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Random by Design ~ Lingering Desktop images from 2013 + a new video!

champagne toast

Random by Design ~

Lingering Desktop images from 2013 + a new video!

barndiva specialties

Coming to terms with the year we’ve just lived as it flips over into the next is something we all grapple with in late December, as we eat and drink (too much!) while wrestling with appropriate New Year's resolutions that put a hopeful spin on all the things we should have accomplished this year, but didn’t. We’re having none of that. The random images I found floating around my desktop that grace this last blog of the year speak to life here at the Barn lived to the fullest, in the heart of a community we love and respect.

gallery

For Geoff, Lukka, Ryan and myself,  2013 will go down as a very good year. We finished construction on a much needed new kitchen in the Studio, which in addition to offering exciting new dining possibilities means the mothership will never have to close again for weddings. We hired our very first GM, the wonderful Andy O’Day, who has become indispensable. We put our name on proprietary blends of biodynamic red and white wines made by our friends at Preston of Dry Creek. Kicking and screaming, but in our own inimitable style, we joined the social media circus on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, with a new in-house website which will launch in January. At the farm we renovated the old Tintin clubhouse as a retreat and with Daniel's help continued to expand the gardens, open the view, and planted more fruit and nut trees. For the first time in 35 years, thanks to a night scope camera, we even saw pictures of ‘our’ bears!

mendo bear

2013 will be remembered as the year Front of House and Back of House  became one extended family. Our incredibly talented staff produced and presented thousands of exquisite meals with consummate professionalism and a heartfelt commitment to the Barn, the beautiful town of Healdsburg, and the magnificent foodsheds of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. Rylee Fancher, who blossomed from beautiful baby to beguiling toddler in our midst wasn’t the only one who mastered life changing new skills this year.

barndiva guys

Americans are culturally programmed to always want for more, which is what’s good and bad about us. Make no mistake, as we head into 2014 we have plans aplenty, but it would be hubris in the extreme to expect for more ~ we know how lucky we are! This work we do everyday with food and spirits and wine, with art and flowers and design, is bloody hard and not all that ruminative. But by God, it’s rewarding. We’ve come to see that the best New Year's resolutions are the ones you live everyday.

Thank you for your patronage this year. We wish you all the best in the coming year.

reflection

Barndiva's 2013 wedding season remembered...

Our intrepid Dawid Jaworski ~ gallery manager, event facilitator, in-house photographer ~ threw this charming video together entirely from still images he took over the course of three weddings near the end of the season. We  love the way it mixes up what's happening behind the scenes with the beautiful party out front. We love Dawid, who has high jumped into our hearts these past few years, for so many reasons. This short sweet gift to the staff is only one. Enjoy.

Barndiva Wedding Video

All text Jil Hales. Photos © Jil Hales, Dawid Jaworski, Drew Kelly, Kate Webber

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Happy Thanksgiving!

For most of the world, giving thanks is a daily activity.  From all of us here at Barndiva, we wish you a joyous holiday.

Dinner Parties in the Gallery

For information about our glorious holiday parties ~ or any upcoming reasons to celebrate in the new year ~ info@barndiva.com

All text Jil Hales. All photos Jil Hales and Dawid Jaworski (unless otherwise noted.)

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Wednesday at the Barn.......Octopus Hispaniola....In the Press...

Dish of the Week

Sauté Octopus Hispaniola

They are strange creatures to look at and not the easiest to cook, but oh how delicious Octopus is when you get it right. We brined them first in a salt mixture, then slow cooked them sous vide for five hours, which softened and tenderized them. Octopodes are mollusks, but the meat is similar to a mild tasting crustacean like a lobster. Hispaniola was Chef's inspiration for the dish. The stellar dipping vinaigrette of chili peppers and chives which accompanied it captured the vibrant spirit of the second largest island in the West Indies. Fingerling potatoes, baby artichokes, and green cherry tomatoes were all cooked separately, then combined, while the octopus was simply sautéed in olive oil and confit garlic.

At the last minute Chef added golden cherry tomatoes he blistered in olive oil, then dressed with Spanish sherry vinegar. I love this technique ~ you end up with a sweet peeled cherry tom with crunchy wings that looks as if it's taking flight off the plate. The octopus was soft and pliant, with a gentle heat from the chili, and a soft almost ethereal texture.

Hawaiian mythology holds that the octopus is the lone survivor of an alien universe. Perhaps, but far more fascinating is that they are equipped with chemoreceptors in their suction cups which allow them to taste what they are touching. Now that's a talent that would go a long way in a kitchen.

Style Me Pretty

It was great to see one of our favorite couples published in Style Me Pretty this week, one of the more popular wedding blogs around. Leah Lee captured all the details. Here's the link.

All text Jil Hales. All photos Jil Hales (unless otherwise noted.)

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Wednesday at the Barn.......A Love Supreme......

Barndiva welcomes a very special Justice of the Peace

Since we opened our doors eight years ago, weddings have been a part ~ some would say the very heart ~ of the definition of hospitality we have sought to honor, always taking its cue from the landscape surrounding us. We will move small mountains to deliver indelible dining experiences served in rooms and gardens filled with flowers, art, and music.

But ultimately it’s up to the bride and groom, and their family and friends, to make their wedding speak to them in a way that is unique to the union they hope to forge. Only they know what that means, drawing from how and why they fell in love, the importance of family and community, the contours of the things that make them glad to be alive and for that reason want represented on the day they say their vows. It’s not, after all, a vow of silence.

So when we use the word ‘bespoke’ to describe our wedding services, we’re not just offering to accommodate the curious nuptial request, we’re pretty much saying ‘bring it on.’ As a result, we’ve had our share of unusual moments ~ dueling bag pipes, full gospel choirs, New Orleans jazz bands, dogs as ring bearers, the entire USC marching band, even the odd fortune teller (prediction: a long and happy marriage).  A few weeks ago the best man gave his speech via a live link from Afghanistan, where he’d been suddenly deployed.

But by any standards the wedding on Saturday, August 18 between Miriam Seifter and Robert Yablon was exceptional. We are used to hearing the words “by the power vested in me by the State of California (or increasingly, the Universal Life Church) but it’s quite another thing, and thrilling indeed, to hear a member of the Supreme Court utter the words “by the authority vested in me by the constitution and laws of the United States,” knowing she is one of only eight other people in the world who can do so.

