Thursday, July 18, 2002
OPEN FOR BUSINESS...Man, is it good to feel warm weather and see hordes of people swarming over the Peninsula again. It''s not like it should be yet, but summer has kicked in. We are definitely missing the international set, which is slower to come back, and we''ll always miss those wacky Silicon Valley high rollers of days gone by-they''ll never be back-but things are looking up. Unfortunately, a combination of too much down time combined with not enough resurgence will lead to more closings in the next few months.
As with all things in life, when one thing passes another takes its place (wow, that''s profound, man). There will always be adventuresome, enterprising individuals willing to spin the wheel of fortune and start a new business, regardless of the prevailing economic climate. When times are less than perfect, it is usually the best time to find opportunities, and smart, intuitive, mobile operators know that. Look for many new, exciting ventures in the near future.
One such startup is Terry Teplitzky''s new headquarters for Michael''s Catering in Marina. As if moving his whole full-service catering operation wasn''t enough work, he decided to open Wild Thyme Delicatessen on the new site. The new deli includes an on-premise bakery and features freshly made sandwiches, salads, espresso and take-out dinners. "Along with the deli, the new location offered us the chance to design our own kitchen," said Chef Teplitzky. "We''re now able to expand our catering service and better meet the needs of our clients."
Just like a chef to think that he needs to be doing more things. Those guys are certifiable. More power to him and the whole crew at Michael''s Catering and Wild Thyme Deli. The location is 445 Reservation Road, Marina. 884-2400.
SAND DABS...Another one (actually two) never content with resting on their laurels-or any other part for that matter-is the dynamic duo of Julio and Marie Ramirez, owners of Turtle Bay Taquerias and the Fishwife restaurants. Even though the whole Peninsula is probably aware of it, I would be severely reprimanded if I didn''t mention Turtle Bay''s featured fish this season; Sand Dabs. For those of you who don''t know what a Sand Dab is, don''t worry, neither do I, at least not what it starts out as. I do know that when they''re served as food, they are these cute little tender morsels of delicate white fish with a wonderful light, sweet flavor (don''t even go there). Turtle Bay is serving them up with its usual Latin flair-grilled in tacos, wraps and bowls. The nicest thing about them is that they are recommended as "Best Choices" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium''s Seafood Watch, and it''s always good to make them happy. Check ''em out.
ZEN WALK...This Saturday, from 10am to noon, Earthbound Farms is offering another Chef Walk at their farm in Carmel Valley. This week will feature Zen priest Ed Brown from the Monterey Bay Zen Center. Mister Brown emphasizes using intuition and whatever ingredients are on hand to create delicious and unique dishes (sounds like a perfect fit for you parents out there). Brown, author of books combining spirituality and cooking such as Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings, The Tassajara Bread Book and The Tassajara Recipe Book, will demonstrate his wise and playful Buddhist- inspired cooking style. Check this out and be enlightened: Earthbound Farms, Carmel Valley Road 625-6219.
WINE BRINGS IN THE BUCKS...Got a nice letter from Andrew Allison who was thrilled with Passionfish''s wine pricing. He mentioned that the reduced markup for wine results in him spending more, not less. He goes on to say, "in contrast, the outrageous pricing of wine by restaurateurs lately has led me to stop buying it." This raises an interesting and very passionate debate. Most people don''t realize how thin a profit margin restaurants work with-it can swing between a high of about 15% down to as low as 4% (usually in the case of fast food outlets). Throughout its history, restaurants have depended upon their wine sales-and to a greater degree, where applicable, their liquor sales-to generate a substantial portion of their net revenue. As the wine drinking public became more savvy about pricing and as competition in the restaurant world increased, the system of wine pricing mushroomed (I love food verbs) into a full scale issue.
Owners, whose sole (there''s another one) purpose is to serve their customers, struggle mightily with this complex problem. The last thing they need is worry about customers'' perceptions that they are being fleeced on wine prices.
Let''s open this debate up and see if we can find some solutions. Contact me. Take care.
-Drink Ray''s health at email@example.com