By Raymond Napolitano
Thursday, November 28, 2002
The last couple of weeks have been rare because there has been so much stuff for me to write about that I have been unable to fit it all. For instance, I never got to write about the great winemaker''s dinner I went to at MONTRIO with the Hahn/Smith and Hook gang. CHEF TONY BAKER brought the house down with a great four-course meal that was perfectly matched to the beautifully made wines from the HAHN ESTATES portfolio.
Hahn Estates wines along with its other labels, Smith and Hook and the new sensation HRM REX GOLIATH, have quickly vaulted themselves to the forefront of the Monterey Peninsula wine scene, garnering accolades and awards from coast to coast. Check them out.
BEST OF THE BEST...The fourteenth annual MONTEREY COUNTY HOSPITALITY Association hospitality recognition day luncheon took place at the Monterey Conference Center. Each year it recognizes outstanding hourly employees who work in the hospitality industry and make our visitors feel special. Also awarded is the PAPA VINCE AWARD, named after the first recipient, ROMUALDO "PAPA VINCE" VICENTE, from the Sardine Factory.
This year''s Papa Vince Award went to HEIDI OVERMAN of the MONTEREY HILTON. The other award winners were MILTON VENTURA, also of the Hilton, for Supervisor of the Year, and the following Hospitality Recognition Award winners: BEVERLY LASSEN, Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa; MAYA GEORGE, Sunset Inn; MARIA HANSON, Monterey Marriott; MICHELLE JOHNSON, Carmel Valley Ranch; TOMIKO MCCLEAVE, Quail Lodge; ZARMI FLEIZARDO, Monterey Marriott; ANNE ROBERTS, Doubletree Hotel; THOMAS DAVIS, Monterey Marriott; BRANDY AMENT, Sunset Inn. Congratulations.
GOODBYE AND HELLO...MONTEREY PIE COMPANY, that great little fresh pie-producing place on the top of Alvarado Street, closed its doors for good. Apparently, owners RICHARD LAMPNER and FRANCINE FLORES were fed up with the endless workload. I got a cute email from Peter Ackerman: "Now that Monterey Pie Company has shut its doors, can you recommend another source (s) of freshly baked pies? Other than SALT & PEPPER in Carmel Valley Village, I and perhaps others of your readers would appreciate the benefit of your knowledge [now there''s a stretch] of this subject." If anyone can help Peter with info, pass it along to me and I''ll make sure that he gets it.
Meanwhile, in the vacated Monterey Pie location, will be a new bakery/cafe under the direction of master baker (boy, what an opportunity for a play on those words) MICHAEL BUMP. It is due to open sometime in December so I''ll keep everyone posted about what, how, when and how much. I can guarantee one thing, the goodies in that joint will be very goody.
TALBOTT CANINES...TALBOTT VINEYARDS, top dog among Monterey County wineries, has gone to the dogs...at least one dog in particular. PUMARI, first the name of a mountain range in Nepal, then of a dog that LOGAN TALBOTT (Rob''s son) rescued from the animal shelter, becomes the latest label in the Talbott portfolio.
Made with fruit from Talbott''s SLEEPY HOLLOW VINEYARD in the Santa Lucia High-lands, the newly released Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (a Syrah is due out soon) are stunning examples of high quality wine at affordable prices. The label is absolutely brilliant as well, with a colorful cartoon image of Pumari the dog sitting among the hillside vineyards. Also, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Pumari wines will go toward animal rescue efforts in the areas it is being sold. Right on ROB TALBOTT, family and friends.
SOUP TO CURRY...Sweet Thing stopped in at the new TASTEBUDS CAFe & CATERING in the Carmel Rancho Shopping Center next door to Cornucopia (adjacent to Brinton''s). It''s a casual joint open Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm, focusing on the local crowd looking for nice soups and meals to eat in or take home. You can order by phone or fax in the afternoon and pick up your meal to take home. Check it out: 620-1460.
HIMANSHU SHARMA, owner of INDIAN SUMMER RESTAURANT in Monterey (behind the Doubletree Hotel), is on a roll. He''s offering more unique special nights, from Cigar and Wine nights with belly dancing, to Hookah (traditional Middle Eastern water pipes). In addition, there are endless price discounts available to locals, students, hospitality employees...just about everyone. Call 372-4744, or check them out at the Tuesday market on Alvarado St. They''re set up near Starbuck''s--great food.
Her Royal Highness QUEEN ANNE OF WINCHESTER has landed in our midst. Stay tuned for highlights from her visit. Tally ho.
--KEEP RAY COMPANY AT RAY@COASTWEEKLY.COM