Happy Holidays! This is the holiday edition of the Baci Mosaic. For those of you that have been reading the blog, we thank you very much. We also give thanks for another great year at the restaurant and the vast collection of amazing people that gather here. We consider you part of the Baci family (our mosaic), and this blog is a tribute to you. This month, we spotlight our server and new daddy Marco Ferracuti, the Flanagan Winery family, long time Healdsburg farmer Ken Gradek, and regulars Leslie and Dan Weaver. We also have a holiday recipe from Chef Shari, and I have posted our Holiday Specials which you can find in the upper right hand corner of this page.

Baci’s Special Seasonings: New Papa Marco Ferracuti

Marco and Eliana Feeracuti

If you have had the privilege of having server Marco Ferracuti at Baci, you might have been tempted to repeat that old slogan, “Now THAT’S Italian!” Marco is from Roma, Italy, and has only been in the US since 2008. In Italy, Marco was a famous radio show host, known for his specialty of covering soccer games, and his interesting commentary on life, society, and politics. Marco was on a 2 month vacation visiting a friend in Davis, CA when he met Tami, a cute Davis student at a party. It was love at first sight! In fact, he told Tami that he was going to marry her that night. They became inseparable, and when Marco had to return to Italy, he told his mother that he found love in the US and was going back. He quit his job and came back 3 months later to begin his life with Tami, and they married a year later in 2009.

marco and tami ferracuti

We are happy to announce that their family just got bigger!  They welcomed a special little Christmas present named Eliana Caudle Ferracuti on December 6, 2012 at 5:21am. With Marco speaking Italian and Tami being a Spanish teacher, they plan to raise Eliana to be tri-lingual in English, Italian and Spanish!

Marco says he feels comfortable at Baci because it’s like a family. Tami teased Marco when he first started that the reason he likes working here is because his 3 favorite dishes, the Ossobuco, Lamb Shank, and Tagliatelle con Frutti di Mare taste just like his mother’s!

Tasting Notes: Flanagan Winery - There’s great wine in them thar hills!

There’s something special about Flanagan wines. It’s the Flanagan family! It is always a treat to see Eric, his wife Kit, and the adorable smiling faces of daughters Riley, Lola, and Ruby when they come in for dinner. We were very flattered when 13-year-old Riley wrote about coming into dinner at Baci on their own family blog, “Notes from the Cellar” . Thank you Riley!

Flanagan WineryEric Flanagan decided to move his family from the fast paced life of New York to the Sonoma County country life. Eric, an ardent wine lover and collector, was inspired to build a winery and produce his own world-class wines. Eric found the perfect land in 1999 atop Bennett Mountain, overlooking Bennett Valley in Santa Rosa, to plant vineyards and build his dream winery from the ground up. Complete with the best of everything, including 7,500 sq. ft. caves built deep into the hillside, and a 4,500 sq. ft. winery.

Flanagan Vineyards RRVEric also purchased 56 acres in the Russian River Valley where his family, 2 Golden Retrievers, 6 Dwarf Nigerian goats, and a dozen chickens and ducks live. This is also where they grow their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Eric had a vision of creating exceptional namesake wines, and a safe environment for his 3 daughters and dogs to run all over his vineyards safely. So every detail from farming the vineyards, to the winery and the caves are all 100% sustainable. They use year round cover crops, never till the soils, and hand-work on the vines. They even use the process water from the winery to water their 450 olive trees and don’t require frost protection, using less water during the critical winter salmon runs. They thought of everything! Eric and his family are largely reducing their carbon footprint, while creating an impressive footprint in the world of small boutique wines.

