Archive | Fall 2014

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River’s End

Ride Off into the Sunset in Style

BY FERRON SALNIKER

PHOTO: DAVID COLLIER

We take Highway 1 past Bodega Bay to get to Jenner. It’s one of those rare June days on the Northern California coast when the fog sits far off on the horizon. The dried grass stretching from the two-lane highway to the edge of the Pacific Ocean is so brilliantly golden I think it might be beaming the fog away.

My friend, just back in the Bay Area after 12 years away, sits in the passenger seat. Green shrubs hug weathered fence posts as the wind whips through them and the blue-green ocean expands to its full vastness alongside us.

“I’m never leaving California again,” she says, and the white waves crash victoriously.

After we pass a tiny trailer with a hand-painted sign for fresh salmon, the hills and cypress trees fade out, the landscape flattens, the dried grass turns to purple and yellow wildflowers, and suddenly the emerald Russian River is flowing under the bridge we’re driving on.

The river springs from about five miles east of Willits in Mendocino County, travels 110 miles through Mendocino and Sonoma counties before it descends westward towards the Pacific … Read More

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Escoffier Questionnaire

Todd Shoberg

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY MARISSA L A BRECQUE

In a small town like Mill Valley new narratives tend to interweave with layers of history.

Molina, the current resident of the downtown space that long housed local favorite Small Shed Flatbreads, has a freshly scrubbed hipness that is beguiling: esoteric animalia murals adorn the walls and the playlist for the evening—on vinyl, of course—is delivered with your menu.

Molina’s proprietor and chef, Todd Shoberg, is young with an open face and an open kitchen. Coats of history in the building add an authentic patina. The Alan Scott brick oven remains, though the surface surrounding it has been gussied up. Ged Robertson, owner of Small Shed Flatbreads, remains as a partner in the new venture.

Chef Shoberg also has a long-running Mill Valley plot line as the highly regarded former executive chef at Piatti Mill Valley. Shoberg’s commitment to supporting local food producers, as reported in the Spring 2012 issue of this magazine, has only intensified in this new endeavor.

Labels of traditional vs. innovative, tried and true vs. leading edge aside, listening to Miles Davis’s Miles in the Sky and biting into a buttery, taut, peak-of-the-season pea is forever … Read More

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A Man With A Pan

(a very BIG pan)

BY JOHN GROSSMANN

PHOTO: ERIC ZEPEDA, ERICZEPEDA.COM; PHOTO STYLING: KEVIN CRAFTS, KEVINCRAFTS.NET

Gerard Nebesky, chef and former owner of the Bohemian Café in Occidental, has essentially cooked only one dish professionally for the last decade: paella, the beloved Spanish rice creation that varies from cook to cook but typically simmers a beguiling medley of seafood and chicken and vegetables.

Gerard, 48, cooks in pans as large as 10 feet across as many as 200 days a year at outdoor events and galas. He’s as much a regular at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park as singer Emmylou Harris. The last couple years he’s shipped his huge pans as far as Queens, New York, serving 1,800 at the World Maker Faire.

If there’s a Prince of Paella, it’s Gerard, who prevailed against star chef Bobby Flay in a televised paella throwdown in 2008.

Gerard endeared himself to me two years ago, tending two steaming paella pans in a vest pocket park in Calistoga. That night, he was cooking for 100 or so wedding rehearsal dinner guests that my wife and I were hosting as parents of the groom. Our son, Jeff, and daughter-in-law-to-be, Grace, … Read More

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The Croft at Nick’s Cove

Local Sourcing on a Whole New Level

BY KIRSTEN JONES NEFF • PHOTOS BY STACY VENTURA

Farm Manager Ross Barlow and Executive Chef Austin Perkins in the Croft at Nick’s Cove.

Imagine a row of small cottages perched above a remote and misty cove. They are simple, colorful structures, some sitting on stilts above the shallow sea. Vines wander along fence posts and up the cottage eves, and beds of nasturtium bloom bright against a backdrop of blue-grey bay.

To the east, picture rolling hills, lustrous green grazing pastures that rise to meet the white sky.

This might be a depiction of pastoral Scotland, but I am painting a picture of Nick’s Cove, the much-heralded resort and restaurant nestled into the eastern shoreline of Tomales Bay, just north of Marshall.

After years of hearing rave reviews of Nick’s Cove—“it is the place to go for an anniversary” or “you feel like you’re in a different world”—it was time for a visit. Now there were new rumors to spur my journey: the addition of a farm and kitchen garden on the hillside above the cottages. As a gardening teacher and fervent farm-to-table devotee, I am always eager to investigate when a … Read More

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Cherry on Top

Find the little fisherman dropping his line into a delicious California Pinot in this photograph by Matthew Carden that has been hidden in another location within this issue and enter the page number of the hidden location on the Edible Marin & Wine Country homepage. The first five people to enter a correct answer will receive a $20 gift card good at any Whole Foods Market location in Marin, Napa or Sonoma county. WholeFoodsMarket.com

Enter to win at EdibleMarinandWineCountry.com

Entries are due by midnight on September 30, 2014 Winners will be notified by email.

