Valley Wine Shack, Planet Organics and PK Sonoma to close; Coturri family news; Transcendence food for real this time; General Mills to clean up its cereal; Suite D’s upcoming French dinner

July 2, 2015

Transcendence Theatre’s opening night last Friday was nothing short of spectacular on a warm almost-summer evening. The crested moon and Jupiter hung over the mountain vineyards, almost distracting theatregoers from the show with their beauty. One could just imagine Jack London sitting there with us and even hosting the audience.

The show was “Oh What A Night- Best Night Ever” and is not to be missed if you can make it. Check their website for specific nights from now through July 3. While everyone and no one is a star in Transcendence, some stood out, including Glen Ellen’s Lexy Fridell.

Full disclosure: I was invited as a guest of Lexy’s parents, Suzy and Squire Fridell, along with about 150 members of their Two Amigos and GlenLyon wine clubs. We all dined on elegant food in a biodegradable box prepared by the divine Catherine Venturini of Olive & Vine including grilled-across-the-trail boneless chicken breasts, farro salad, a salad of tomatoes of many colors, green salad, bowls of fruits, cookies, brownies and much more.

Tips Tri-Tips Trolley was selling their regular food (see below), as well as Glen Ellen Star’s little cups of housemade ice cream ($5) right at the entrance to Jack London’s winery ruins.

Transcendence Theatre’s not quite transcendent picnic food is good again this year. Tips Tri Tips Trolley has their food truck with tender tri-tip sandwiches and occasional salads at each Broadway Under the Stars performance. Some nights will also feature The Farmer’s Wife (great grilled cheese sandwiches), Dabba, Ultra Crepes, Mary’s Pizza Shack, and Cookie…Take A Bite. As well, Transcendence sponsor Sonoma Market and Glen Ellen Village Market will make picnic dinners that you can order ahead and pick up on your way to performances in Jack London Park. Co-Executive Director and performer Stephan Stubbins says that you can find the menu or vendors for each specific performance at ttcsonoma.org.

At her garage sale last Saturday, Bella Vita “vintage-style clothing” shop owner and designer Janis Jennings Snyder told me she gave many of the outfits worn on stage in the current shows. 457 First St. W., Sonoma. 935-8206. Bellavitasonoma.com.

HHH

Shiso Modern Asian Kitchen in Maxwell Village Shopping Center will show a locally made film, “The Organic Life,” by Casey Beck for its next movie night tomorrow, Saturday, June 27.  Shiso will again feature a buffet dinner on the patio, using veggies from Paul’s Produce, and show the film there as well. $35 for movie and dinner. 7:30 p.m. Reserve via kim@shisorestaurant.com. 933-9331.

HHH

Popular Windee Smith is selling off her fabulous wine stock and will close her Valley Wine Shack in a formal sense on July 3, but will be running specials via email through the month of July when her lease is up.

The building on West Napa Street, just west of Fifth Street West, where she has held court and many pop-up dinners by Rob Larman of Cochon Volant, is for sale and, in some people’s minds, a bit overpriced in this “hot market.”

Windee will be staying in Sonoma, which she calls home. Apparently she is finished with retail for a while and will take some time off to figure out the rest of her life, something lots of us contemplate. Congratulations on liberating yourself, Windee Smith. 535 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 938-7218.

HHH

Sam Coturri and his father, the esteemed vineyardist Phil Coturri, will soon open a “private tasting house” for their combined effort, Winery Sixteen 600 in the” farmhouse” on First Street East that Sonoma Psychotherapy Group previously occupied. Judy Lopes and Arden Kremer, the latter Sam’s mother and wife of Phil Coturri, helped design the interior with furniture and other accoutrements from Sonoma Country Antiques, Vignette and Plain Jane’s.

Since the Coturris are only making 700 to 1000 cases a year, tastings will only be available to people on their lists or by referral. Get on the list at winerysixteen600.com.

The opening was delayed slightly by Sam’s happy wedding last weekend to local artist and holistic creativity coach Alice Pennes on the beach in Santa Cruz.

Watch for a very special dinner and tasting of the Coturris’ wines at Sondra Bernstein’s Suite D on August 14, for which the Coturris will provide Executive Chef John Toulze with a locally raised pig to roast and serve. scoturri@gmail.com.

HHH

Lorene Reed says she “finally threw in the towel and closed Planet Organics” after 19 years of sourcing and delivering organic vegetables throughout the Bay Area.

