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07.22.09

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Odds 'n' Sods

By Gretchen Giles


The owners of Napa's Tuscany Restaurant have changed its name and its culinary country to the Border and from Italy to Mexico respectively. First reports are glowing. . . . We hear tell that celebrity Iron Chef master Masaharu Morimoto is sharpening his knives in preparation to foray into Napa alongside the new Ritz-Carlton, which to him is a mere feeding tank of avid customers. . . . The new Bardessono Hotel in Yountville sports a very non-hotel-like restaurant that names all the sources on the plate, handles a panini as well as an oyster po' boy and specializes in fish preparations and local good foods. . . . Veggie heaven Ubuntu has pushed into the vacant storefront next door, expanding the dining room as the harvest comes in. . . . Caffe Cicero is no more, with the Curbside Mediterranean Cafe taking its place.

On the other side of the Mayacamas, it appears that Lagunitas Brewing Co. has made good on its long-standing threat to simply have that much more fun. Its new Taproom and Beer Sanctuary is now open for beer-lovers, their kids and, sure, even their dogs. Serving Jerome's Barbecue, the Sanctuary welcomes irreverent supplicants from 3pm to 9pm, Wednesday–Friday, and from 1pm to 7pm, Saturday–Sunday. The wine license is still being worked out according to assistant marketing manager Don Chartier, but sodas are available, as is the full slate of Lagunitas pours. Guest taps from other brewers are on tap for the future, and they currently are offering live music every single day. "That's kind of a moving target," Chartier says when asked about the music calendar. "All I can tell you is that someone will be up there playing." All righty, then! The Sanctuary is in a business park located at 1280 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. 707.769.4495.

Perhaps not exactly at the other end of the spectrum, Cotati prepares for its first annual Vegan and Vegetarian Food Festival, slated for Aug. 1–2, to coincide with the mass arrival of thousands of members of the Science of the Soul, a sikh temple. Drawn to Petaluma by the annual arrival of their master from India, this entirely vegetarian congregation is bound to get hungry. That's where Masala Jack's owner Rupinder Garcha steps in. Estimating that his Cotati store could feed only 500 folks a day, Garcha began canvassing other local food outlets to help sate the ravening crowds. He eventually found 21 purveyors able to set up shop in La Plaza Park, serving food reasonably priced between $6 and $8 to a crowd estimated to be in the thousands. "There will be people here of all ethnicities and backgrounds," Garcha says, "and I wanted them to be able to afford it."

Among those confirmed are the vegan Seed Restaurant, as well as Fresh China, the El Salvadoran place El Malecon, the Indian food of Karma Bistro, El Colonel's Mexican food, the Middle Eastern fare of Sahara and even JK's Buffet Lounge. "There's a lot of emphasis today on 'green cuisine,'" Garcha says. "And I thought that we could start something that would bring in a lot of people." In addition to food booths, the festival promises information tables and plenty of live music for all. Saturday–Sunday, Aug. 1–2, in La Plaza Park, Cotati. 11am to 6pm. Free.


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