Kathleen Hill: Limelight at the garden, kombucha and Tips Roadside

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Limelight evening at Sonoma Mission Gardens

Sonoma Mission Gardens brings back its Limelight Evening, Thursday, Aug. 15, with nibbles and local wines, music by Don Trotta, and great raffle prizes for plant and flower arrangements and a container design class for three and Champagne with Deborah Thomas. Meet lots of new and old friends. A Limelight Hydrangea is a hydrangea with large white conical shaped flowers, and they practically glow in the dark. $10 reservation fee, $2 raffle tickets. Proceeds go to Valley of the Moon Children’s Center Garden Project. 6 to 7:30 p.m. 851 Craig Ave., Sonoma. Reserve at 938-5775.

Layla and MacArthur Place officially open

A few hundred movers, shakers and influencers gathered last week to officially re-open Layla and MacArthur Place at a party co-hosted by Sonoma magazine.

First guests tried not to run into the Stilts Lady outside the door who ended up on the terrace in back, posing for many photos of guests hoping not to lean on her “legs.” Joining her was the Champagne Lady wearing a metal skirt that held loads of full glasses of sparkling wine guests reached for somewhat delicately. And in the back was the ever enchanting Tobias Weinberger performing his magical magic and swirling around in delightful distraction.

Then there were the lavender cocktails, more sparkling wine, and mounds of pulled pork to make your own sandwich on Porter House rolls, a large table laden with raw oysters and prawns, and a charcuterie table.

Delicious Dish raises funds for Rhoten Productions

Lauren Cotner’s Delicious Dish catering company held its own Dine & Donate week recently and raised $615 for Diana and Roger Rhoten’s Wilderness and Performing Arts camps.

Each week Delicious Dish offers full three-course meals to go that might include a variety of menus such as sausage and peppers, Asian Fusion, California Summer, or Southern Fresh. Each delicious dish feeds either two or four people, or one person for a couple of days. Plus they always have extras for sale in the shop such as brownies, shortbreads or cannoli. 18709 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.

Kombucha in a skate shop?

Yes. Give it a try.

How in the world did a former busser, bartender and all around staffer in such places as Bouchon, Rutherford Grill, Piatti, Bistro Jeanty and most recently, Basalt in Napa find his way to making this under-known beverage in a skate shop in Boyes Hot Springs?

That’s exactly what James Jordan has done with a precise and scientific mind and an international business degree from San Francisco State. Thrashing around for a career of passion, he tried commercial real estate appraisal with his father, and finally hit on that passion. Realizing he needed to be dairy-free and find ways to improve his own digestion, he discovered fermentation and kombucha and shrubs, the latter not being something green in a garden.

What is kombucha? It’s a fermented “tea” made from all sorts of things from actual teas to local fruits, which form a “mother” in the fermentation process. Some people believe the fermentation process has positive health benefits, most of which have not been proven scientifically. But they usually taste good and are refreshing.

His little “bar” where the butcher shop part of La Morenita #2 used to be, is entirely redone, cleaned, and beautified as is the entire Sonoma Originals skateboard shop and ramp. In two visits we haven’t seen any skaters skating, but owner Jordan Tabayoyon hopes to start classes and install ramps in the back parking lot soon.

Having made and sold kombucha for three years at the Napa farmers market, Jordan leapt at the chance to have “my own place” in the back of Sonoma Originals’ salesroom and skate ramp on Highway 12. So he jumped in, cleaned the place and bought bigger fermentation equipment.

Guests can saddle up to the “bar” or counter and ask to taste all of Jordan’s flavors in little paper cups. You can purchase a drink or jug of kombucha to go, and eventually return the glass container for a refill. But you cannot sit and gab and drink a jar full there.

Jordan also gets strawberries from Watmaugh Road and beets from Long Meadow Ranch in the Napa Valley.

Jordan’s philosophy from his website: “A small-time bev brand bringing healthy alternatives to the Bay Area; dynamically handled H2O transformed into refreshing, naturally effervescent, water kefir and kombucha. Blended with our line of shrub syrups. High on acid and crafted with produce supplied by a growing network of committed family farms and trusted partners.”

