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Bloggers Embrace @SoCoRestWeek!

February 21, 2010

Sonoma County Restaurant Week – San Francisco Buzz – Zagat Survey

Here’s news that should make a hungry diner happy (without going broke). Sonoma County’s first-ever Restaurant Week runs February 22–28 with more than 75 participants, including midpriced spots like Barndiva (see menu),

Veggie Queen Adventures: Sonoma County Restaurant Week February

Coming up in less than 2 weeks, is the first Sonoma County Restaurant Week. It’s a chance to try a number of different restaurants — certainly more than 25 of them are participating. I have a few that I’d like to revisit since it’s

Sonoma Restaurant Week, Sonoma, Bellwether Farms, Epicurian

A LilSonoma Restaurant Week & Bellwether Farms Lovin. It’s Sonoma Restaurant Week in the green land of rolling hills, frolicking sheep, and tasty cheese and “It’s Not You, it’s Brie” is celebrating by hosting a giveaway. This giveaway, of course, is completely centered around cheese…

Sonoma County Restaurant Week: February 22 – 28, 2010

To celebrate our abundance of yum, participating Sonoma County restaurants will be serving 3-course prix-fixe dinners at deliciously affordable prices during our first-ever Sonoma County Restaurant Week February 22-28, 2010.

Bodega Bay Participates in Sonoma County Restaurant Week!

Three Bodega Bay restaurants are participating in the first-ever Sonoma County Restaurant Week, February 22-28! During this seven day celebration of our county’s farm fresh food and premier wine, enjoy three-course dinner menus at $19,

Sonoma County Restaurant Week Giveaway

Not to worry, I’m not done with the chocolate yet…but let’s take a brief respite for some food and wine The first-ever Sonoma County Restaurant Week begins February 22nd and will run through February 28th (about time, huh?).

BrixChicks: Make a Date with Sonoma’s Finest! It’s Restaurant Week!

It’s almost Sonoma Restaurant week! Open Table calls it "Sonoma County’s most delicious week". Where a selection of Sonoma County venues invite you in for $19, $29 and $39 dinners. Three courses of Sonoma county

Sonoma County Restaurant Week: Three-Course Dinners You Can Afford

The first Sonoma County Restaurant Week begins Monday, February 22, 2010 and ends Sunday, February 28, 2010. For seven days over 50 of Sonoma County’s best restaurants invite you to celebrate fresh, local cuisine in a

Sonoma County Restaurant Week | At the Bay’s Edge

Sonoma County Restaurant Week features 3 Course Meals for prices ranging from just $19 – $39. Enjoy local, organic, and delicious Sonoma meals!

#Sonoma County #restaurant week Feb. 22-28 starting at $19

#Sonoma County #restaurant week Feb. 22-28 starting at $19, including #Michelin-starred Sante. Read more from the original source: #Sonoma County Restaurant Week Feb. 22-28 starting at $19,

Some of my previous posts on Sonoma County Restaurant Week also:

Sonoma County Restaurant Week – Calling All Bloggers

As you might know, Sonoma County Restaurant Week is Two Five Media’s latest project. I have been put in charge of all social media interaction with the public and Philip has been adding all the menus and changing up the website as

sonoma county restaurant week is near.

The first annual Sonoma County Restaurant Week is so close, I can almost taste it! Only two more weeks! Finally, I have something to look forward to in this translational/dreaded month of February other than it just


study: people willingly spend more for green.

January 21, 2010

A article by Tanya Irwin came through my email this morning and I wanted to share it.  I know that “green” is still in, but with the current recession and the fact that Whole Foods locations are getting smaller and in some cases delaying opening (yes, I am talking about the Whole Foods in Santa Rosa), I wasn’t sure if this trend was as trendy as it was a few years ago…. I count myself as one of those who will tend to spend more on ‘green’ but my definition of it is ‘local’ which means a whole lot more than the larger brands who still continue to make claims they never back up.

shopping green

Consumers are willing to pay more for a variety of products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable — better known as “green,” according to a Burst Media study.

The survey revealed that 90% of respondents have incorporated some level of greenness into their daily lives — 8.8% are completely green, while most are aspirationally green. To help lead green lives, respondents cite the Internet as the best source of information on green products and practices.

The trend of green consumers turning to the Internet poses an “incredible” opportunity for marketers, says Chuck Moran, chief marketing officer for Burlington, Mass.-based Burst Media.

