Once Upon a Film Festival

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An Epicurean Itinerary
By Courtney Cochran

08film_ElvisAndAnabelleStill.jpgWe’re so sure you’ll love Elvis & Anabelle – a delightful new flick screening April 13th at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival sponsored by WineCountry.com- that we’ve designed a custom itinerary around the film to help you take your viewing experience to altogether more hedonistic heights.
Take 1   
The screening’s not until 3:30pm, so why not start your day with a late brunch at Sonoma favorite the girl and the fig (www.thegirlandthefig.com).  Located on the northwest corner of the plaza inside the vintage Sonoma Hotel, this critically acclaimed eatery shuns frills while embracing local ingredients – in doing so scoring serious points with no-fuss foodies.  Splurge on the likes of duck confit and potato hash or stick with updated favorites like poached eggs paired with Niman Ranch ham and red bliss potato home fries.  

Those with a soft spot for cheese will score with selections from the spot’s “Salon de Fromage,” a superbly edited collection of cheeses from both local and international purveyors.  We highly recommend trying the “The Cheese Monger’s Whimsy,” a selection of cheeses chosen by the on-staff cheese specialist (AKA “Cheese Monger”) and complemented by the girl & the fig’s FIG FOOD, a line of condiments specially tailored to pair with – you guessed it – cheese.  Wash it down with a bottle of local, hard-to-find Unti Grenache, then amble over to the Hollywood & Vine Theaters a few blocks away to score a great seat for the afternoon show.

Take 2
Directed by Will Geiger and featuring “rising star” actors Max Minghella and Blake Lively (star of The CW Network’s smash hit series, Gossip Girl), Elvis & Anabelle is a charming film that chronicles the adventures of two unhappy youths who meet under the strangest of circumstances (and we do mean strange) and embark on an life changing journey of self-discovery and love.

At once touching and uplifting, the film explores timeless themes of family duty, young love, life and death, and friendship, all against the backdrop of stunning cinematography and a captivating soundtrack. Watch for powerful supporting performances by Hollywood stalwarts Mary Steenburgen and Joe Mantegna in this riveting independent film that’s been dubbed “a West Texas gothic love story.”  

Be sure to arrive early and say ‘hello’ to WineCountry.com founder Heidi Paul who will be on hand to introduce Mr. Geiger.  A proud sponsor of the Sonoma Valley Film Festival for years, WineCountry.com has selected Elvis & Anabelle as this year’s ‘Tribute’ film.

Take 3
When the show’s over, meander back to the Plaza to peruse the charming shops lining its periphery or enjoy a cocktail at The Swiss Hotel or local favorite Steiner’s Tavern (don’t miss the juke box).  If you’ve got room – and we hope you do – we recommend ducking into nearby El Dorado Kitchen for dinner.  At this spot conveniently situated just across the street from the girl & the fig, Executive Chef Ryan Fancher – who cut his teeth at The French Laundry and Auberge du Soleil – prepares a host of dishes that strike just the right balance between simple and sophisticated.  

Tuck into the likes of Fancher’s truffle risotto or Basque bouillabaisse fireside in the chic spot’s lobby (it’s located inside the minimalist cool El Dorado Hotel), underneath a fig tree in the garden courtyard or in a private poolside cabana.  No matter where you indulge, we’re sure you’ll find the spring-in-Sonoma weather enchanting, and the evening the perfect nightcap to an epicurean cinematic splurge perfectly fitting your wine country experience.



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