Thursday, March 13, 2008
School’s In Session… Beware the Ides of March. All I really remember was March 15, something to do with trouble closing in on Julius Caesar. You know how certain things make an impression on you in junior high school. Things like that and the stretch during the 8th grade when my father had to come in to visit the guidance counselor something like nine straight weeks. He was a clean-cut, ex-military guy (come to think of it, so was my father, only my father had a brain) who used to implore my father to “beat this kid more.” Thankfully – although in retrospect, Mister Zaccardo (the guidance counselor) may have been right – Dad was more into lecturing. Many was the time I would sit there asking for a beating, just to avoid listening more (many of the regular readers of this column feel something like that).
Thank God for English classes. How else would most of us have had any exposure at all to the great works of Shakespeare if it weren’t for those dedicated teachers we encountered along the way? And let me tell you, teachers in the schools I went to had to be dedicated. I laugh at people who look forward to their various high school reunions – actually, I’m rather envious. On my last day of high school, I couldn’t beat it out of there fast enough: I was just glad to have escaped it in one piece (mental and emotional scars notwithstanding).
Sweet Anticipation… Holy schmagadles, it’s almost the end of March. That means the Pebble Beach Food & Wine, the first ever Pebble Beach Food & Wine, is almost here. Rob and Dave and Gary and Michaela and all the other knuckleheads who are nice (read: crazy) enough to put this thing together must be starting to sweat a bit. Having done a few small events over the years, I know just how much work goes into it. To do something of this magnitude, with the depth and breadth of this event, involves so much coordinating and planning, so much organization – it’s truly mind-boggling. I said it when I heard first heard it and I’m saying it now… hats off to that whole group, the Pebble Beach blanket bingos and all the countless folks coming, going and doing during that week. If you haven’t gotten on board yet, go to pebblebeachfoodandwine.com. Don’t be late.
Meanwhile, the Peninsula is responding with peripheral events during that weekend of March 27-30. Chef Kurt Grasing is having meet-the-winemaker dinners with a few of the winemakers appearing at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine. He’s got Mario Monticelli from Trinchero Family Estates in Napa on March 27 at the Carmel Chop House to go with a special menu he is creating. In addition, he’ll be doing a few other winery dinners that weekend at Testarossa Vineyards, based in Los Gatos, Champagne Gosset and Ferrari-Carrano. Call 625-1199 or 624-6562 for info or get on grasings.com.
Elsewhere, Guy Buffet is bringing his fabulous art to Wilkes-Bashford for special signings and showings, Rich Pepe at Little Napoli was talking about doing something wine-related that weekend and other chefs and owners are starting to catch the wave that this big-time event will be swelling for our area. It won’t take five years to turn this weekend into a foodie/wino version of car week, baby, once folks around here get a taste of what this thing is all about.
Hop To It… Ann Parker and Yann Lusseau, the couple that forms the great Parker-Lusseau (who’da thought?), have their incredibly edible chocolate bunnies, eggs, turtles, fish, hedgehogs (hedgehogs?) available for the upcoming Easter holiday. Give a call, 643-0300, stop by, send the chauffeur, you know.
Gina “Bettie Boop” Martin, Cal Stamenov’s assistant at Bernardus Lodge, sent me info about the great Easter Brunch at Bernardus. That’s simply a no-brainer. You know it will be the best possible ingredients, perfectly prepared, great setting – everything you could possibly want out of an Easter brunch short of a personal visit by the Easter Bunny, or the Pope (who might be one and the same). Call 658-3550 or get on bernardus.com.
New Dish… Well, ol’ Cal will be sharpening up his knives for a while. Looks like he’s gonna have to go back on the line at Marinus. Talented Chef Christophe Grosjean, who has manned the chef de cuisine duties there for a few years now, has moved to L’Auberge Carmel. It was time for him to step into a situation where he could be The Man and become known for his own food and I wish him all the best.
This is the way it works in the restaurant business. A guy like Cal Stamenov will always get the most talented young cooks to come work with him because they want to train with the best. Then, as they grow and blossom, they move on to forge their own identities. Cal did it when he was a pup, now he’s the mentor. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
Zeph’s One-Stop in Salinas has a great tasting, Chateau Christina from Carmel Valley, Thursday, March 20, 5:30pm. Winemaker/owner Frank Joyce will be there to usher you through, and Vince “Cioppino” Ciolino will dance naked, 757-3947… stop by Ninth Street at San Carlos from 2-4pm, Saturday, March 15. It’s the Volunteer Fair for 2008 Carmel Bach Festival, put on by Carmel Women’s Club. Taste some treats, win tickets, get an overview of the upcoming season, learn about volunteering, 624-1521 or email@example.com… join the American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF) for a St Patrick’s celebration Sunday, March 16, from 5:30 to 7:30pm at Brophy’s Tavern, San Carlos and Fourth, Carmel. Enjoy a traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner, plus one complimentary beer and dessert. Celtic music by fiddler Shirley Tofte and guitarist Cory Welch from Full Circle. Call Betsy Slinkard Alexander (655-2098) or Delores Kaller (624-8944)… slán agat.