Thursday, July 25, 2002
HELP IS ON THE WAY...Everyone in hospitality I talk to here on the Peninsula is racking their brain trying to figure out what to do in the current doldrumatic (don''t look that one up) social climate. We are so dependent upon outside visitors to fuel our local economy-and heretofore, have had a steady supply-that business operators are finding themselves perplexed about how to proceed.
Hotels, restaurants, retail shops and all other related industries have been riding a roller coaster of inconsistent business since the slide of Silicon Valley (understatement) more than a year ago. Certain local powerhouses-Hula''s in New Monterey comes to mind-found a great niche market and have managed to do bang-up business throughout, but few others have been as fortunate.
Therefore, what better time for The Old Bath House Restaurant to have hosted its Annual Summer Hospitality Luncheon last Thursday for members of the local scene. Sweet Thing ably subbed for me on this one, a chore she honorably undertook for the team, and reported what I already knew: "The food was perfectly balanced, magnificently presented and bursting with flavor. There was love in the food. The room fell into a palpable hush as everyone communed with their meal."
The menu was exquisite, created by new executive chef, Boris Ilabaca and Sous Chef, Armando Cuevas (man, that''s as good a duo of names as you can ask for-and now, accepting the award for best documentary, Boris Ilabaca and Armando Cuevas.) Owner David Bindel, Director of Operations Dorothy Maras-Ildiz, Maitre''d''s Gary Vandendries and Ryan Stanley, along with the entire staff at The Bath House, teamed up to create a beautiful getaway from everyday life for a couple of hours during midweek. That is no accident, nor is it uncommon. Every time you go to The Old Bath House, regular life ceases and you are transported into a better world. David Bizwanger, who epitomizes why the ruling class should be mostly comprised of great bartenders, is another important reason for Bath House''s greatness. Many thanks to this wonderful and stalwart landmark.
WINE DINNER...Chappellet, the venerable Napa winery with ties to the Monterey Peninsula (the founders live in Pebble Beach) is combining with Tarpy''s Roadhouse on Wednesday, July 31st, for a wine dinner featuring some of the estate''s top wines. Jean Marc Chappellet, one of the current driving forces of the winery, will be on hand to lead the festivities.
In addition, Scott ("Whiplash") Thomasen, local wine impresario (bet that''s the first time he''s ever been called that), will be there to make sure everyone is having a good time. The Chappellets are truly one of the nicest families in the wine business. The price is $76, inclusive. Call 647-1444 for details and reservations.
JEWISH FOOD FEST...This year''s annual Jewish Food Festival will be held August 25th, from 10am to 3:30pm at Congregation Beth Israel on Carmel Valley Road. All you top notch culinary mavens should maybe get a booth to strut your stuff, no? Rumor has it that the Great Fishkoff Kugel Cookoff Contest, which was suspended a few years ago due to difficulty in controlling the mobs, will be reinstated at this year''s event. I''ll have more as the date approaches.
THEY''RE BAAACK...Jeff McBride, holder of the John Lennon Lives award for best hat, has discovered that Duffy''s Tavern, the Monterey pub on High Street, just outside the gate of the now impenetrable Defense Language Institute, is set to reopen under new, and British, ownership (Geoffrey Counsel). Jeff found out that the bar has been expanded and will include a brand new tap system with more and better choices. It will be nice to have that joint back up and running again, right Pam?
DRUM ROLL...Jeanne says that the culinary classes at The Culinary Center of Monterey are definitely worth mentioning. Me and Sweet Thing took one on pizza making but were asked to leave when we started a dough fight (we''ve always been trouble makers). Check out their website: culinarycenterofmonterey.com.
Fifi''s Cafe and Bistro on Forest Ave. in PG is enticing early diners with a $12.95 price-fixe menu that includes soup du jour or salad, plus entrees like Coq Au Vin, trout and Steak Frites. That leaves more money to spend on wine, desserts and big tips. Go there. Fifi''s, 372-5325.
Also check out Kerry Loutas'' Bone-in Rib Eye. Beth turned me onto that one and boy was she right-perfectly cooked and loaded with flavor. Loutas is the spectacular little joint on Mission in Carmel, the one with the wooden snail outside. Check it out. See ya.
-Roll your own dough with Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org