Thursday, July 10, 2003
LIFE IS FRAGILE...Life is a strange trip. We who are fortunate enough to have health, a bit of wealth, and some free time to enjoy the beauty of the world we live in never think about the dangerous and depressing road of life some folks--possibly, most folk--go down.
A trip to the Aquarium or a couple of shows on the Discovery Channel remind us about the swift, violent death that awaits all life forms, all the time. In nature, you can be flush with the satisfaction of a good meal and before you have time for a belch, you become a meal. Maybe humans carry inside their DNA the same predilection to kill or be killed. Lord knows there are enough examples of it throughout humankind. Somehow we hold on to a different paradigm of human behavior, one that stresses kindness and concern for our fellow humans, as the ideal. I wonder...
Human ineptitude knows no bounds. If some grill person at a restaurant overcooks your steak or the waitperson forgets to bring your iced tea, that's a minor inconvenience and acceptable in most situations (remember that next time you're freaking out, especially you ten percent tippers). When a doctor inadvertently misdiagnoses or, worse yet, fails to inform the patient of the correct diagnosis, especially in the case of a life-threatening illness, that is unforgivable.
Recently, Joe Cingari of Jekel Vineyards, one of the most beloved members of the wine community, had to say goodbye to his grandmother. She passed away about six months after being sent home by the hospital after a routine gall bladder procedure. Unfortunately, what she, nor any other member of her family was informed of, was the fact that the doctors had discovered terminal liver cancer.
Joe's family discovered this fact a couple of weeks ago, when the hospice workers showed up to help with the final stages of his grandmother's illness. What do you do with sudden news like that? Condolences to Joe and his family.
YOUR PRAYERS AND WISHES...Back in early March I mentioned that Santos Palacios, one of the important members of Ted Walter's great kitchen crew at Passionfish, had been sidelined with a very serious kidney malfunction due to unregulated high blood pressure. I was talking to Ted the other day and he told me that Santos will be returning to work with an abbreviated schedule this week. He must continue on dialysis for the time being but has been given the ok to try working again. We all hope that his rehabilitation continues and he ultimately experiences a full recovery. Good luck Santos and welcome back.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WINE...I saw Ted and Cindy at Passionfish because we were there with the Hunsakers and a few other renegades to celebrate Her Royal Grace, Heidi the Habitually Happy's birthday. A great meal and a few (dozen) bottles of wine were just the right formula. Reading Ted's wine list makes me so happy. It is a pure, artistic expression of Ted's taste and his unyielding love of bold flavor. Having watched the list and the restaurant evolve, I am proud as a peacock for Ted and Cindy, two of the really nice ones, to see the level of excellence they have achieved. I say right on.
After dinner, we were forced to go to Sly McFly's for a bit of dancing and misbehaving. While Heidi, Sweet Thing and Not So Plain Jane torched the dance floor, me, The Chuckmeister and Mind Eraser Joe were doing scientific research with bartender Billy Hodges. Billy the Kid was showing me some stuff--fast moves, good attitude, command of the whole bar, knowledge of the drinks, the works. You can hear the band with your ears but the real show at Sly's is Billy the Kid.
THEM'S FRENCH FRIES TO YOU, PARDNER...Just a couple of reminders...Sign up for Ross Allen's wine appreciation class on Thursday, July 17. Call the Talbott tasting room at 659-3500; if it's sold out, sign up for next month...Call Jekel Vineyards at 674-5525 to sign up for the annual Crab and Wine Celebration on Saturday, July 19. This is easily one of the best food/wine events of the year and has become a classic in only its fourth go-round...Check out the new jukebox at Duffy's Tavern, on High Street in Monterey, near the DLI. Jeff and Frances, the owners, are continuing their steady sculpting of the joint, making it more and more inviting. I'll be dumping dollars in that juke from now on--there's nothing like a good jukebox...On Monday, July 14, go to Stokes' fifth annual Bastille Day Celebration for a great French--that's right, I said FRENCH--wine dinner. Put your political stupidity aside and go see why America borrowed so much of its culture from this hearty group with the f-you attitude. Call 373-1110...Vive la difference.