November 8, 2013

November 8, 2013
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The 12 Days of Christmas begins in December at Meadowood Napa Valley. Photo courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley.

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Long Meadow Ranch in Napa hosts a charcuterie class. Photo courtesy of Long Meadow Ranch, via Facebook.

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Preparing pasta at Tony’s of North Beach at the Graton Resort and Casino. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.

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Nick Peyton of DK Wings shows a plate of pickled vegetables. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

Each December, luxe resort ~MEADOWOOD NAPA VALLEY~ and its Michelin-three-star chef, Christopher Kostow, put together a lineup of international chefs and winemakers that have culinary sorts clapping their hands with the kind of glee reserved for five-year-olds on Christmas morning. We call it the 12 days of Chefmas. They simply call it the 12 Days of Christmas at Meadowood Napa Valley. Pricing for the dinners isn’t for penny-pinchers, but if you can swing the $1,315 (and up) price tag, they’ll reserve you a seat at the table (plus lodging) with Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker and Mike Grgich of Grgich Hills (Dec. 6), David Chang of Momofuku with Turley Wine Cellars (Dec. 13), Matthew Accarrino of SPQR with Tuck Beckstoffer and his namesake wines (Dec. 14), David Kinch of Manresa with Notre Vin, Malbec, and Malbec Cellars (Dec. 20), or the host, Christopher Kostow with…wait for it…Harlan Estate. There are only 60 seats available per dinner, so you’ll be in exclusive company. Or, you know, you can stand outside with your nose pressed against the windowpanes, drooling, like us. Details online.

Fancy yourself a budding charcuterist? Napa’s ~LONG MEADOW RANCH~ invites meat lovers of all abilities to hone their skills on making pâté, terrines, rillettes, and ballotines—all charcuterie that can be made at home. The Sunday November 24th class is $195 per person and includes the class and a full meal. A workshop on Monday November 25th is $95 for the class only. Both classes will take place in the Logan-Ives House at Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead, located at 738 Main Street in St. Helena. For tickets and menus, go online or call 707-963-4555.

Like the rare and intensively trained Master Sommeliers of Wine, there are only a handful of Kikisake-Shi (or Master Sommelier for sake) in the world, and Sonoma County happens to have one of the best. Stuart Morris of ~HANA JAPANESE~ in Rohnert Park will be presenting a premier selection of his favorite sakes at the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco on Thursday November 14th with executive chef Adam Mali (also from Sonoma). The dinner will include a discussion on the history of sake, nuances of styles and breweries, and a five-course dinner. $85 per person, 6:30pm, 222 Sansome Street, San Francisco. Details online or by calling 415-276-9724.

Gastronomist Pop-Up: Chef Joe Rueter, who’s been a BiteClub favorite since his long-ago days as the Green Grocer in Windsor, is launching a temporary restaurant-within-a-restaurant Thursdays through Saturdays at ~FORCHETTA BASTONI~ in Sebastopol. You may know him from local farmers’ markets, where he serves up mind-blowing seasonal dishes using ingredients from his farm on little more than a couple of griddles, like the best-ever BLT, steamed pork buns, and duck tacos. Lunch and dinner will be served from 10am-10pm, with a variety of dishes such as fish tacos, applewood-grilled quail, lamb burgers, their famous BLT, and several vegan options. Wine and beer will also be offered. 6948 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. Check for more details online at BiteClubEats.com.

~RED’S APPLE ROADHOUSE~ opens in West County Wine Country: Takeout fried chicken and doughnuts are on the opening menu for the reopened Sebastopol roadhouse along Highway 116. You’ll know you’re in the right spot by the cheerful boar’s head sign (eating an apple, of course) and the fact that it’s located right next to Mom’s Apple Pie. Co-owner Berry Salinas has come up with a bevy of creative fried goodies that start the day right: Apple cider doughnuts, the “Pudnut” (doughnut bread pudding), apple fritters, and Bella Rosa coffee to perk you up. Order up your fried chicken dinners for pick up Tuesday through Saturday from 4-6:30pm, complete with mashed potatoes and coleslaw on the side. The Roadhouse will be adding items to the menu over the next few weeks, with sit-down dining planned for December. 4550 Gravenstein Hwy. North, Sebastopol, 707-861-9338.

So you’ve probably heard all about the traffic jams and hubbub surrounding the spanking-new ~GRATON RESORT & CASINO~ opening. Seems we weren’t the only ones eager to get a nosh at the 13 restaurants that opened on November 5th (OK, that and the 5,000 slot machines). But if you’re on the fence about venturing to a, well, casino to eat, let us allay those fears. We got a two-hour, all-you-could-possibly-stuff-in-your-mouth sneak peek just before opening, and here’s the lowdown on some favorites so far.

DK Wings: Chef Doug Keane (formerly of Cyrus) doesn’t do anything halfway. He’s got an incredible set of pressure fryers for moist, crispy chicken wings and fried chicken along with homemade pickled carrots, beets, kimchi, and other Japanese-inspired fermented goodies. Most plates are well under $10.

Roadside BBQ: Follow the scent trail of the wood-fired smoker to great smoked chicken, ribs, and stuffed potatoes. Sides aren’t an afterthought, with creamy mac and cheese, and tart, flavorful coleslaw.

Slice House: One of two Tony Gemignani restaurants in the casino, this casual walk-up has true New York slices, stromboli, and calzones that put other pizzerias to shame.

Tony’s of North Beach: A mural of Gemignani’s SF restaurant (complete with a line out the door) is the focal point, proclaiming for those not in the know that this this young chef is truly a pie-master (he is the eight-time World Pizza Champion after all). Don’t ask for pepperoni here though. Gemignani’s pizzas—from a simple margherita to thin-crusted Roman pizzas—have just the right amount of crisp and gentle char to make you swear off Friday night pizza delivery forever. Plus, homemade pastas, meatballs the size of your fist, and a Kobe beef burger we’re dying to try.

What you won’t see, however, is the staff cafeteria deep within the casino, where up to 2,200 employees get free meals daily. It’s an impressive buffet with everything from burritos and French macaroons to sweet and sour chicken, a salad bar, and even morning coffee and cereal. Not a bad deal for hungry staffers. I mean, after they get their fill of wings. Stay tuned for more details on M.Y. China, 630 Park Steakhouse, Daily Grill, and all the rest.

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Cindy Pawlcyn giving a demonstration at Flavor! Napa Valley 2012. Photo courtesy Flavor! Napa Valley.

For a taste of all things Napa, including lots of wine and food, check out the ~FLAVOR! NAPA VALLEY~ festival. From Wednesday November 20th through Sunday November 24th, catch a lineup of chefs and winemakers in classes, workshops, demonstrations, tastings, and meals. You’ll find a wide array of events, from a culinary tour of downtown Napa to an intensive Wine Lovers’ Boot Camp tasting that lasts two days at the CIA (that’d be the Culinary Institute of America). There are opportunities to meet with winemakers, check out cellars, and learn about farms with the people who run them. Don’t miss culinary demonstrations and tours from the likes of Masaharu Morimoto and Cindy Pawlcyn, either.

Tickets start at $85 per person and are still available, though some are selling out, so snag yours now! Ticket and hotel packages are also available. Locations and prices vary per event.