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Sonoma’s Nepal/Sherpa fundraisers; Cinco Day Mayo May 2; Olive fruit fly is back but different; Lobster sale; Mother’s Day next Sunday

Sonoma’s Nepal/Sherpa fundraisers; Cinco Day Mayo May 2; Olive fruit fly is back but different; Lobster sale; Mother’s Day next Sunday

May 4, 2015

Late Breaking:

Out of respect and love for Sonoma’s Sherpa family, many of us are planning events to raise funds for their relatives who have lost everything, including their homes, in Nepal’s horrible earthquake.

Café LaHaye owner Saul Gropman will dedicate his restaurant Wednesday, May 6 to raising funds for relief, with 50 percent of sales on that evening going to Kathmandu, saying “My daughter-in-law’s parents live in Kathmandu and they are beginning to organize a donation fund.” So dine in style on some of the best food in the wine country while enabling the stricken people of Nepal to avoid starvation. Call now for a reservation at 935-5994. 140 E. Napa St., Sonoma.

Murphy’s Irish Pub will give 25 percent of all income on Tuesday, May 12 at its Farmers Market After Party, in conjunction with neighbor across the alley Taste of Himalayas, which will offer a buffet at regular prices.

Sarah and Darius Anderson, owners of Ramekins, have offered to host a community gathering and fundraiser on Thursday, May 14 to benefit our local Sherpas and their families in need in Nepal, as well as for others suffering from the tremor’s ravage and damage.

Carlo Cavallo of B&V Whiskey Bar & Grill came up with the idea and has already contacted some chefs and winemakers. The event will be coordinated by Ramekins’ General Manager Victoria Campbell, possibly with a set price cocktail hour on the property, and a community dinner at Ramekins featuring food donated by Sonoma Valley chefs and wine from local winemakers. All funds collected (100 percent) will go to the people of Nepal.

There will not be an auction, just a Fund-A-Need. I will be helping to determine the best destination for the funds raised, including consulting with our Sherpa community and with locals who have especially deep interests in certain in-country organizations and who have been there many times.

MacArthur Place’s Saddles Steak House Executive Chef Dana Jaffe says they will hold an Indian-Himalayan buffet on May 21, bound to be fabulous.

We also encourage anyone with a food truck, pizza place, or other dining venue to raise and donate funds. We will all figure out the best way to get the money to those in need.


La Luz Center brought our Cinco de Mayo celebration back to Sonoma Plaza for our entire Sonoma Valley community to enjoy this Sunday, May 3. And it was fabulous with a record turnout,specialty foods galore, games, live Mariachi music, Ballet Folklorico, Aztec Dancers, crafts, and lots more.

Back in the ‘80s when I chaired the Sonoma Cultural and Fine Arts Commission and Loretta Carr was vice chair and succeeded me, we started celebrating Cinco de Mayo in our plaza. Since then it has moved and expanded with shrines and parties at La Luz, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, and at the Sonoma Community Center.

If you enjoy Mexican and other Latino foods and appreciate the contributions Latino community members make in all facets of our valley, please come watch people make tortillas by hand and delicately cook other goodies.

Among the food preparers and vendors will be Gloria Berrera and her pork, chicken and cheese tamales; Olga Arguello’s tortas, tacos, horchata, and agua de Jamaica; Ana Patricia Rios’ tostadas; Pedro Infante Núnez’s enchiladas; Debra Morales’ colorful fresh fruit mixes; El Brinquito Market’s gorditas and steamed corn with all the fixings; Vicente Calvario’s steak or marinated pork tacos, plus barbecued corn; Victor Ferrer selling sodas and bottled water; La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream; Erika Dardon’s Pinky’s cotton candy and caramel corn; and Java Wagon treats.

Other booths will include Lonesome Cowboy Ranch, Sonoma Market, Artescape, William’s Auto Shop, Sonoma Police Department, and Sonoma Valley Community Health Center. Free admission. 12 noon to 5 p.m. More info at 938-5131, Ext. 102.


Call immediately to order your live or cooked lobster via Soroptimist Sonoma Valley club. They are flown in from Maine Saturday morning, May 16, and you pick them up the same morning at the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Simple as that.