Before Associate Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pronounced Miriam and Robert 'husband and wife' (words she alternated throughout the ceremony with 'wife and husband'), she spoke eloquently about the meaning of the chuppa the couple stood beneath, a cloth canopy supported by four poles, open on all sides. The Chuppa is meant to represent the ideal of a Jewish home. Justice Ginsburg made the point that it has no furniture to indicate that the basis of any home always starts with the people in it. It was a great reminder to all of us gathered, of how easy it is living in a culture overly obsessed with possessions, to lose sight of what is left of any relationship when stripped back to its essentials.

Though a living symbol of the most august institution in our land, standing there in the late afternoon sun as a sudden breeze scattered yellow and white rose petals across the ground was a small, delicate women, speaking from her heart. And so it goes. Whether your reach in life is grand or singular (in her case, both) the depth of any genuine connection we hope to forge with other human beings has the best chance of thriving when it starts with empathy. This is true in a marriage of two, or a nation of millions.  We build from the ground up, hopefully, with common purpose, shared goals, hard work. Somewhere in the mix is the desire to be loved. In this last respect at least, it's a good idea to give as good as you get.

We want to thank Miriam and Robert for allowing us to use these images from their wedding. And for entrusting Lukka, Amber, Ryan and our entire staff to care-take and hopefully inspire their wedding day.

Yes, we loved this article (and so will you)

I worked in journalism for a number of years in London and I know how hard it is to control what you write vs. what is eventually printed. The English dailies are among the best written and rigorously researched in the world, and it helped that some of the people I interviewed were important ~ with fully swinging legal departments if you got a quote wrong. In my own small way, being on the other side of the equation these last few years I am constantly reminded of the power writers and editors and art directors have. So I am doubly grateful for articles like Elizabeth Cosin's in last Sunday's Press Democrat about our video Eat the View. I've been a fan of Elizabeth's since she took over for Scott Keneally for Healdsburg's Towns section in the PD, writing wonderfully about neighbors like Dino Bugica and Doralice of The Healdsburg Cheese Shop. I think The Town's articles are the best thing the PD has done in a long while. We were thrilled to be included.

Here is the link to Elizabeth's article, In Healdsburg, you can Eat the View

For a link to the video go to our website, or directly to Vimeo or Youtube.

Eat the View.

All text Jil Hales. All photos Jil Hales (unless otherwise noted.)

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Dish of the Week.....In the Gallery.......

Dish of the Week

Sous Vide Pork Belly

I did not come to sous vide cooking as a fan, quite the opposite.  The idea of using a plastic pouch to cook ~ instead of relying on traditional methods that depend upon smell, touch, and taste ~ just seemed a bit of a cop out, little more than an upscale version of Uncle Ben’s ‘boil in a bag.’ Where's the magic?

But just as there’s science in alchemy, I’ve come to see that suspending food in plastic and setting it loose in a constant swirl of soft heat actually takes a page from some of the oldest culinary traditions in history which called for wrapping or burying foods and slowly cooking them for long periods, the better to capture the essence of their flavor.

Chef Ryan has always said that for him sous vide isn’t about convenience so much as consistency, that and the ability to control the outcome of a dish in a way that extends the potential of each ingredient. For a little light reading he gave me Thomas Keller’s “Sous Vide,” a trade manual Keller wrote for PolyScience a few years back which succinctly explains the complex way a precise control of pressure, temperature and time allows a chef to infuse flavor (which even with marinades is often lost to the braising liquid) and enhance texture (which over the course of cooking heat can easily destroy).

The temperatures used in sous vide are always kept below a simmer ~  but within that lower range they vary greatly depending on the type and cut of the protein, the cellular density of the vegetable, and what, if any, other cooking techniques you intend to use in the dish. With Pork Belly, where you have an inordinately high fat to meat ratio to begin with, the object is to use the fat primarily to flavor the meat, delivering a finished dish with a perfect crackling that beguiles the mouth when you bite through it to the soft fragrant depths below. Too fatty, too dry, not enough flavor, and it's game over.

For Dish of the Week, Chef cooked pork belly sous vide for 12 hours in a heady mix of shaved apple (Cox's Orange Pippin from the farm), white wine, garlic, leeks, rosemary and carrots.

Two things were notable when he finally lifted the pouch from the water: the first was the degree to which the long cooking process had allowed the meat and fat to take on the flavors of the marinade, all but melding them together.  The second was that by taking the pork from this nearly gelatinous state and immediately chilling it (above left), Chef was able to reduce the fat as he compressed the meat into perfect shape and portion sizes, essential for a dish which can easily become overly rich. He then refrigerated it again ~ cooling the pork before letting it hit the hot skillet which resulted in a perfectly crisp surface without pulling any moisture from the meat.

To accompany the Pork Belly, Andrew, Chef's entremetier, caramelized cauliflower florets in VOO before adding raisins, capers, herbs and shaved almonds.

The final component to this starter was a finishing ‘sauce,’ something which could cut through the richness of the belly but would not overwhelm the sweet, sharp and crunch of the cauliflower nest. For this Chef reduced Pinot Noir to the syrup stage, then broke it with Preston Olive Oil, producing a gorgeous, deep red vinaigrette.

Slow Cooked Pork Belly served on a whoosh of Cauliflower Purée with Caramelized Cauliflower Florets, Capers, Raisins, Almonds and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette….15 hours start to finish…done.  To perfection.

In the Gallery

There’s an old-fashioned capacity for heartfelt joy embedded in the DNA of Healdsburg which makes it the perfect place to get married. This is not news to those of us who live and work here. But thankful as we are for the visitors who keep our local economy humming all Summer and Fall, boy, do we look forward to the Holidays and Winter. That's when the homegrown parties begin, the ones which seem, more than any others, to refresh the spirit and invigorate the soul.

Saying thanks to co-workers, gathering family and friends together to eat and drink with joy, kick back, maybe even dance  ~ all used to be part of what we all did at the end of every year to celebrate the fact that we were still standing.  Resourceful and thankful. We still should be.

There’s a particular magic to the fêtes we throw here in the Studio we’d love for you to experience. Doesn't matter if you come for a night of cocktails and hors d'ouvres or sit down to one of Chef Ryan's incomparable menus. We're especially proud of our staff, as committed as we are to supporting this food shed and all those who work within it. An art gallery is a great place to spend an evening. And this space sings.

To throw a party in the Studio this Winter all you need to do to start the ball rolling is give us a call.  If budget's a concern just let us know and we will figure out a way to make it work.

