Thursday, June 19, 2008
TOO HOT TO HANDLE… Fires seem to be spontaneously combusting nearby and around the state. It looks like we are headed for a difficult, fire-filled year unless we miraculously receive a few straight weeks of rain sometime soon.
I worry for all the firefighters who so bravely and selflessly commit their energy and soul to facing down these raging ecological wonders. The fires are so important to the natural cycle of growth in the forests and fields, yet so destructive in the areas where humanity and nature cohabitate. A few years ago I heard of a gentleman in California who had built a home in the middle of fire territory. He’d created some type of resistant structure and grounds around the house that protected it. A fire raged through his neighborhood and all the homes were destroyed except his.
I would imagine that today’s technology could provide for some type of increased protective design on homes to be built within regular fire-prone areas. That would help alleviate some of the firefighters’ risks in trying to protect property, knowing that living areas were built to resist burning. Irrespective of all the hypothetical wishing-well stuff, work our firefighters into your prayers each night… those folks are the greatest.
REMEMBERING TED… A short time ago, Carmel tragically lost one of its central figures. Ted Leidig, whose roots in that town reach back to its founding families, was a friend to everyone ever associated with the restaurant scene around here, as well as to the dozens of tenants to whom he was known as a landlord unlike any other. His generosity, patience and kindness transcended the typical landlord-tenant relationship. Tony Salameh, owner of Anton & Michel as well as partner of Leideg in The Grill on Ocean Avenue (and, along with Csaba Ajan, in PortaBella’s and Merlot Bistro), sat down with me to reflect on his longtime friend.
“When I opened the restaurant here, he was my landlord and we just clicked and we became best friends,” he recalled. “We socialized together and he said, ‘Well, the next time you go into the restaurant business maybe we’ll go in together.’ It took 13 years before we opened the Grill. I miss him, I really do, this is someone I was with three or four times a week.
“Ted was the ultimate gentleman, he had a big heart. As a landlord, I mean, he had so many tenants that would be past due in paying the rent, but he would just say, ‘Well, maybe when it gets busier they can start paying the rent.’ That’s his attitude as a landlord, rather than getting rid of them. He was a wonderful person and is going to be missed by many.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Maxine Klaput, owner of Maxine Klaput Antiques, who has been a tenant of Leidig’s for almost 37 years. “We’ll miss him a lot,” she told me. “A neat guy– how many landlords come up and give you a kiss on the cheek?” Her husband Hank, former Carmel deputy sheriff, added, “I’ve known Ted since 1969 when he owned the Stirrup Cup in the Valley. He’s been a really great guy, always free to talk to you and greet you.”
Relative to the overall collective light generated by all humans throughout history, one solitary life sparks an almost imperceptible glow, a momentary blip upon a ceaselessly flashing screen. For Carmelites and others who knew him, Leidig’s spark burned a bit brighter for a bit longer, warming the hearts of those fortunate enough to call him friend.
As a friend to Salameh and owner of the beautiful Court of the Fountains where Anton & Michel and Maxine Klaput Antiques are located, Leidig would have wanted me to remind folks that Anton & Michel is always open for lunch. What better way to spend an afternoon than a lazy lunch at the majestic Anton & Michel, perhaps out on the patio by the fountain, then a look around Maxine and Hank’s wonderful antiques shop? While you’re at it, hoist one to Ted.
On Thursday, June 19, Highlands Inn will be hosting a cool invitation-only cocktail party in the Fireside Gallery to celebrate the beautiful images of photographer Bob Kolbrener, longtime resident of Carmel Highlands. Executive Chef Mark Ayers will create a tasting menu inspired by the images that will be featured through July. Those lucky enough to be invited will enjoy a presentation of the spectacular images of California and the West by Kolbrener, as well as creative cocktails, live jazz and a sampling of Ayers’ menu. The setting won’t be too shabby, either. The best news is everyone can enjoy the same stuff anytime through end of July– so get down to the Highlands sometime to sample the visuals and the victuals.
ONE FOR FUN… Well, Bistro Moulin, the heartwarming inspiration of Didier Dutertre and Colleen Manni, is celebrating its first anniversary. This little European bistro sprung from the gate like Secretariat, wowing locals and surprised Aquarium-area visitors with an authentically European experience built around Chef Dutertre’s simple, perfectly prepared Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, and Manni’s loving and professional service. Congratulations, and here’s to many more years of continued success.
COOL BIRD… A major, eagle-scream shout out to my man Francis “The Ticket” Hughes, a liquor salesman for Young’s Market, local boy and all-around good guy. Fran the Man took a six-iron to the uphill, 165-yard 17th at Bayonet & Blackhorse and got himself an ace– that’s a hole in one for you non-golfers. That’s also, in most cases, a never-in-a-lifetime thing. I want to say a big right on Francis… fore!