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A foothills feast for the senses

For restaurant lovers, there is no event more fun than when restaurants join together to offer tastings from their menus. I rarely missed “Taste of Chicago” when I lived there.

And a favorite memory from last year’s editor convention in New Orleans was the best restaurateurs from that food Mecca all gathered under one roof on Jackson Square, presenting their signature dishes.

Well, Nevada County has its own food and wine celebration, and fittingly so, since this is a community that loves its restaurants.



More than 40 area restaurants and wineries will be represented Saturday afternoon at the third annual Foothills Celebration in downtown Grass Valley. The fund-raiser helps Music in the Mountains and the Downtown Grass Valley Association.

Some of our favorite restaurants are participating, many of which we have had conversations about in Table for Two! To get an idea of what treats lie in store, I called the Grass Valley Downtown Association’s Howard Levine and got some details.




One special opportunity for an outsider will be to sample food from the dining room at the Bret Harte Retirement Inn at 305 Main St. They’re going to serve up crab-stuffed pastry, shrimp with cocktail sauce, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. In years past, the Bret Harte also has featured a creative ice sculpture.

And if you think the Old Town Cafe at 110 Mill St. is only pancakes and burgers, check out what they’re offering for the Foothills Celebration: chicken cordon bleu medallions with purple kale, and Old Town crab cakes with cayenne aeoli.

Other samples from participating restaurants include:

• The Owl Grill & Saloon – Billy Blue Bread, a collection of cheese, herbs and spices baked onto fresh bread.

• 212 Bistro at the Holbrooke Hotel – Wrapped brie, honey pecan drumettes, crotini, and chicken and beef satay.

• Bear’s Cafe – Chips and homemade salsa, finger sandwiches, and dessert.

• Carlos’ Restaurant – Stuffed smoked salmon arugula salad, with creme fraiche.

• Tofanelli’s Gold Country Bistro – Crab cakes made with roasted bell peppers and jalapenos.

• The Truffle Shop – Truffles, dessert bars, torte slices.

• The Cake Artist – Champagne cake with lemon/raspberry mousse; chocolate cake with espresso mousse granache; no-nut carrot cake with cream cheese; and double dutch fudge cake.

• Trolley Junction – Roasted garlic and marscapone polenta points topped with ratatouille and portabella mushrooms, plus fresh crepes filled with Franjelico whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

• Asia Restaurant – Yellow curry potatoes and chicken masala, with coconut jasmine rice.

Other participating restaurants and food shops include Cirino’s at Main Street, Diego’s, Ike’s Quarter Cafe, Kirby’s Creekside, Maria’s, Marshall’s Pasties, Sergio’s Caffe, Szechwan, Yuka’s, Caroline’s Coffee Roasters, Confectionately Yours, and the Auburn Valley Country Club.

An eight-page guide to be handed out at the Foothills Celebration will have a map showing where all the restaurants and wineries will have samples.

The event will be a rare opportunity to see why foothills wines are getting so much attention. In addition to wineries here in Nevada County, participants are coming from Placer, Amador, El Dorado and Plumas counties. And don’t miss Takara Sake’s sampling.

After producing sake for 150 years in Japan, they are now combining Sierra Nevada water with Sacramento rice to produce an all-American version.

The event goes from 1-4 p.m., which hardly seems enough time to sample everything.

There will even be live entertainment and art displays at several locations around downtown, plus a raffle for a gourmet dinner, a B&B getaway, and Music in the Mountains tickets. Rain or shine, it sounds like a fantasy afternoon for the senses.

Celebration offers more than just food

The third annual Foothills Celebration this Saturday in downtown Grass Valley offers more than just tastings by 22 area restaurants and 23 area wineries.

The Music in the Mountains and Grass Valley Downtown Association benefit includes ongoing entertainment, i.e. Cool Heat (jazz) at Carlos Restaurant, On the Loose (bluegrass) at Dovetail Design, Kindred Spirit (Celtic) at the Grass Valley Courtyard Suites, Harmony & Company (country) at Tofanelli’s Bistro, and Foothill Express (barbershop) strolling around town.

In addition, art exhibits will be set up in the Louvre, Carlos Restaurant and Sierra Star Winery. Paintings and sculptures by Jerianne Van Dijk, Rock Meade and other area artists will be shown.

A Foothills Celebration raffle has three prizes, each ranging in value between $200 to $400, according to Music in the Mountains Marketing Director Jeanne Duerst. The prizes are a gourmet dinner for 10 at the Swan Levine House, a bed-and-breakfast overnight stay at Piety Hill with dinner at the Swiss House and lunch at the South Pine Street Cafe, and two Music in the Mountains Summer Fest season tickets plus a case of wine.

Raffle tickets can be purchased before and on Saturday at Heart & Home, 124 Mill St. in Grass Valley, and at Music in the Mountains’ box office at 530 Searls Ave. in Nevada City. Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six tickets. Raffle prizes will be drawn Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Dovetail Design.

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KNOW & GO

WHAT: Third annual Foothills Celebration

WHEN: Saturday from 1-4 p.m.

WHERE: downtown Grass Valley

ADMISSION: $25 in advance or $30 on Saturday. Admission includes unlimited wine-tasting, a wine glass and four food-tasting tickets. Additional food-tasting tickets can be purchased. Advance tickets at all Citizens Bank branches, Grass Valley/Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, Grass Valley Downtown Association, Odyssey Books, The Book Seller, Music in the Mountains office, Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, Pleasant Valley Pharmacy and Mike’s Alta Sierra Market. Saturday’s tickets at the Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., or at the Old Post Office, 131 S. Auburn St.

TICKETS/INFORMATION: 272-8315, 265-6124 or (800) 218-2188

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Richard Somerville is a restaurant fan and the editor of The Union. To suggest a Table for Two! restaurant conversation, contact richs@theunion.com or write him in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945.


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