Way ahead of her time nearly two decades ago, Reed did well with CSAs and regular deliveries in several vans to shops and restaurants around the bay. She wrote to me, “With rising costs and declining sales, and the summer months being our slowest time of the year, I was just unable to sustain the business to a healthy degree.”

As that door closes, another opens for Reed, and she says “Now that Planet Organics is closed I can put my full-time energies into my new venture, the Divewalk Café and Creperie.”

Planet Organics and she will have “a blow-out going out of business sale this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, saying, “I sure would appreciate the support of the community to come on out and help me unload this 5,000 square-foot warehouse full of organic food!”

Run, don’t walk. Sale 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in old Nicholas Turkey Office Building, 19449 Riverside Dr. at Petaluma Ave., Sonoma.

HHH

PK Sonoma on West Napa Street across from the Index-Tribune will close its home and bath personal comfort store on July 30 because the landlord (Detert brothers) wants to raise the rent to “market rate.” Are wineries the only businesses that can afford this rent, leading to more tasting rooms?

HHH

Sonoma Cheese Factory’s new design plan goes before the Sonoma Planning Commission on July 9. Dave Viviani said that his sisters would like to create a sort of mini Oxbow-style market in what had been the family cheese production facility and retail shop. Already they sell their cheese made elsewhere, make and sell sandwiches and snacks, barbecue decent burgers on the patio, and have a few food concessions in the back.

HHH

Suite D, whose pop-ups occasionally seem to be Sonoma’s new French restaurant, will host a doozie on Sunday, June 28. Guests will get to meet famed winemaker Anne-Charlotte Melia-Bachas, a good friend of proprietor Sondra Bernstein, as she pours her Château de La Font du Loup wines from her family vineyard in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in France’s Rhône region with a fabulous menu created by Executive Chef John Toulze.

Enjoy a salmon Niçoise salad with Châteauneuf du Pape 2014 Blanc; housemade charcuterie such as a rabbit terrine, chicken liver mousse, and duck rillettes with La Rosée; pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin with grilled chicories and farro paired with Côtes du Rhône 2014; a Sonoma cheese course with Châteauneuf du Pape 2013 Rouge and Châteauneuf du Pape 2013 Le Puy Rolland; and cherry ciafoutis with Châteauneuf du Pape 2006 Rouge. $85. 6 p.m. No outside wines. Reserve via figsuited.com.

HHH

Sorry to learn that gentleman and former White House Chef, Walter Scheib, was found dead near a hiking trail in New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside of Taos. While reports did not describe the scene, rescuers spent many hours lifting his body from its location, to me suggesting he had fallen on (or off) a cliff.

Scheib served as Executive Chef to both President Bill and Hillary Clinton and President George W. and Laura Bush, all of whom preferred “American food” as opposed to French cuisine enjoyed by the Kennedys.

I had the honor of interviewing Walter Scheib on my radio show on KSVY 91.3 FM. (10 to 11 a.m. on Fridays)

My humble suggestion: Do not hike, bike or swim alone.

HHH

General Mills announced on Monday that they are cutting chemicals and fake flavors and colors from their cereals, starting with Trix. Eventually their food and flavor chemists will figure out how to substitute real food ingredients they removed previously for the artificial ones they created and substituted previously for real ingredients, apparently costing less for the corporation.

Now with consumers rebelling and demanding real food (see story on opposite page), General Mills has to adapt to stop the shrinkage of their cereal sales to save their company while sales of organic cereals are on a rapid rise.

Currently General Mills owns Cascadian Farm cereals, Cheerios, Chex, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fiber One, Kix, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Count Chocula, Total, Trix and Wheaties.

HHH

Here’s the beef: Ground beef in the last week’s news

Good heavens! Apparently the two killers who escaped from Clinton Jail in upstate New York got prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell to hide hacksaw blades in a block of frozen ground beef for them to use to escape from jail. They were allowed to have food in their honor block cells.

Then, according to salon.com, confessed killer and avowed racist Dylann Storm Roof had only eaten a bag of Doritos and some water the day he was caught in Shelby, North Carolina, so the police who arrested him after a local floral worker tailed him for 30 miles took him to Burger King and bought him a meal. He had just killed nine people in their church Bible class. Ground beef for sure.

HHH

Bon appétit!

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