Dwarf Nigerian Goats

Eric says, “Our site, our vineyards, and our winemaking all combine to create wines of intensity, structure, complexity…..and beauty.”  So the next time you are at Baci, please give Flanagan wines a try! We carry their Cabernet Sauvignon, Beauty of Three (named after his daughters) by the glass, a 2005-2009 Cabernet Sauvignon vertical, 2007 & 2010 Syrah, 2009 Merlot, and their 2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay. For more information and signup for their mailing list, go to:

Kit, Riley 13, Lola 11, Eric, Ruby 9

Here is a picture of the Flanagan clan at Baci when Eric brought his family and staff in for a holiday party in the Wine Room last week.  We have had the privilege of catering many events for the Flanagan family, including Eric and Kit’s beautiful rehearsal dinner in November 2011, and their recent Release Party at the winery last October. The view from the winery is breathtaking, the wines are fabulous, and the family is delightful! We also appreciate that Flanagan Winery has generously offered to be a sponsor of Lawrence’s upcoming performance at the Raven Theater in February.

Featured Farmer: Ken Gradek of Ken Gradek & Bros. Tree Orchard – Tree Farmer Extraordinaire

Ken Gradek

This month, we are featuring Ken Gradek, a longtime local farmer and Healdsburg resident. Ken and his 5 brothers were raised on their family farm located off West Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg since 1951. That farm is still thriving thanks to Ken and his brother, who decided to carry on the family business. About 20 years ago, they decided to create a niche for themselves and converted the land into a tree orchard. But not just any tree orchard, they have 650 fruit trees planted on 10 acres, with 12 different tree crops including peaches, nectarines, apples, figs, persimmons, cherries, and apricots. Among those tree crops, they specialize in Asian Pears and grow 12 different types of Asian pears, making them the largest and only resource in town for this delicious fruit. I was shocked to learn there are many different varieties of just Asian Pears!

When Ken sold them at the Healdsburg and Windsor farmer’s markets, and went around introducing them to local restaurants, he found many people were unfamiliar with Asian Pears. It didn’t take long for almost every restaurant in town to want them and the other “fruits” of his labor- including Baci! We use a lot of Ken’s fruit, including his peaches in our popular Baked Peaches dessert during summer. We currently use Ken’s persimmons in our Insalata Inverno and have some beauties displayed by the Baci wood oven.

I asked Ken if he ever got tired of farming, and he said he still loves doing it. He said no two years are the same, and he loves the challenge of providing the nicest fruit at the best price year after year regardless of what Mother Nature throws at him. Even though he has built a solid reputation of growing top-notch fruit, he said he always strives to be better. With a sparkle in his eye when he talks about his farm, Ken really takes pride in the quality of every fruit he grows. All of their fruit is tree ripened, and he makes sure they are picked and delivered everyday at the perfect ripeness.

Although farming is almost a year-round business, Ken has also managed to build a successful company providing support to Cal-Fire and the US Forest Service. When there is a large fire in the area, Ken and his crew go in and set-up and support the fire camps where all the fire fighters have to sleep and eat. Ken really found a niche in both of his businesses and they reflect the good-hearted man that Ken is. He truly cares about the quality of his farm, and he cares about the quality of living for those having to risk their lives in order to save ours. A very admirable man.  That is why we wanted to share Ken’s story as one of our favorite local farmers.

The Regular Round-up: Leslie and Dan Weaver – The Magical Powers of the Sweetheart Table

Leslie and Dan Weaver Leslie and Dan Weaver’s love story blossomed at Baci. We can take some credit because on their first date, they did sit at the “sweetheart” table. At the sweetheart table, magical things can happen. You know the one – the private little table in the front corner. Never underestimate its power! That was three years ago and they have since married and come into Baci every year for their anniversary. It has now become their special family gathering place and have enjoyed numerous birthday and family celebrations here. They have a lot of celebrating to do, with five children between them and four grand-kids  The Baci wine bar is also their favorite spot for a Friday date-night.

People often say, “You’ll find the right one when the time is right.” For Leslie and Dan, that couldn’t have been more true. Leslie and Dan both grew up in Mill Valley, and went to the same school but they never met. Leslie has lived in Healdsburg since 1985, and Dan has lived in Healdsburg and worked at Healdsburg Lumber for over 35 years. Yet, somehow, they never met. It finally took a mutual friend introducing them the old-fashioned way to bring them together and the rest is history. We are happy that their history started at Baci!

