News in Wine Country, Kids Eat Free & More

New Happenings in Wine Country

After years of renovation, Rustic, Francis’s Favorites has opened in the soon-to-be-completed Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville.

The dining room is centered on the parrila, an Argentinian grill. Enjoy Neopolitan pizzas such as the one named after the famed director’s daughter (a stellar director in her own right), Sofia. This pizza comes topped with arugula, prosciutto, and Parmigiano. Other dishes include a whole fish cooked in salt, classic Fiorentino steak for two, short ribs Argentine-style, and “Mrs. Scorcese’s Lemon Chicken” (one guess where that recipe came from).

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily. The winery has a temporary tasting room for now. Eventually, it will include two new tasting rooms, as well as Coppola’s collection of movie memorabilia, including Don Corleone’s desk from “The Godfather” and the original 1948 Tucker car.

Join more than 30 of the Napa Valley’s top chefs and wineries at Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Grand Tasting at the Silverado Resort in Napa, Aug. 5.

Among the restaurants participating are Peter Pahk, chef of the Silverado Resort, who will be assisted by chefs from La Toque, the Restaurant at Meadowood, and Cole’s Chop House.

Funds raised will go to Share Our Strength’s efforts to eradicate childhood hunger in Napa County and across the nation.

Tickets are $75 per person. One of the sponsors, Pretzel Crisps, is offering a deal on $15 off the ticket price. Just use the code, “PRETZELCRISP,” when purchasing tickets online.

This month, Swanson Vineyards in Rutherford debuted a new, whimsical tasting room, Sip Shoppe.

It joins the winery’s Salon tasting room. The Sip Shoppe, open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, is decorated in striped circus-like fabric and faux stone gargoyles. Enjoy sipping wines in unusual glassware such as glass “Dixie” cups, mini Riedel O’s, and colored cut crystal.

A sense of fun permeates this tasting spot, which was envisioned as a candy store for grown-ups. Wines are available by the glass or by specific tastings, including the “Oakville Irony” ($15, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, a dollop of caviar atop a potato chip, and a New Orleans Snowball).

Look for new gift sets to be sold there, too, such as the “Newlywed Kit” (six bottles ofย  Swanson Vineyards “Just Married” wine, along with a feather ostrich duster, and a sage bundle).

Kids Eat Free at Chipotle Aug. 2

Parents who purchase a burrito, salad, burrito bowl or tacos at Bay Area Chipotle’s get a free meal for their kids on Aug. 2.

It’s a promotion to show off the new Chipotle kids’ menu, which includes choices such as small cheese quesadilla ($2.95, which includes a bag of chips, and beverage) and a “taco kit” ($3.95), which allows the pint-sized bunch to build their own tacos from three items (and enjoy chips and a beverage).

Just as with the grown-up dishes, the kid-friendly ones also are made with naturally raised meats, organic and local produce, and hormone-free dairy.

Today is National Cheesecake Day…

…And you know what that means? Half-price cheesecake slices for eat-in diners today at Cheesecake Factory locations.

Choose from more than 30 different flavors, including the new Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake, which includes chunks of your favorite candy mixed into cheesecake with layers of fudge cake and caramel. How decadent is that?

Twenty-five cents from each slice of the Reese’s cheesecake will be donated to Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger relief agency.

Flea Street Cafe Dinner Event

Celebrate the achievements of two important women in the culinary world at a special dinner, Aug. 8, at Menlo Park’s Flea Street Cafe.

The two women to be honored are: Temra Costa, author of “Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat” (Gibbs Smith); and Dru Rivers of Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley.

The five-course dinner, featuring ingredients from Full Belly Farm, is $85 per person; a wine pairing option is an additional $30. Signed copies of “Farmer Jane” will be available for purchase. For reservations, call (650) 854-1226.

Urban Wine Experience

That’s just what you’ll enjoy, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. July 31, at Jack London Square, when 19 wineries will be pouring at the fifth annual Urban Wine Experience.

The event, by the East Bay Vintners, includes such participating wineries as Cerruti Cellars, Rosenblum Cellars and Periscope Cellars. Noshes will be provided by such restaurants as Bocanova, Wood Tavern and Yoshi’s.

The indoor event, inside Jack London Pavilion (formerly Barnes & Noble) also will feature live music.

Tickets are $60 at the door (or $15 for designated drivers at the door).

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