"The Rockin H Rocks BATW" by Hilary Kaiser

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Rockin H Ranch
Rockin H Ranch

The unique setting for July’s meeting was the airplane hangar of the Rockin H, a privately owned ranch on the picturesque Lakeville Highway in Petaluma. Karen Misuraca acted as host for the packed agenda.
Elisa Southard announced details about BATW’s first anthology of travel stories and distributed a flier calling for entries. Stories must have been written or published between October 15, 2010 and October 15, 2011. Only BATW members who have paid their dues may submit, and only the first 75 entries will be considered. Entries should be 800-1800 words, and the limit is two entries per member. The cut-off date is October 15, 2011. (See this month’s Tips and Resources for more information.)
Member News: Karen Misuraca announced that BATW member Ellen Sarbone is hospitalized at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco and welcomes hearing from members. We will be sending flowers. [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Ed note: Ellen Sarbone is now recuperating at a rehab center, and says she appreciates BATW’s flowers, calls, and visits from friends. She expects to be there another week or two.]
Website editor Carolyn Koenig asked that members submit news by July 23rd. Associate members will soon be able to publish links to their press releases.
Lee Daley announced her photo exhibit at the Cooper Alley Salon at Larkspur Landing.
Lee Foster is finishing a writing project for DK Publishing Eyewitness Guides series on back roads in California, to be published in 2013. He also announced that he is licensing 200 articles that will go live on a new website, which he will tell BATW members about in the September website update.
Sheila O’Connor announced that she attended the St. Kitts’ Music Festival and is currently writing about musical events.
Upcoming Meetings: Events Coordinator, Erin Caslavka, announced that August meeting with be at Silks Restaurant at the Mandarin Hotel, featuring Don George. She and Carolyn Koenig are organizing a print publishers’ panel (“The Un-Usual Suspects”) for September.
Our July Meeting: After thanking the Hendricks family, owners of the Rockin H Ranch, for their kind hospitality, Erin mentioned that it was BATW member and photographer Jak Wonderly who established the contact. Jak explained how he has worked with Sid Hendricks’ daughter Keli, a horse trainer, and her husband, a performance rider, on photo shoots.

Food and Drink Panel Discussion
Erin introduced the panel members and explained how she had chosen the subject of food and drink. After reading a passage about food and travel, she said “We use food and wine as vehicles in travel writing and can turn them into art via words.”

BATW member Jacqueline Harmon Butler told how she got started writing about food, and said it is important to her to write about the whole experience—following your nose in a neighborhood, choosing the restaurant, looking at the menu outside, looking inside to see who the customers are and what they’re eating. Avoiding such words as “delicious,” she said she tries to come up with new, descriptive adjectives, yet admitted this is sometimes difficult. She gave tips: When writing about a meal, take along a little notebook, ask for a copy of the menu, and take photos of dishes to trigger your memory. Hold up a glass of wine by the stem to see its color and light. Jacqueline said food and drink for her are metaphors of life.
President of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, Jim Ryan spoke about the Concannon Vineyard, which was founded in the 1880s when California was still Spanish. During the Gold Rush era, Europeans arrived in the Valley and started making wine there. At the moment, the valley has fewer amenities than Napa and Sonoma, yet it is becoming a favored destination with B & B’s and restaurants—a place to relax that is financially accessible. He recommended a new book by Tom Wilmer entitled The Wine Seeker’s Guide to Livermore Valley. According to Jim, when drinking wine, there are three things we should do: enjoy its taste, consume it with food, and choose whom we’d like to share it with.

Wendy Peterson of the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau lauded the charms of the Sonoma Valley and its agricultural roots. She said the valley has been voted the best destination from San Francisco in San Francisco Magazine, because of its mystique and authenticity. Sonoma is proud of its home-grown sustainability, its artisans, wine, olive oil, cheese and art. The Visitors Bureau helps tourists plan their trips and gives tips on how best to experience tastings. Wendy invited BATW members to stop by and/or to contact her.
Tom Medin spoke about his San Francisco-based company, Local Tastes of the City Tours, which he founded in order to preserve local shops and restaurants and to allow visitors to connect with local artisans and producers. The company offers tours of Little Italy/North Beach and Chinatown, including to Café Roma to see how coffee is roasted, a bakery to see how bread is made, a chocolate-making shop, a Dim Sum restaurant and other venues. Tours are at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and cost $59 for adults and $5 for children.

President of the Napa Valley Destination Council, Clay Gregory began his presentation by saying that Trip Advisor has named the Napa Valley the #1 food and wine destination of the world. Together with Bordeaux, Tuscany, Porto and Christ Church, Napa is one of the great wine capitals of the world. Surprisingly, despite its fame, only 4% of California wines are grown here and 95% of the farms are family-owned. There are 14 Michelin stars in the area, and six new restaurants will be opening in Napa within the next six months. With the advent of organic, “farm to table” produce, 10 restaurants now have their own gardens. The valley is proud of its Culinary Institute of America, its performing arts scenes, its festivals (e.g. the Napa Valley Film Festival and the Wine and Food Festival), and its hiking and biking trails.
Following the panel discussion, BATW members enjoyed wines, cheeses, olive oils and lemoncello! from the Sonoma and Napa valleys.
 
 



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