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Recipes that go with wine at Wine & Food Affair

A Wine & Food Affair on the Wine Road is Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3 and 4. The weekend of wine and food pairing is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys in Northern Sonoma County. All the wineries participating will prepare a favorite winery recipe to sample, along with their wine. The recipes are included in a "Tasting along the Wine Road" cookbook that ticket holders will receive, along with a glass and wristband, upon check-in. Designated drivers will be given a different color wristband and they will not be served wine. The fee is $70 for the weekend, $50 for Sunday only and $30 for designated drivers. No tickets available at the door. Pre-sales only at www.wineroad.com.


Single-vineyard pinot at Dutton-Goldfield Winery

Here's a night for pinot noir fanatics -- a single-vineyard pinot noir soiree at Sebastopol's Dutton-Goldfield Winery on Saturday, Nov. 3. The winery will release its 2010 vintage. Tasters can compare the wines, the nuances of the vineyards and the intricacies of the appellations. The event is from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 827-3600. The winery is at 3100 Gravenstein Highway N.


Former Pazzo space now Social Club

The Social Club Restaurant and Bar has opened in Petaluma in the former Pazzo space at 132 Keller St.

Chef de Cuisine Bob Simontacchi and sous chef Joseph Zobel serve up an array of California Mediterranean fare, from Penn Cove Mussels and Marinated Red Beets to Yukon Gold Gnocchi and Petaluma Fried Chicken.

The dining room has 65 seats, with another 40 in its private dining space. There is also an outdoor patio with a wood-fired grill and fire pits.

The bar serves cocktails, wine by the glass, and a wide assortment of interesting beers on tap and in the bottle.

The restaurant is open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Saturdays and for brunch at 9:30 a.m. Sundays. Dinner is served Wednesday through Monday. The restaurant is closed Tuesdays. 238-0158. socialclubrestaurant.com.


Beer, wine and mushrooms ride rails

Mendocino County kicks off its Beer, Wine and Mushroom Festival this Friday through Nov. 11 with dinners, tours and a signature tasting event.

The flagship event is the Camp Mendocino Beer, Wine and Mushroom Train ride this Saturday on the historic Skunk Train. Trains leave from Fort Bragg and Willits at 10 a.m., with passengers disembarking at Camp Mendocino for wine tastings, food and a mushroom cook-off competition.

At Camp Mendocino, guests can also enjoy a talk by local mushroom expert Eric Schramm, a mushroom hike and live music, plus dessert, port and chocolate truffles on the ride home.

Trains arrive back in Fort Bragg and Willits at 5 p.m. Tickets are $95, to benefit the San Francisco Boys & Girls Club Camp Mendocino. skunktrain.com.

For a complete schedule of events, go to visitmendocino.com and search for "mushroom."


Food, wine authorities crowd Flavor! lineup

After its much ballyhooed 2011 debut, Flavor! Napa Valley returns on Nov. 14-18 with a top-notch line-up of celebrity chefs, vintners and artisan food producers.

Participating Napa Valley chefs include Michael Chiarello of Bottega, who originated the concept, along with Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, Christopher Kostow of Meadowood, Cindy Pawlcyn of Mustard's Grill and Masaharu Morimoto of Morimoto Napa.

Visiting graduates of the Culinary Institute of America include Charlie Palmer of the Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, Geoffrey Zakarian, Johnny Iuzzini and Larry Forgione, known as the "godfather of American cuisine," and his three sons.

Wine experts include CIA graduate Rajat Parr of the Mina Group; Karen MacNeil, chairman of professional wine studies at the CIA; and Andrea Robinson, the first female master sommelier in the U.S.

The festival kicks off Nov. 14 and 15 with a new Terroir to Table event that features visits and workshops at nine farm, cellar and kitchen locations throughout the Napa Valley.

Legends of Napa, a tasting featuring a few of the legendary winemakers of Napa, will take place Nov. 16 and 17 at the CIA at Greystone. The Appellation Trail, a tasting of Napa Valley's finest food and wine, takes place Nov. 16 at the CIA at Greystone. Cooking demonstrations, brunches and dinners round out the five-day festival.

For more information, go to flavornapavalley.com.


Figone brings home the porridge from Scotland

Laurie Figone of Petaluma, a longtime recipe contest winner, has another feather to tuck into her Scottish Tam o'Shanter.

After winning the second annual Bob's Red Mill Spar for the Spurtle contest, she took home one of the top two prizes in the 19th annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship earlier this month in Northern Scotland.

Figone used steel-cut oats produced by Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods company of Oregon to enter dishes in both the Traditional and Specialty categories of the competition.

Her Italian Pinhead Torte, an egg dish made with oats soaked in mushroom broth, won in the Specialty category. Also in the torte are mushrooms, eggs, Parmesan cheese, zucchini, oregano and sun-dried tomatoes.

Bob's Red Mill company first competed in the World Porridge Making Championship in 2009 and won in the Traditional category, limited to oats, salt and water.

After coming home empty-handed in 2010, the company turned to its fans for help and launched its own oatmeal recipe contest, thus the Spar for the Spurtle contest was born.

Figone grew up on a dairy ranch in West Marin and learned to make raviolis and other traditional dishes with her grandmother.

She has served as host of a TV show, "Cooking with Laurie," where she showcases locally grown and raised products.

For more information, go to bobsredmill.com and cookingwithlauriefigone.com.


Wednesday means global vegan dishes

Ravens' Restaurant, located at the Stanford Inn in Mendocino, has introduced an "Ethnic Inspirations" menu showcasing dishes from a specific culture on Wednesday nights.

"Being vegan is not a trend, it is a lifestyle," said Jeff Stanford, owner of Ravens' Restaurant and the inn. "This new addition to the Ravens' menu is exciting because it introduces diners to new flavors and cuisines, and showcases how diverse vegan cuisine can be."

In November, the menu will be inspired by East Africa. December offers up Cajun cooking, January highlights Cuban cuisine and February showcases Spanish Tapas. Japanese sushi will be served in March and Brazilian food in April.

In addition to the affordable ethnic entrees, the restaurant also offers half-off cocktails and beer on Wednesday nights.

Ravens' Restaurant serves up a predominantly vegan, whole plant-based menu. ravensrestaurant.com.

Compiled by Staff Writer Diane Peterson, who can be reached at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com, and Peg Melnik, who can be reached at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com

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