Thursday, May 9, 2002
Apparently the folks at THE WINE SPECTATOR were surprised when they read what I wrote about them being upset with the National Restaurant Association's new restaurant wine-list awards. I mentioned that I had heard the Spectator was considering litigation to block the process, feeling its longtime restaurant wine list awards were being infringed upon. NIKI SINGER, VP for PR at Mshanken Communications (which publishes the Spectator) called to say nobody had any intent whatsoever to block the National Restaurant Association''s new project. It was irresponsible conjecture on my part, and for that I sincerely apologize.
As it turned out, the National Restaurant Association ended up botching the job anyway. They gave only seven different awards, with a few runners up. When you consider the number of great wine lists all across this country, the NRA should take a page from the Spectator and think about including a great many more lists.
Hey, I didn''t know anybody important reads the stuff I write.
SALON FOOD CHAIN...I had the distinct pleasure of dining with GARY DAVIS the other night. There, in Alberto''s by the sea, with a few other close friends, I got to see the man who for so long successfully drove the Spanish Bay "we want to be a five-star property" machine. I realized one thing immediately: there are a great number of incredible people on this Peninsula lying dormant, waiting for the breakthrough that will help them realize their greatness once again.
I am beginning a regular meeting of the minds. I openly invite all of you out there who are great, yet frustrated or unfulfilled, to meet with me and a few of my friends to discuss possibilities available in this volatile economic climate. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 648-8566 to enroll. I will announce the meeting place for this endeavor in a future column, for those too shy to commit early.
FOOD FAIR...BOB SULLY was anything but shy at the first annual Better Brands Food Show. The theme was building for the future, so Bob, the chief, top-dog sales manager, was parading around dressed like a construction worker, complete with hardhat. This year''s event, which was held at the Fairgrounds, brought together over forty different suppliers under one roof, where local restaurateurs and food service operators could meet with them, try new products, build relationships and place orders.
I ran into the brain trust of Le Chantilly Restaurant in PG-owner ALAIN DOTTAX and chef MICHAEL RAIN-who both commented on the nice selection of products and the nice displays. "We''ve ordered quite a bit," Dottax bragged. Another local, DEAN MCATHIE, owner of Dakota Coffee in the Crossroads, as well as a number of the Carmel Valley Roasting Company outlets, actually had a booth there for his wholesale line. He mentioned that it is "great to come face-to-face with so many of the local accounts." He''s a pretty interesting guy (another former longtime restaurant dog) and, despite his regular association with DOUG AHLSTRAND, an up and coming force on the local scene.
KERRY VESS, a representative for Windsor Frozen Foods, summed it up when she told me, "I do these shows all across the whole West-for a first-time show, I''m impressed. I''ve sold a lot of new products to people today and any time you can sell new products at one of these it''s a success."
By the way, Le Chantilly is offering some great and interesting wrinkles in addition to its regular menu. Along with the regular early bird special, $13.95 for four courses between 5 and 6 pm, Le Chantilly is now doing a Prix Fixe Dinner for $19.95 with a set menu that changes weekly. Give this place a look-see: 1120 Lighthouse Avenue, PG, 642-9303.
VIVA VINO...CHATEAU CHRISTINA, the cool little winery from Carmel Valley, just released its 1999 estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Russell''s Vineyard. There are only 150 cases made of this totally hand-crafted, all organically grown beauty. Also available is the very limited 2000 Michael''s Vineyard Merlot, made from grapes cloned from a famous estate in Pomerol (isn''t that near Lodi?). Doctor Frank Joyce, the guy behind Monterey County''s smallest boutique property, farms just two acres and sets up the vines to yield less than a ton per acre-that''s extreme concentration of the vine''s power, baby. Run down now to your local fine wine shop to purchase these classics, along with Chateau Christina''s wonderful Pinot Noir.
PLUGGIN'' FOR SWEET THING...Food is pretty important in my life. The greater reality is that food is very important for life. Unless you have been living in a cave (without radio, television, phone, newspapers, magazines, books or computers) you realize that we Americans could be doing a better job with the foods we eat (who said I can''t be understated). This Friday, May 10th at 7pm, at Centerfor on 187 Eldorado Street in Monterey, there will be a seminar by PAULETTE SUZANNE, founder and director of the North County Healing Arts Center in Encinitas, CA. The subject is Evolutionary Nutrition, which covers the role of food as the primary component of disease prevention, greater immunological power and improved vitality.
On the following day, Saturday, May 11th at 1pm in the same location, Ms. Suzanne will address the extremely important subject, Getting Your Kids To Eat Right. Currently, in this country, childhood malnutrition as well as obesity is rampant and nearing epidemic proportions. Learn about how and why your children''s food choices can determine their future health. For more info contact the host, Michele Reese (aka Sweet Thing): 648-3593 or email@example.com. Check these events out.
THEORY OF WEATHER RELATIVITY... I''ll leave you with a quote from Gary Davis about this beautiful place we live: "I don''t care where in the world you come from, it''s always nicer here. If it''s cold where you come from, it''s warm here. If it''s hot where you come from, it''s cool here." Right on Gary.