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Business Beat: 07/01/2014

Business Beat - Aventine Glen Ellen fills old grist mill



Rustic Italian country-style dining has arrived in Glen Ellen thanks to the new Aventine Glen Ellen, which opened its doors at the end of June. Occupying the historic grist mill in Jack London Village, the osteria will serve classic Italian cuisine with a California flair. Chef and owner Adolfo Veronese said that means everything is a little bit different, like his beef, veal and pork lasagna with cinnamon, or his modern take on meat balls with the “aventino” - a large meatball stuffed with mozzarella, basil, pesto, golden raisins and soft polenta. On the dessert menu is zoccolini - fried pizza dough and melted nutella with mascarpone dipping sauce and jam - which Veronese said is a direct throwback to childhood. “My mom used to take us back to Rome in the summer,” he said, “and we couldn't wait to eat at this little place because of its fried pizza dough.”

Adolpho Veronese
Although he now lives with his family in Kenwood, Veronese has cooked and traveled extensively throughout his career. Born and raised in San Francisco (he is the son of San Francisco chef Adolfo Veronese and Angela Alioto, daughter of former San Francisco Mayor Joseph L. Alioto), Veronese grew up washing dishes in his father's Italian restaurant. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Veronese garnered acclaim in the kitchens of contemporary Italian, Mediterranean and California restaurants from Southern California to Las Vegas. In 2007, after starting a popular fine-dining catering company in Las Vegas and Northern California, Veronese, along with his brother, Gian-Paolo and partner Rodrigo Nevado, opened Taverna Aventine in San Francisco. Its success was followed by Aventine Hollywood in 2012. Aventine Glen Ellen will be the third location in the Aventine family, with the possibility of a fourth fine-dining “ristorante” Aventine somewhere in the future.

To bring rustic Italian style to the old grist mill, Veronese has given the interior a little face-lift with some new paint, design flourishes of dark wood and wrought iron, and floor to ceiling wine racks. A new brick-wall pizza oven in the dining room will produce the six custom pizzas offered on Aventine's menu. Veronese said Aventine makes all of its pastas in-house (except one) and will also be offering gluten-free pasta and pizza. To the bar, which still has its great view of the historic water wheel, two large beer brewing vats have been added, in which Aventine will micro-brew its own beer. Aventine will also feature seven beers on tap, a full bar, and an extensive local and global wine list. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, from 4 to 7 p.m., with a “Bar Bites” menu and selected cocktails and wine by the glass. Aventine hopes to expand event offerings in the future to include social events like live music and wine, beer and food pairings.

Aventine Glen Ellen is open six days a week (closed Mondays), from 4 to 10 p.m. In the future, brunch will be served Saturday and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To make a reservation, call 934-8911. Located in Jack London Village, 14301 Arnold Dr. in Glen Ellen.

Mid-Summer Maple Series at Wildwood Farm

On July 11, 12, and 13, Joe, Sara, and Ricardo Monte, owners of Wildwood Farm, invite you to surround yourself with maples and experience the versatility and expansive characteristics of this family of trees. Learn about Japanese maples from the collectors of the rare and unusual. In the shade of the ancient oaks, enjoy a talk and discussion each day at 1 p.m.

Topics will include: Friday - Pairing Japanese maples. Saturday - Exploring dwarf Japanese maples; Sunday - Shade Loving Maples: from Fern Leaf to Full Moon.

There will be a question and answer period after each presentation. Refreshments will be served.

During this weekend and the days leading up to it, gardeners may take advantage of special prices on maples and flowering perennials throughout the nursery.

For further information, call 833-1161, or go to www.wildwoodmaples.com. Wildwood Farm Nursery is located at 10300 Sonoma Hwy. in Kenwood.

Palooza summer events

This summer, Palooza Gastropub & Wine Bar in Kenwood is featuring Sangria Sundays and Music Palooza Fridays.

Every Sunday from 12 to 3 p.m., enjoy live music, lunch and delicious Sangria. On tap for music is acoustic guitarist Chris Hanlin on July 6, the acoustic trio Fallen Anjel on July 13, blues group Rosetown Ramblers on July 20, and the classic rock and soul of Tsunami on July 27.

On Fridays, there will be live music on the patio and, of course, 16 microbrews on tap. The music lineup is Fallen Anjel on July 4, reggae with Sky-I & Inner Riddim EPK, a special guest playing rock, pop and blues on July 18, and Southern soul with Ricky Alan Ray on July 25.

Later in the summer will be the 1st Annual Kenwood Palooza on Aug. 30, 2 to 8 p.m. There will be tastings of craft beers, micro wines and food, and live music. Come enjoy samples of unique brews and wines. Advanced tickets are $20 and can be bought at www.facebook.com/PaloozaCateringAndEvents, at the restaurant in the Kenwood shopping center, 8910 Sonoma Hwy., or $25 at the door.

Join Vineyards Inn chef on

trip to Spain

In March of 2015, Vineyards Inn Spanish Bar & Grill owner and chef Steve Rose will take a group on an eight day journey to the ever-evolving Spanish culinary scene. You'll visit its three centers: Barcelona - center of the Catalan culinary world; San Sebastian - Europe's culinary mecca and perhaps home to the world's best seafood; Rioja - home to Spain's most recognized wine region; and ending in Madrid with a visit to the famous Segovia's Alcázar castle, where Spain's Queen Isabella married Ferdinand in 1474.

The trip features first-rate accommodations, Michelin rated restaurants, tours and tastings at top family-run wine estates, walking tours, a Basque coast day excursion, a visit to one of San Sebastian's Gastronomic Societies, cooking classes, and much more.

If you love food and wine, museums, art, architecture and learning about regional Spanish cooking, and want an insider's look, this trip is for you!

Price per person sharing a room: $3,999. Single surcharge $549. Includes sightseeing, bus and local air transportation as indicated, a cooking class, four winery visits, eight nights hotel, eight breakfasts and six lunches and three dinners with wine.

For more information, contact Food & Wine Trails, info@foodandwinetrails.com or 526-2922 or 800-367-5348.

Mei-Don opens in Oakmont

A new Chinese restaurant, Mei-Don, is now open in Oakmont, in the space once occupied by Jacinto's Pot of Flavors at 6576 Oakmont Dr. Owned and operated by Oakmont resident Ken Wong, Mei-Don's menu features Chinese favorites such as chow mein, fried rice, and sweet and sour pork. Mei-Don does not use any added MSG, its chicken breasts are from free range chickens with no hormones or antibiotics, and egg dishes are made with fresh eggs from Field of Greens in Sonoma.

Mei-Don is open Wednesdays through Sundays and can be reached at 521-9239.

ARThouse Gallery features “Summertime Blues”

Through the month of July you can see a special exhibit at the ARThouse gallery in Glen Ellen with the theme of “Summertime Blues.” Come see the way many of the gallery's artists have used and interpreted the compelling color of blue.

The ARThouse Gallery is located at 13758 Arnold Dr., next to the historic Chauvet Hotel. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Call 933-9883 for more information.



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