SIGNS OF HOPE AND HELP...As I sit here writing this, it has been exactly two weeks since the surreal horror of September 11th.
Thursday, October 4, 2001
This past weekend has brought the return of many "normal" activities. Business seems to be increasing slightly, sporting events have resumed and planes are flying... although not nearly as loaded as before.
The Peninsula, which is so dependent upon tourism and is such a service society, has suffered considerably. Even The Lodge, renown for its virtual 100 percent occupancy rate, has seen its rooms sitting empty at unprecedented levels. As a result, restaurants throughout the Pebble Beach properties have reduced hours or closed.
At the same time, budding new restaurants are sprouting up through the turned over topsoil.
Billy Quon>, the inimitable restaurant impresario, is readying his new concept, Bahama Billy''s. Workmen diligently toil away at the former Polo Club location in the Barnyard, re-sculpting the space into its latest incarnation. Just down the road, in the Crossroads, next to Rio Grill, Pizza Factory is shooting for a November 1 debut. Petra>, the Mediterranean restaurant in Pacific Grove, next to Pasta Mia, is expanding in size...always a positive indicator. Down Lighthouse Avenue, in New Monterey, Hula''s has been trying to push into next door where the old bookstore was. Apparently, just a few permit delays are the only stumbling blocks.
Meanwhile, fundraising events continue to "Dot" the scene. Last Thursday, Empress Dorothy hosted a dinner at Old Bath House to raise money for the stranded families of the Windows on the World Restaurant. She and David Bindel, along with a concerned staff, wanted to do something for the service personnel who perished. Local vendors, patrons and hospitality titans rose to the occasion. Pierre and Marietta Bain>, owners of Fandango Restaurant in Pacific Grove, were among the first to commit. Joseph Nase, wine director of Pebble Beach and his wife Janise, new to the Peninsula, jumped aboard. Alberto Bonatelli>, of Alberto''s in PG, recruited his regular client list to attend. Sweet Thing and I joined up with Chuck Hunsaker>, former Chef at La Scuola in Castroville and Scott Thomasen>, of Epic Wines (he also donated wine). Pat Emery from Luce Carmel Meats donated a tremendous amount of product for the tribute. Sally Deykerhoff of Young''s Market provided wine and spirits; Bill Callahan from Wine Warehouse gave wine; Berkley Farms and Greenleaf Produce rocked in with salads and veggies; Andy Podshadley brought Gloria Ferrer bubbly and Hazel and Tony from Layers gave the yummy pies. Chef Joel Bachhuber cooked up an American feast and all the members of the staff donated their time and labor to help create a momentous experience for everyone. There were 62 people total in attendance, "not to mention another nine who just dropped in and handed me envelopes with cash and checks," says Emporess Dorothy. "Most touching, I received an envelope from the employees at the Martine Inn that included five checks for $25 each and $20 in five dollar bills with a note paper clipped to it that read, ''from Ismael, our chef. A little something from all of us at the Martine Inn.''"Proceeds from the dinner went to the Windows of Hope Fund. Nice going Dorothy Maras-Ildiz, David Bindel and the entire staff at Old Bath House.
Saturday, the 29th, we went cruising to help raise money for the American Red Cross. The "Peace and Resolve Cruise on the Sanctuary" boarded the "Princess of Whales" at Moss Landing at 4:30 pm. On board were representatives from the Red Cross as well as generous donors of food, beverages, banners, even the boat--Sanctuary Cruises donated the ride. Among the restaurants that provided food were, Indian Summer>, El Palomar>, Whole Enchilada>, Haute Enchilada>, The Beach Cafe and Marie Callender''s. Baywood Cellars poured wine, Monterey Soda poured soda and Altman Plants donated beautiful flowers. The cruise was named "Peace and Resolve" for several reasons, according to Heidi Tiura of Sanctuary Cruises, "Peace in the hopes that we all can once again find a sense of peace. Resolve to donate blood after the rush and resolve to keep doing so. Resolve to fight terrorism. Resolve to endure."
--Raymond Napolitano (firstname.lastname@example.org)