A la carte: Early February brings olives, martinis and more

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It’s time for another round of Martini Madness

Sonoma Valley restaurants and bars will compete for the most creative and delicious martini during the 19th annual Martini Madness at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan.31, at The Lodge at Sonoma.

There will be a bounty of small bites and hors d’oeuvres for guests, who will vote for their favorite martinis in a variety of categories made by local mixologists. Tickets are $60. To reserve: 1325 Broadway.


Shake things up at Wine Country Distillery Festival

The second annual Wine Country Distillery Festival will bring together a dozen local distilleries under one roof from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Flamingo Resort.

Hosted by Poppy & Vine, the event will serve up distilled spirits, craft beverages and local food bites, plus a cocktail competition and live music.

Tickets are $85 general, $15 designated driver, to benefit Sonoma Family Meal. To reserve: 2777 4th St.


Enjoy all things olive at the Olive Odyssey

Don Landis will host the 13th annual Olive Odyssey from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 8 and 9 at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards.

The event includes tastes of olive oil, unique olives and olive-inspired snacks along with talks by olive tree experts, cooking demonstrations and tours of The Olive Press. Olive-inspired art and Italian music round out the program.

Admission is free. 24724 Arnold Drive.


Pliny the Younger returns at Russian River Brewing

Pliny the Younger will return for two weeks — Feb. 7 to 20 — to the Russian River Brewing Co. in Windsor and the original downtown Santa Rosa location.

The brewery made Pliny the Younger for the first time in 2005 as a winter seasonal, building upon the Pliny the Elder recipe while pushing the envelope. It is always brewed only once a year and released the first Friday in February, rain or shine. It will be available on draft each day until the tap runs out of that day’s allocations.

There is a three-hour/three Younger maximum at both breweries. Beer lovers should plan to wait in line anywhere from one hour to six hours on the weekends. The Younger is served in a 10-ounce glass for on-premise consumption only.

The breweries are located at 725 Fourth St. in Santa Rosa and 700 Mitchell Lane in Windsor.


Ditch the milk and reach for the wine and cookies

Meadowcroft Wines will offer a tasting flight of four wines paired with four Girl Scout Cookies from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 8 and 9 at the tasting room at Cornerstone Sonoma.

Each flight is $20. No reservations are required. 23574 Arnold Drive. Information: 707-934-4090.


Tamale benefit on Super Bowl Sunday for caregivers

It’s not too late to order tamales from the Super Bowl Sunday Tamale Benefit in support the California Homemakers Association, an all-volunteer organization that helps domestic workers and in-home caregivers during their Winter Survival Campaign.

Tamales cost $10 for 6 or $20 for 12 and come in chicken, cheese, jalapeño or black bean (vegan) flavors.

To order, call 707-591-9573. Tamales may be picked up from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at Ronnie’s Bar and Grill, 1460 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park.

The Winter Survival campaign helps low-income service workers with feeding their families while facing higher heating bills and other economic hardships.


Puma Athletic Boosters serve up crab feed

Maria Carrillo High School’s Puma Athletic Boosters will serve up the 22nd annual Crab Feed at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at St. Eugene’s Becker Center.

The doors open at 5 p.m. for the silent auction and no-host bar. Dinner includes all-you-can-eat crab, clam chowder, Caesar salad, bread and dessert.

Tickets are $55 general; $600 for a table for eight, including china, linens and two bottles of wine. To reserve: 2323 Montgomery Drive.


Winners of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

More than 65 judges evaluated nearly 6,700 wines from all over North America in early January during the 2020 San Francisco Wine Competition, with 3 out of 6 sweepstakes winners hailing from Sonoma County.

Sweepstakes winners from Sonoma County included Breathless Sonoma County Blanc de Noir ($32) for sparkling; Ferrari-Carano 2019 Sonoma County Dry Sangiovese Rosé ($15) for rosé; and deLorimier Winery 2016 Crazy Creek Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($75) for red.

Other top winners: Trader Moon Wine Co.2018 California Honey Moon Viognier ($5.99) for white; Ferrante Winery (Ohio) 2017 Grand River Valley Vidal Blanc Ice Wine ($30) for specialty; and VARA (New Mexico) Vina Cardinal Rose Wine Label ($32) for packaging.

There will be a public tasting from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, in San Francisco. Tickets are $75 to $95. To reserve:

Staff Writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 707-521-5287 or On Twitter @dianepete56.

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