FOODCHAIN:Harvesting the Good Stuff
Thursday, August 18, 2005
UNREAL FOOD… The August 15th edition of US News and World Report featured a huge piece called “How America Eats.” Get online or pick up a copy—maybe schedule a visit to the doctor or dentist, they always seem to have it there—and peruse the pages…some interesting stuff about the history of our eating habits.
I got to thinking (no wisecracks) about certain foods we have in our culture, things like corn flakes, Twinkies—the stuff that has been around for generations. I wonder how the ingredients in those products have changed over the years and, in most examples, how far removed they have become from the original recipes. It seems like in today’s supermarkets, when you read the labels—and if you don’t read labels at this stage of the game, start—the ingredient list is mostly comprised of stuff that is difficult to pronounce, impossible to understand and just doesn’t resemble real food. Thank goodness we live in a place where we can get just plain food from the sources and either cook it ourselves or have some of the many talented restaurant people around here do it for us.
Speaking of talented restaurant people, good to hear that BILL LEE is bouncing back after his recent heart trouble.
EAT, DRINK AND BE HEALTHY… ROY’S, at Spanish Bay, is doing a Summer Festival of wine collaborations with its tasty cuisine. On Thursday, Aug. 25, HESS COLLECTION WINERY will be featured. Chilled Okinawa Potato Soup and Dungeness Crab Salad with the ‘03 Chardonnay; Smoked Heirloom Tomato Dusted Monchong with Hess Artezin ‘02 Zinfandel; Corn-Crusted Filet Mignon and Seared Prawns with ‘02 Cabernet/Syrah Mountain Cuvee, Frozen Basil-Lemon Mousse.
The following night, Friday Aug. 26, IRON HORSE VINEYARDS steps up to Roy’s plate. Soft Shell Crab, Ahi and Green Papaya Sushi Roll with Iron Horse Brut ‘00 Sparkling; Steamed Hapu’upu’u and Shitake-Asparagus Stir Fry with ‘03 Sauvignon Blanc Cuvee R; Loco-Moco Grilled Lamb Loin and Crispy Spinach Rice with ‘02 Pinot Noir, Kona Chocolate Banana Cake.
If that doesn’t get your mouth a’waterin’ you don’t have any water. Dinner is $55, dinner with wines is $95. A la carte menu is also available. Call 647-7500 for reservations and tell ‘em KEITH “STEALTH BOMBER” LINDSTROM from Estates Group sent you.
Friday is the day. That’s right, Friday, Aug. 19, from 10am to 4pm, is THE QUAIL, A MOTORSPORTS GATHERING out at Quail Lodge. This is a very, very cool event that brings together those glamorous worlds of cars, jewelry, art, music, food, wine, beautiful people, fresh air, green grass and fun.
There might be a few tickets left so jump on the bandwagon and try to get in. The number to call is 877-734-4628.
SPECIAL FUN, PART 1… Summer is here so join AIWF for its August Restaurant Crawl. This Tuesday, Aug. 23, it’s an American Institute of Wine and Food gathering at Christopher’s on Lincoln, in Carmel. MICHAEL MASTROCOLA is your AIWF contact on this one; 659-0151 or email@example.com or hit CHEF CHRIS at his restaurant, 626-8000 or www.christophersonlincoln.com for more info.
All right, so Ted and CINDY at Passionfish are slowly taking over the restaurant world. Ted was just on a television show in the Bay Area, teaching people how to make his calamari, Cindy was just named assistant to the director of the Chairman of the Board of Underwater Good Stuff or something with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (I don’t want to design those business cards)…All that stuff is swell. What really is a turn on though are the new chairs at Passionfish. They are big, overstuffed (no wisecracks) and way too comfy…they’ll never get anybody to leave now. The other night, when The Good Wine Witch JANNAE NICHOLS was on duty, she had to call the PG police to get us out of there (not actually).
Last week I told you about Fifi’s new Guest Chef Wine Dinner series. The first one, last Saturday, sold out in one day. The next one, on the 27th, will fill up instantly as well, so call CALVIN or MICHELE at 372-5325 immediately and get in.
The Aquarium is doing a monthly series of exclusive dinners in Portola Restaurant. The “Chef Dinner Series” will feature gourmet meals prepared by Executive Chef DORY FORD. It gets underway Thursday, Aug. 18 with Bernardus Winery, then runs on Sept. 16, then on Nov. 6 with Tra Vigne star MICHAEL CHIARELLO and throughout the year. Get in touch at www.montereybayaquarium.com.
Play poker with all the heavy hitters from the Salinas Valley and beyond at Paraiso Vineyards’ 1st Annual Poker Charity Tournament to benefit CASA of Monterey County. That’s Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization that works with abused, neglected and abandoned children. Have fun eating, drinking, holding and folding, and help out a good cause as well. Call JENNIFER “ACE KICKER” MURPHY-SMITH at 678-0300 or get to www.paraisovineyards.com.
SPECIAL FUN, PART B… GARY IBSEN is turning red…and yellow and purple and all the other colors and shades of heirloom tomato as the TomatoFest fast approaches. Hear CLINT EASTWOOD got his own tomato this year. Now that’s an honor, not like those silly little gold statues the Hollywood community gives him…www.tomatofest.com, 1-800-965-4827.
The Del Monte Center’s 9th Annual Musical Marketplace series is underway. DENNIS MURPHY wrapped up a benefit for Dance Kids of Monterey on Aug. 4 and had the place jumping. Tonight, Aug. 18, features BIG MAMA SUE in a benefit for MY Museum…Aug. 25 is SWEET THURSDAY JAZZ BAND for the Hospice Foundation. There’s food, wine tasting, good music and good times. It’s from 5:30 to 8pm and great fun for the whole family, 373-2705, www.delmontecenter.com.
GIVE ‘EM A BREAK… Been hearing nice things about FRANCISCO’S, where the Clock used to be over there on Washington/Munras/Abrego Street in Monterey. I had been to his original place in Marina where he serves nice, freshly made food with friendly, warm service. With a full bar and an appealing happy hour going on, he seems to be getting folks to give the place a try…that’s all you can ask for in this business, just get them in the door to give you a chance to show ‘em your stuff.
We have to be reasonable when trying a newly opened restaurant. You’re talking about an endeavor that brings together a group of diverse human beings and tries to mesh them as a unit, much like a sports team.
A new restaurant needs six months of slack, especially if it’s a larger-sized operation. Go in during the early days, that’s fine and important—helps start to recoup some of the ridiculous opening expenses—but go in like a friend, not like someone looking for the roof to cave in. Or worse: At opening night of the original House of Blues in Cambridge, Mass., the wall supports that held the oven caught fire, and much to the amazement of everyone, firemen came rushing through the dining room, but real tragedy was averted and a good time was had by all (drinks were not affected)…There’s a lesson in there somewhere.