707.431-7404 info@barndiva.com

All text Jil Hales. All photos Jil Hales(unless otherwise noted)

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Dish of the Week.....In the Fields with Friends.....A Special Baby Shower.....

Dish of the Week

Artichoke Heart Provençal

Chef thought it would be fun for Dish of the Week to follow Pancho around as he made the delicious, vinegary-bright hearts of artichoke filling for the Saffron Ravioli we are currently serving with a lovely seared halibut entrée. Cut it into bigger dice and the same recipe (sans the pasta) is a great accompaniment to any fish or chicken dish. I was game, but then I had an ulterior motive. I love artichokes, but more often than not when it comes to cooking them I seem to take the easy route and just boil or steam them, eating the leaves with copious amounts of melted butter or aioli as a dipping sauce. For all the messy fun you can have, even if artichoke fatigue hasn’t set in by the time you get to the heart you still have to deal with those fiddly, fibrous beards, AKA the Choke.

With artichokes (as with most things) when it's all about the heart Ryan cuts right to the chase: the first thing this recipe calls for is to strip the outer leaves and discard them, paring the stem down to almost nothing.  As Pancho did this he tossed what he’d cleaned into a cool water bath that held cut up lemons and some parsley, the better to keep the artichokes from discoloring, which they do quite rapidly. Here’s a revelation for all you other lazy artichoke lovers: a half hour in this bath and using just the edge of a spoon, the choke slides off the heart like water off a duck’s back.

While they were soaking Pancho set about making a Barigoule, the French term for a traditional artichoke braise technique which takes large cubes of onions, carrots, fennel, garlic cloves and herbs and sweats them in a few tablespoons of VOO before adding wine and vegetable stock.  Roger Vergé, well known for his Barigoule, uses thyme but as Ryan was going a bit further south with this recipe he used rosemary, a stronger herb with heavier green aromatics. The hearts were added once the vegetables were soft, but just long enough to heat them through. The white wine was brought to a boil and allowed to reduce until the fumes began to dissipate. At this point Pancho added vegetable stock to cover and lowered the heat.

But while you want the broth to simmer you still need to take care the hearts don't discolor. To prevent this Chef employed a nifty trick I'd never seen before. He does not use a lid which would would trap the steam and encourage oxidation.  Instead, he tucks a fresh folded linen napkin down into the saucepan where it lightly rests on the simmering artichoke mixture. Voila.

When the artichokes were just cooked through, Pancho lifted them from the broth and diced them finely with the other ingredients: Picholine olives, peeled heirloom tomatoes, red onions, garlic confit, roasted Piquello peppers and fresh chives. Salt, pepper and a little sherry vinegar to taste and Pancho smiled. We were there. He used a tablespoon of filling for each ravioli ~ as a side dish to accompany an entrée allow a cup per person. Deliciously piquant, this is a simple preparation for artichoke hearts that uses no butter or mayo. Good news for the health of my heart.  And yours, if it's a consideration.

In the Field with Friends

Squash Love

Ever since I was a child I’ve had a thing for Winter Squash ~  the gorgeous patterns, the sinuous lines, the vibrant colors.  With their lopsided shapes and expressive stems they are beautiful in a highly idiosyncratic way, the tropical fish of the vegetable world. While the squash you find in the supermarket have all been genetically dumbed down to conform to uniform shapes and flat pumpkin carving sides,  if you look for winter squash and gourds in Farmer's Markets you will find heirloom varieties going back hundreds of years.

Happily, The Fincher's, great friends and farmers from Earlybird’s Place (Earl Loves Myrna Loves Earl) share my fascination for the weird and the wonderful of the genus world known as Cucurbita. I know it’s Fall when I get a call from Myrna to come over and cherry pick through her ‘Fall Collection’ which we display in the restaurant and the gallery. Unlike Summer Squash, which are harvested as immature fruit, Winter Squash will keep ‘til well after Christmas, unless of course you do what we do, and slowly, deliciously, cook through them.

A Very Special Baby Shower Brunch

We don't just throw great wedding and rehearsal dinners in the Studio Gardens ~ any reason to celebrate is enough for us to break out the flowers. Sunday we took a personal day to throw a Baby Shower for K2,  my wonderful assistant, who in addition to keeping me sane is the talented gal who manages to wrestle Eat the View out of my camera and brain and onto the blog each week. K2 and John's new baby is due around Thanksgiving and while no one knows (or cares!) whether it's a boy or a girl, around Barndiva it's no secret we're hoping for another glorious redhead to keep sister Teagan company.

All text Jil Hales. All photos Jil Hales(unless otherwise noted) Food Shots of the Brunch by K2's friend, Richert Gordon Salondaka

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Dish of the Week.....In the Gallery..... Barndiva Weddings........

Dish of the Week

White Wine Poached Pears with  Chocolate Ganache, Coconut Sorbet & Graham Cracker Crumble

For as long as I can remember the Red Bartletts at our farm have fallen to the ground each year uneaten and unloved.  Big and ungainly, they are a cooking variety so low in residual sugar even the bears ignore them. To make matters worse, unless you spray them in Spring before the green tip stage of flower bud development ~ which we never do ~ they are especially susceptible to something called Black Spot which, while harmless, looks as bad as it sounds.

This year was different however ~ strange weather patterns in Spring left the Bartletts almost blemish free for the first time in memory; by September the pears had begun to turn a lovely deep russet, a beguiling color that caused me to wonder what had led the Cassinelli's to grant them in their own little orchard a few steps from the old house. The word 'heirloom' has great cache these days as we seek to re-discover the great variety of fruits and vegetables we once had access to, before corporate mega-farming interests hijacked control of the journey almost all our food takes from their "farms" to our plates. But not all heirlooms are inherently better in flavor then modern varieties. I was curious what a gifted modern pastry chef like Octavio would make of Victoria Cassinelli's pears. He liked them, as it turned out, but not exclusively for their flavor, which was mild and lightly floral. What he valued most was their size coupled with the fact that because they were bred to be "keepers" their dense flesh would take poaching extremely well, crucially in the way they absorbed liquid without sacrificing texture. A great poached pear takes on the flavors of the infusing liquid without losing its shape ~ softening just enough so a knife with a good edge could glide easily through the flesh.

