Kathleen Hill: Taste of Sonoma, Trader Joe’s and high school ag dinner
Taste of Sonoma this Saturday
Just three local chefs will cook for the big Taste of Sonoma gathering at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State on Saturday, Sept. 1. Adolfo Veronese and chefs from Glen Ellen Star and Yeti will cook, among many others, to entice and sober wine tasters.
Sonoma Valley wineries pouring will include Anaba, Arrowood, Benziger, Buena Vista, Cline, Imagery, Kenwood, Kunde, Landmark, Ledson, Muscardini, Ravenswood, Schug, Sebastiani, Sojourn, St. Francis, Three Sticks and Westwood wineries. $180 general, $255 Club admission. $40 for shuttle from Sonoma City Hall. Tickets at tasteofsonoma.com or at door if not sold out.
In-N-Out and Trader Joe’s rule
According to the recent Sonoma Index-Tribune poll of what fast food additions they might like to see in Sonoma, In-N-Out burgers and write-in candidate Trader Joe’s swept the sweepstakes.
Way back when I was food-and-wine editor at the Sonoma Sun, I did a poll on whether locals wanted Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods to go into the former Albertson’s site in the Marketplace shopping center.
The results were an astounding 15-1 in favor of Trader Joe’s over Whole Foods. I personally contacted Trader Joe’s executives, both in person and by phone and email. Their response was that they are happy with us traveling to Petaluma and Napa, based on their idea that not enough Sonoma residents shop at Trader Joe’s. Which, of course, doesn’t reflect how many people would shop at Trader Joe’s if there was one here in Sonoma.
On other survey comments, we used to have a Kentucky Fried Chicken and an A&W right where Carl’s Jr. is now. KFC closed for lack of business by discerning Sonomans, but it was preceded by really good fried chicken at Bunny’s Country Kitchen in Kenwood, and Aunt Bee’s on Broadway where Williams-Sonoma is today. With no air conditioning, Aunt Bee barely survived on hot days.
Those who answered the poll said “there was room for” a restaurant they and others might like to see here, but people who might like to start new restaurants have to deal with high rents, sometimes excruciating permitting processes and finding workers.
Avocados and more
Sunday’s Business section of the San Francisco Chronicle published a story by Christian Hetrick saying Whole Foods’ much ballyhooed lower prices when Amazon took over a year ago seem to have crept back up toward where they were before. Yes, avocados are cheap there, but it’s hard to tell where they come from and I recently had to return three which turned out to be rotten. (Whole Food’s staff were most gracious.)
And speaking of avocados, Li Yuan reports that China’s middle class is trading down as its economy falters. They are drinking tea instead of Starbucks lattes, cutting back on imported and increasingly more expensive avocados, drinking beer instead of cocktails (remember China’s tariffs on Kentucky bourbon?) and riding bikes instead of taxis.
Meadowcroft’s Dirty Hands Harvest experience
Tom Meadowcroft, whose tasting room is at Cornerstone, invites people to help pick pinot noir grapes in what they call “Meadowcroft Wine’s Cornerstone Vineyard,” which actually belongs to Darius Anderson, managing partner in Sonoma Media Investments, which owns the Index-Tribune. Meadowcroft makes as single vineyard pinot noir from Cornerstone Vineyard.
Guests will gather on Thursday morning, Sept. 13, at the Meadowcroft tasting room, walk over to the vineyard and get down and dirty (love doing this), and then enjoy a Les Pascales continental breakfast with pastries, quiche, and fresh fruit in the vineyard. $80; 20 percent less for wine club members. 9 to 11:30 a.m. Reserve your spot at 934-4090 or email@example.com.