“Green consumers — in varying shades — abound on the Internet,” Moran tells Marketing Daily. “Advertisers who are marketing ‘green’ products online should recognize that the concept of ‘green’ cannot be communicated to consumers with a single concept, as it means very different things for different people.

“As marketers approach the Web with their green messaging, it is important to recognize that consumers have varying messaging cues that need to be addressed. Avoid confusion and be sure your messaging is clear and direct. Lastly, make use of the interactive nature of the Web with creative executions and rich media that users can interact with to gather more information about green products.”

Administered in late December to more than 1,500 adults, the survey revealed that people are willing to pay a premium for products they know are made out of green or environmentally friendly, organic materials. Not surprisingly, aspirationally green and 100% green consumers are the most willing to pay a premium.

The aspirationally green consumers are most willing to pay a premium for food and household products they know to be earth-friendly, including produce (66.6%), juices and other bottled drinks (61.1%), household cleaners (59.2%), laundry detergents (58.7%), and packaged food (58.2%). Meanwhile, among the 100% green respondents, over 80% are willing to pay a premium for all product categories, including food, garden/landscaping supplies (84.4%), home improvement supplies (84.0%), bedding (83.3%), and health and beauty products (82.0%).

More than one-third (39.4%) of respondents turn to the Web for information on green products and practices, followed by TV (18.4%), friends and family (9.2%), newspapers (7.1%), magazines (6.5%) and books (4.6%). While men search for information on alternative energy and green technologies, women look for healthy recipes, recycling, simple living, and natural remedies.

More than half (56.6%) of all respondents believe that to some extent, advertising claims that promote a product as environmentally friendly. However, 25% do not believe the claims — or find them confusing or misleading — and only 10% say they never believe green claims made in an advertisement. Two-thirds (67.5%) of aspirationally green respondents believe green claims in advertising, compared to 58.2% of “completely green” respondents, and 32.3% of respondents who are not green at all.

Women in all key age segments are more likely than men to purchase a product that is advertised as environmentally friendly. However, men still lead women in being completely green — 12.1% versus 5.3%, respectively.

The study reveals a distinct difference in the motivation to go green between those who are aspirational and those self-identified as 100% green. While aspirational greens clearly point to working for a better environment (61.3%) as the reason for incorporating green behaviors into their daily lives, only 38.1% of 100% greens point to this cause. Among respondents who are completely green, reasons include “to live a better quality of life” (36.6%), good for the community (35.4%), desire to make a difference (32.9%), and to set an example for others to follow (31.5%).

Among this segment, being green identifies a lifestyle rather than personal activity.

Click to read this article on the website.

game plan for winter wineland.

January 14, 2010

Only a few more days until my first Winter Wineland! I am so excited and I do have a few places I HAVE to stop by this weekend…..

Hawkes Winery in Alexander Valley / Jimtown for Coffee, etc. to pick up WINE GLASSES and start tasting!

Hanna WINERY – In either RRV or Alexander Valley. – 50’s food, Elvis Impersonator

Francis Ford Coppola Winery They have a Facebook room, blending seminars and I haven’t been there for a while.

Michel-Schlumberger (Winter Wineland Olympic Village) – This is one place I will have to visit both days. They will have a stash sale of past vintages for VERY cheap. Some wines as low as $5 a bottle… Maybe we could split a case? Olympic games and yummy food from Relish Culinary.

Amista Winery – They will be pouring a Sparkling Syrah. Possibly the only Dry Creek Valley sparkling wine…. Soups from Jack & Tony’s!

Thomas George – Some of my favorite pinots!

Merriam Vineyards – Park Avenue Catering (one of my clients) will be catering.

Other Russian River Valley wineries — This is the area I haven’t been to as much as the others, so let me know if there are any that I should specially visit!

Hudson Street Wineries – Six different wineries in downtown Healdsburg. Great place to go at the end of day before grabbing something to eat!

For a list of what all the participating wineries are doing, click here and let me know which ones you really want to visit!



shana on snl.

January 11, 2010

Finally, my likeness finally made it to snl!

There is a new character on Saturday Night Live that is named Shana (pronounced like my name, rhymes with banana) who also spells it the same.  Oh, and she has RED hair!

Unfortunately she is one of the most annoying characters from Kristin Wiigg.  As art imitates life, Charles Barkley couldn’t even say her name right either….  Though, I would have to say other than the obvious sexiness, I am nothing like this character. 🙂

Take a look and let me know…

(For some reason WordPress is not allowing me to embed so please go here to watch:

pinot tasting.