The trick to ripening pears is to refrigerate them as soon as they are picked,  2-3 days, then let them finish ripening outside the box for a few more days. Once they are ripe they really need to go back into the fridge. So it was that five days after I brought them back from the farm Octavio peeled, cored, and poached our Bartletts in Sauternes, a great cooking wine with its own subtle floral attributes.

After they cooled, the poached pears were filled with a lightly scented vanilla crème fraiche and chilled. To plate, the pear was placed over a disc of crushed candied walnuts around which Big O gently ladled a warm pool of dark chocolate ganache.  The walnuts did more than provide a stabilizing base for the pear; their sweetness hid a surprising back-of-the-throat smoky tannin that worked brilliantly against the soft texture of fruit but complimented the rich liquidity of the 61% bittersweet chocolate. The final components of this elegant 'pared-down' dessert was a lovely coconut sorbet, cool respite to the chocolate, which sat on a small mound of crumbled house-made graham crackers. The comforting, old fashioned flavors of the cinnamon graham crackers brought the dessert full circle for me.  I could imagine Victoria Cassinelli cooking up a storm in the old kitchen on a chilly day in late Fall, poaching pears for dessert, perhaps in the heavy red wine the family made from the grapes which before prohibition grew in abundance on the ridge. I wonder what she would have thought of all the steps Octavio had taken to create a modern dessert around her old Red Bartlett's.  At the very least, I'm willing to bet it would have made her smile to see and taste how we’d re-discovered them.

In the Gallery

We rarely source pieces for the Gallery from catalogs but when this chair from Roost showed up in New York Magazine a few weeks ago on their 'design pick' page we fell in love with the way it looked, suspecting it was wonderfully comfortable as well. We are always on the look-out for chairs that can live inside or out, so we got on the horn to Roost and snapped up the last six.  Good news: our eyes did not deceive.  They are beautifully made of washed and sanded bent bamboo with a sinuous line that cradles the body from the neck all the way down to the lower back.  Called The Lanai, they have an unusual bulb out for the elbow. They are designed long in the seat, the better to support your legs.  Color is a light blond which will darken with age.

Not so good news: only four left.

The Roost Lanai indoor/outdoor lounge chair is $525.

And The Beautiful Weddings Continue...

Photos by Studio Barndiva Manager and photographer, Dawid Jaworski

Follow more Barndiva nuptials check out  Style Me Pretty this week featuring Matt Edge's wonderful images...

All text Jil Hales. All photos Jil Hales and Dawid Jaworski (unless otherwise noted)

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Dish of the Week........ Wedding in the Gardens

 

Dish of the Week:

Seared Scallops with Chanterelles & Corn

Scallops are one of those foods you either love or hate because of their unusual pillowy texture ~ which is offsetting to some, alluring to others ~ but did you know that the part we eat is actually the muscle which propels this mollusk across the ocean floor every time it claps its shells? Tasting fragrantly of the sea, they are often one of the most expensive items on a fine dining menu.  The good news about sourcing high quality scallops in season is that they grow quickly and mature at a young age, so there are abundant supplies of them this time of year especially in the Atlantic. The reason Seafood Watch only gives them a "good alternative" rating for sustainability is down to the fact that the further out to sea you go to harvest them, the more likely the catch can cause damage to the seabed.  Currently the only 100% safe alternative to wild sea harvest is eating farmed, which to our mind comes with its own set of trade offs.  Our scallops this week were caught off the coast of Massachusetts where Mike, our fishmonger of many years (who works for Aloha Seafood and closely with CleanFish) tells us they were scooped up from a  sandy bottom habitat where harvesting is less likely to cause ecological damage.

When you see the word ‘day boat’ on the menu, it simply means the ship was out at sea for less than 12 hours. Anything longer and you can assume a catch was frozen; with scallops this is something you want to avoid as they naturally retain excess water. Freezing can adversely affect their milky soft texture. And with scallops, at the end of the day, it’s all about the texture.

Fresh scallops are easy to cook if you learn to nail the timing. They can take high heat ~ the better to get that thin caramelized edge especially surprising when followed by the soft meat of the muscle ~ but you can’t take your eyes off them, which is hard in a busy kitchen (and probably the reason I’ve had more than my fair share of undercooked or overcooked rubbery scallops over the years). At Barndiva, we pull them off the heat the second they’ve reached medium rare, then let them rest momentarily on toweling to drain.

Earthy, sweet, summery, with just a touch of bright acidity was how Chef Ryan rolled out his thinking on combining sun-dried fresh chanterelles, the first of the good corn, opal basil from our garden and diced heirloom tomatoes from Mix Garden for this dish. It was a combination of ingredients calibrated to enhance but not overwhelm the subtle taste of the scallops, which had been flash seared in grape seed oil and a sprig of thyme garlic.

Ryan plated over a Starry Night swirl of Genovese basil which Andrew had spun just before service with EVO and garlic. This vibrantly colored pecorino-free pesto is a neat one to learn, working especially well when you have a protein that is delicate in flavor.

To hell with the Freudian connotations, this was an unabashed, guilt free sensual mouthful. If you aren’t a scallop fan yet, come on down. If you are.... you know where to find us.

Wedding In the Gardens

It goes without saying that this week's bride looked beautiful as she walked out of Barndiva's enormous mahogany doors to marry her sweetheart in our gardens a week ago Saturday. Her calm, elegant, smiling demeanor did not even falter when  an ecstatic cheer rose up from the  200 friends and relatives in attendance. She made it all look easy but for this bride, who pulled off a wedding that bridged vastly different cultural traditions with complete aplomb, God was in the details.

From her French net birdcage veil down to the chapel train of her elegant strapless gown, with its demure sweetheart shaped bodice, every small touch she had spent months putting into place spoke volumes. The gown’s taffeta bow, which would not have been out of place on the runway of a couture show circa 1950, also channeled ~ apologies for not knowing the Chinese equivalent ~ a beautiful  Japanese Obi. The exquisite  bouquet she designed with Bonnie Z of Dragonfly featured pink Cymbidium orchids, Vandella roses and burgundy Calla Lilies ~ all traditional for an Asian wedding where the bride never carries white flowers ~ but was encircled by exuberantly swooping blades of bright green bear grass that eloquently captured the thoroughly modern spirit of this young woman.

It's often been said that the trick to a truly successful wedding is to plan to your heart’s content ~ then let it all go, trusting that if you set the right wheels in motion joy will carry the day.  For all the meticulous planning that went into this wedding, from the minute they said their vows in dappled sunlight on the grassy verge, to the last dance in the gallery six hours later ~ this couple let it flow.