Experience all of Matthew Carden’s unique “food as art” pieces that have been published in Edible Marin & Wine Country, and more, in person at his Super Fresh Art Gallery, 906 Grant Ave., Novato. MatthewCarden.com and Facebook.com/SuperFreshArtGallery

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Teaching, and Learning, White Space

Doing What You Love and Making a Difference

BY YASMINE McGRANE • PHOTOS BY CLAY McLACHLAN

It’s something we all know we want more of. But not something we all know how to describe. White space. Slowing down the pace of our lives so we can enjoy the moment. Curbing our urge to overcommit so we can be creative and do more of what we love.

One ordinary day last year, I was given the chance to bring more white space into my life. At my son Finnegan’s back-to-school night, the volunteer sign-up sheets circulated. I had to physically stop myself from overcommitting. This year I wanted to be a human being not a human doer. In all aspects of my life, I would try to focus on a few things I was passionate about and enjoy them deeply.

So I asked myself, “What do I love to do that may be needed?”

One thing I love is cooking. I mentioned that to Finnegan’s teacher, Mrs. Devol, and suggested that it would be great to use the school’s gardens more and develop a culinary farm program. Because she is an amazing teacher, she listened. The next day she asked if … Read More

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Edible Events Calendar

SEPTEMBER

Janet Fletcher’s World Cheese Tour: What’s Up with that Rind? September 2 (Hall Wines, St. Helena, JanetFletcher.com)

19th Annual Wine Country Cajun Festival

September 6 (Sebastopol, WineCountryCajun.com)

LEXICON OF SUSTAINABILITY POP-UP AT SHED

September 7 (The Grange at Healdsburg Shed, HealdsburgShed.com)

TRIBUTE TO JUDY RODGERS OF ZUNI CAFÉ

September 7 (Ramekins Culinary School, Sonoma, Ramekins.com)

Calistoga Harvest Table

September 7 (Calistoga, VisitCalistoga.com)

Napa Valley Artisan Festival

September 8 (Veteran’s Park, Napa, DoNapa.com)

Full Moon Hike at Tuteur Lake with Napa Land Trust

September 8 (Napa, NapaLandTrust.org)

4th Annual National Heirloom Festival

September 9–11 (Sonoma County Fairground, Santa Rosa, 707.773.1336, RareSeeds.com/resources/festivals)

Marin Organic: Farming 101—Mentoring the Next Generation of Farmers

September 9 (Petaluma Seed Bank, 415.663.9667, MarinOrganic.org)

BLADEMASTER KNIFE SKILLS WITH MASTER CHEF ADAM BUSBY

September 11 (Napa Valley Cooking School, St. Helena, 707.967.2900)

THE BOOK OF BREAD: DISCUSSION AND TASTING WITH AUTHOR SAMUEL FROMARTZ

September 12 (The Grange at Healdsburg Shed, HealdsburgShed.com)

THE ART OF THE CUPCAKE WITH KARA’S CUPCAKES: THE FORK AT POINT REYES FARMSTEAD

September 12 (Point Reyes Station, 800.591.6878, PointReyesCheese.com/thefork)

HEIRLOOM TOMATO EXTRAVAGANZA

September 13 (Ramekins Culinary School, Sonoma, Ramekins.com)

Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival

September 13 (Petaluma, 707.762.2785, PetalumaRiverCraftBeerFest.org)

Field to Fork Italian Harvest Supper … Read More

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What our Bees Bring Home

The Results of the Marin Pollen Project

BY M.E.A. McNEIL

PHOTO: BONNIE MORSE

The Marin County Beekeepers club members are into food, from creation to cuisine. That night they’d laid out a feast, pollinated by their tiny livestock, on the long barn table. But the mood of the gathering was not festive. So many of their colonies were dying, and they didn’t understand why.

Their dinner guest, Maryann Frazier, an entomologist from Penn State University, had found agricultural chemicals in Eastern beehives. Could that be their problem, too?

Marin County, like the rest of the country, has seen a surge of interest in beekeeping—bees being the new chickens. From some 15 beekeepers meeting monthly, membership in the Marin County Beekeepers has grown to over 300; most came out of curiosity and stayed, fascinated by the insects that pollinate a third of our food.

Bonnie Morse, a member who keeps bees around the county with her husband, Gary, had been gathering statistics on Marin hive losses yearly since 2009. At an annual average of 42%, local losses are even higher than the news-making national averages of 30% that are widely agreed to be unsustainable. It’s not a pretty sight: desiccated bees … Read More

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Pit Crew

Adopt-a-Tree Program Yields Bounty of Insight—and Peaches

BY ELISABETH PTAK

PHOTO: GOSIA WOZNIACKA, GOSIAWOZNIACKA.COM

For a week in 2009, I ate almost nothing but peaches.

Even when I knew I’d had enough, my hand would drift to the plate of dried peach slices on the kitchen counter, or I’d crave peach jam and French toast, or I’d feel an urge to scoop peach salsa onto whatever we were having for dinner.

Some mornings, I baked a galette or two before breakfast and took them with me to work. On one typical West Marin evening (chilly, foggy), I topped a slice of peach pie with a scoop of peach ice cream and garnished it with a grilled peach half.

There were no limits.

That was the first year we harvested organic Elberta peaches in the Adopt-a-Tree program at the Masumoto Family Farm near Fresno in the Central Valley. It works much the way a CSA does: You pay in advance to provide working capital for the farm during the growing season, then reap the benefits or—as was the case this past summer—share the disappointments at harvest time.

PHOTO: GOSIA WOZNIACKA

To become an adoptive parent, you apply in February. You must … Read More

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