Here’s some unique trivia about Leslie and Dan. Leslie has 17-year-old boy/girl twins that have different birthdays because she delivered one before midnight and the other one after! Leslie is a travel expert, splitting her time between working for the county and being a travel agent at HMS Travel, and they will be spending the holidays this year in Belize (which makes me very jealous). Dan has helped remodel the Baci building four times since working for Healdsburg Lumber! I asked them why they are regulars at Baci, and they said they feel very welcome and they love the food.  Thank you, Leslie and Dan, for making us part of your love story.

Chef Shari’s Holiday Recipe: Roast Crown of Pork from Chef Shari – Serves 12

2 Pork loins Frenched, 6 bones
¾ Cup kosher salt
1 Cup sugar
1 Gallon of water
3 Bay leaves
4 Whole cloves
2 Oranges
2 Teaspoons of juniper berries
4 Medium cloves of garlic
2 Tea spoons of crushed black pepper
2 Tea spoons of finely chopped sage & thyme
6 oz of butter, room temperature

The Crown of pork can be formed with two Frenched loin tied together, bone side in. Make Brine from salt, sugar, water, bay leaves, garlic, and juniper berries. The oranges must be squeezed in the brine, and then the rind should be added in. Submerge the loins, cover with brine, and place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, no more than 24 hours before cooking. Before cooking make a paste with the butter and the herbs.

For cooking:
Drain and rinse the pork loins well, pat dry, and turn the oven to 250 degrees. Tie the 2 ribs with the butcher string to form the crown and stand up. The bone side must be in and facing up. Then rub the paste all over the meat, sprinkle with the crushed black pepper and place in the roasting pan. At this time you can add some onion, celery and carrots to the bottom of the pan and set the roast on top pure a cup or two of water (which can be made in to a sauce later.) Cook for 1 to 1.5 hours to reach a temperature of 140, at this point turn the oven to 400 degrees for 15 minutes to reach 155 degrees and browned. Set it a side to relax and serve.

Idea for the center of the Crown Pork: Roast fingerling potatoes, and mix with sauteéd brussels sprouts place in the center of the crown roast and cover the bones with paper frills.

Baci Bites:

Save the Date: Recital by Pianist Lawrence Holmefjord-Sarabi – Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:00pm, at the Raven Theater in Healdsburg, CA.

Lawrence Holmefjord-SarabiOur son, 21-year-old pianist Lawrence Holmefjord-Sarabi is returning home to Healdsburg for the start of his world tour. He currently studies performance at the Yong-Siew-Toh Conservatory in Singapore, and will be performing a solo recital at Raven Theater. Sponsored by Flanagan Winery. Adults: $30/Students: $20, Food & Wine Reception at Baci Café & Wine Bar following concert: $75. For tickets: Call 707.433.8111 or go to www.bacicafeandwinebar.comor Tickets will also be available starting January 2, 2013 at The Raven Theater at 115 North St., Healdsburg and Copperfield’s Books at 106 Matheson St., Healdsburg.

Lawrence will also be performing in San Jose on Friday, February 15th, 7:00pm at Trianon Theatre at 72 North 5th Street, San Jose, CA. Prices are Adults: $30/Students: $20.

Holiday Gifts: It’s not too late to give a gift certificate from Baci. Just give us a call at 707-433-8111 or come in. We also have Baci logo aprons (modeled below), bread baskets, placemats, and some olive oil that would make great gifts.

Holiday Hours: December Lunch: Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 11:30am – 3:00pm, December Dinner: Wednesday through Monday from 5:00pm. Closed Tuesdays.

Lisbeth HolmefjordDinner Christmas Eve & New Years Eve from 5:00pm with an open menu and a variety of specials. We have posted our Holiday specials here on the blog. Please just click the “Holiday Specials” page located in the upper right-hand  corner.  We will be closed Christmas Day, December 25 and closed for vacation from Tuesday, January 1 and reopening on Friday, January 11, 2013.

We wish all of you joyous holidays filled with love, laughter, friends, family, good food and good cheer!