All text Jil Hales. All photos, Jil Hales, Dawid Jaworski  (unless otherwise noted)

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Dish of the Week........ In the Gallery

 

Dish of the Week:

Lunch at Copain Winery

I hadn’t planned on attending the lunch party we were set to cater at Copain Winery last Monday, until I happened upon the list of ingredients Chef left in the kitchen for staff to start packing up early Monday morning.  Charmed by the confluence of ingredients, it being a gorgeous day, and Copain being a beautiful winery, I decided to crash the party.

We are partnering with Copain on a number of weddings this summer and I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about it and about Wells Guthrie, the inordinately talented winemaker and driving force behind this state of the art facility ~ one of the most ergonomic around. Set on a hillside with a magnificent view running almost the length of the Russian River Valley, the facility is pleasing to the eye with a pared down, elegantly understated style.  Farmhouse meets Koolhaas.

Still, I was curious to take a closer look for myself.  Crucial to us with any off-site venue is whether or not the right pieces are in place which will enable us to pull off an authentic Barndiva experience when we aren’t on home ground.

According to Tommy, the critical trademark of the Copain wine list is lower alcohol wines that preserves the brightness and acidity of the fruit. It was to taste through this remarkable line up of vintages ~ which would precede Barndiva’s four course lunch ~ that key servers and chefs from The French Laundry were coming to Copain that day.

Scheduling off-site events on our days off happens very rarely around here, but such is the affection Thomas Keller and TFL inspire in many of our staff that Ryan, Pancho, Katherine, Bennett and Tommy were more than happy to work on their day off to provide a meal that would honor the ingredient driven, classical technique focus  TFL  is know for. That they are standards we too aim for with every plate that leaves our kitchen didn't lessen the tension on our end:  this would be a most discerning crowd to please. Restaurant folks ~ especially those who work at places like The French Laundry and Barndiva ~ eat out a lot. They are usually generous to a fault to your face (knowing how hard it is to pull off that level of excellence on a day to day, meal to meal basis) but intensely critical as a matter of course.  While Ryan planned four courses that would elevate the wine experience ~ the entire menu was designed to highlight the wine friendly (especially for Pinot) flavor profiles of truffles, beets, salmon, bacon, mushrooms ~ he was also intent on balancing proteins to vegetables to fruits, so the meal as a whole would flow seamlessly from one paired course to another.

The three passed appetizers, all served with sparkling wine, exemplified this approach. First up was fresh Dungeness crab on sliced cucumber topped with a thin disc of kumquat ~ tart orange fruit which opened the palate with a citrus slap, followed by the fresh smell and taste of the sea and a green crunch. Next came a smiling nod to TK with a quail egg BLT ~ a rich mound of yolk, bacon, tomato jam and brioche with a delicate trailing stem of chervil, an herbal grace note to civilize all that umami.

The last of the passed appetizers, a single ripe strawberry from Quivira, went out unadorned, but was no less complex for the role it played in the flow of the afternoon. A tart and fruity palate cleanser which also signaled the seated lunch was about to begin, for the wise (or the lucky) it provided an opportunity for one last look down into the vineyards below, where the valley spread out in all its summer glory, caught in the throes of the first real heat of the season. Cicadas buzzed the air, and the connection to lush vines and the wines that had come from them and just been drunk, was palpable. Whether Ryan intended it or not, the moment made sense in the way poetry makes sense when you stop worrying about what the words mean and just lean in and let yourself relax.

The next two courses have both been featured as Dish of the Week before.  Chef wanted a flawless summer salad, Healdsburg style, which meant every component at the peak of ripe perfection. Another single strawberry was joined by heirloom golden and red beets, two varieties of radish, whole peeled truffled almonds, chives, chervil and a perfectly ripe wedge of Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor.  Beet vinaigrette (beet juice, Preston VOO, champagne vinegar) was drizzled alongside the salad. The summer salad was paired with a 2004 and 2006 Roussanne, both from Copain's James Berry Vineyard.

Using Wild King Salmon from Oregon on a Lucian Freud sized brush stroke of fresh pea purée with a generous trail of caviar crème fraîche, the main course was finished with fresh porcini from Mt Shasta, tiny house made chips, and chive flowers. The salmon was paired with two Pinots: a 2006 Hacienda from the Sequoia Vineyard,  and a 2006 from Cerise.

Dessert had been made that morning in the Barndiva kitchen by yet another French Laundry and Bouchon alum, Octavio, our wonderful new pastry chef who has been wowing diners and wedding guests all summer. Big O’s Blueberry Clafoutis was presented with vanilla bean crème fraîche and a not overly sweet but wonderfully indulgent crème fraîche ice cream.

I left Copain just as the desserts were being plated, luckily not before I heard a short but pithy exchange that summed up the meal for me precisely. Shale, a young garde manger whom Chef has taken under his wing this summer quietly reminded Ryan that he hadn’t plated the Clafoutis with the raspberries he'd been told to bring expressly for this dish.  Ryan looked at him, deadpan, “Knowing what not to put on a plate is as important as knowing what is, ” he said, waiting a beat for it to sink in before he broke into his first real smile of the day.  Standing in Copain’s beautiful space, after the meal he’d pulled off, it was an almost perfect moment. The only thing that could have made it better was if TK had been there to enjoy it.

In the Gallery

Seth Minor, our favorite single-wire artist and all around guy (Camp Meeker politician, MFA student, killer accordion player, seminal member of Barndiva's Tractor Bar Trio) has just brought in six wonderful new pieces to bolster up his coveted collection in the Gallery.

To my mind Seth is the closest thing this medium has to John Updike, managing to capture in a few spare but elegant lines universal character traits that ~ like it or not ~ make us vulnerable, if not lovable, humans.  Mordant in tone, yet oddly hopeful in a insouciant way that can't help but make you smile (a lot like the artist) believe us when we say this shadow driven rogues gallery needs to be viewed in person.  Photographs ~ even ones as good as these by Studio Barndiva's Dawid Jaworski~ don't do them justice.

Until he lets us increase them, prices for Seth Minor's work will start at $110 this summer,  for any in the ‘Faces Collection,’ with larger pieces from $800 - $3,400.  Mr. Minor will work on commission, from photographs, as his schedule allows.

