Thursday, December 21, 2006
BLESSINGS ON YA’… This is the Christmas issue, baby, hanging out with loved ones, sitting around an open fire (this column works great when placed underneath the kindling to start that fire), taking the second and third looks at all those great new gifts you gave and received. I love it. I actually celebrated the closest I can get to a family gathering last week when my two children visited, as did my dearest friends, who I’ve known since my son was in the womb. It was a great group, with age representation comprising about five decades (boy, that’s a poorly written sentence). We decorated a tree, played games, laughed, cried, ate, drank, talked, danced and dreamed—I’m a lucky man.
There are other people I wish could be here for the holidays as well, but that seems to be the way things go in life, can’t always get everything when you want it. It sure would be nice though, wouldn’t it? Just wish something and it happens. I imagine that would get a little scary though, without the lag time to truly figure things out. Life would really be a roller-coaster ride then. Hey, some people like roller coasters.
There’s no getting around it, the holiday season brings a measure of added stress, or heightened awareness, of the many tasks we’d like to accomplish. Then, as New Year’s approaches, we love to envision the many short- and long-term goals we’d like to accomplish. The way I see it, we spend so much time striving to think up and accomplish all these goals, we sometimes forget to just live right now. It’s good to have very young children around to help remind us that now is good, now is real, now is forever (Martha, that boy has been drinking way too much eggnog).
GIVE TO THE KIDS… Now is the time to bring some stuff to the Gifts for Teens Drive benefiting CASA OF MONTEREY COUNTY. Regular readers of this rant (both of you) are aware of Court Appointed Special Advocates, the wonderful organization that makes certain the needs of abused, neglected or abandoned children are being met; children who have been removed from their homes and live in foster homes, group homes or with a relative or friend. What better time than now to offer a gift for these teens, who often get overlooked during gift drives that normally focus on young children?
Drop off a gift at Wild Thyme Deli in Marina (445 Reservation Rd.)—as usual, my man TERRY “TEDDY BEAR” TEPLITZKY is wrapping those big arms around the community; Villa Car Wash in Salinas (1430 S. Main); East Village Coffee Lounge in Monterey (498 Washington St.); Carmel Valley Roasting Company in Carmel (Crossroads Shopping Center); Pacific Tweed, also at the Crossroads and of course, the CASA office at 201 Highway 68, Suite F, Salinas Spreckels Exit. Call 455-6800 or visit casamonterey.org immediately…now…please.
SEASON OF LIGHTS… After donating something beautiful to CASA, celebrate at Garden Bistro in Carmel Valley with the special Eight Nights of Hanukkah menu, featuring favorites like Matzo Ball Soup, and Noodle Kugel. It runs through Dec. 22 so hurry, although getting there at any time is a guarantee for deliciously prepared, exceptionally chosen dishes made from the very finest ingredients available. ROXANA ROBLES-GORRITTI, otherwise known as the West Village Whirlwind (what?) is doing a great job out there on Pilot Road, just around the corner from Talbott’s tasting room. Call 659-5020 or hit email@example.com.
NAWLINS ON THE ROW… Well, Willy’s Smokehouse and All American Grill is a reality. The latest creation from BILL COX and TONY TOLLNER, the Downtown Dining group that brings you Tarpy’s, Rio Grill and Montrio, had a soft opening a couple of weeks ago in the spot on Wave and Prescott that once housed the Booth Fish Reduction Plant. Of course, for years it was O’Kane’s, but had been sitting empty for quite some time.
Now, it’s a beautifully designed, open and airy bastion of brisket, ribs, grilled fish and other tasty treats, available in its large dining area or really cool and spacious bar lounge, plus on the outdoor patio (slated for spring) that overlooks the bike trail. I stopped in on the first official day they were open, during that in-between lunch and dinner time (Willy’s is open from 11:30am until 10 or 11pm so you can stop in anytime throughout the day—I like that) and had a delicious BBQ Brisket sandwich, fresh and snappy coleslaw and a couple of Abita Turbo Dogs on draft. I’ll tell you right now, that’s a little piece of heaven right there. That sandwich was spot on, with a nice zing to it. And I don’t know many places outside of Louisiana serving Abita Turbo Dog on draft. Add to that the always friendly staff (a Downtown Dining signature), some really nice tunes coming in loud and clear over a great sound system and I do believe we’ve got a hip local hangout down on the Row.
Everything has been nicely thought out here, from the cool logo to the kind of rough-hewn but luxurious style, with big banquets balancing accents of corrugated rusted metal and natural wood. The bar is really beautiful and should draw a steady following of both locals and visitors. While I’m writing this, I’m thinking I’ll have to go down there again this afternoon or this evening and have a little fun. I’ll bring you more on this joint in future columns, but for now, check it out yourself, 372-8880, willysmoke.com.
NEW YEAR’S EVE DELUXE… I’m not telling you again to book your spot at Spanish Bay for its amazing New Year’s Spectacular—it’s by far the best party around. Get a group of your best friends and just do it. Get rooms, do it right, stay and play, swing and sway, do it like RAY…oh yeah. 654-9300 gets you on the line…meanwhile, have a joyous holiday season, give lots of love, open your heart, have fun, be safe, make the world a better place.