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No better time to be an oyster lover


<b>Heads up, oyster lovers:</b> B.R. Cohn Winery (15000 Highway 12, Glen Ellen) has launched a weekend Oyster Bar, featuring Michael Watchorn, a founder of Hog Island Oyster Co., who will be offering both raw and barbecued oysters. Watchorn is a skilled shucker like no other; he keeps the oysters coming and usually has his irresistible Hog Wash, a spicy mignonette, available, too.

Oysters will be available from noon to

5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through mid-October.

For more information about the winery, its special events and its annual Fall Music Festival, visit brcohn.com.

<b>More Oysters:</b> On Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Robledo Family Winery hosts an oyster and wine pairing. Cost is $45 for the general public and $35 for wine club members.

Barbecued Drake's Bay Oysters are the featured shellfish at this year's oyster fete. When it comes to pairings, visitors can choose among the winery's sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio and a couple of red wines selected for their affinity with grilled oysters. To reserve a spot, email nadine@robledofamilywinery.com or call (888)939-6903.

Robledo Family Wines is located at 21901 Bonness Rd. in Sonoma. For more information, visit robledofamilywinery.com.

<b>Hands-On Sausage Class:</b> This Saturday, butcher Rian Rinn of Sonoma County Meat Co. hosts a sausage making workshop at SHED (25 North St., Healdsburg) from 2 to

4 p.m.. The class, suitable for both absolute beginners and seasoned home cooks, explores different types of grinds, proper use of salt and spices and when and when not to add seasonings. You'll also learn twisting techniques and tenderizing secrets, along with information about aging, freezing, shelf-life and more.

Participants will take home pork and chicken sausages.

Rinn and his partner Jenine Alexander are opening a butcher shop in Santa Rosa sometime soon.

Cost is $45 per person and you can reserve your spot at brownpapertickets.com, which will add a service fee to each ticket purchased.

<b>A Bit of Baltimore Comes to the Coast:</b> Timber Cove Inn has appointed a new executive chef, William Oliver, who was born in Maryland and named, in 1997, "Best New Chef" by the "Baltimore Sun." He will oversee the inn's restaurant, Alexander, and its guest food services.

Oliver has plenty of experience in Northern California. His chef credits include Forestville's Farmhouse Inn, Cook St. Helena and several wineries, including Folie a Deux, Clos Pegase, Mayo Family Winery and Arista, where he honed his wine country style.

Several of his dishes are on the new seasonal menu; look for Asian Pear, Feta and Candied Pecan Salad; Creole Shrimp; Sous Vide Lamb Sirloin and Sonoma Coast Cioppino.

Timber Cove Inn is located on a cliff high above the Pacific Ocean and offers a spectacular view. You'll find it at 21780 Highway 1, Jenner. For more information, visit timbercoveinn.com or call 847-3231.

<b>St. George Greek Orthodox Church Food Festival:</b> On Saturday and Sunday, St. George (7311 College View Drive, Rohnert Park) hosts its 5th annual Green and Middle Eastern Food Festival, with lots of yummy things to eat and drink, along with live music, traditional folk dancing, Henna tattoos, a kids' corner, a hookah bar and an International Market Place.

Specialties include falafel, hummus, gyros, shawarma, baklava and other traditional pastries, Greek coffee and tea and much, much more. No alcohol will be available and all ages are invited.

The festival is open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to

8 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. Admission is free, and all proceeds from sales benefit the church and its youth programs.

<b>Ghosts in the antiques:</b> Saturday night, Food For Thought Antiques (2701 Gravenstein Highway S., Sebastopol) welcomes Steve Osborn, a psychic and medium for an evening of ghost stories, including, should you be interested, yours. Guests are invited to bring questions and photographs for Osborn to ponder.

The eerie evening gets underway at 6 p.m. and concludes at 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Admission is a suggested donation of $20; all proceeds benefit Food For Thought's Project Africa.

Because space is limited, you should reserve a spot by calling 887-1647. For on-line tickets, visit fftfoodbank.org.

<b>Local Bourbon Barrel Tasting:</b> Whisky enthusiasts may want to pay very close attention to this item, as it offers a very special opportunity.

On Friday, July 26, the Sonoma County Single Malt Society is hosting an intriguing tasting at an undisclosed location.

Last December, the Society helped fund a local still created by Fred Groth of Prohibition Spirits and

HelloCello, both located in Sonoma.

Now there's an opportunity to taste and celebrate.

The tasting begins at

6 p.m., when participants meet at a central Santa Rosa location and board a shuttle to the tasting destination. The evening features not only a tasting of eight different barreled bourbons but also live music, a barbecue dinner, cocktails from Prohibition spirits and more, including participation in the selection of a "Society Cask." The bourbon barrels formerly aged Sonoma County pinot noir.

At the end of the evening, each participant will receive a bottle of bourbon and a ride back to the pick-up location. When a shuttle takes you back to Santa Rosa, you'll have a bottle of bourbon to take with you.

Attendance is limited to just 25 individuals. Cost: $200 per person.

To join in, send an email to info@sonomasinglemalt.com and be sure to indicate how many seats you would like to reserve.

<b>Aloha Alert:</b> On Saturday evening,July 27, the remarkable Hawaiian duo Hapa plays at the Osher Main Jewish Community Center. The performance is part of the center's ongoing Summer Nights Festival.

Doors open to the public at 6:15 p.m., when dinner will be available for purchase from Mauna Loa Hawaiian Barbecue. Beer, wine and cocktails will be available for purchase and there is free parking.

At 6:40 p.m., Kumu Hula Shawna Alapa'i and members of her halau's performing group will offer an audience-participation hula lesson, followed by a brief performance at 7 p.m. Hapa takes the stage at 7:15 p.m.

Hapa founder Barry Flanagan is a remarkably talented guitarist with a beautiful voice. Singer and songwriter Ron Kuala'au is the duo's newest member. Hapa's sound is at once full and ephemeral, unlike any other Hawaiian band.

Advance tickets are $20 for the general public and $18 for center members. At the door, you'll pay $25. Children 17 and under are admitted free.