Jordan’s Triad Beverages hopes to lead by example and uses no plastics anywhere and serves only in paper or glass. He hopes to attract students from skaters at Sonoma Originals, and kids and their parents from Flowery School and the Teen Center to show them one little phase of healthful eating and drinking. Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 17400 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma (415) 361-1664.

Red & White Ball on Aug. 24

The Sonoma Valley Education Foundation’s Red & White Ball swings around for the 26th time on Saturday, Aug. 24 in the Sonoma Plaza, a fundraiser for the Ed. Foundation and the programs the Sonoma Valley Unified School District wants it to support.

Most people wear red, white, and/or a combination of both, or none of the above to the current version of the fun event. Originally it was organized by Penny McKesson, Kathy Mazza and Suzanne Brangham to make improvements in Sonoma Plaza.

Eventually those people “gave” the event to the Ed Foundation, which has benefitted to give money to school programs ever since.

No buffetthis year. Stellar Catering, made up of Bruce Riezenman of Park Avenue Catering and Ari Weisswasser of Glen Ellen Star, will serve a ”family-style menu which will honor vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores,” according to Caroline Brown of the Education Foundation.

Guests will be welcomed by SVUSD food service manager Cody Williams and the Sonoma Valley High School culinary students and team passing hors d’oeuvres featuring Altimira School Garden produce and Sonoma Market vegetables and gazpacho with herb and goat cheese crostini.

Sparing everyone waiting in long buffet lines, servers will deliver platters and bowls of heirloom tomato panzanella (bread and tomato salad) crostini; wood-grilled flat iron steak; oven-roasted glazed adobe shrimp; summer corn succotash with corn, Romano beans, red peppers, shishito peppers and dried cherry tomatoes; lemony rice salad with English peas with honey mustard vinaigrette; and green onion biscuits. Dessert means Stellar ice cream and key lime bars.

Music by Wonder Bread 5, wines by local wineries. $225 includes dinner, wines, and dancing. $40 lets you bring your own picnic, a wrist band and one glass of wine. 5 to 10 p.m. Tickets at 935-9566 or

Tips Roadside update again

Always thinking of a new promotion, Tips Roadside in Kenwood just launched its $5 happy hour this Wednesday. The $5 price applies to what they call snacks such as queso with housemade chips, tater tots, chicken in a basket with red eye gravy, chicken wings with peach habañero glaze, polenta fries, half order housemade salad, or a cup of Mom’s Tomato Soup. Specific cocktails, wines, and spritzers are included as $5 choices.

This, which might also be considered a mid-afternoon snack time on your way home from somewhere, is in addition to their new all-you-can-eat “Bottomless BBQ” on the second Thursday of every month, in addition to their crawfish boil on the third Wednesday of each month. Hope you can keep all this straight.

Susie and Andrew Pryfogle’s Tips Roadside restaurant and Tri-Tip trolleys were mentioned generously in a story in the New York Times online, called “How Sonoma’s Vineyards Survived a Siege of Fire, Smoke and Ash.”

The author begins by mentioning how regional and national media made it sound like Sonoma was just plain wiped out, which we all know was not true. Granted, many of our neighbors tragically lost their homes, but most vineyards and commercial downtown areas of Glen Ellen and Sonoma generally survived.

The Pryfogles and chef Thaddeus Palmese win praise for their huge efforts to mobilize their trolleys to feed first responders while they delayed the remodel of their new Tips Roadside restaurant in Kenwood.

Also included were Katie Bundschu and her family, Margo Van Staaveren of Chateau St. Jean, Basque Boulangerie, Glen Ellen Star co-owner/chef Ari Weiswasser and Tim Zahner of the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau.

No mention of the many other people who showed up early and cooked and distributed food for everyone who needed it, including Rob Larman of Cochon Volant, Sondra Bernstein of the Girl & the Fig, Tony Moll of the Red Grape, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, Ramekins Culinary Center and Sheana Davis of Epicurean Connection, to name just a few.

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