Life Goes On
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Before beginning, I’d like to acknowledge the passing of one of the area’s most influential movers and shakers, Nick Lombardo. I didn’t really know him except through the stories I’d heard from people like Bob Massaro of Bostrom Management and Terranova Fine Wines in Monterey, plus various other folks who knew him either socially or professionally.
He was the owner of the Rancho Cañada and Laguna Seca golf courses, as well as various properties around the area and elsewhere, but his involvement in the hospitality field was extensive and he provided jobs for a lot of local people. His history of hard work, shrewd negotiating and a touch of bravado is as classic an American success story as you’ll hear. Try to find somebody who knew the man well and ask about his life, it may prove to be inspirational, especially if you’re inclined toward an entrepreneurial spirit.
INDUSTRIAL-STRENGTH PARTY… I found out about Nick’s passing from Christian Sprecher, who recently contracted with Lombardo to do all the catering at Rancho Cañada. I saw him at the Better Brands food show at the Monterey Fairgrounds. On the evening before the event, Better Brands throws a great party out at Tarpy’s for the suppliers, with an open bar, food, the works. Peter and Mike Imlay, who are cousins and run the Better Brands family operation, have taken hospitality and service to new heights with this yearly bash. Nicki, Peter’s wife, does a lot of the coordinating of the event, along with all the Better Brands sales reps and employees, including Chuck “Flaming Laptop” Hunsaker, who even had his wife Heidi running around working the event. Way to enlist the slave labor there Chuckie Boy.
At the Fairgrounds, the list of restaurants and food service people was endless. I ran into Jon Magnusson from Bistro 211, Christian Sprecher, Andre and Nargis Lengacher, Nabeel Bahn of RG Burgers (they’re about to do a total facelift on the place—new floors, tables and chairs, awnings, the works so stop in to lend some moral support, or just get a great burger), Roxana Robles from Wild Goose Café (she just closed on the old Summerhouse in Carmel Valley—opening as the Garden Goose—although her name of the Spruce Goose on Pilot Road might still be under consideration; look for that very soon), Kurt Grasing from Grasings and Carmel Chop House, Bill Lee from Bahama Billy’s, Chef Ernie Andreas from Pasadera, Ted Walter from Passionfish, Craig “Lefty” Gladstone from Hula’s, Moises Cruz from Monterey Joe’s, Toby Jensen from the Grill on Ocean Avenue…it was crazy.
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMO… Speaking of the Monterey Fairgrounds, there’s less than three weeks until the Fourth Annual Monterey Beer Festival, being held there for the first time. Let me tell you that at press time, we have more than 60 breweries committed, with more coming. This thing is starting to take shape as one of the greatest collections of quality beer makers in this part of the country. Tickets are on sale around town at Bay Books Monterey, Zeph’s One-Stop in Salinas, Campagno’s Deli in Monterey and Wild Thyme Deli in Marina. Also, you can buy online at www.localwineevents.com (scroll down to the date, June 4th and click on the Monterey Beer Festival). You can also link up to that on our website, www.montereybeerfestival.com, which will be updated before this is published (I hope). Oh yeah, the tickets are only $20 bucks in advance, $22 online or $25 at the gate…now that is great value.
While I’m on it, don’t forget about June 17th when we roll
out Around the World of Cocktails at the Hyatt Regency.
SHAMELESS SWEET-THING PROMO… Now the key to all this party living is to take good care of yourself to balance it. Learn how by listening to Doctor Mitra Ray, research scientist and author presenting “From Here to Longevity” a great talk and book signing on Saturday, May 21 at 7pm at the Laurel Inn, 801 West Laurel Dr. in Salinas, just off Highway 101. Dr. Ray is former co-chair of the Society for Neurosciences in Washington and believes “each of us must take full responsibility for our wellness in order to live a healthy and long life.” She’s right. To reserve a spot at the talk, contact Michele Reese toll free at 866-305-2421 or email email@example.com.
FOOD TV… “Strawberry fields forever.” That pretty much sums up the breathtaking views of rolling green hills and acres upon acres of strawberry farmland witnessed when Chef Brandon Miller of Stokes Restaurant joined host Laura McIntosh in Watsonville for a taping of the show Bringing It Home. The show can be described as “let’s take a top chef out into the fields and cook something from the farm for the viewers.” Chef Miller—or Brandon, as the boys down at the Y like to call him (he’s gonna beat me with the big whisk for that one)—whipped up fabulous recipes using some of the largest, most perfectly red strawberries ever seen. The show airs in LA, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Vegas and Bakersfield. To find out more, get the recipes and see a nice photo of Miller, log onto www.bringingithome.com. Pebble Beach Executive Chef Jeff Jake is also scheduled in a couple of weeks.
RAPIDAMENTO… Cooking for Solutions May 20-21, www.montereybayaquarium.org…Steinbeck Country Wineries 12th Annual Spring Fest, open houses at a bunch of wineries, call Jennifer Murphy-Smith 678-0300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org…Rick Edge does Pep Talk with Rich Pepe at Salud Cooking and Lifestyle Classroom (next to Whole Foods Market) on May 11 at 6:30, www.wholefoodsmarket.com…TomatoFest Sept. 11, seems like a long way off but get the tickets while you can, www.tomatofest.com or 800-965-4827…The Quail, a full-day motorsports gathering, Aug. 19 at Quail Lodge—high-end cars, jewelry, food and wine, art, photography, good stuff, 877-734-4628 or www.quaillodge.com…American Institute of Food and Wine Golf Tourney, June 6, Quail Lodge, call Mary Chamberlin 624-0830 or Joanne Monroe 625-3562…Bye.