It’s the conversation that makes a holiday feast a lasting memory — the storytelling, the one-liners, the toasts.
If we imagine inviting one more person to our holiday table, just who from Sonoma would liven it up?
“Is Tommy Smothers available?” quips Dan Kosta, co-vintner of Sebastopol’s Kosta Browne Winery, of the well-known comedian who with his brother, Dick, formed the Smothers Brothers and kept 1960s audiences in stitches.
“You gotta have entertainment and humor…,” Kosta added.”It would have to be someone with a sense of humor … I don’t like taking the holidays too seriously. ”
Kosta plans to celebrate Christmas at home with his wife, Alli, and their three children, Mazie, 7, Maggie, 5, and Sean, 4.
“We like to have the kids wake up on Christmas morning in their own beds, to their own tree and presents,” Kosta says. “Christmas dinner is usually fairly early and we’re most likely still in our pajamas, enjoying braised short ribs and great wine. Surprise!”
Duskie Estes’ pick would be celebrity chef Guy Fieri, with his white-blonde spiky hair and larger-than-life personality.
“Guy would enliven any table,” said Estes, the chef of Sebastopol’s Zazu restaurant. “We cook well together. He doesn’t step on my toes, and he can make a mean taco al pastor. That’s a sure-fire way to my heart!”
Fieri is a household name thanks to celebrity TV; he hosts the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” show. Locally, he’s known for his two Santa Rosa restaurants – Tex Wasabi’s and Johnny Garlic’s – and Johnny Garlic’s in Windsor.
For Thanksgiving, Estes and her family make turkey BLTs, which she claims is the best expression of turkey. “The ‘T’ is turkey, not tomato,” she says, adding that homegrown lettuce and the addition of avocado elevate the sandwich to celebration-level fare.
Tom Waits, legendary American singer-songwriter and occasional actor with the distinctive growling voice, is Marcy Smothers’ choice of guest.
“Waits is one of Sonoma County’s treasures,” says Smothers (who has in the past shared a holiday table with Tommy Smothers).
“Waits is an original and, I’d venture to guess, a fine raconteur. It would be a treat to hear him muse on any subject and bonus points if he’d sit at the piano and sing.”
Smothers, a radio host, home cook and author, says she plans to celebrate the holidays at home with other foodies — friends, family and a few wild cards.
“We have a tradition of expressing gratitude,” she says, “but with Tom (Waits) there, I imagine we’d be tippling and toasting more than usual.”
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