Thursday, January 29, 2004
MAD ABOUT BEEF…Before I dive into all the action that is happening or has happened, a word about the recent scare regarding beef. There have long been abominable practices perpetrated upon animals by unscrupulous “farmers” who allow greed to poison their good judgment. Unless you have been living in a cardboard box you must be aware of conditions at many giant poultry, pig, cow and fish farms. As appalling as it may appear to sensible folks, the concept of grinding up various items like other animal parts to recycle back into the food for those same animals is a byproduct (there’s an industry term) of degenerative obsession with increasing costs-to-profits ratio, regardless of how it’s accomplished.
When you are buying food for yourself and your family, using price as the sole determinant, remember this—the only way a restaurant or grocer can compete and still retain some type of profit margin is to buy from giant slaughter conglomerates that routinely pump animals full of hormones, antibiotics, artificial and other unnatural feed, etc. It is time to force suppliers to revamp their approach and raise healthier, happier animals. It is time for them to remember that they are responsible for nourishing us with their products, not just fattening the bottom line. Find out where your food is coming from.
VALLEY TASTES…Went to a rockin’ wine dinner as part of last week’s sixth annual Salinas Valley Rotary-sponsored Wine and Food Festival. Sweet Thing and myself, along with a group of local renegades—Earl “The Pearl” Fiscalini, Carol “The Executioner” Fiscalini, Trudy “Judge Judy” Smith, Chuck “I’m So Nice Better Call Me Charles” Righello and “None Better Than” Betty Righello— plus a roomful of wino/foodies, enjoyed a spectacular match-up of stars. Paraiso Wines and the winemaking of David Fleming went head to head with Billy Quon’s and the cuisine of Todd “Too Shy” Fisher. Forget all your preconceptions about wine dinners being stuffy.
It started with the ever-ebullient Chef Fisher pumping up the crowd like a souped-up motivational speaker. Fleming provided a more restrained counter balance as, course by course, each explained what we were eating and drinking. The menu was too varied and the wines too complex to fully illustrate in this forum—suffice it to say that everything was absolutely delicious. I managed to raise my head from the action just enough to notice that I was not the only person there devouring every bite and every sip. Kudos to Billy Quon’s, Paraiso Wines, the Salinas Rotary and everyone else.
FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS…I hit Carmel Valley’s “A Village Affair” out at Bernardus Lodge. This is an annual fundraiser for the Carmel Valley Village Improvement Committee. A number of local wineries and food establishments provided the sustenance as folks perused the largest assembled array of silent auction items I’ve seen in a long time. A good time was had by all and, hopefully, the Improvement Committee got the coffers filled up a little.
Jeff Moses and I donated four passes for the auction to our upcoming Around The World In 80 Wines event scheduled for Tuesday, March 23, at the Hyatt Regency Monterey. We’re really excited about this opportunity for wine lovers to taste wines from outside the region. We will be presenting an enormous number of wines from all the major winemaking regions on Earth, along with indigenous food and music, with each region separated into its own space. We have partnered with the Food Bank for Monterey County and hope to be able to help out that great organization. I’ll keep you posted.
ODD BITS…Shotgun style…Go hear Doug Meador tonight (Thursday) talk about “Syrah and Friends.” He’ll be comparing Syrahs from here, France’s Rhone Valley and Australia. Call Karla Cristi for info about this and two other upcoming talks by the always entertaining and deeply insightful Meador, owner/grower of Ventana and Meador Estates; 372-7415…Pavona Wines is hosting its “Winter Jamboree” at the tasting room at 1645 River Rd. on Saturday, Jan. 31, from 1 to 4pm. Wine tasting, new releases, hors d’oeuvres, live music, Richard Kanakaris, got to be fun. Call 646-1506…If you’re not watching the SuperBowl at the Hyatt Sunday, but decide to watch it at home with friends, pick up the food at Terry Teplitzky’s Wild Thyme Deli in Marina. Let him and his crazy staff do the work, they’ve got all types of great foods ready to go, 884-2414…Go to Bistro 211 and have great home cooking with Jon and Carmen, two of the best people anywhere. Try their great Sunset Dinners for only $13.95, you get a lot of great food and love at bargain prices, 625-3030…Listen to the drumbeats…it’s coming…The Masters of Food and Wine…see ya.