Let’s get straight to the Valley Restaurant Report. Big news! If all goes according to plan, The Buckhorn will soon have new owners and will be re-opening in a month or two. The recently arrived Jean and Tom Condon, a US Army Reserve Master Sergeant just back from eight months in Kuwait, who recently retired from the New York City Fire Department after 30 years service and moved to the Valley with wife Jean, are deep into negotiations to purchase the liquor license and sign a lease with landlord Gary Island. Tom and Jean previously owned a bar in Manhattan for a time and now their daughter Jordana and her boyfriend Chris, who arrived together in the Valley almost a year ago, and have been working at The Buckhorn and Lauren’s Restaurant for much of that time, will also be heavily involved in the operation. The plan is to present a similar pub-dining experience as the previous Buckhorn but perhaps to broaden the appeal and provide a taste of all aspects of AV along with seasonal menu changes. The community will no doubt welcome this re-addition to the Valley dining and social scene and we wish them every success.
Meanwhile, here is a brief update on the other members of the Valley’s Big Eight evening dining options: Lauren’s Restaurant continues with both lunch and dinner plus a new comfort food dining experience as part of a “Sunday Supper” taking place on some Sundays, beginning on January 29 from 5-8.30pm. Lizbby’s, with an adaption of the menu from the recently closed Libby’s Restaurant, is announcing that they will open soon. The Boonville Hotel continues with their family-style, prix fixe menu on Friday thru Sunday. Aquarelle Cafe and Wine Bar will remain closed until around Valentine’s Day. The Redwood Drive-In just keeps on doing what they do with reliable hours. Stone and Embers is open Friday-Tuesday, noon to 6pm. Following their two-and-a-half week break, The Bewildered Pig reopens tonight, Wednesday January 18. Ok. that’s all for now. I suggest you eat, drink, and be merry.
Public Service Announcements. #543. Given the current very uncertain weather situation… For road conditions and closures call 1-800-gas-road (427-7623) and for power problems and outages call 1-800-PGE (743)-5000. #544. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital have no more visits this month to the AV Farm Supply on Highway 128, north of Philo. However, they will be here twice in February: 2 and 23. #545. Need a burn permit? From 11am to 3pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays you can get one from the Firehouse in Boonville. Call 895-2020 for more information or stop by and you will be efficiently served with a smile. #546. I believe that the Mendocino Bookmobile returns to the Valley next Tuesday, January 24. Phone 463-4694 for confirmation. Alternate Tuesdays for 45 minutes at: Navarro Store 9am (for just 30 minutes before heading out to Comptche); the Floodgate 12.30pm; Philo 1.30pm; Boonville (Apple Hall) 2.30pm. #547. The AV Museum is closed for the winter. #548. No more Barn Sales until the spring. #549. And finally another reminder that the annual Valley Crab Feeds are almost here. First is the annual benefit for the Senior Center this coming Saturday, January 21; tickets: $35 pre-sale, $40 at the door, sold at the Senior Center, AV Market, Rossi Hardware, and Lemons’ in Philo. Happy Hour at 5.30pm, dinner at 6.30pm. Two weeks is the Original Crab Feed on Saturday, February 4. Tickets are $45, same as last year, includes complimentary wine. Tickets available through Gloria Ross at 895-3071, John Schultz at 895-9552, or Lemons’ Market in Philo. Both Crab Feeds are very popular Valley-centric occasions. They WILL sell out; you have been warned.
Here is the menu for the Community lunches over the next week in the Senior Center at the Veterans” Building in Boonville. The Center asks for a $6 donation from seniors and charges $7 for Non-seniors. Tomorrow, Thursday, January 19, the lunch, served by Marti Titus and her crew at Noon, will be Beef Stroganoff followed by Triple Chocolate for dessert. Then, next Tuesday, January 24, the lunch will feature Jared's Clam Chowder and Carmel Apple Cake for dessert. All meals include vegetables, salad bar, and fruit, plus milk, coffee, tea, and lemonade. Best value for money you’ll get all week! Tai Chi every Tuesday at 11am. Kathy’s Easy-stretch Yoga class on Thursdays at 11am. Also on Thursdays, the Active Life Club runs from 10am to 2pm featuring games, crafts, and music. The Senior Center/Community Bus goes to Ukiah on Mondays and Santa Rosa on the first Wednesday of the month. These trips fill up fast so sign up early at 489-1175. ALL ages are welcome! Hope to see you there.
Topics and Valley events under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge — “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant (yet surprisingly reliable) Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.
…I attended a lovely event at Lauren’s Restaurant on Sunday afternoon that was held as a “Thank You” to Libby, Jose, and their family for the many years of hard work and fine food that came together to make the recently closed Libby’s Restaurant in Philo one of the Valley’s most popular restaurants of the last couple of decades. Perhaps as many as 80 Valley folks came to this pot luck celebration and such a gathering was a lovely testament to Libby and Jose and a wonderful show of support and the Valley’s enjoyment of many years of Libby’s dining. It is an end of an era, the final closing of the blinds on one of the Valley’s most beloved institutions.
…School is back in session after the winter holiday break. Finally.
…According to my “in-depth” research, as 2017 began we had 27 winery tasting rooms open to the public in the Valley, from Yorkville Cellars in Yorkville to Lula Cellars on the edge of Christine Woods. In the last five years or so, ten have closed, several of which have been replaced by new ones of course. Interesting.
…From our 3-Dot regular, The Old Buzzard, comes “Signs that the Apocalypse is Approaching.” Buzzard reports, “So after a three-week holiday break the schools returned last Monday, ready to educate and be educated. They lasted one day. It was raining hard at times and quite windy. Roads were wet. Rivers had water in them. People’s vehicles had their windscreen wipers wiping and their lights on. Most roads were open, certainly those which virtually all of our kids use to get to and from school. I drove around the Valley. It was very lovely. At no time was I in fear of my life. I did not fear for anyone else’s either. It was a period of heavy rain, not a tsunami, a hurricane, tornado, or The Great Flood. Then on Tuesday afternoon, after more rain mixed with periods of calm, came the announcement, initially via Facebook/Valley Hub and then the School itself via their “Parent Link,” that the schools would be closed on Wednesday too. Obviously weather in the region was severe in places, and some people went without power for a time, although generally the Valley was just wet with a few branches down, but I had to laugh, albeit with a large degree of incredulity, at how we have become such a nanny state, soft when dealing with some adversity, and perhaps lacking in intestinal fortitude, defined as “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.” When friends back east saw the photographs I sent they were not impressed by our “extreme” weather. To those of us who've dealt with far worse weather and come through unscathed and not at all worse for wear, and for many folks in the Valley, in particular many parents, it was somewhat melodramatic and, I will suggest, this fear and melodrama is another example of the Apocalypse, the real one, not a pretend one like this was portrayed by some, being closer than we think. “
Oh, dear, has The Old Buzzard upset somebody? I guess I’ll ask him to get his coat and leave. Be careful out there; if you break a leg don’t come running to me; stay out of the ditches; be wary of strangers with more dogs than teeth; show love to your pets, they will be faithful and true to you to the last beat of their hearts; think good thoughts; Keep the Faith; try to not let life get in the way of living; may your god go with you, and may your dog go with you too. A final request, “Let us prey.” Sometimes poking, often stroking, but almost always humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. Contact me through the Letters Page or at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. PS. Keep on humming, Hummingbird. Missing the Venerable Pheasant. On the sheep, Grace.