Kathleen Hill: Strawberries for sale, Mother’s Day offerings and picking out a cow for the slaughter

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Watmaugh strawberry stand is open

Go for it, everyone.

Watmaugh strawberries is open. Everything looks the same this year, except that the “counter” part of the stand teeters slightly more. Pint-sized baskets (which they top off generously) start at $3.50. At this moment, they don’t have many additional vegetables besides leeks and green garlic, although often those side veggies come from their brother farms around the Central Valley. Watmaugh Road and Arnold Drive, Sonoma.

The Mill at Glen Ellen signs lease

The grist mill at Jack London Village turns again.

Former longtime chef at Saddles Steakhouse at MacArthur Place, Sanjeev K. Singh, just signed a long lease for the large restaurant space next to the grist mill at Glen Ellen’s Jack London Village.

The restaurant space has housed everything from Juanita’s, the Grist Mill, and a Filipino-Argentine polo-themed restaurant to the latest iteration, Aventine.

The delay in development is due to many factors such as working out details with the Aventine business seller and the county health department’s requirements regarding the kitchen equipment.

Dana Jaffe, 20-year executive chef at Saddles Steakhouse and current chef at Sonoma Golf Club where members have raved about her food, will serve as a consultant to the Mill at Glen Ellen.

Sonoma Valley residents will find the Mill completely local-friendly, brewing its own beer, making wood-fired pizzas, pouring generously at a great bar, and producing other creative casual food, much of which is vegetarian friendly and at decent prices. Singh wants people to just hang out and relax and have a good time.

Singh and Jaffe hope the Mill at Glen Ellen will open in June, assuming all county and other paperwork goes smoothly. Looking forward to this one!

Cinco de Mayo and real Mexican food

More and more locals are discovering Sonoma’s own Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Plaza, on Sunday, May 5.

Angie Sanchez and Veronica Vences of La Luz Center have organized the entire event, which includes a beer cantina, loads of upbeat music, a video game truck, Mexican jewelry and artworks and several professional booths. Citizens can also register to vote.

This is where you can taste real home-style Mexican food, and we can hardly wait. Pedro Infante will make enchiladas, Vicky Aceves will make enchiladas and pambazos; Estehela Martinez will offer fruit, two flavored waters, fruit cocktail, and corn. El Brinquito Market brings gorditas and burritos, Matilde and Ana Anaya are making tacos corados, quesadillas and shrimp ceviche, Tacos La Chencha offers tacos asada and al pastor, and Dragones Latinas and the Sociedad Honoraria from Sonoma Valley High School will sell chicarrones. Aunt Betty’s Corn Dogs will be there as well, with the Java Wagon, which will have hot and cold drinks for sale.

Jose Sanchez offers aguas frescas, sodas and popcorn; Great Savor will sell ceviche, prawn fajitas, and salmon salad. Tacos Costa makes and sells tacos, and Wendy Ruiz of Las Dablitas will provide raspados, frutas and tejuino.

West Handmade Burgers sells Stemple beef

Garrett Sathre has added a weekly retail sale of hard-to-get Stemple Creek Ranch beef cuts and a story to go with it.

Stemple Creek Ranch was founded as a dairy ranch by Angelo Poncia near Tomales. Now his great-grandson, Loren, and his attorney wife, Lisa, have reinvented and rejuvenated the 1,000-acres into a completely organic and grass-fed cattle ranch. The whole ranch is now protected by the Marin Agricultural Land Trust.

Loren graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a major in dairy science and ag business and always dreamed of coming back to his native Tomales and the family property.

Loren oversees the entire ranching operation, studying genetics with the goal of raising grass-fed and grass-finished beef that is tender, well-marbled, and tastes just as good as, if not better than, grain-finished meat, according to stemplecreek.com.

Lisa grew up in Southern California, far from the world of agriculture, and met Loren while they were both students at Cal Poly. In addition to being an active attorney and mom, she manages the operations side of the Stemple Creek Ranch business.

So Sathre goes out to Stemple Creek Ranch in Tomales and picks out the cow he wants slaughtered for next week’s burgers and meat sales. When asked if that gets a little creepy, Sathre said, “It’s heavy. It should be.”

Golden Gate meats does the butchering and wraps the more expensive cuts – or, as Sathre says, “the cuts I would never grind” – such as filet, bone-in rib eye, skirt, strip, tri-tip, petite tender, Bavette, New York, flat iron steaks and more.

Sathre says the delivery from Golden Gate comes about 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and he will sell the limited cuts of meats at “competitive market prices.”

18375 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma. (415) 320-3258.

Stone Edge Farm Thursday Night Dinners

Edge, the downtown Sonoma dining venue of Stone Edge Farm, has a whole new schedule of its Thursday Night Dinners in May, created by chef Fiorella Butron. On May 9, check out the shrimp dumpling soup, carrot top kimchee, duck with Stone Edge’s vegetable terrine and ramps, followed by coconut rice pudding with mango and jasmine.

May 23 brings asparagus salad with prosciutto, quail eggs and aji Amarillo béarnaise sauce; king salmon with morels and pickled ramps, followed by chirimoya chocolate, and coconut mousse with meringue.

