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RestaurantsNorth Bay
08.25.10

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Phaedra

Odds & Sods

By Gretchen Giles


Studio Barndiva, the retail space adjacent to the restaurant, has played host to an interactive conceptual art piece for the entire month of August and seals the experience on Aug. 27 with a sit-down dinner. Barndiva co-owner Jil Hale compares artist Laura Parker's A Taste of Place to the recent installation by Marina Abramovic during her retrospective at Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art. There, visitors had a choice between entering a room by walking very closely past two naked sentinels or using an unpeopled door. Once inside, they watched Abramovic share eye contact with a stranger.

Everyone stays clothed in Parker's Taste, but participants still interact with her. In a soil tasting. It's soil, compleat—really. Parker has culled soils from various area farms, explicated their composition and stress cycles and pairs a sniff of the dampened stuff with a taste of food grown from it. The Sonoma County Museum did something similar years ago, but without the one-on-one interaction. Some folks can find it creepy; others, provocative. Everyone can agree, however, that sitting down and eating good things grown from good soil is a fine way to go. Barndiva hosts a culminating experience on Friday, Aug. 27, with "A Taste of Place . . . At the Table," an interactive dinner party/art experience. Barndiva, 231 Center St., Healdsburg. $100. 707.431.0100. . . .

Having already raised some $3 million to help feed underserved residents of Napa County, Hands Across the Valley (HAV) returns for its 17th year on Aug. 28, this year at the Ranch Winery in St. Helena. Founded by Uptown Theatre owner and area developer George Altamura in 1994—who was incredulous that so many were going unfed in one of the great food-producing areas of the United States—HAV seeks to provide funds, in Altamura's words, "to do something about hunger in the Napa Valley."

Benefiting the area Food Bank and Meals on Wheels programs, HAV also contributes to Community Action Napa Valley and helps to fill holiday food baskets and provide vouchers for those who fall through the cracks. It also aims to provide a great evening for supporters, with comedian Rob Schneider returning to emcee the night, assisted by KVON 1440-AM morning personality Kellie Fuller and Bay Area TV host Malou Nubla. Corporate comic—not a misprint—Bob Sarlatte also entertains. Butch Whacks and the Glass Packs provide the dancing music, and both a buffet and sit-down dinner are available. Hands Across the Valley, Saturday, Aug. 28, from 6pm to 11pm. The Ranch Winery, 105 Zinfandel Lane, St. Helena. $200–$500. 707.226.6136. . . .

Goat is the new chicken, particularly since chicken became the new goat, and more restaurants and chefs are praising and braising the humble Capra aegagrus hircus. To wit, the Left Bank Brasserie in Larkspur hosts a goat night on Tuesday, Aug. 31. While serving their regular menu, chef Sean Canavan has also planned a full slate of goaty goodness, including rack, loin, tenderloin, shank, shoulder and sirloin options. There will also be a Provenšal navarin stew and goat sausages available. All are served with couscous and ratatouille and are priced from $19–$34. Left Bank Brasserie, 507 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. 415.927.3331.


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