To meet Seth in person, come for dinner any Wednesday night through August when his Tractor Bar Trio will hold court in the Barndiva gardens where, weather permitting, they will serenade diners with two full sets of beer fueled excellent gypsy jazz.

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In the Press:

If you've missed the incredible edible issue on soil, it's not to late to check it out online:

Edible Marin - All Hail Soil   (fyi, we're on page 15).

All text Jil Hales. All photos, Jil Hales and Dawid Jaworski (unless otherwise noted)

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Dish of the Week........ In the Gallery

Wednesday at the Barn

Dish of the Week

Summer Vegetable Chicken Fricassee

I’m super critical of any dish with chicken in it, probably because it’s the protein we ate the most of when I was growing up, the one I know the taste profile of by heart.  When my mom was on form there was nothing in the world like one of her juicy, bursting with flavor whole roasted birds. But when she was tired, it often became dinner by default, dry and tasteless as cardboard (sorry mom. Love you.). Even the texture changes in poultry when it's not cooked to perfection, which to my mind is just the far side of pink.

Hang around kitchens and you’ll learn that while good chefs can prod any protein and know if it’s the witching moment, great chefs can tell just by looking. With poultry, often the hardest to discern, Ryan can tell from across the room.  He’s just a great chicken chef ~ even with a small poussin, his brigade consistently produces birds that have crisp skin with hits of briny salt followed by moist meat that is the essence of comfort.

When Chef said he was going to do a Chicken Fricassee for Dish of the Week, I was somewhat surprised. Fricassee is basically a stew, which in my experience can only ever be, at its best, a satisfying mess.  The classic recipe calls for a good number of vegetables and a protein, usually chicken, cooked together and served together. Great stew recipes invariably run the risk of losing the unique taste profiles of singular ingredients. In general you don’t say the word ‘stew’ and think ‘vibrant distinct flavors.’  Comfort, yes.  Elegant presentation, no.

I know Ryan: vibrant flavors and elegant presentation is usually what he is after. He pointed out that while many great chefs ~ think Boulud or Bouley  ~ might rely upon adding ingredients slowly to the pot to the build flavor in a stew, he preferred the Thomas Keller approach ~  prep each ingredient separately in order to vary and control how each was cooked, and with what herbs, oils and spices (if any).  The flavors, colors and textures in this fricassee only met up when they slid into the pan for that last hit of heat ~ with a few knobs of butter and confit garlic ~ a few minutes before plating.

Here’s what I tasted in Ryan’s Summer Vegetable Chicken Fricassee, which in honor of its humble origins I ate straight out of the skillet: the favas and fiddleheads were punchy, green and earthy, the baby red onions bright and vinegary. Nuggets of bacon were salty and chewy, while English peas and Nantes carrots, despite being different shapes and colors, shared a delicate garden flavor profile. The stand-out vegetable were the Tokyo White Turnips Myrna Fincher of Earlybird’s Place had dropped that morning in a plain brown box. To my eye these white jewels with their bright green stalks would not have been out of place in the window at Tiffany's . Ryan simply steamed them, taking care to leave them with a juicy crunch that was rooty and beguilingly sweet. To this vegetable mélange he added the whole poussin which had been pan seared to a golden hue.

The biggest surprise of the dish was how well the sauce, which consisted of nothing more than a diaphanous halo of white crème fraîche foam, worked to unify all these delicate flavors. I’ve come around to Chef’s appreciation of foam, which is not so much making a comeback in our kitchen (because it was never really here) as much as a re-evaluation. I loved how it worked, especially with the garlic confit, to open a vegetable bouquet that seemed to carry the essence of the dish in every bubble. “The next time someone asks you to define Modern Country,” Chef said as I snapped away, “show them this.”

In the Gallery…

No doubt a rainy Wedding Day gives pause, especially one that’s been anticipated to unfold in “sunny” wine country. But I must say I find something very special ~ as in beautiful, intimate, memorable ~ when we have a ceremony inside the Barn, with dinner in the Gallery, as we did this past weekend thanks to tumultuous thunderstorms.

Happily, as our Saturday couple, Allison and Shaun, have strong ties to Healdsburg and had it in their hearts to be married at Barndiva in great part because of out commitment to the food shed, the symbolism of their ceremony ~ beneath the crossed pitchforks in the Barn filled with Dragonfly flowers and lit by a dozen tapers ~ was right on (and pretty wonderful).  Something about the space makes every word clear and distinct, so it was especially dramatic when the hush that descended on the perfumed warmth of all those in attendance exploded with joy when Lukka pronounced them husband and wife. It was the bride’s inspired idea to have table arrangements of summer salad greens and herbs that could be taken home and used again to flavor future meals of those she loved ~ a small, beautiful, mindful detail that bodes well for their future, rain or shine.

If you love looking at weddings, here’s a link the wedding of Laura and Charles last week. Though in this case the sun came out briefly on the day, they were married in the gallery by choice, and it was intimate and wonderful. Some great shots by Flory Photography. Thanks for sharing!

In the Press

Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce President Mo McElroy introduces the irrepressible Clark Wolf who was a funny and charming MC for the Early Summer Farm Forum hosted by Barndiva last Thursday.  In the only break in the weather all week, even the sun came out to hear about a wide range of farm, garden and culinary programs that make a difference in so many lives here in Sonoma County.  How we might affect the controversial Farm Bill which goes before Congress in 2012 was just one of the many issues discussed by an information rich, forward looking line-up of speakers who addressed a group that had as many local luminaries in the audience as on the dais.

And as it turned out, The Forum took place the same day Edible Marin's All Hail Soil summer issue was published, with a feature about last fall's Taste of Place dinner which was truly an edible exploration of many of the subjects discussed at the Forum. We love Edible (and its editor Gibson Thomas) because rain or shine one can feel the commitment to the health and well being of the Northern California Food Shed on every page. Check out the issue using the link below, or better yet pick up a hardcopy at the Studio or in the restaurant next time you are in town.

All Hail Soil, Edible Marin, page 15

All text Jil Hales. All photos, Jil Hales and Dawid Jaworski  (unless otherwise noted).

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Dish of the Week........ Wedding of the Week

Wednesday at the Barn

Dish of the Week

Mother's Day Brunch

Mother’s Day for me has always been about honoring up…it’s nice to hear the great things your kids feel compelled to say about you, but at the end of the day all you really want is your own mom to hug. Mine is not with us anymore, so Mother's Day is bittersweet, but in the most important ways ~ how I choose to conduct my life every day ~ in spirit she’s still very much here.  Mother's Day is a great time to celebrate the most important lesson she taught me ~ life is short. Love with an open heart. What you get in return, even after those you cherished are physically gone, is indelible.

