Thursday, April 24, 2003
AFTER ALL I DO FOR YOU...As you can well imagine I am just a hard-working, simple man trying to fulfill my responsibilities as an internationally famous food, wine and cultural anthropology writer.
All right, maybe parts of that statement are mildly exaggerated. I do however, whenever and wherever the call to action comes, steadfastly meet those obligations and carry on through trying assignments and explorations into restaurants and all manner of food, wine and spirits-serving establishments, all with the hope of sharing my adventures with you, my adoring public (both of you). It is a daunting task, one fraught with dangers--why, only last week I stained a brand-new shirt with a heavily extracted Australian Shiraz (there''s a redundancy for you).
Fortunately, I have been blessed with an atomic-powered digestive system, a world-class liver, a highly practical ability to function (a relative term) on very little sleep, and just enough stupidity to be willing to subject myself to the many rich meals, late nights and over-indulgence concomitant with the position (usually prostrate). Keeping in mind that all those social events and dining experiences I selflessly attend are the sacrifices I make for my art (art?), here are a few recommendations and recollections for you, dear readers.
JACKSON AND JOULLIAN...Check out my man Andrew Jackson''s dynamite paintings of bar and restaurant scenes opening Friday at the Monterey Conference Center''s Alvarado Gallery. Andrew, who achieved acclaim painting ethereal waterscapes in Hawaii, had tired of that style and was searching for something new. While accompanying his wife on her photographic outings to local watering holes where she would take long-exposure photos in existing light, showcasing an eerie, translucent quality, Jackson--or The General, as I like to call him--started to paint the scenes as they appeared in the photos, many on large canvasses. The result is an otherworldly glimpse inside the scenes captured by the photos, and they are stunning. The gallery is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, and the exhibit includes the work of Julie Smith.
On Saturday, get on out to Joullian Vineyards for its fourth annual Wine & Wildflowers Springtime Open House, from 11am to 4pm. Joullian will team up with the Food Bank of Monterey County, so bring along donations of non-perishable food items, then enjoy the festivities. This is a great event for a great cause, in a fantastic location with wonderful, fun people. Don''t miss it. For details and directions call 659-2800.
CHEF OF THE YEAR...The American Culinary Federation, Monterey Bay Chapter is about to hold its annual (the 29th) Chef of the Year Dinner and President''s Ball on Sunday, May 4. Leading the festivities and presenting the award will be the ever-ebullient Bert Cutino, who works a room like a Vegas comic. Also present will be local luminaries Sam Farr, Bruce McPherson and Leon Panetta, who, like all good politicians, certainly know where the best parties are. Follow their lead. This thing is open to regular folks as well, not just ACF members. Members $75 and non-members $90. The location ain''t too shabby at the Beach Club at Pebble Beach--hello. Hosting the shindig will be Executive Chef of the Pebble Beach empire, Jeffrey Jake. If you think overseeing food preparation in a world-class resort is tough, how about entertaining your peers for prom night? Now, that''s pressure baby. But ole'' Chef Jeff is up to the task. Send a check with all guests'' names to ACF, Monterey Bay Chapter, PO Box 7034, Carmel, CA, 93921, or call Chef Giacomo Stoltz at 601-2433.
JOYS OF EXCESS...Speaking of Pebble Beach, went dining with a foursome at the impeccable Club XIX the other night and endured a three-hour multi-course food and wine orgy that left us all spent of our sensory capabilities. After cocktails at the elegant bar and a touch of Champagne--one should try to always have a touch of Champagne--we adjourned to a beautiful table to begin the eating odyssey. I felt like a member of some royal family as Chef Phillip Baker''s creations arrived in a steady procession, like limos to the Academy Awards. Forks crossed into neighboring plates with abandon as we fell under the spell of this magical establishment.
There were other people there but we didn''t notice--the tables somehow impart a sense of protection from the world around you, only allowing in pleasurable sensations, in which we wallowed. Even the desserts, normally a food category in which I just cursorily indulge, were gracefully devoured until nothing remained but the memory. This was one of those experiences that I totally immerse myself in, shutting off my brain to fully indulge the senses. Life can be difficult, but I bear up under it for the good of us all.
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