Last puff: With his trademark wit, Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard announced Friday that his Santa Cruz restaurant, Le Cigare Volant ("The Flying Cigar"), will close effective Dec. 31. The news came in a news release titled "Doonsday?" that featured a photo of a Mayan temple.
"The restaurant business is not for the faint-hearted, nor for anyone who cannot devote 200% of his or her attention to it," Grahm wrote. "We are re-focusing on the things that we are very good at -- making wine, that is, and the occasionally too-clever-by-half wine package. This has been an incredible, mostly very joyous ride for us, and we wish to thank everyone -- our customers, vendors, and exceptional staff -- who has been part of this once in a lifetime otherworldly experience."
Chef Ryan Shelton, who had cooked in the Michelin-starred kitchens of Baumé and Chez TJ, worked with Grahm to launch Le Cigare Volant just this past spring.
"With Ryan Shelton at the helm of Le Cigare Volant, Grahm and his wines have finally met their match," wrote Mercury News restaurant critic Jennifer Graue in a September review that was high on praise for Shelton's creativity and artistry.
The space will reopen in mid-January as a tasting room only.
Holiday tradition: If the opening line of that old chestnut, "The Christmas Song," has you craving some real roasted chestnuts, you won't have to venture to San Francisco's Union Square to find them. For the second year, the Lakeside Cafe is reviving that holiday roasting tradition at Shoreline Lake in Mountain View. You can watch as the imported Italian chestnuts are roasted alfresco, buy a cone full of hot nuts or try other chestnut goodies, such as chestnut-celery root soup. Roasting times are 1-1:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21 and 1-1:30 p.m. and 4-4:30 p.m. Dec. 22-23. If you'd like to preorder a batch to take home or to the office, call 650-965-1745. Details: The cafe is open daily at 3160 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.
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