Look Who's Talking...Let's Go Get Juiced...Looking the Part..
Thursday, October 11, 2001
LOOK WHO''S TALKING...As I continue to study the world situation, it seems more and more apparent that communication between humans--actually, the problems in communication between humans--is the most important component of the overall struggle that has existed among mankind. Consider the difficulties members of a family growing up in the same household have in truly understanding each other. Extrapolate that difficulty throughout the rest of a community, beyond immediate borders, across oceans, all the way to fellow humans speaking an entirely different language, with entirely different value systems. The possibility of misinterpreting another person''s meaning is extreme, if not absolute.
Fortunately, humans have methods of easing the pains of interaction. Among the most profound is eating. Folks sharing a meal, especially a meal prepared with love, are less likely to lose patience with each other when they misunderstand something. Add wine, music and humble service, and the possibilities of constructive and productive change increase proportionately. Sounds like a restaurant environment to me.
Oddly, some of the greatest communicators are restaurant people. Bartenders are the ears humanity. Who do the psychiatrists, doctors and nurses, police and firemen, civic leaders, clergy, teachers...who does everyone tell their troubles to? Bartenders. Bartenders have dispensed advice to the leaders of civilizations as surely as have ambassadors and cabinet members.
Waiters and waitresses, through careful, instinctive communication skills, combined with a caring, nurturing inclination to provide a wonderful dining experience for the guests, smoothly perform little adjustments to the emotional energy of the people at the table until everything is peaceful and joyful. That is not an insignificant talent.
Similarly, other service industry personnel--hairdressers and barbers, nurses--anyone whose livelihood involves continuous communication with humans, have this magnificent ability to buff the ragged edges of humankind''s behavior.
I would like to toast the thousands and thousands of dedicated service industry personnel who, day to day, with no fanfare whatsoever...in fact, somewhat looked down upon...go about the noble task of adjusting attitudes, fostering better interpersonal communication and thereby helping engender world peace.
LET''S GO GET JUICED...For a stomping good time (oh yeah) head on up to Smith and Hook Winery for the first annual "Let the Juice Loose...Grape Stomp and Barbecue." Vineyard walking, barrel rolling, and grape spitting contests (huh?) will test contestants'' skill. A traditional Salinas Valley Tri-tip Barbecue will go along with Hahn Estates wines. There''ll be music and a grape stomp. New winemaker Adam LaZarre has brought a sense of excitement and heightened expectations to the area. This is his first crush at Smith and Hook so the fruits (fruit juice?) of his labor will be forthcoming.
LOOKING THE PART... Monterra Wines , the Napa-based outfit that uses grapes grown in Monterey, is upgrading its image--which was none-too-shabby to start with. Monterra which regularly takes awards at the annual International Wine and Spirit Competition, and which took top honors for its Syrah at this year''s California State Fair, has announced that it is introducing a new label that proudly flaunts the origin of their wines. Monterra''s new front label presents a photograph of the Monterey coastline, with a wavy, die-cut pattern at the bottom of the label. (Given the fact that the grapes don''t come within 50 miles or so of the coastline, it might be better if the label pictured our golden rolling hills. But who''s kvetching?)
TALK TO ME...I always welcome tips, hints and suggestions. If there''s something happening on the restaurant scene you think we should know about, either email me (the address is below) or send the info to Ray Napolitano, C/O Coast Weekly, 668 Williams Ave., Seaside, 93955.