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Food For Thought Dining Out For Life

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Two Great Reviews..... Xmas in the Gallery.......

 

Octavio's Pièce Montée

Octavio's gorgeous Croquembouche (aka pièces montée) garnered some of the biggest oohs and ahhs in a night filled with them  on Friday as Healdsburg celebrated its annual downtown Christmas party. Festooned with hand-blown glass birds, swirling ribbons of spun sugar and topped with a Tin Mali Angel, while we may not agree with the great Carême that pastry is the highest form of architecture, Octavio was definitely channeling Gaudi when he created this baby.

Pièces montées are architectural towers made of cream filled pastry, traditionally meant to be devoured piece by piece at the end of a special meal. Barndiva's was decorative only ~  hopefully we can keep it around for those of you who missed the party!  What we can't recreate was the mellow mood of the friends and families who stopped by on their walkabout through town. There were platters of delicious Barn Chapeau (cream filled choux you could eat), lovingly decorated Christmas cookies and pitchers of Cosmo Killer Cocktails. Can't wait to see what our talented pastry chef has in mind for Christmas Eve when the holiday party traditionally moves next door to Barndiva. Stay tuned.

Great Articles Starring Two of Barndiva's Favorite Go-To Guys

Reading The Sunday Papers was especially sweet this weekend as we woke up to find two wonderful articles in the Press Democrat about remarkable men we get to work alongside every day.  Chef Ryan Fancher's artful culinary prowess was the focus of the Jeff Cox restaurant review, accompanied by very cool photographs by Christa Jeremiason.  While we were hardly unbiased when it came to the denouement, which we hope you'll read, whether or not you always ~ or ever ~ agree with his critical assessments every week, there's no denying Cox is a wonderful writer whose reviews are keyed to nuance and unusual details, not just about food. (He's certainly the first to get the visual synchronicity in the way we choose the John Youngblood's photography in the dining room).

Click here for the Jeff Cox review

Over in the financial section the cover story was all about how Studio Barndiva's Gallery Manager Dawid Jaworski is "living his dream" in America since immigrating from Poland. Everyone who works at Barndiva has fallen in love with this man and the infectious passion he brings to everything he touches.

Dawid's Amazing Savers Contest

And Don't Forget...

Dining Out For Life ~ Thursday December 1- countywide, a wonderful once a year event to support Food For Thought, which in turn supports the Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank.

Strolling Dine Around ~ December 7, 8, 14, 15- a chance to enjoy a delicious multi-coursed meal served at various restaurants across town, benefiting the Healdsburg Shared Ministries Food Pantry.

Great Gifts in the Gallery

Yeah, well, it IS a great message for the times ~ Keep Calm and Carry On ~ but if there had been room on the ball we would have liked to add  "and for Christ's sake, be joyful," because we mean it, literally.  Joy is the spirit we hope the Gallery conveys this Holiday Season.  Studio Barndiva may not have loads of shelves stacked with merchandise in multiples, but everything we do have is beautiful and meaningful, made with respect by artists and craftspeople who are upholding traditions we hope will survive these crazy times.

Photography, ceramics, jewelery, lighting, furniture, textiles, paintings, sculpture, wine antiques, amphora, knives, books, CD's, glassware, vases, UK card collections, candles, puzzles, even hard to find bitters ~ The Studio has one hell of an eclectic collection of art and functional craft pieces we top up at Christmas time. With prices that range from the inexpensive ornament to a painting or sculpture you will treasure forever.

Support artists, artisans and local shops with a joyful, mindful, point of view this Christmas!

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

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Thanksgiving....Holiday Parties.....

A Turkey with Whiskers

I am an unabashed fan of Thanksgiving, a happily non-sectarian holiday all about our deep abiding love of sugar, salt and fat. I even love that it's wrapped around a ceremonial protein of questionable historical relevance everyone pretends to like, knowing full well it's all but impossible to get right. The challenge of cooking turkey ~ and believe me I’ve tried every crazy recipe out there ~ is one of those culinary conundrums that for someone who hates to give up is the gift that keeps on giving. Side dishes ~ with all manner of roots and berries and nuts, pumpkin cakes and sweet potato pies ~ now that’s where Thanksgiving comes into all its harvest glory. And say what you will about the veracity of the Pilgrim and Indians story, it's always nice to put bounty, humility and gratitude together before you sit down to eat.

For the decade we lived in London we threw great parties every Thanksgiving.  Lukka would hang American flags from his balcony and everyone we knew would come over for a long afternoon of what can only be called debauched eating and drinking, after which we’d sit around the huge disheveled tables unable to move while the children, high on sugar and just being together, created mayhem in the gardens.

If I’ve learned anything over the years celebrating Thanksgiving ~ mostly at home, sometimes in restaurants, once in a country where a giant fish with whiskers stood in for the turkey, it's that after the fact it's never actually the meal you have a desire to recreate. Whether served on silver platters or paper plates, with vintage wines or plonk, in the end it's the people you share it with that make it special. It's the people you will miss.

So here's to Family, Friends, Food and Wine.... From our kitchen to yours we wish you a Happily Rambunctious, Thoroughly Delicious Thanksgiving.

Then Let the Holidays Begin...

Barndiva is always closed on Thanksgiving so our hardworking staff can eat themselves silly, but we open the next day with a Bang. The Downtown Holiday Party on Friday is Healdsburg's official kick off to the season, a chance to experience our town "drinks on the house" style, all lit up and ready to party. We haven't decided yet what special libation to concoct for you, but we've  managed to get Octavio to agree to make a  croque-en-bouche ~  a towering French pastry made of cream puffs and spun sugar. How high will it go? You'll have to come and see. This is a wonderful evening, a chance to reconnect with the community and maybe pick out one or two special things for Christmas you won't find in the boring big box stores. We hope to see you here.

Join us for Cocktails and Croque-en-bouche ... at the Downtown Healdsburg Holiday Party... in the Gallery  from 6-8.

And don't forget...

Dining Out For Life ~ Thursday December 1- countywide, a wonderful once a year event to support Food For Thought, which in turn supports the Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank.

Strolling Dine Around ~ December 7, 8, 14, 15- a chance to enjoy a delicious multi-coursed meal served at various restaurants across town, benefiting the Healdsburg Shared Ministries Food Pantry.

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

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