As there wasn't a free table until after 2 on Sunday,  by the time we finally did sit down brunch service was almost over and the calm before the dinner storm had settled over the lounge.  The room was flooded with sunlight, tall windows filled with trees shaking their green tresses in a blustery wind. Music was jazzy, upbeat and cool, champagne cocktails arrived swiftly, flowers from Dragonfly ~ which I’d gotten up early to arrange ~ graced every table. As my absent and missed daughter might say, Barndiva was chill.

In addition to stalwarts like Eggs Benny and Chef Ryan’s infamous duck hash,  brunch has started to encompass an English approach to Sundays, especially if you choose the three course prix fixe menu that always includes a roasted joint and loads of veg. Mother's Day is a great tradition but it's only once a year, while Sunday Lunch at Barndiva can now be savored every week. Which is what Geoffrey, Lukka and I decided to do.

I started with a lovely carrot soup, carrots from Early Bird’s Place, which had been braised in organic carrot juice. The goal with such a simple soup is that it arrives at the table tasting of pure carrot. Whipped crème fraîche was flavored with Mix garden chervil, Preston OO, and Barndiva Garden chive blossoms ~ which gave a nice bite that played against the sweetness of the carrots.  A swirl of balsamic and a spear of tempura asparagus finished the bowl.

Lukka and Geoff ordered the halibut, a beautiful dish chef had finished with a single perfect artichoke ravioli and some of the tiniest radishes I’ve ever seen.  Seeing it arrive,  I had a moment of indecision that I’d chosen the wrong entrée, but once Tommy had carved the lamb (tableside) and spooned fresh peas and baby purple and yellow potatoes all around, I was a very happy camper indeed.

The leg of lamb had been trussed and whole roasted at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, basted during the cooking process with butter, garlic, shallot and tarragon. A ladle of Paloise finished the dish. Paloise takes the best thing about a good Jus, clarity and a perfect balance of herb to salt, and the best thing about gravy, heft, something to cling to the meat, and marries them together.  Ryan’s is perfect. He makes it by first cooking down a lamb stock for six hours ~ roasted lamb bones, mirepoix, tomato, aromatics like thyme, black pepper and garlic.  This stock is then poured over a second round of roasting bones in a large saucepot, with more aromatics.  The final sauce is strained through a chinoise and reduced to the desired consistency, finished with a knob of butter.

Dessert celebrated the return of Rhubarb ~ more about this vegetable that usually masquerades as a fruit, in next week’s blog. Also in next week's blog, a proper introduction to our remarkable new pastry chef who has been working with us for a few months now. We are moving into a new phase with our dessert program that is generating a lot of excitement in the kitchen and the dining room, and this dessert was no exception.  The thinly layered (as if pressed) Frangipane Tart with almond streusel crumble and crème fraîche ice cream had lightly poached slices of rhubarb on the side that nailed what is, to my mind, rhubarb's truly unusual taste profile.  My gripe with rhubarb ~ which I have a love hate relationship with ~ is that it’s too often served soft, mushy and stringy. And overly sweet.  The crunch of these batons was a revelation, bittersweet and delightful.   Along with a visually stunning, almost balletic presentation of a frozen Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, the desserts on Sunday were a fitting end to a lovely afternoon with two of my favorite people in the world.

Wedding of the Week

The kick off to wedding season for us happily starred a couple we’ve fallen in love with during the past year, as Lukka worked with them putting all the pieces for the big day and night together ~ Taya and Sean, aka Schmoops and Poops.  Every step of this couple’s planning was filled with inspired choices and the least fretting we’ve seen in a long time. They 'got' what too many other couples sadly forget in the hectic run up, weddings are supposed to be serious and joyous, yes, but the planning should be fun! Aside from the glorious weather, it wasn’t chance that everything came together for them: the great menu they had chosen (more couples should opt for lamb as an entrée), the casual elegance of the table decor, and the surprises that just kept coming were all down to their style and confidence as a couple. They just take such joy in each other it was infectious.

True to form they each had a classy surprise for the other that in both cases turned out to be musical. Lukka and Taya had managed to smuggle the Oakland Interface Gospel Choir into Healdsburg without anyone spilling the beans to Sean. He was stunned when they marched out just after the vows to sing heartfelt praise that blessed the day and everyone in attendance. Then the meal kicked off in the gallery with drinks and appetizers and the choir doing a full set. During dinner in the Studio Gardens Sean got his own back when his surprise guest arrived ~ a  French accordion player who took over where the choir left off.  This was all music to make you smile. I trundled off  early, just as guests were dividing into two groups: some dancing in the gallery to a DJ while others lingered in the garden as Edith Piaf’s spirit hovered beneath the trees.  Lukka tells me at the end of the evening the accordion serenaded the couple through town as they and a few dozen happy friends made their way across the plaza to continue the party back at the cottages. Schnoops and Poops rocked it.

All text and photos, Jil Hales (unless otherwise noted)

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Studio Barndiva ~ Special Events

Here’s a great shot of artist Jordy Morgan’s chiseled redwood boulders, captured in yet another wedding blog: idovenues.com FYI: Jordy is just about finished on his ‘living room’ sculptural pieces in the Studio Barndiva Gardens. As soon as the rain stops, come by and see these extraordinary pieces. Jordy's work will be available in various sizes and configurations on commission beginning of May.

Vintage with a Twist: (visit idovenues.com to see all the beautiful pictures taken by photographer Rosemarie Lion at this wonderful wedding held at Barndiva)

There is a level of anticipation and excitement that every bride feels right before the guests enter the main reception area. In the industry, we call it the Ohhh…Ahhh factor – it is the sound your guests make as they enter the room.

Barndiva is a perfect location for the avant garde couple that wants to maximize their Ohhh…Ahhh factor. It is such an amazing venue and so unexpected – when your guests arrive, they truly have no idea what awaits them.

The restaurant turned trendy reception venue has successfully captured the aura of part shabby chic, part retro. The organic gardens (where many of your dinner items are sourced) are meticulously cared for and provide a stunning backdrop. The abundant details at your fingertips deliver a plethora of wonderful design elements – all which act as inspiration for an incredible wedding theme.

