The Sonoma County that we love!

Archive for April, 2009

Whiskey Tasting

Wednesday 4/15/09 Tax Day! 8pm
Jack and Tony’s Restaurant and Whisky Bar

One foggy morning I was driving to work and I was listening to KZST and I heard the owner of a new restaurant, Jack and Tony’s Restaurant and Whisky Bar, doing a tasting with Heather Irwin of The Press Democrat (find her @biteclubeats on Twitter). It was early and they were so animated in their conversation about whiskey, it made it really a good listen. I had to turn the radio off before the interview was over but it made me want more. I decided then and there that I was going to do a tasting.

I finally got the chance to go there last week. It’s modern/contemporary, I think, dark wood, big booths, cigar and whiskey classic. I asked the waitress what she recommended on the whiskey tasting flights available. She asked what kind of coffee I drank and what kind of alcohol I liked. I told her French Roast and vodka. She looked a little flummoxed then finally recommended the most expensive flight they had. The price range of the flights is $14-16 so it wasn’t that much of a difference. I randomly chose one in the middle, the Irish. It had Jameson, a 12 year old whiskey I can’t remember the name for, and a Red Breast. The Red Breast was definitely the one I liked. But for the price of the flight, I was happy because it took me the rest of dinner to get through them all. All you need is one, I’m telling you.

I had their pork loin and my husband had the lobster stuffed crab. He gets lobster a lot and, let me tell you, it was THE BEST LOBSTER I’VE EVER HAD. My pork loin was awesome too. Highly recommend the food. And it’s a good idea to have reservations or eat a little late (we arrived at 8:45p) like we did. Next time I go, I’m going to sit in the cocktail area and try an appetizer and another set to expand my horizons a little more.

All around, thumbs up!


Snoopy & The Peanuts Gang

The Charles Schulz Museum & Research Center in Santa Rosa, CA
Saturday 4/11/09

Growing up as a kid, I thought everyone had a lot of Snoopy in their lives. See, I live in Santa Rosa, CA and that’s where Charles Schulz lived most of his adult life. The local ice skating rink is the Redwood Empire Ice Arena or Snoopy’s Ice. The Christmas shows they put on are the best, a cherished childhood memory. Walking around town you see Snoopy, Woodstock and Charlie Brown uniquely decorated and in the most unusual places. I can see a Woodstock from my bedroom window!

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an ice skater. I trained for a short period of time before switching to roller skating but I spent some time on their grounds. Across from the rink there is a pro shop where you get your Snoopy memorabilia, get fitted for new skates or an get an outfit. But if you were to climb the ramp to the second floor you would see an unfolding collection of Peanuts gang memorabilia. Comic strips, pez dispensers, t-shirts, pillows, stuffed animals, ad infinitum. The space was packed and fairly small. I haven’t been there since I was a child, I don’t even know if it still looks like that. But that was the worldwide destination of lovers of all things Snoopy.

I lived in Southern California for several years and while I was gone they went and built a world class museum! The Charles Schulz Museum & Research Center is very much an art gallery. I think the target audience is a 10 year old boy, Peanuts aficionados, and comic strip/commercial artists. The bottom floor right now is really taken up with the Peanuts and NASA connection. There’s quite a history between Snoopy and the space program. There are some models of space craft, actual pieces of space equipment and a ragtag module and costumes for kids to pretend “Spaceman”. It was really fun to watch a large group of excited kids bang on the pieces and parts in a whirlwind of imagination and space travel.

The outdoor garden is whimsical with plenty of art. We really liked the holographic birdbath. There’s a spotlight shining on the surface of it and with a little adjustment to your placement, you can see Snoopy, Woodstock and Charlie all skating on the ice. Woodstock is even riding a Zamboni! It took a few minutes to figure out the theme but it’s the only time I’ve ever seen a hologram!

My 3 year old wasn’t real excited. She can’t read yet so the comic strips, which are obviously everywhere, were wasted on her. Large black and white reproductions are on the walls and in cases throughout. We did enjoy their education center where we did arts and crafts. I liked the recreated home office/studio of Mr. Schulz. It seemed to be they dismantled his office and brought the whole thing in. That was cool.

