Spring Events and Happenings

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Just add Iron Horse bubbly; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.

~FARMSTEAD~ restaurant in St. Helena has begun serving Sunday brunch from 11am-3pm, with a sweet little selection of breakfasty items from chef Stephen Barber, as well as some sassy drinks. Farmstead bacon bloody Mary? Don’t mind if I do. The Long Meadow Ranch market stand in front of the restaurant is also worth checking out, selling produce, flowers, honey, organic eggs, grass-fed beef, and more every Friday morning from 9am-1pm. Master gardener Laddie Hall (the creator of LMR’s gardens and co-founder of the entire operation) is usually on hand to show off the wares. 738 Main St. at Charter Oak Ave., St. Helena, 707-963-4555.

Competing for your Sunday morning stomach space, ~IRON HORSE VINEYARDS~ started yet another food tradition this month. Sunday March 18th will be the inaugural Oyster Sunday, featuring $2 briny beauties from The Oyster Girls, and a $15 flight (free for wine club members) of Iron Horse sparkling wines. The Oyster Girls are a roving raw bar affiliated with the Tomales Bay Oyster Company, who parade their bivalves around naked or dressed in your choice of infused mango mignonette, pink horseradish sauce, or rice wine mignonette. Mark your calendars for future Oyster Sundays on April 22nd (Earth Day), the release date for Iron Horse’s new Ocean Reserve bubbly, and also on May 20th. 9786 Ross Station Rd., Sebastopol, 707-887-1507.

Time and tickets are running out for the second ~BIG GAY WINE TRAIN~ on Saturday March 31st, which is rumored to be even bigger and gayer than last year’s. The ticket includes a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train, a five-course dinner prepared by chef Kelly MacDonald, and paired wines from local LGBT vintners—this year, Sarah Bennett of Navarro Vineyards, Greg Bjornstad of Bjornstad Cellars, Mark Lyon of Sebastiani Vineyards, and Jeff Durham and Joey Wolosz of Gentleman Farmer Wines. Gay revelers board the train at 6pm for a 6:30pm departure, which lets you watch the sunset cast purple shadows over the vineyards on the way to St. Helena—but makes the ride back to the station essentially pitch black (though hardly anyone is looking outside by that point). Seats in the plush Vista Dome car are already sold out, but you can still score a seat in one of the Gourmet Express cars for $160. Call the Wine Train to reserve. 800-427-4124.

On April 29th, Book Passage and ~LEFT BANK~ in Larkspur are hosting a special dinner to celebrate the release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new cookbook, At Home on the Range, a modernized compilation of her great-grandma’s recipe collection from 1920 through World War II. Since great-grandma Margaret Yardley Potter was a cooking columnist and early advocate for ethnic cuisine and farmers’ markets, the book offers a lot more than dreary, Depression-era staples. Dinner at Left Bank will be inspired by the book’s recipes; wine, coffee, tax, service, and a signed copy of the cookbook are all included in the $115 price tag. Reserve online here. 507 Magnolia Ave. at Ward St., Larkspur.

Paula Wolfert, the world’s most eloquent authority on Mediterranean cuisine, will be in downtown Sonoma Wednesday May 16th for “Dinner and Conversation” at Sheana Davis’ ~THE EPICUREAN CONNECTION~. Davis and executive chef Jeff Mall of Zin Restaurant and Farm will prepare the meal so Ms. Wolfert can chitchat with you from 6pm-8pm. Call quickly for reservations, since space at the communal table is limited and Paula Wolfert is awesome. $60 per person. 122 W. Napa St. between 1st St. W. and 2nd St. W., Sonoma, 707-935-7960.