And on May’s final Tuesday, guests will enjoy Stone Edge solterito salad with ricotta salata, olives, asparagus, and fava beans, followed by hazelnut fed pork shoulder and loin, Peruvian adobo plancha potatoes, black mint, turnips and mustard greens, and frozen rhubarb soufflé with Kirsch and pine nuts. $150. Seating at 6:30 p.m. 139 E. Napa St., Sonoma. 935-6520.

Curtis Dorsett now at Broadway Market

Curtis Dorsett recently left the Swiss Hotel as culinary educator and chef, and had served many years as chef at Sunflower Caffé, his own Peterberry’s Café, among many other fun and dignified chef positions.

And no, he is not cooking at Broadway Market and is delighted at that, dark eyes sparkling and corners of his smile reaching from one ear to the other. Broadway Market is our only remaining locally-owned grocery store, and its sandwiches win all sorts of awards.

Early Monday morning I went into Broadway Market somewhat bleary-eyed to get two of their fabulous sandwiches. After I got the sandwiches, there Dorsett was with Broadway Market owners, one saying “Here’s my new employee!” What?

What is he doing that makes him so happy, besides cooking? Working as a cashier, ordering dairy products, and anything else they need. Congratulations to all.

The Panel Wine Lounge’s events

The new incarnation of the Panel Wine Lounge, founded by Windee Smith, adds active tasting events, a tap room, and espresso bar with ice cream, a carefully selected wine shop, and lots of new Panel fans.

May events will feature well-known winemaker Peter Mathis on May 15, wines featuring “A Taste of Burgundy” on May 16 and a rare evening opening only on Saturday, May 18. 535 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 938-7152.

Mother’s Day is a comin’

Let’s honor all women on Mother’s Day, May 12. Mothers are not very demanding, at least the ones I know. Just make us happy. And it doesn’t cost money to be nice to most of us. Just cook breakfast, do the laundry, set the table without being asked, do the grocery shopping and, sure, a plant, a new book, a new car, or even a diamond (for those with great expectations) or even a meal out, which could be anything from a burger to a fancy brunch or dinner, depending on your circumstances.

Divewalk Café

Yes, Lorene and Marc are back with a Divewalk Café pop-up at Valley of the Moon Winery for Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12. They will be making their substantial crêpes such as Ham it Up, Veggie Feta, and Goat for It, all $14. Sweet crêpes include one with butter, sugar and lemon juice, one with butter and homemade raspberry jam, and the classic Nutella, bananas and chocolate sauce. Make reservations to “ensure everyone gets served in a reasonable amount of time.” 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call the winery at 939-4500 for reservations.

Chateau Sonoma

Chateau Sonoma will host a pre-Mother’s Day floral class and luncheon at an elegant Victorian home featuring Dundee Butcher of Russian River Flowers and a champagne brunch prepared by former Chez Panisse chef Charlene Nicholson. Fee includes all floral supplies, refreshments and lunch. $225. 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Address given upon reservation. Chateausonoma.com.

Depot Hotel Restaurant

Similar to their Easter menu, the Ghilarducci family offers first course choices of berries and Jersey cow ricotta or Belgian endive and watercress salad; second course of beef short rib hash, Dungeness crab cannelloni, poached filet of salmon, eggs Benedict or spinach ravioli. Desserts include choices or tiramisu with Belgian chocolate, espresso and dark chocolate sauce, sour cream cheesecake with raspberry coulis, chocolate ganache cake or Limocello cake. $45 adults and teens, $22 children 5 to 11. Brunch served 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dinner with regular menu 5 through 8 p.m. 241 First St., W., Sonoma. 938-2980.

Tips Roadside

“Bottomless Brunch (Bottoms Required)” includes garden salad and fruit parfait, local farm eggs with roasted veggies, housemade bacon and biscuits, fried chicken, house-smoked ham, of course followed by their mouth-watering beignets. $39. You can add prime rib or shrimp and grits for $12 extra , and bottomless bellinis or Bloody Mary’s for another $19. 8445 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 509-0078.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn

The Fairmont offers a modified sumptuous buffet with loads of starters from asparagus salad and Dungeness crab cakes to cheese and charcuterie and a tortilla Español. Entrées range from black truffle stuffed Mary’s chicken and Pacific king salmon to filet mignon and loads of Mother’s Day desserts, such as chocolate mousse with 24K gold and warm Watmaugh strawberry and rhubarb tartlets. Children’s menu available. $95. 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Reserve at 939-2407.

Viansa Winery

Viansa will serve a seated brunch catered by the Girl & the Fig that includes a glass of a newly released Viansa Rosé wine to go with house-made morning buns, croissants and muffins. The entrée will be quiche Lorraine and a quinoa and baby lettuce salad, with a whole table of sweets such as lemon meringue tarts, berries and cream tartlets, butterscotch pot de crème, and chocolate pot de crème. They will also have yummy French toast with fresh strawberries on the children’s menu, and maybe moms with French toast needs can have some too. Great Sonoma Valley view. $65 adults, $35 children under 12. Bouquets of spring flowers and more Viansa wine are both available for purchase.

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