Good Food, Good Intentions: Resolute Eats for the New Year

Hawk's Feather Olive Oil, Spices and a new chef in the Peter Lowell's kitchen

Bill Wallace of Hawk's Feather Oliveto
Bill Wallace of Hawk's Feather Oliveto

Unless you’re a personal trainer or a nutritionist, it’s a safe bet that nearly every resolution list in the county has a promise to eat healthier in the coming year. And chances are you’ve stocked up on carrots, celery and diet frozen dinners to help you keep that resolve — for at least a couple weeks.
Chances are, you — like everyone else — will abandon hope at the first sniff of freshly baked cookies or leftover Superbowl snacks. Don’t despair. There are easier ways to do good for your body, as well as a few that do good for others as well. Here are some edible intentions meant to cement your willpower…
Good for Others
Hawk’s Feather Olive Oil: Nutritionists have long known that olive oil has some pretty magical properties when it comes to heart-healthiness — reducing cholesterol levels and lowering the risks of heart disease. But in Sebastopol, producer Bill Wallace is pressing his five acre grove for an even higher purpose.
Over the last five years, Wallace has donated all of the proceeds of his award-winning Hawk’s Feather Olive Oil to cancer research. It’s a very personal mission for the former office furniture exec, who himself is fighting a rare former of kidney cancer. With the help of friends, Wallace harvests hundreds of pounds of Italian olives each year, then presses the oil at McEvoy Ranch and sells the 500 or so cases at the St. Helena Olive Oil company.
Financial help from friends, who include some executives in very high places, and the sales of the olive oil have resulted in donations over nearly $150,000 directly to a single doctor researching Wallace’s form of cancer, Dr. Robert A Figlin of Cedar-Sinai. And though there’s still no cure, Wallace has been part of several medical trials and continues to raise funds toward a cure. Hawk’s Feather Olive Oil will be available for purchase in early January at
Schools Plus Dancing Bear Salsa
Eat salsa and help Santa Rosa’s school kids fund sports, music and art. This special edition salsa is benefitting Schools Plus, a program that donates much-needed finances to programs that have fallen by the financial wayside at Santa Rosa’s public schools. Available at at G&G, Oliver’s, Whole Foods, Pacific Market and Molsberry’s.
Good for You
Spices of Life: It seems that just about every other week, another spice is added to the “healthy” list. Loaded with disease fighting antioxidants, they can do everything from lower blood sugar and cholesterol to help fight cancer — at least according to some nutritionists. On the especially nice list: Cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, garlic, paprika, ginger and oregano. And that doesn’t mean the sad bottled dust that’s been sitting on your shelf for 10 years. Make a resolution to replace at least once spice each month, or try something new. You’ll be amazed at the difference that freshly ground, high-quality spices make in your cooking. Our special favorite: Savory Spice Shop (317 D St., Santa Rosa, (707) 284-1310) where you can pick up the basics or try some of their special blends like Shichimi Togarashi (a spicy Japanese seasoning blend with sesame seeds, orange peel and Chinese chilis) in a trial-sized bag or by the bottle. Also recently opened is Penzey’s Spices 736 Farmers Ln., Santa Rosa).
Ubuntu: It’s a pretty solid bet that  restaurant that doubles as a yoga studio is serving up some food with good karma. Though opening chef Jeremy Fox has moved on to head the Tyler Florence food empire, the vegetarian menu still pays homage to Fox’s haute produce-centric mantra. But meat-free dining isn’t the point — owner Sandy Lawrence don’t want Ubuntu to fall into the soybean ghetto — but instead celebrate the use of local produce and the deliciousness of the seasons. 1140 Main St, Napa, (707) 251-5656.
Peter Lowell’s: A brand new chef is ringing in the new year at this popular organic eatery. Chef Daniel Kedan has done time in the kitchens of Ad Hoc, Solage and the General’s Daughter as well as Cantinetta Piero in Yountville and will bring, “old world order and new world creativity to our menu,” according to owner Lowell Sheldon. The restaurant continues to work with local farmers and foragers to keep the menu seasonal and fresh. And the unparalleled lasagna of years past has been passed along, so it’s worth another look at this Sebastopol restaurant. 7385 Healdsburg Avenue Ste. 101, Sebastopol, 829-1077.
Goji Kitchen: Steaming pho and clay pot rice are among the soul-reviving dishes at this JC-neighborhood Asian eatery. The restaurant is owned by a trio that includes local health practitioner Kimchi Moyer. The focus is on Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese classics made without any artificial stuff and without microwaves. 1965 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa.
The Garden: This vegetarian restaurant, which also features vegan and gluten-free options, strives to bring flavor to meat-free dining. Housemade breads and buns are a stand-out, and make even hardened carnivores respect the burger-free burger. 90 Mark West Springs Road, 829-1410.
Cafe Gratitude: It takes a bigger person that me to not snicker at the vegan earnestness of this raw foods eatery that forces diners into goofy affirmations while ordering. But if you can get past the feel-goodery, there are some solid health tonics here to knock some of the the holiday sludge out of your system. “Live” sprouted crackers, soups and hummus along with hearty desserts are good choices for the uninitiated. 206 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 707.723.4462.