All to raise funds for Soroptimists’ scholarships to help local students go to college. $25 live or cooked. To order call Juliette Andrews at 338-1874 or Tarja at 843-1248.  Pick up at 651 Broadway, Sonoma.


Sweetwater Spectrum will have a Spring Plant Sale Saturday, May 2 featuring dozens of varieties of vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, melons, kale, chard, kitchen herbs, and succulents. Farm manager Rachel Kohn Obut will leave Sweetwater Spectrum at the end of May and looks forward to re-launching her Lunita Farm Design company to provide design consulting and farm management services of edible gardens and helping with a permaculture and ecological landscaping course at the Permaculture Skills Center in Sebastopol. More info at lunitafarm.com. Plant sale 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Bell Bottom Bash is back with disco and funk music by BackTrax and DJ Saucey1 on Saturday, May 2 at the reinvented Rossi’s 1906, formerly the Little Switzerland. This time the bash benefits the American Diabetes Association, an excellent cause that touches us all.

Enjoy a buffet dinner, and loads of dancing and beverages, go-go dancers, Popo’s face and body painting, disco line dance lessons, specialty drinks and full no-host bar. to say nothing of the Best Costume Contest. $35 for dinner and dancing, $20 dance only. Dinner 6 to7:30, dancing from 7:30. More info at 343-0044 or vmoonmusic@aol.com.


Ready for Mother’s Day Brunch now instead of next weekend?

Sonoma Overnight Support hosts an early Mother’s Day brunch this Saturday, May 2 at the First Congregational Church’s Burlingame Hall, all a fundraiser for SOS and Brown Baggers programs, the Community Outreach Program, the transitional housing at The Haven on First Street West, Sonoma’s only homeless shelter and future housing for women and children.

Guests will enjoy homemade muffins and breads, an egg strata, potatoes and mimosas, thanks to Korbel Winery’s sparkling wine donation. Everyone will be served by the well trained members of Hanna Boys Center and Sonoma Valley Teen Services. $30. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets at sonomaovernightsupport.org or call 939-6777, or at Readers’ Books.


Sonoma Mission Gardens has put out an Olive Fruit Fly Alert, saying that “the rules have changed” this year. They encourage olive growers of any size orchard to “hang traps now, monitor traps weekly, spray when you detect fruit flies, and examine your crop for problems.”

Here is exactly what manager Lydia Constantini wrote to me. Anyone with one to thousands of olive trees should take this seriously.

“The fruit flies will continue to multiply like rabbits if they have the means, the olive is their host. The female deposits her eggs inside the olive. It pupates and the cycle continues, causing complete devastation to the fruit. So no olives, if you drop the crop, less places to lay their eggs and hopefully a decline in the population. So many people do nothing with their olives, they just rot on the ground. They harbor the fruit fly and make it all the more difficult for the folks who raise olives for oil and fruit. The monitoring and spraying is expensive and quite difficult to get a good crop even with strict diligence. Many of our customers had 100% failure last year even with monitoring and spraying. A huge problem here, even bigger in Europe.” Call or visit Sonoma Mission Gardens for more guidance at 938-5775. 851 Craig Ave., Sonoma.


Mara Kahn reports that Murphy’s Irish Pub has volunteered to donate 50 percent of your cost ($25) for a three-course dinner to benefit 4 Paws Therapy & Reading Program Sunday through Thursday, May 3 through May 7.

The dinner will include farmer’s market salad, roasted chicken with mushroom bread pudding and Blue Lake beans, and bittersweet chocolate pudding with salted caramel and whipped cream

Mara and her dog Fenway want to form more canine assisted therapy teams through the 4 Paws program. Kahn and Fenway “read as a team” at El Verano School, whiles others go to hospitals and rehab centers, and want to develop an after school reading program at the Boys & Girls Club. $25. May 3-7, Murphy’s Irish Pub. Contact Kahn at (415) 860-3052(415) 860-3052 for more info.


Ramekins Culinary School has some great classes coming up that go together: Chef Lisa Lavagetto’s “Easy Outdoor Entertaining” class and Chef Jill Silverman Hough’s “Great Steaks.”

