Jeff Morgan, co-owner of Berkeley's Covenant Winery, seen in Israel, where he opened Covenant Israel in 2013. (Photo/File)
Jeff Morgan, co-owner of Berkeley's Covenant Winery, seen in Israel, where he opened Covenant Israel in 2013. (Photo/File)

Non-kosher caterer takes over ‘kosher oasis’ in Palo Alto; Covenant Wines turns 20; Napa food news; etc.

Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.

L’Chaim, Napa Valley’s long-running Jewish food and wine festival, will be held Aug. 27 at Copia (500 First St.) from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Participating this year are 16 wineries, six craft breweries and 12 food vendors selling Jewish favorites such as babka, latkes and bagels.

Among those offering food demonstrations will be Jeff and Jodie Morgan, owners of Berkeley’s Covenant Wines, doing a pasta and wine pairing; J. columnist, chef and author Micah Siva talking about Jewish cooking with kids; and chef Alison Negrin showing two ways to make Greek eggplant.

New this year: a photo booth, and a booth where you can test your Yiddish knowledge. Megan Schoenbohm and Jealous Zelig with Ross Rubin are on deck to provide music.

The annual fundraiser for Napa’s Congregation Beth Shalom also will support a scholarship in Napa Valley College’s viticulture program. Tickets are available on eventbrite.

Speaking of Covenant, the Morgans are celebrating their company’s 20th anniversary this month. The idea for the kosher winery originally was hatched in Napa Valley by Jeff Morgan and the late Leslie Rudd in 2003. The first vintage debuted in 2005, and since then the company has grown in significant ways. In 2013, Covenant started making wine in Israel, becoming the only American winery to do so, and in 2014, after years of making its wine in other wineries, it opened its own in Berkeley, becoming the Bay Area’s second kosher winery. Mazel tov to Jeff and Jodie!

The Oshman Family JCC has announced the new cafe operator who will be taking over food service since the “kosher oasis” ended. Tony Caters held a soft launch on Aug. 14 and is expected to open Aug. 21.

Based in San Jose, Tony Caters is owned by Bay Area native Tony Santos. The cafe is offering breakfast pastries, wraps and salads for lunch, as well as Friday night dinners that can be ordered in advance and picked up for Shabbat. The JCC’s press release noted that Tony Caters is committed to providing wrapped, kosher options as well from another vendor, but no details were available by press time.

Edith’s Pie, co-owned by Mike Raskin, has opened a brick-and-mortar in Oakland, at 412 22nd St. Every day the cafe menu includes sweet pies, such as mango and passionfruit meringue, and savory pies including pot pies, a quiche and several types of hand pies.

In a June 2021 column, we wrote that while Raskin’s grandmother was known for her brisket recipe, Raskin was “deeply offended” when he learned years later that its flavor came from nothing more than onion powder, garlic powder, ketchup and soy sauce. “I grew up thinking it was this incredibly complex, all-day process,” he said then.

Nonetheless, a “grandma’s brisket” hand pie is in the regular rotation of savory pies on offer. When reminded of his quote recently, Raiskin corrected the record and said he’d been more shocked than offended. Has he modified the recipe at all? “It’s too good to tinker with,” he said.

Raskin’s customers seem to agree; he said the brisket pie is one of the biggest sellers. If it’s not in stock, it’s only because they’ve run out.

Samantha Ramey, who with her husband, Ryan, owns Estero Café in Valley Ford, opened a third restaurant last month.

The new place, at 162 N. Main St. in Sebastopol, is a second location for Santa Rosa’s Americana. Like Estero Café, Americana is known for classic diner-type food: egg dishes at breakfast and burgers at lunch, using ingredients from local farms and everything made from scratch.

The Fink, a retro-style cocktail bar, has opened at 530 Main St. in downtown Napa. The Fink specializes in cocktails from around the world and is the project of Judd Finkelstein, who also owns Judd’s Hill winery. Judd Finkelstein is the son of the late Art and Bunny Finkelstein, who moved to Napa in the ’70s and founded Judd’s Hill, named after their son.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."