My bank is right down the street from the museum and every time I drive past, I look for Charlie Brown’s kite stuck in the tree. With all the new cartoons and cable channels and Charles Schulz’ passing away, I thought my daughter would grow up in a world where she didn’t know Snoopy. Instead, his presence and legacy grew even stronger in his adopted community. Thanks for all the childhood memories.

Childhood Memory

Childhood Memory

Problem Solvers

I love problem solvers. Much of what I do is solve my clients’ problems. I am enthusiastic about those that solve my problems.

I work a lot on the resale/secondary market and met a woman that wanted to buy commercial mailboxes from me. She was very nice, we had a personable conversation, she got a good deal and I made money for my client. Everyone was happy. Never have I received an update from a buyer, sellers yes, but never buyers. She sent me a lovely email telling me about her new business being up and running and the mailboxes were a service she was looking forward to providing in her community, thanks to our connection.

Since that email, I visited the Business Copy Center and have used several of their services. Virginie, the owner, is wonderful. Our first personable conversations over mailboxes has blossomed into a prolific business relationship. From copies, to design, to mailboxes, to office supplies, every time I talk to her I have a new project and she solves a new problem for me. Love it!

We’re constantly thinking of ways to avoid the big corporations these days. Rather than succumb to my old knee-jerk reaction of going to the big conglomerate 24hour copy store (ahem), I can take my projects to Virginie (or email them to her) and she’s got in handled so much quicker and with a “real person” vibe that I am really starting to embrace in the places that I do business. And the prices are great too!

Inventive Sonoma County

I notice a new “thing” everyday. You know when you’ve just seen a documentary about, I don’t know, peanuts for example. Then for the next couple days you see peanuts and their brethren everywhere. Mr. Peanut, peanut butter, peanut M&M’s, you hear the “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” song, until you’ve got peanuts coming out of your ears!

My subject for now is intellectual property. I sat through a fascinating and educational presentation given by Steve Schneider at Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center and Sawyer Center. He’s the coordinator of The Sawyer Center, program that teaches individuals and businesses how to navigate the choppy waters of seeing an invention through to the arrival of money in your pocket. Determining if the product is viable, if there’s a need, research, trademarks, copyrights, patents, pricing, networking, it’s a big subject.

The RESBDC is an amazing resource to local business by providing free and low cost education and counseling. It’s a State of California program (your tax dollars at work!) and overseen by the Santa Rosa Junior College. I took advantage of free business counseling myself to learn, to be challenged, to ask strategic and even silly questions of my counselor, Janet Wentworth. I found it enormously beneficial.

Everyone and their mother has an invention scribbled on a piece of paper or tucked away in their creative minds. This is a program for those with ideas and dreams. We can dream it and this program teaches you how to do it.

So everywhere I look I see trademark symbols (™), copyright marks ©, endcaps in stores and I see new-use inventions at every turn. If only I had 100 hours in every day, I could do something about my brilliant ideas (sarcasm alert). But I know that when I do have an idea that’s really worth it, I know where to turn to help me with my name, patent, and market my peanut.

Girls Brunch

Sunday Brunch
The Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa, Santa Rosa

In all my years, the only time I ever brunch is on a major holiday like Easter or Mother’s Day. I find eating out on holidays to be stressful and, generally, not very good food when so many people are being served. But boy did I enjoy my last weekend’s Sunday brunch!

There were a group of 6 of us ladies and we held court in the Terrace Grill at the Flamingo for several fun filled hours! The food was great with all your standard great brunch foods. I am a “breakfast bruncher” and I wasn’t disappointed with their French Toast, which I consider one of the hardest eating out breakfast foods. They didn’t use a fancy bread that doesn’t toast well. But the best part was the champagne! I don’t usually drink so early in the day but the weather was beautiful, the company was great and the servers were very quick to return with the bottle. The topper was 3 out of the 6 of us (myself included) won a certificate for a free brunch in their frequent drawing.

Next month, Bruno’s on Fourth!

**Disclaimer. I am a two time former employee of the Flamingo (banquet bartender, banquet server/hot dog cart maven).

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