January 11, 2010

This morning I am headed to San Fransisco for the 8th Annual Pinot Noir Summit‘s final pinot tasting.  Here I will be judging 8 different flights of pinots with many other Bay Area wine bloggers, educators, sommeliers and other wine industry types.  Together we will be picking the top 40 pinots for consumer, press and trade to taste at the official Pinot Noir Summit on Febuary 27th in San Rafael.

In an email I received from Barbara Dardy, a list of aromatic characteristics of pinots was provided.  Below are some of flavors that make pinot my favorite wine!  Let me know if any of your favorite characteristics are missing.


Cherry Raspberry          Raspberry Jam          Strawberry

Strawberry Jam          Pine Pitch          Orange Peel          Oak

Violets          Peppermint           Tangerine         Coffee

Chocolate          Cinnamon            Earth          Cedar

Grapefruit           Barnyard           Black Cherry           Quinine

Coca-Cola           Smoke           Pomegranate          Rhubarb

Cranberry          Tea           Roasted Tomato          Blackberry

Blackberry Jam           Wet Leaves          Mushroom           Vanilla

Plum Licorice           Rose          Mint

Red Currant           Dried Cherry          Clove          Lavender

Herbs de Provence           Black/White Pepper           Leather           Tar

Soy Sauce           Blackcurrant (Cassis)

The Top Do’s and Don’ts for Facebook Fan Pages for 2010

January 7, 2010

I just received this great email from Margie Tosh and I wanted to share it with all of you.

The Top Do’s and Don’ts for Facebook Fan Pages for 2010

According to The Social Media and Online PR Report, published by Econsultancy in association with bigmouthmedia, 86% of companies plan to spend more money on social media in 2010, and another 13% are planning to keep the same budget. 54% of companies say that the biggest barrier to increasing social media usage is a lack of resources. The study shows that only 10% of companies are not using any type of social media. Social media is here to stay.

Facebook statistics:

  • More than 350 million active users
  • 50% of their active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • More than 35 million users update their status each day
  • More than 55 million status updates posted each day
  • More than 2.5 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 3.5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 3.5 million events created each month
  • More than 1.6 million active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 700,000 local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
  • Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans

Average User Figures

  • Average user has 130 friends on the site
  • Average user sends 8 friend requests per month
  • Average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook
  • Average user clicks the Like button on 9 pieces of content each month
  • Average user writes 25 comments on Facebook content each month
  • Average user becomes a fan of 2 Pages each month
  • Average user is invited to 3 events per month
  • Average user is a member of 12 groups

The current question is not whether or not you should be using social media, the question to be asking yourself is “How should I be using social media?”
Fan Page Do’s and Don’ts (and How to Annoy Your Fans)


Target event invitations by location. You can target by country, state or even city. If you are having a happy hour or a wine club pick up party, do not send your invite to all fans – send it only to those in your area. The bigger the event the larger the radius. No one is going to travel 2 hours to go to today’s happy hour.

Post interesting and relevant content! Keep your fans interested and engaged by providing interesting news, information, etc.

Create a short vanity URL. Any Fan page with more than 25 Fans can create a shortened URL for their page as opposed to the lang ones automatically created by facebook, similar to ours: and

Get your URL out there! Once you have a short URL, put in in your signature, on business cards, marketing material, etc.

Link your fan page to your website with a “become a fan” button.

Link your blog to your fan page. If you have a blog, use Social RSS to have your blog content automatically transferred to Facebook.

Use the “send an update to fans” wisely – and sparingly. Most people’s in-boxes are inundated and overuse will cause you to lose fans, not gain them, so save this for important messages. Post general updates and product info to your wall.

Accept or ignore causes, pages, etc. as appropriate and as you wish your customer’s to perceive you and your business (religious, political, etc.)

Engage your fans. Reply to their posts and respond to emails as you would your regular email in-box.

Update your page as frequently as makes sense for you and your business. Post photos, specials, recipes, ask opinions, etc. Keep it interesting!

Seriously consider allowing your fans the option to post. Many businesses have their page set so that only they can post, which can come off as very self-serving. Encourage engagement by your fans!

Save time and energy. Link your fan page to your Twitter to update both at once.

Post and tag your fans in photos of your events. However, use discretion when posting! You will not create good will if you post unflattering photos of anyone.

