Thursday, April 15, 2004
JUST BETWEEN US…I got a phone call from Claudia Smith the other day. For those of you who don’t know who Claudia Smith is, she’s the…actually, I’m not sure exactly how she fits into the whole Paraiso Vineyards-Smith family tree, but she’s one of the major branches. Seems she’s very involved in the upcoming Entre Nous Society of Salinas Culinary Classic on Saturday, April 24 from 10am to 4pm. There is also a preliminary gala preview dinner the night before, Friday, April 23 from 6 to 9pm.
Apparently, the Entre Nous Society was formed in 1934 by a group of Salinas women who then met weekly (probably to get away from their men) and went on to host a yearly charity benefit affair for local community fundraising. In 1998, Entre Nous kicked off the Culinary Classic, which provides a venue for the amazing foods, wines and services found in Monterey County and the surrounding areas.
The Friday dinner will feature the food of Ellie’s, Hullabaloo, Billy Quon’s and Wild Thyme Deli along with the added thrill of Clementine’s Kitchen’s own David Babcock wowing the crowd with his gadget wizardry—showing off state-of-the-art kitchen implements. For 50 bucks, a guaranteed good time.
Saturday will see a day-long festival of cooking demos by Kurt Grasing, Karen Meek, Bill Lee and Jason Wright, David Babcock and Glen Hoekstra, Todd Fisher and Bill Cascio, Terry Teplitzky, Dorothy McNett and all types of booths showing and selling items from many diverse food and gift purveyors. The Saturday event is only seven dollars…like stealing. It’s a nice event to benefit Monterey County Agricultural Education, Jacobs Heart and Gateway Center. Do yourself and these great organizations a favor and show up both days. Contact Claudia Smith at 678-3164, or fax her at 678-2584 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIFE OF RILEY…I was saving my pennies for a rainy day, thinking that maybe I should act maturely and begin planning my fiscal future. Then I went to this unbelievable event at Grasing’s in Carmel a couple of weeks ago. I’m telling you, I try to be good…well, I think about trying to be good, but you’ve got to understand, there are these incredible things to do that are so much fun, especially for a food and wine guy.
Turns out, ole Kurt Grasing has latched onto a sweet deal with Silversea, which appears to be about the coolest cruise line in the free world. They’re doing this Food and Wine Aficionado Mediterranean Cruise from Oct. 6-13 that will showcase Kurt overseeing the Nice, Corsica, Marseille, Barcelona, Portofino, Livorno and Rome excursions while educating folks about the finer points of Mediterranean cooking…what a difficult assignment.
As I understand it, he has to go along on this cruise, ensconced in one of the coolest ships at sea, where top-notch food and beverage—top-notch, not the trough feeds they throw at you on most cruise lines—is all inclusive, that’s right, all-inclusive, tips, champagne, spirits, wines, etc., and struggle through visits to the great local markets and restaurants in the most exotic ports of call anywhere. Then, while he is suffering along with only 296 other passengers aboard this flotilla of fabulous festivity, I guess he has to talk to people about the beauty of the cuisine. Sign me up.
You’ve got to see this amazing cruise line. I’m sitting in the back room at Grasing’s, along with a mini-boatload of other prospective revelers, watching a video that shows all of the amazing amenities aboard this floating funhouse, and I just had to go ahead and slap down this month’s retirement payment. You know, the world is an unpredictable place. I would hate to have put away a bunch of money for the future, then find out I blew it by not living today.
Get yourself over to the keyboard and type in silversea.com, or call Millennium Travel at 659-0151. If you know Kurt Grasing at all, you know he’s just a great guy with a bundle of talent (handsome, too) and he’ll make this a cruise to remember, although, quite frankly, I’d go even if Ronald McDonald was going to be the featured guy.
SHOTGUN STYLE…Stop by the DoubleTree Hotel in Monterey and pop in to their newly redecorated Lobby Bar. It has become one of the most comfortable drinking places anywhere. Nice job guys…also stop by Passionfish in Pacific Grove. Ted and Cindy finally got their very cool wine room built right smack dab in the middle of the dining room. It looks great, thanks to a wonderful design and buildout by Leslie J. Green, who just completed a beautiful wine cellar in the home of Anton and Michel’s Tony Salameh. I can’t believe I’m out of room…so much more to write about.