Thursday, July 17, 2003
EAT FOR HEALTH...I'm sitting here thinking about coffee--probably because I just made the all-important first cup of the morning. It dawned (moderate pun) on me that in a short amount of time, we (that is the collective American we) have gone from a nation that was laughed at by other more established cultures for drinking the weakest coffee on Earth to a pack of hopped-up caffeine junkies pounding huge, espresso-strength large-volume caldrons of rocket fuel all day and into the night.
Whereby (love that word) most experienced cultures have their short cups (maybe two to three ounces) of full-strength coffee at various times throughout the day, we, especially those of us living in suburban towns or larger, are easily consuming ten times that volume of extra-strength java. One can only deduce that we are also consuming ten times the caffeine.
Is this a bad thing? Not if you own a giant coffee franchise. I do wonder however, whether the long-term effect of over-consumption of caffeine will ultimately work itself out in our evolutionary DNA adaptability, or whether we will pay the price down the road...probably a bit of both. Meanwhile, I like to approach coffee drinking the same way I do any other controlled substance, from alcohol to tobacco to sugar--anything that can alter your body chemistry in such a way that it begins to require more--and that is, try to regularly reduce the amounts you are consuming. Back off a little and the body's tolerance will diminish, allowing the same effect with less ingestion. Regulate so "They" don't have to legislate...hey, that ain't a bad slogan.
The Spanish government recently enacted a law encouraging wine consumption as part of a healthy diet. The state is providing funds for local and national campaigns that promote wine as an integral part of a Mediterranean diet. Also, growers and producers are encouraged to use environmentally friendly and sustainable farming methods--again, funds for research and development will be made available. What a concept...encouraging and rewarding well-rounded, holistic thinking. Ole, Espana!
FOODIE EVENTS...Terry Teplitzky, the hardworking owner of Wild Thyme Deli in Marina, is celebrating his first anniversary in August. Wild Thyme is knocking 'em dead on Reservation Road in a location that is probably the wave of the future as CSUMB and the Marina area grow and develop. Terry's gonna be having a "thank you" celebration on Aug. 26 with food and wine tastings and giveaways. I'll stop in to find out the details since between the two of us we can't seem to get a simple attachment to work on the computers--at least he can cook, which is more than I can say for me. Meanwhile, stop in for breakfast or lunch and say congratulations. 884-2414.
Jon and Carmen Magnusson, the dynamic duo of Restaurant 211 in the Crossroads, are doing Brazilian food and music on Wednesday, July 23. This is a great night with savory dishes, savory music and savory people. Carmen is Brazilian so the authenticity will be perfect. 625-3030.
I'm all signed up for Wine Boot Camp, Monterey County Mission. This is the all-day, hands-on everything, working as an all-around winemaker experience of a lifetime. If you consider yourself a wine enthusiast or if you are in a business where wine is an important component, this is the adventure for you. It's on Aug. 23 from 8:30am to 8:30pm and includes seminars, lunch and dinner, extensive wine tasting and, of course, all the hands-on winemaking experience you can handle, from vineyards to barrel room. We'll be at Joullian for the vineyard part and Heller Estate for the winery part. I've been really working out to get ready for this event--golfing as much as possible to prepare myself for being outdoors and wine tasting like crazy to bring myself up to speed. Join the fun, call (707) 874-1975 or check out affairsofthevine.com.
SHOW ME THE MONEY...Got a nice e-letter a couple of weeks back (brings to mind the old Stooges' bit, "How long have you had a weak back," etc.) from Andrew Allison. He was commenting on something I had written about the hard times being experienced by local restaurants. Andrew quoted VIA(California version of the AAA magazine) which wrote that modestly priced restaurants are "full to overflowing."
Andrew wrote to me, "the solution is to encourage locals to eat out more by making the food, and especially the outrageously overpriced wine, more affordable." Now that's a very interesting proposition. I wonder if there are any restaurateurs out there reading this who would care to comment. It certainly seems that people tend to be buying price nowadays, in almost everything. Why aren't restaurants around here less expensive? We shall see.