SMITH: Will Caffé Portofino live on?
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 6:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 6:21 p.m.
Folks who cook, pour and serve at Caffé Portofino fear a perception that the savored downtown Santa Rosa spot died a month ago with owner Bob Musante.
But I lunched there on Monday (minestrone and a half Caesar) and found that chef Arturo Cardenas, who has worked there 22 years, and 25-year bar manager Su Wolfard are at their posts and hoping Portofino will stay open for close to forever.
Its future fell into doubt in 2000 with the death at age 34 of athletic, naturally charming Victor Belmonte. He'd opened it with his parents, Vittorio and Maria, and brother, Henry, in 1987 where the Courthouse Cafe had been.
The family did sell Portofino in 2002, but buyer Musante wisely made few changes. With Musante's death Jan. 9 at 68, it's likely to be sold again.
Will Maria's fettucini survive another change of hands? We can hope.
VICKI'S CARE: Remember that horrendous head-on crash on Stony Point Road near Cotati in December, the one believed caused by a young man driving with a needle alongside him and drugs in his veins?
The woman in the other vehicle, Vicki Siefer, was so grievously hurt there was fear she might not survive.
We've learned a bit about Siefer, who is 46 and an Piner alum. She had endured the loss of a career job and an upside-down home and became beloved as a caregiver for ailing seniors.
She is finally out of hospitals, although not yet able to walk on her reconstructed legs. Rose Pierre, who appreciates how Siefer cared for her 88-year-old mom, has opened a bank account to receive donations to help her pay her
It's account 157500945520 at US Bank.
“She's a fighter,” Pierre said.
TWO OLD BIRDS: Chloe Baskin might not have been sufficiently vigilant as she opened the door at her Sebastopol home to fetch the newspaper.
When she came back in her parakeet, Rainbow, was squawking like it was the end of the world. He stood atop the cage he'd long shared with Tyler, a cockatiel.
And Tyler was gone. Baskin was quickly as frantic as Rainbow. She'd rescued both birds, and others, from unhealthy situations and she's long been struck by how tight Tyler and Rainbow are.
She scoured the house, then went outside to search and call for Tyler. Her heart hurt as she phoned the Sebastopol police to report that he was missing.
An officer told her that just such a bird was reported to be hanging around Park Side School, two blocks away.
“So I picked up Rainbow in his cage and hot-footed it over to the school,” Baskin said. “Tyler was two stories up, perched on a windowsill, screaming his head off.”
She plunked down the cage and called up to Tyler that his buddy was there. That went on about 20 minutes, then Tyler flew down to the cage and ducked right in when she opened the door.
Once again, all seems well for a pair of feathered friends in Sebastopol.
You can reach Chris Smith at 521-5211 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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