moon Knights of Columbus will offer their monthly pancake breakfast, which includes much more than pancakes, this Sunday, Nov. 3. Brendan Roche tells us Father Roberts Hall’s kitchen is fully equipped to cook during a power outage. If there are no lights in the hall, the Knights will set up outside.

Aunt Momo’s pumpkin cinnamon pancakes were so popular that she will make them again, along with her ricotta-filled beignets, sausages, scrambled eggs, sautéed potatoes and sautéed vegetables, French toast, fresh fruit salad, and excellent hot chocolate, coffee and tea selections. $10 adults, $5 kids, $25 family. 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. 469 Third St. W., Sonoma.

Springs Community Hall Fall Flavors Brunch

Chef Sean Z. Paxton will whip up his buttermilk pancakes, pumpkin muffins, puréed pumpkin, local eggs and pumpkin seed strudel; Paxton’s hot Bloody Mary infused pork sausage made with Anderson Valley Brewing’s Barney Flats oatmeal stout, and his seasonal frittata with local eggs, Straus milk, goat cheese, kale pesto, and roasted Delicata squash from Paul’s Produce; Barking Dog coffee. $15 adults, $6 kids under 12. Nov. 10, 9 to 11:30 a.m. 18627 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma.

Prohibition Spirits’ Nocino di Sonoma

Rarely do we comment on winery’s releases of every wine or other product because there are so many. But Amy and Fred Groth’s Prohibition Spirits Distillery releases a truly interesting outside the box liqueur - its fifth Nocino di Sonoma on All Saints Day, today, Friday, Nov. 1.

Nocino is a liqueur made from young green walnuts, simple syrup and some herbs, with recipes varying from Italy to Britain to France, all loaded with lore about witches, visions, and talking to the spirits (not the liquid kind).

In Prohibition Spirits’ version they quarter the walnuts, leave them exposed to Sonoma’s sun and moonlight for three days and nights to oxidize, resulting in the thick black Nocino base, to which they blend botanicals and “grape spirit” and leave in a barrel previously used for making Bourbon. Those lusting for this liqueur can get their ($40) at the Prohibition Spirits tasting room at Cornerstone. 23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. 721-6390.

Ramen Nights return to Suite D

Suite D owner Sondra Bernstein is bringing her Ramen Nights back to Suite D starting next Wednesday, Nov. 6. In addition to ramen, each Wednesday chefs will introduce a new special to share and one as an alternative to ramen. And, yes, she withdrew her proposal for Noodlespring so this is where you can get this yummy and hearty soup.

Flavors and their main ingredients will include Double Trouble with chicken Katsu in chicken broth and a six-minute egg; Cloudy Day with pork belly charshu in Tonkotsu broth with bok choy and a six-minute egg; Mi-soy Happy with pickle shiitake mushrooms, Shoyu egg and seaweed; and Spicy Tan Tan with spicy ground pork, chili broth, charred cabbage seaweed and six-minute egg. $15 includes small salad and ramen. Opens 5 p.m., last order at 7:15 p.m.

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