For decades kids of all ages and generations have lugged picnics and drinks to the Vallejo home field off Spain Street West to have a great communal time oohing, aahing and screaming at the fireworks display after dark.
And many of us have walked, rolled or driven to parking lots at Safeway, Arnold Field and Sebastiani Winery to watch the fireworks, either from our cars or sitting perched on the Sebastiani rock wall. Trouble is, the Sebastiani olive trees have grown so big that the viewing space between them is smaller and smaller.
Others are lucky to be able to watch the fireworks from their own living rooms, decks, driveways and cul de sacs. All of this takes planning to cook and eat dinner before you trek wherever you are going to position yourself.
Here are a few places where you can pay to dine and watch the fireworks in comfort with someone else doing the cooking, pouring the wine or beer, clearing the table and doing the dishes. All you have to do is enjoy and pay.
Gia and her son, chef Tony Ghilarducci, will offer their annual “Fourth of July Buffet Dinner and Fireworks Party” on, guess what, July 4. The Depot Hotel dining room faces both their lovely pool and patio, with the fireworks exploding practically next door to the west in the Vallejo home field.
Their evening will include focaccia served at the table with prosciutto, provolone, tomatoes, and more. The buffet table in the dining room will offer Bistecca alla Fiorentina, i.e. grass-fed Porterhouse steak with 30-year-old Balsamico; fried oysters with Meyer lemon aioli; roasted chicken with tomatoes and white wine sauce; tomato tart with Vella Jack Cheese; slow-roasted pork loin; baked orecchiette pasta with ricotta and meat ragu; tortelloni with sherry-cream sauce and Shiitake mushrooms; calamari, prawns and scallops; watermelon salad, corn salad with leeks, artichoke, mushroom and red onion; penne pasta salad with broccoli rabe; cheese platters, and Basque Boulangerie baguettes.
Cheesecake with berries and Italian cookies will be served at your table to follow this feast. Then you sit back and watch the fireworks.
Ghilarducci sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon and Villa Sandi Prosecco included with dinner. $95 adults inclusive, $40 ages 12 to 20, $20 ages 6 to 11, free ages 5 and under. Price includes a donation to the Sonoma Valley Volunteer Fire Association, which puts on the fireworks. Doors open 7 p.m., 7:30 buffet opens, 9 p.m. dessert and coffee served at your table, and fireworks at 9:30 approximately. 241 First St, W., Sonoma. Reservations at 938-2980.
The General’s Daughter
In its shaded patio created by Sarah and Darius Anderson, the General’s Daughter will offer various “stations” of featured foods to love. Those stations will include my favorite – elote – grilled corn with Mexican cotija cheese, Mexican crema, guajillo chili, cilantro and butter. You will also see a selection of yellow and seedless watermelon, honeydew, canary and cantaloupe melons; and a root beer float station made with local root beer and vanilla bean ice cream.
And then there’s the buffet of grilled 5th Street Farm summer vegetables, Little Gem and arugula salad with golden beets and shaved garden vegetables; marbled potato salad with caramelized onions and Hobb’s bacon; heirloom tomato salad with basil pesto and mozzarella, broccoli and carrot coleslaw, brined and roasted BBQ pork, and grilled and marinated barbecue chicken.