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Kathleen Hill: Hungarian grub, Wolfert book and low-cal ice cream...


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Salt & Stone opens for lunch

Salt & Stone, Kenwood’s newest restaurant, started serving lunch last Thursday, hopefully spreading the wealth so more people can enjoy its food and ambiance. Many fans can hardly wait for the weather to warm up so we can sit outside and inhale the view, which includes Kunde vineyards and a few charred hills at this point.

So now S&S has a lunch menu, a bar menu, a happy hour menu, and a dinner menu, I am only going to give you hints of the highlights. Most of their menus offer oysters raw or cooked various ways, crispy curry calamari, cast-iron roasted mussels, although the happy hour menu includes a half pound of Prince Edward Island mussels, marinated octopus, fish tacos, crab cocktails, charcuterie and cheese boards, salads including a duck confit Cobb salad, crab or prawn Louie, lamb burgers, a variety of Caesar salads, a Dungeness crab melt sandwich with salad or fries, and half-pound burgers or crispy skin salmon. Lunch served 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., happy hour 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., and dinner from then on. Bar menu is available throughout. 9900 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. Reservations recommended. 833-6326.

Paula Wolfert book wins IACP Award

Emily Kaiser Thelin, author of “Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life,” just won the International Association of Culinary Professionals top award for Literary Food Writing in the Cookbook category. A few months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing both Thelin and Wolfert before more than 100 Wolfert fans at Readers’ Books.

The book includes Wolfert’s early life in Brooklyn, through her culinary escapades through Europe and northern Africa, up to her current journey through Alzheimer’s Disease here in Sonoma.

Thelin was Wolfert’s last editor at Food & Wine magazine and has written eloquently for the Washington Post and other publications. “Unforgettable” is available at Readers’ Books.

Also at the IACP Awards, Kathleen Squires and Beth Federici, who appeared at last year’s Sonoma International Film Festival with their “James Beard: America’s First Foodie,” won in the Single Food Focused Video or Feature Film category.

Squires also won as co-author with Jenn Louis of “The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More than 175 Recipes.”

Congratulations to all.

Sonoma-Tokaj Sister Cities dinner

Curious what all the talk is about Hungarian food? Here is your chance to sample a whole dinner of it.

The Sonoma-Tokaj Sister Cities Committee will host a whole evening of Hungarian food and culture on Saturday, March 10 at Burlingame Hall. Enjoy chicken paprikash, vegetarian mushroom stew, handmade pastries and many other tasty goodies with wines from both Sonoma and Tokaj, Hungary. Wines will come from Blue Danube Wine Co., Buena Vista Winery, En Garde Winery, Kohler & Frohling Wines, Obsidian Wine Co., and Treasure Island Wines.

The First California Hussar regiment will play music and there will be Corvinius Chorus Folk Dancing, a live auction, and great raffle prizes. If there are any survivors of the old Little Switzerland weekend polka dancing, this is for you. It benefits educational and intern programs of the Sonoma-Tokaj Sister Cities Committee. $60 inclusive. 6 to 9 p.m. 252 W. Spain St., Sonoma. Tickets and more info at 938-0224 or sonomatokajsistercities@gmail.com.

Glen Ellen-Kenwood Rotary Crab Feed

Don’t miss this crab feed in Deerfield Ranch Winery’s cave to help the Glen Ellen-Kenwood Rotary Club’s fire relief program, the Dunbar School garden, and other Sonoma Valley and community projects including clean water, sanitation and educational programs.

The dinner includes Dungeness crab, pasta and green salads, French bread, and dessert, with Deerfield wines and beer available for purchase, along with live and silent auctions. $75 includes one glass of wine. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets at Kenwood Press office in Kenwood Shopping Center or crabinthecave.bpt.me. 833-5155.

Waikiki semifinalist for Beard Award

Sonoma’s Karen Taylor Waikiki, owner of El Molino Central, has made the semifinals in the category of Best Chef: West in the coveted James Beard Awards. Karen’s version of Mexican food attracts fans from the neighborhood as well as rock stars who drive miles for take-out.

