Thursday, December 7, 2006
BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE… Normally (oh yeah Martha, like there’s anything normal about this guy), on the day of my deadline, I sit in my home office early in the morning—really early in the morning—and knock out this collection of misshapen lines and symbols (multiple entendre working there) as the sun comes up and the day begins. This morning, the temperature outside is in the mid 30s. Since we don’t really like to have the heat on during the night while we sleep, the house is about perfect wine-cellar temperature, about 56 degrees, and will remain so until my SWEET THING awakes at a more respectable hour and we turn the heat on.
The point of this digitally engineered jaunt through the woods to the Grandmother’s house of my imagination, meanderingly arrived at (not yet it ain’t, ya windbag) is that it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Cold weather, especially combined with a bit of snowflakery, really help create the Christmas seasonal mood for me (you know Martha, for once I agree with the guy). Chances are the day you read this, and even perhaps the days of Christmas itself, will be warm and sunny. Hopefully not. Hopefully we’ll have a slashing of blustery winter snow that decorates all the hilltops in our vista, frosty air will necessitate warming ourselves with our loved ones around an open fire and Jack Frost will…well, you get the picture.
HOLIDAY SPIRIT… It’s a wonderful life (thank you Mister Capra), that’s the story. The folks at Monterey County YOUNG PROFESSIONALS GROUP know it. That’s why they’re doing Thursday’s (Dec. 7) holiday mixer at the Monterey Marriott (which is generously sponsoring) dedicated to collecting toys for boys and girls ages 5 to 17. Bring a new toy down to Characters, the sports bar attached to the Marriott, and mingle with local young professionals. Network, meet people like you and help out the COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTH, a local program providing consistent support in a safe environment for young people to develop boundaries and learn to build on their individual strengths (cpy.org). This event begins at 6pm so hurry now.
BUZZ IN THE BIZ… Got a phone call from MARY PAGAN, the dedicated and hardworking Mistress of the Monterey Culinary Center (she’ll get me for that one). She was so happy to tell me about RICK EDGE joining the staff as a full-time instructor. For those of you with short memories (I’m holding back here) Rick spent time at both Pacific’s Edge and Pebble Beach, knocking out great food in both places. He went off to Boston to work at Clio’s, a hot restaurant, but I guess he just missed Paradise. We welcome him back with loving arms (and a few shots of Herradura Blanco, baby).
Hey, another great bit of news about the Masters of Food and Wine. Once again, Mills Family Farms Wholeaves, Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Green Cascade Mix and Romaine Lettuce has been named the official lettuce sponsor of the Masters. ROB “BIG BUDGET” WEAKLEY, executive food and beverage director of the Highlands, commented: “We use their lettuce regularly in both of our restaurants here at the Highland Inn/Park Hyatt Carmel and have found their lettuce to be much higher quality than others—our salads are one of our biggest hits.”
As a guy who toured the entire Wholeaves operation, I can attest to the quality of those products. I remember my son was along with me on that tour and he was laughing at how excited I was while watching all that happen. Twenty years in restaurants makes me really appreciate a product that is so beneficial to the industry and so helpful for consumers.
ELSBETH WETHERILL, of Escafeld Vineyards down in San Antonio Valley, one of the southernest (you see Martha, there he goes making up words again) appellations in Monterey County, and also the newest official one, e-mailed me to tell me about how excited she is about her new Petit Verdot, which carries the San Antonio Valley designation on the label. Petit Verdot, one of the classic Bordeaux varietals, produces a wonderfully fragrant, complex and age-worthy wine, packed with concentration and fruit. The 2004 Escafeld Petit Verdot is grown at Argyle Vineyards, located in Jolon, in the northern foothills of the San Antonio Valley. There is a lot of history down there too, check out the story at escafeld.com.
My man RICHARD “THE LIONHEADED” KANAKARIS, capo of Pavona Wines, is offering free shipping through Dec. 15 on Pavona wines. What a great holiday gift to send folks. All savvy people, especially those out of the area, love to get local wines from Monterey as gifts. Contact him now, 233-4041 or email@example.com.
Stop into Bistro Giovanni in Carmel, the sister restaurant to Da Giovanni. It’s right there on San Carlos, across the street from the Eastwood Building. Owner FIROK SHIELD commissioned a beautiful mural on the wall depicting a bustling outdoor scene with café tables and folks living the good life. It’s a magical expression of Artur Vlasavich, a very talented artist. Meanwhile, stop in for a meal, some wine and lively repartee with DAVE “DOWNTOWN” BROWN, the loquacious manager who’s always on duty.
HOLIDAY SPIRIT, CONT.… Shout out to the SHAKE AND BAKE BOYS, SABU AND CHRIS, co-owners of Fish Hopper on Cannery Row (and soon in Hawaii). When they saw a television piece about the Salvation Army’s shortage of turkeys for Thanksgiving, they donated 50 to the cause...that’s what I’m talking about.
I didn’t have any turkey on Thanksgiving but was in Monterey the next day and had lunch at the Wild Plum Café & Bakery. Luckily they were doing a warm fresh turkey sandwich so I got my fix. I love that place, always really nice, fresh-made items for breakfast and lunch, lovely baked goods and nice people. Check it out, thewildplumcafe.com, 646-3109…I’m plum out of space (in outer space?)…bye bye.