With so many historic small-town cinemas closing their doors, it's time for action. Help Cameo Cinema in St. Helena raise funds to stay in business by purchasing a gift card for yourself and for others. Super gift idea for the holidays, and cheap entertainment in a beautiful and comfortable setting! Planning a visit to Napa Valley? Purchase a movie card from the Cameo and catch a flick, or another special event, during your stay.
Visit the theater's website to learn how you can help keep the doors open at this small-town treasure: https://www.cameocinema.com/giftcards.php
You can read more about the Cameo's plight at http://goo.gl/MMMGBt
The owner of the Cameo, Cathy Buck, is profiled in my article in North Bay Biz magazine: http://goo.gl/wc2sQl
This may be the definitive photograph taken by everyone with a camera at the 2013 National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa: a gigantic still life of squash and other veggies heaped up center stage. The three-day Expo, having just completed its third annual run at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, is truly a cornucopia of inspiration for anyone with a garden, large or small –– or anyone who longs for one.
Thousands of attendees strolled through several buildings chockfull of interesting vendors, heirloom seeds, about 3,000 varieties of heirloom produce from across the nation, cooking and tasting demos, poultry and rabbits, and a who’s who of knowledgeable speakers on a wide variety of subjects related to gardening, the politics of corporate farming, fermentation, biodynamic medicinals –– you name it.
Where the food products were being tasted, I became a devotee of the dried wild seaweed harvested off the coast of our neighbor to the north, Mendocino County, by Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetables. Wow, were they good. Buy some at seaweedmermaid.com. You won't regret it.
One of my favorite bites was the meatball (pictured) from Rustic, the restaurant at Francis Ford Coppola’s winery. And possibly the best fried chicken I’ve had in years, courtesy of the new mobile restaurant known as Drums & Crumbs. Other gustatory highlights included ice cream by Nimble & Finn’s, Hopmonk Tavern’s stout-braised short ribs over garlic mashed potatoes, and pork tenderloin with red rice and cranberry beans whipped up by Olive & Vine.
Four enormous tents showcase the food and wine, and numerous other tents and cozy spots on the ranch provide entertainment and educational opportunities. This included chefs competitions and cooking demos, with foodie radio hosts and masters of ceremonies Clark Wolf and Marcy Smothers (wife of Tommy), shown here coaxing comments from the judges in a race-against-time cookoff between chefs Thomas Schmidt of John Ash & Co. and Steve Rose of Vineyards Inn, one of my favorite places to eat.
Hollywood royalty Fred MacMurray raised his family here when he wasn't making movies and TV shows in Tinseltown. He also raised cattle and opened his ranch to other big movie stars who came to visit (Clark Gable, for instance). The old house is still there, adding to the warmth of the historic property.
Taste of Sonoma is the largest gathering of the annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, which culminates in a wine auction for charity.
Sonoma County's Press Democrat newspaper, and its sister papers the Petaluma Argus-Courier and the North Bay Business Journal, were purchased late last year by a new local investors group, Sonoma Media Investments, after being owned by East Coast companies for nearly 30 years.
Read my interview with two of the members of the new ownership group –– Steve Falk (pictured left) and Darius Anderson –– in the special "Game Changers" issue of NorthBay biz magazine: http://tinyurl.com/q3474v5
My latest article for North Bay biz magazine explores the booming business of agritourism in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties: http://tinyurl.com/m7lsjno
My latest article for North Bay biz magazine is a short profile of Bill Friedman, long-time owner and overseer of his family's three home improvement stores in northern California. At a time when Home Depots and Lowes are popping up everywhere, locally owned Friedman's Home Improvement has survived and thrived for more than 60 years. A fourth Friedman's store will open next year in Petaluma. Read about Bill and his legacy in the magazine's Best of 2013 issue, here: http://tinyurl.com/lynb2x6