On Wednesday, May 6 Lisa Lavagetto, who is a lovely entertainer and an entertaining cooking instructor, will give tips on what to drink and how to balance an outdoor menu, entertaining essentials and how to form a fun soiree. Learn to make green olive an almond spread crostini, grilled eggplant salad, marinated shrimp in grilled tomato gazpacho, summer paella from the grill with chicken, sausage and shrimp, and grilled peaches and pound cake. Yum! $95.6:30 to 9:30 p.m., meal included. Register at ramekins.com.

Then on Thursday, May 7 Jill Silverman Hough teaches everyone, of any gender, to grill, formerly known as barbecuing. Learn how to make those steaks come out juicy, tender, and cooked to perfection. You will learn about cuts of meat, and how to sear, grill, and pan roast the meat, and make dressings, sauces and spice rubs.

Guests will learn to make and enjoy grilled and pan-seared grass-fed and corn-fed steaks, blue cheese butter, chimichurri sauce, lavender beurre rouge, corn and three-bean salad, and cumin roasted potatoes. $95. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Reserve at ramekins.com.


Mother’s Day possibilities:

Moms have different ideas of what can make them happy, at least once a year on our official day.

You could make yours happy all sorts of ways, such as doing the laundry all the way through folding and putting it away; cook for her all day (or least one meal) so she can sit outside and read a book or tell you stories; help her plant vegetables; give her a pretty plant; paint her a picture; take her to the beach and let her walk on her own.

Or you can take her out for a special meal. Here are some ideas here in Sonoma Valley. Several local restaurants are launching new Sunday Brunches to be featured every Sunday starting on Mother’s Day.

Aventine Glen Ellen: Starting Saturday and Sunday brunches on Mother’s Day. Italian soups and salads, pizzas such as meatball or smoked salmon; pastas, waffle and chicken Milanese with bacon butter and bourbon maple syrup; short rib hash with poached eggs, and a fish of the day. Great setting overlooking the creek.  $10 to $20. 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 14301 Arnold Dr., Glen Ellen in Jack London Village. 934-8911.

Breakaway Café: Special menu additions include a fresh seasonal fruit plate, a Mother’s Day omelet of county ham, peas, leeks, mushrooms, brie and arugula pesto and potatoes; salmon cakes and avocado Benedict, and lemon sour cream pancakes, plus Marcia’s Coffee Cake.$4.95- $13.95.

Depot Hotel: A glass of sparkling wine, a Mimosa or glass of fresh orange juice on arrival, followed by multiple choices of starters such as refreshing watermelon carpaccio, salad, or a child’s fruit plate. Select a main course from the likes of New York steak, Dungeness crab cannelloni, filet of salmon, asparagus Béarnaise with organic eggs and potatoes with Béarnaise sauce or pork osso buco hash. Dessert brings their famous tiramisu, cheesecake, Limoncello coulis, or chocolate mousse cake. $44 adults, $22 children under 12. 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 241 First St. W., Sonoma. 938-2980.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa: Their usual splendiferous buffet, with regular Sunday Brunch starting June 7. Watch for Maine lobster eggs Benedict, smoked salmon and English cucumber remoulade, and and omelet du jour and housemade pastries. Mom’s Day includes smoked fish, eggs Bennie, roasted organic free-range chicken, shellfish and desserts galore. $99 adults, $49 kis aged 5 to 12, free for children four and under. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reserve at 939-2415.

Ramekins: Omelet station with the works, waffle station loaded with strawberries, whipped cream, syrup; wood-fired pizza with asparagus and egg; eggs Benedict on toasted brioche, spinach, poached egg, and a whole buffet of lettuces, potatoes, fruit, sausages, bacon, veggie strata, pork loin, muffins, pastries and yogurt parfaits. $55 adults, $25 kids, free for 10 and under. 450 W. Napa St., Sonoma. Reserve at 933-0450.

Saddles Steakhouse: Complimentary sparkling wine, loads of fruits and pastries, seafood buffet, salad buffet including a quinoa and flat rice salad with peanuts, cashews and raisins; pastas; Saddles’ prime rib and Willie Bird turkey; Tandoori spiced roasted chicken, sausages, and a legume salad with garam masala, eggs Benedict and many desserts. $65 adults, $35 children 12 and under. 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 933-3180

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