Celebrations are popping up all around town. Choices abound, with a terrific array of fairs and festivals to savor.
A Quinceañera for Doña Tomás
Sunday September 21, 5–10pm
5004 Telegraph Ave, Oakland
In many Latin communities, a girl’s passage to womanhood (at age 15) is celebrated with a big party called a quinceañera. We’re all invited to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Doña Tomás with Mexican food, house margaritas, music, and dancing. Doña Tomás is the first restaurant run by Dona Savitsky and Tom Schnetz, the duo behind Flora, Fauna, and Xolo in Oakland, and Tacubaya in Berkeley. Festive quinceañera attire is encouraged. Cost: $15 at the door includes house margaritas and food.
Kick Up Your Heels at the Hoes Down
Hoes Down Harvest Celebration
Saturday October 4 & Sunday October 5
Join the Full Belly farmers as they put down their hoes. Enjoy two fun-filled days of workshops and events showcasing agricultural arts and sustainable rural living in the Capay Valley (Yolo County).
Saturday, October 4:
The Harvest Festival at Full Belly Farm offers educational farm tours, a magical children’s area, live bluegrass music, local farm products, and an abundance of farm-fresh, organic food. Admission: Adults $20 or $25 (at gate); Children 2–12 years $5; Children under 2 free. Saturday night camping: $25 per car, no reservations needed. Register online: here.
Sunday, October 5:
A variety of in-depth seminars on farms throughout the Capay Valley, featuring floral design, local fiber, multi-species pasture management, modern suburban homesteading, and more. Workshop admission $10–$40. Pre-registration required. Info: here or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.791.2110.
Hobnob with Goats, Taste Cheese and Honey
September Harvest Tasting
Saturday September 27, noon–5pm
BioFuel Oasis Cooperative
1441 Ashby Ave, Berkeley
Come taste local honey, homemade cheese, ginger beer, and more. Pet chickens, take a free urban farming workshop, and vote on the best East Bay honey. Get inspiration to start (or expand) your backyard urban farm by attending a free demo or workshop on backyard beehives, winter gardens, urban goats, backyard chickens, or ginger beer. Kids welcome. Free. Info: here
Savor the Season at the AgPark
Second Annual Sunol AgPark Harvest Festival
Sunday October 5, 10am–3pm
505 Paloma Way, Sunol
Sage and the Sunol AgPark farmers invite you to celebrate the fall harvest. Enjoy “u-pick” pumpkin patches, farm tours, gardening demos, educational booths, kids crafts, music, food, plus produce and flowers from Sunol AgPark farmers. Free. Parking fee $5. Info: here
Sip and Read
Wines of California Book Launch
Saturday September 20, 5:00pm
Ordinaire Wine Shop & Wine Bar
3354 Grand Ave, Oakland
Join noted authors and Wine Enthusiast writers Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen for the launch of their latest book, Wines of California. Meet vintners from the Lodi AVA (American Viticultural Area) as they offer exciting wines presented by LoCA The Wines of Lodi. Info: here
Explore Art in Nature and the Nature of Art
A Multidisciplinary Arts Festival
Sunday September 21, 11am–5pm
Stream Trail of Redwood Regional Park, Oakland
There’s no food for sale at this event, but you can bring a picnic and plan to nourish your soul with a big dose of art, nature, and community. Art in Nature ~ The Nature of Art offers an immersion into art and nature and the beauty of creating. It invites the spontaneous artistic co-creation of festival participants and 200+ professional artists. Guests stroll along the mile-long Stream Trail, through 12 theme areas featuring music, dance, sculpture, painting, martial arts, poetry, body painting, circus arts, theater, visual arts, storytelling, arts & crafts, and kids activities.
Take the free shuttle bus from Merritt College. Festival admission free. Info: here
New Cookery Titles
By Kristina Sepetys
Just like this newsletter, these new cookbooks are full of comforting, seasonal treats. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between, you’ll find sweet, savory, and creative ideas to inspire your meal-making!
Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home
Recipes from Sweet West Oakland
by Tanya Holland with Jan Newberry
(Chronicle Books, 2014)
If you don’t already know her, it’s time to meet Tanya Holland, chef and co-owner (with her waffle-wrangler husband Phil Surkis) of Oakland’s beloved Brown Sugar Kitchen. Holland describes the Mandela Parkway spot as “a soul-food restaurant on an isolated corner in West Oakland.” But geographic isolation is offset by the enthusiastic crowds of regulars who gather there for good company and Louisiana-style comfort foods like chicken and waffles, macaroni and cheese, barbeque shrimp and grits, Andouille gougères, pulled pork sandwiches, and oyster po’boys. With her cookbook, you can try 86 of Holland’s signature dishes at home and read about the regulars who frequent the Kitchen.
Will it Waffle? 53 Irresistible and Unexpected
Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron
by Daniel Shumski (Workman, 2014)
Anyone who has a waffle iron squirreled away in a kitchen cupboard (most of us?) will be intrigued by this book that offers dozens of recipes to make use of the appliance. Shumski is the author behind the website willitwaffle.com. Besides a host of breakfast dishes, find recipes for lunches, dinners, snacks, and desserts like Crisscrossed Crab Cakes, Fawaffle (Waffled Falafel) and Hummus, Sweet-and-Sour Waffled Wontons, and Red Velvet Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches.
Almonds Every Which Way: More than 150 Healthy & Delicious Almond Milk, Almond Flour, and Almond Butter Recipes
by Brooke McLay (DeCapo Press, 2014)
Almonds are one of California’s most prolific and profitable crops and are expected to have a particularly abundant harvest this year. A new cookbook from cheekykitchen.com blogger Brooke McLay includes more than 150 recipes for every meal of the day (and snacks and beverages too). Many of the dishes are paleo, vegan, gluten-free, or otherwise suited to specialized diets. Try the Almond Flour Streusel Topping on fruit dishes, Banana Almond Bread, Almond Butter Hot Chocolate, Almond Flour Polenta, or Almond Butter Snickerdoodles.
Let Us All Eat Cake:
Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Cake
by Catherine Ruehle with Sarah Scheffel (Ten Speed Press, 2014)
The author, a well-known pastry artist and television personality, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She found relief when she eliminated dairy, sugar, and gluten from her diet. She also discovered a specialized pastry niche: gluten-free baking. Ruehle shares more than 60 classic cake recipes modified for a gluten-free diet (with optional modifications for vegan, sugar-free, dairy-free, and nut-free diets). Handsome photography shows off the delicious creations.