Barndiva is perfect for the bride who wants to experiment with vintage or shabby chic details for her celebration. Everywhere you turn, you will be mesmerized by amazing design touches that have been perfectly incorporated into the outdoor patio and fun reception room.

This bride does a wonderful job of enhancing the facility’s existing design elements without taking away from their own natural beauty and charm. The iron gate is a perfect example – this piece is timeless all on its own, but with a few elegant floral accents, you now have great WOW factor as a welcoming point for your guests. I love, love, love the use of the wrought iron garden chairs in this design. They are perfect for this venue and look as if they belong here.

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Studio Barndiva ~ Special Events

While there are hundreds of wedding blogs around, many of which we've been featured in, we are always thrilled to see a Barndiva wedding in Style Me Pretty. It's one of the best blogs around which really tell the story of a wedding from start to finish, down to the last details. We are now deep into booking the available dates for Summer 2011 in the Gallery and the New Studio Gardens. Contact Lukka or Amber if you have a special event ~ doesn't have to be a wedding ~ you'd like to inquire about. Think outside the Saturday night box!

For more beautiful photos, click below:

Eco-Friendly California Wedding by Shannon Leith

We definitely have a little soft spot around here for beautiful details but when those beautiful details are also eco-friendly, well, let’s just say the result is way beyond your everyday gorgeous wedding. With a limited budget, an eye for crafty projects and a desire to make their event as green as possible, this earth-minded couple crafted one pretty fantastic party all caught on film by Shannon Leith. It’s green, it’s gorgeous and there’s a whole lot more of it in the gallery.

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Rhymes with Play

(originally posted September 29, 2010)

Healdsburg made a joyful noise on Saturday night ~ especially on our part of Center Street where 200 elegantly dressed people of all ages came together and kissed, wept, drank, ate, laughed, told stories, then lost their shoes and danced their hearts out. Our weddings are always very special, but something else was in the air as well. As if the brief return of a warm night coupled with the sense that only a few weeks are left of summer heightened the mood so it swelled beyond the happiness felt by this particular couple and their families and friends. It reminded me how important it is going to be in the coming year to express delight whenever we can. We will continue to face seemingly insurmountable problems ~ a faltering economy, an ailing ecology, a paucity of leadership ~ that history has placed at our door. Most solutions will come in tiny packages. All but a few will seem to take too much time. Many of us reading this will not be around to see how it all plays out for our children and grandchildren. But we are in the game right now, and each of us with a powerful role to play. With the stakes so high, we need to keep from feeling overwhelmed. It’s essential we stop when we can to acknowledge that good things are still happening, though sometimes they need a jump start.

The first thought we came up with to keep the parties going ~ stay tuned for lots more ~ was to open the Gallery for musical evenings, films, talks and fun cocktail parties of any size. We will waive all facility rental fees to make use of the space more affordable. Our menus will be keenly priced, but will continue to be sourced locally and sustainably. Our farmers need to feed their bottom line, as do we, but we want Studio Barndiva to feed something else as well ~ a sense that as a community we have a great deal to be thankful for.

We like the French word soirée, even though it sounds a bit poncy, because it really does capture what we’d like to see happen in the Studio. To wit: “An evening party or social gathering esp. one held for a particular purpose” yes, that hits the nail on the head! Besides, it rhymes with archway, which is nice. Sometimes friendship alone pulls us through to the next courtyard in life, sometimes it’s music, or the spoken word. The point is to keep moving in an interesting direction. Yet real social contact is precisely what our all-consuming electronic media is robbing us of. What’s most important when we come together in groups, after the work of the day is done, is often simply that we are together. And while it’s great when you know people at a party, often it’s more exciting when you don’t. In a community our size ~ with so many interests and passions and so much talent to express them ~ it almost doesn’t matter what draws you away from the campfire of your hi-def screens and out to the town square. Your presence alone has the power to redefine the space, and claim it. Not knowing the outcome is part of the magic.

Of course it helps when there is great food and drink ~ which we will happily provide. When Ryan first came to us we weren’t sure how he would feel about all our weddings and special events. Lots of chefs look down on events, understandably. It’s not just the amount of work that goes into coordinating them. From a chef’s point of view, because of the timing and the sheer number of plates, most often they don’t showcase a chef’s talent in the way fine dining does.

Taking his cues from Lukka, whose joie de vivre is legendary, Ryan has fun with the menus, be they family style or comprised of many wine paired courses. He approaches a glitzy Oscar Night or a serious dinner where each course is paired with the dirt it was grown in with the same intensity, and as his talent blossoms it reflects on each and every farmer partner. Even for those working the events the sheer exuberance and style of our parties is contagious. By summer’s end we will have sent thousands of people back to their own cities and towns across the country talking about what’s going on in Healdsburg. Not just Barndiva ~ but the connection they made here with the surrounding community. Hopefully it sent them looking to recreate parts of that experience closer to home.

By making the story of local sourcing the point of our food, we haven’t relegated Ryan’s talent anymore than Bonnie Z’s, whose gift for arranging flowers is sometimes subsumed by the sheer extravagance of her locally grown blooms. Talent and product become indispensable to each other, and for the end user, indistinguishable. We all live in cultivated landscapes, in self-curated spaces. What we choose to seed and grow and prune is up to us. If only a fraction of our wedding guests go back to their hometowns and seek out a Farmer’s Market, that’s a fraction more than had the desire to do so when they sat down and unfurled their napkins on a warm summer night beneath the fairy lit arches in our gardens.

But make no mistake: Joy is the carrier of that message. And Joy, while clearly not in abundance these days, does not need a wedding to thrive.

So listen up: If you own a business and want to say thanks for a year of hard work (with another yet to come) or are a group of friends wanting to meet up to raise high the roof beams, we want to make Studio Barndiva ~ and the food and drink we serve ~ available to you. While we hope you will join us for some of our upcoming scheduled events (first up: the opening party for the much anticipated Susan Preston Exhibit: One Button Off) consider this an invitation to think up your own reason for a soirée in the coming months ~ rhyme it as you will.

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Kitchen Life

(originally posted March 10, 2010) Sunday March 7th (the last day of Wine Barrel Tasting weekend) 12-12:30 pm Dawn Elise & Ari's Baby Shower brings the first day of Spring Co-hosts Lukka Feldman and Joy Sterling

6:30- 11pm Oscar Dinner Party: Homage a Julia Child

All text and photos, Jil Hales (unless otherwise noted)

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