Post specials or special offers. Such as these recent posts: Cindy Winery: Join us for lunch today and receive 50% off our flatbreads or 1 glass of CW wine with mention of the word of the day: Pancetta. Starlight Wine Bar and Restaurant: Red Beans and Rice Tuesday! Heaping bowl of beans and rice served with grilled andouille and cornbread. ONLY $13 Every Tuesday.


Send an invite to become a fan over and over. Once, maybe twice is enough. Sending more than is rude and intrusive.

Over use event invites. I have sometimes receives 4 or 5 invites from the same business within minutes. This is not a way to gain fans – it is a way to lose them.

Only use your fan page to sell, sell, sell. Yes, people realize that you are business, and you wish them to buy your product or wine, but who wants to go anywhere where they are just going to feel “sold to?”. Mix it up and post some things just for fun and interest.

Instant message people as a means to sell something! (No, for the third time, I don’t want to become an Avon Rep)

Instant message people with nothing to say. Assume that people are working, or at least have something to do. I get IM’d by people with a purpose “Can you be of assistance?” or with something specific to say it is fine. Getting IM’s by someone I don’t know with the only message being “Hi” is just annoying.

What has worked for you? Do you have tips for social media? Send them to me!


PS – I will be heading down to Firestone Vineyards on the Central Coast this Sunday to compete as one of the top three Firestone Pathfinder contestants. – the top three chefs will be joining us. Follow the action on Sunday, Jan 10th and Monday, Jan. 11th during the cook off and announcement of the 2 lucky winners, who will be hiking the Inca Trail in April. And of course, any posts of support on the Firestone Discoveries Fan Page are greatly appreciated. index.php?action=tm&id=568&

giving up cheese?

January 2, 2010

Yeah….  Remember that one post that I said I would be giving up on the luxury of cheese and paying for parking in Downtown Santa Rosa?  Here it is if you didn’t get a chance to read it.  Well, I made it a whopping two days without cheese and almost three weeks (and counting) without paying for parking.  At least I will have $30 to give to the Redwood Empire Food Bank up here in Santa Rosa, but I also learned my lesson – Do not give up cheese TWO DAYS before the holiday party at The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg or four days before a lasagna party hosted by Serena and Alan of Cellar Rat.  In fact, while I am at it….  How about the lesson that I shouldn’t try to give up cheese in general….

Seriously…. Look at this amazing gadget that Doralice Handal, owner of The Cheese Shop brought in just for the event.  It slowly melted the wheel and she smeared the delicious goo on some bread and served with some spicy popcorn and sparkling wine. How could I turn this down?!!?!?!

Thanks Kelly Cline for the great idea of giving back… I am happy that was able to at least stick to giving up one of my luxuries and provide some money to a worthy cause.   If I ever try to give up cheese again, please remind me of this post!

vegetarian dream.

December 29, 2009

I just emailed the recipe below to myself so I would remember it for dinner sometime soon, but I thought others might like this recipe from Whole Foods. It is the perfect meal for veggie like me and it may be before lunch, but I am drooling just thinking of this recipe. Thank you again Whole Foods! Now, just open up your store in Santa Rosa and I will be happy!

Kale, Mushroom and Tomato Saute with Polenta

Serves 4

If you’re a mushroom lover, use different varieties of mushrooms like shiitake, portobello or cremini in this rich, savory sauté. For extra flavor, try using olive oil from the jar of tomatoes in lieu of regular olive oil.


Per serving (about 11oz/309g-wt.): 230 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 800mg sodium, 28g total carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 8g protein


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pound sliced button mushrooms
Salt and pepper
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch kale (about 3/4 pound), stemmed and roughly chopped

1 (18-ounce) roll precooked polenta, cut into 8 rounds
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in kale and 1/4 cup water, cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until kale begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Toss well, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes more. Cover and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Arrange polenta in skillet in a single layer (working in batches, if needed) and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer polenta to a paper towel-lined plate as done.

Arrange polenta on plates, spoon kale and mushroom mixture over the top, garnish with cheese and serve.

new years eve in sf.

December 23, 2009

good day in healdsburg.

December 18, 2009

Everyone keeps asking me why I cannot stop smiling and while I will keep up the suspense for a while, I will say it is gorgeous here in Healdsburg today.

I am sitting here from Bean Affair, a local coffee shop Healdsburg. It is the BEST place in town to use wifi. It isn’t as packed with people as the Flying Goat, plus this place actually has wifi (which the Goat does not) and has some amazing crepes. The sun is shining outside, so as soon as I am done with my latest project I will be taking a drive through Alexander Valley to visit one of the other reasons I am smiling.

Happy Holidays!