Kathleen Hill: Joan Nathan book signing, Eighth Street Wineries and more

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Joan Nathan at Readers’ Books

Readers’ Books will host Joan Nathan for an informal book signing and conversation on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. and serve tea and something to eat from the cookbook, according to Readers’ Books co-owner Lilla Weinberger

Nathan is a regular contributor to the New York Times and Tablet magazine, has written 11 cookbooks, including her latest, “King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World,” released by Alfred P. Knopf in April 2017. Her previous cookbook, “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France,” was named one of the 10 best cookbooks of 2010 by NPR, Food and Wine magazine, and Bon Appétit magazine. 130 E. Napa St., Sonoma. 939-1779.

Eighth Street Wineries Open House

Sonoma residents and guests can make a whole afternoon and evening of tasting wine and chili by an easy “tour” of Eighth Street East wineries Saturday, Feb. 23, combined with the Sonoma Community Center’s Chili Bowl Express. Or not.

Eighth Street East in Sonoma is where specialty wineries actually make their wine in small warehouses, so you would never find them without a tour or open house. So this is a great chance.

Each winery will sell raffle tickets, and there will be one prize per winery. All money collected will be donated to Sonoma’s La Luz Center, dedicated to classes for disadvantaged families.

Here are the pairings by winery for this Saturday’s samplings. Enkidu Wine will pair five wines, including a zin from Bedrock Vineyard, with meatloaf sliders from Heirloom Fine Foods; MacLaren will offer four syrahs with roasted mushroom from the Girl & the Fig; Obsidian Wine Co. will provide four wine tastes with white pozole with pork from Smoke Open Fire from Napa; Stone Edge Farm presents its three specialty wines with artisanal cheese and housemade charcuterie from the Stone Edge Farm culinary team; and Talisman Wine tastes four pinot noirs paired with chef Tracy’s Gemelli pasta in brodo with roasted salmon, porcini and fresh mushrooms, peas and cream.

Tin Barn Vineyards samples six wines with crispy riblets with sweet chili glaze and green onions with cabbage slaw from the Girl & the Fig’s Fig Rig food truck; Ty Caton Vineyards presents seven wines paired with shrimp, chicken and Andouille gumbo catered by Catherine Venturini of Cuvée Wine Country Events; and William Knuttel Winery and family offer three wines with guests’ choices of 96 Original Tri-Tip, sweet whiskey chicken, or mini caprese skewers from 96H Brand Catering from Pinole. $45 advance, $50 at door of any participating winery includes glass, wine and food pairings. $10 designated driver. Noon to 4 p.m. 21693 and 21481 Eighth St. E. and 22020 Carneros Vineyard Way, Sonoma. Tickets at or 939-3930.

Beltane Ranch pruning party

Yes, a busy weekend. Beltane Ranch invites guests to its fun, educational and, thankfully, muddy pruning party Saturday, Feb. 23 where guests learn to prune vines from masters, listen to Polo & Mariachi Azteca, and wolf down tacos made with pork fire-roasted before your eyes, winter garden vegetables, and handmade tortillas accompanied by lots of Beltane wines. Crew T-shirts and pruning shears included, with rubber boots for sale if ordered. $150 public, $110 wine club members. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with overnight accommodations available. 11775 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen.

Basque co-founder Jack Montaldo

Last week in my item about the Basque Boulangerie & Café’s 25th anniversary, I failed to give baker Jack Montaldo credit for being a full founder and third partner with Ron and Françoise Guerra Hodges.

For many years I only knew of him from Françoise as “Jack in the Back,” not realizing his formal partnership.

According to Françoise, “He began his bakery apprenticeship under my father (Gratien Guerra) at Sonoma French Bakery, and then became our third partner, in charge of bread and Danish production, when we opened Basque Boulangerie in February of 1994. Photos of Jack are on the wall still in the bakery.” Though no longer active on a day-to-day basis at the Basque, but his ongoing influence is undeniable, said Francoise.

She continued, “Although Jack’s role was often behind the scenes, his influence was no lesser felt than ours, in the beautiful products he created day after day. And he was certainly very proud of his accomplishments there.” (As were the Hodges and all of their loyal customers, including my late husband Jerry and me.)

Eat like the stars

For the Governor’s Ball, to which many stars race after the Sunday Academy Awards ceremony, Wolfgang Puck celebrates his 25th year of catering the festivities with some of his culinary oldies, goodies and newbies.

Puck will offer deviled eggs with crab, much like those at David Bush’s Oso tavern on Napa Street. And caramelized cauliflower much like what Ari Weisswasser roasts at Glen Ellen Star.

Puck adds taro root tacos, his famous pizzas, a 2,000-pound hand-carved ice sculptured raw bar loaded with Asian rolls, scallop ceviche and King crab legs, his famous mac ‘n’ cheese, black truffle chicken pot pie, Nashville fried quail on red velvet waffles, and those chocolate Oscars and triple chocolate chip cookies, all washed down with Tequila Don Julio Blanco cocktails, Piper Heidsieck champagne, and Francis Ford Coppola wines. You can do that, right?

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