She also owns Primavera Tamales, organic and handmade in Agua Caliente and sold in many Whole Foods and other grocery stores and at the Ferry Plaza Market in San Francisco.

Other North Bay semifinalists include Christopher Rostow, both as Outstanding Chef at Meadowood in St. Helena and with co-chef Nathanial Dorn for Charter Oak as Best New Restaurant.

Both Cathy Corison of St. Helena’s Corison Winery and Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson Wines in Napa are semifinalists in the Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. Here in Sonoma Valley, Matthiasson is partner with Susan and Richard Idell in their Michael Mara Vineyard and the viticulturist of the vineyard as well.

Finalists will be announced March 14, with the James Beard Awards Gala to be held May 7 in New York.

Wastell to manage Bedrock tasting room

Kristin Wastell has popped out of “retirement” to oversee design and eventually manage Morgan Twain-Peterson’s Bedrock tasting room in El Paseo’s old Hooker House. Kristin served for more than 10 years as manager of Ravenswood’s tasting room, as did her husband, Alan Wastell.

Alan has managed the Anaba tasting room for the past five years and will continue there through Anaba’s huge winery and tasting room building and expansion.

Florida bans front yard vegetable gardens

Holy squashes! As reported in the Miami Herald, “Supreme Court settles food fight, leaves ban on front-yard veggie gardens intact.” Actually the Florida Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, which leaves it in effect.

For nearly 20 years, Miami Shores residents Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll happily grew fresh vegetables in their front yard until the city adopted a zoning law prohibiting such front-yard gardens and fined the couple $50 a day until they dug it all up. According to the Herald, “Miami Shores allows fruit trees, flowers, fountains, pink flamingos, gnomes and boats in front yards — but not vegetables.”

Miami Shores argued successfully that a city has the authority to regulate landscaping and design standards in order to prevent neighborhood eyesores, with concurrence from the Third District Court of Appeals that there is rationale behind banning “the cultivation of plants to be eaten as part of a meal, as opposed to the cultivation of plants for ornamental reasons.” Discuss.

Food & Wine news with a twist

Marcia McDonald, the highly-respected baker who left Breakaway Café when the new owners bought the Bakeshop formerly known as Crisp, is now baking at the Red Grape and El Molino Central, so watch for her yummy desserts at both places.

Sonoma Cinemas in the Springs will start selling wine and beer, as well as pizza, pretzels and fries in a couple of weeks, according to a staffer. The cashier said they have all the equipment but are just waiting for the go-ahead from the “central office.” Since their small popcorn, which is pretty big, sells for $5.25, who knows what these warmed-to-order edibles will cost.

The Olive Press just won more medals, this time at the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition when judged against extra virgin olive oils from nearly 20 countries. They came home with one of the nine Best of Show awards. Their Jalapeno Olive Oil won Best of Show, Best of Class, and a Gold Medal, with their Heritage Mission Olive Oil, Sevillano EVOO, Limonato Olive Oil, and Arbosana EVOO and Grapefruit Olive Oil all winning other medals.

Wild Flour Bread bakery cooperative in Freestone has re-opened, the building having recovered by an approaching guest’s BMW crashing through the front door. Let’s hope the injured six people have recovered as well.

Gerber’s baby food will feature a photo of Lucas Warren on all of its baby food and in social media. Lucas is the first Down’s Syndrome baby model in the company’s 91 years. He will receive $50,000, and his mother, Cortney Warren, hopes this exposure will increase awareness everywhere of special needs kids. I hope so too.

Ben & Jerry’s, now owned by Unilever, as is Breyers, will introduce a low-calorie version of their addictive ice creams called Moo-phoria, which cut sugar and fat but still contains cookies and dough.

Responding to customers who want fewer calories but still want some crunchy texture, the first flavors will be chocolate and vanilla with cookie pieces and Caramel Cookie Fix, still will have 140 calories for half a cup and 560 for an entire container.

A whole pint of B&J now can top 1,000 calories, which some people consider a meal. How many people eat half a cup of ice cream?