Generosity and Good Taste
Thursday, January 26, 2006
STILL A GRATEFUL NEW YEAR… I don’t think most folks realize just how much wear and tear a restaurant endures, especially a busy one. Age of the building and equipment, and natural deterioration add hidden operating costs for the restaurateur. Which, along with a mountain of other evidence, confirms that you have to be nuts to own a restaurant.
Thankfully for us, there are so many lunatics out there willing to sacrifice their lives so that we might enjoy our couple of hours of managed mangiare. So for this new year, as with every year, I would like to personally thank all our local restaurant owners and employees (and all the support industries that keep them going) for the many great memories and experiences I’ve enjoyed over the years. Cheers y’all.
A BOTTLE, THOU, ETC.… Firstly, Thursday Jan. 26, the day this comes out, Christopher’s on Lincoln, home of one of the coolest of the lunatic owner/operator, CHRISTOPHER CAUL, is doing a wine dinner with local winery owners PHIL AND CONNIE WOODWARD, of Woodward-Graff wines.
The GRAFF in Woodward-Graff refers to the great RICHARD, archbishop of the Chalone appellation, pioneer of the Pinnacles. This is a wonderful little winery from the mountains high above Soledad. Combined with Christopher’s always tasty treats and welcoming friendly environment, this dinner will be fabulous. Call 626-8000 immediately.
On Friday, Jan. 27, local hostess/chef and all around promotion queen GABRIELA FORTE is leading her fellow Slow Food friends in the next installment of the heartwarming and ongoing fundraising efforts for the BRANDHURSTS of Louisiana. KAY and RAY, along with their four children, are family shrimpers who lost everything when Katrina unleashed her wrath upon those shores. After consulting with POPPY TOOKER of Slow Food New Orleans, Gabriela, who leads the Carmel Chapter of Slow Food (to find out about this important organization check out slowfoodusa.com), chose to directly help the Brandhursts get back in the game.
A previous dinner thrown by Ms. Forte netted $2,500 that Ray used to fix one of the engines on his fishing boat. Needless to say, more is needed, so a second dinner is planned for Friday night. DAVID FINK of Auberge Carmel and Bouchée, along with KENT TORREY of the Cheese Shop, have been generous donors of special bottles of wine. Gabriela, a trained chef, does the cooking. It takes place at her home and husband CARLOS, another warm-spirited individual, is a key player in everything. Check it out at 655-0505 or gabrielasfeast.com.
On Sunday, Jan. 29, the AIWF (American Institute of Wine and Food) will hold its regular gathering. (I wonder if there are folks who are part of other institutes who hear about AIWF and are all, “Damn, that must be a cool Institute. I can’t believe I’m stuck here in this Institute for Examining the Interrelationships Between Semiconductors and Semicolons, and they’re sitting around drinking champagne and eating caviar.”) They will be sitting around drinking champagne and eating caviar in the card and library room at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. You can join them—you should join them. Call Dorothy Johnson at 655-0970 to find out more.
PRO-AM DREAMS… Speaking of the Lodge, the AT&T is almost here. I can’t wait for the mail to bring my invitation to play (it seems rather late this year). What a feeling it is walking up the fairways, listening to the crowd cheering me on. (“Martha, Martha…come here. He’s doing it again, Martha. He’s starting to hallucinate again. You said he wasn’t gonna do any more of that, Martha.”)
And if the AT&T is almost here, that means the Masters is too. Not the golfing Masters, the food and wining Masters. Highlands Inn is the place, legends like Trotter, Yamaguchi, Boulud, Muller, Meneau, Tsai, Screaming Eagle, Pichon Baron, Gaja, Bollinger, Inniskillin and dozens more set the pace.
Head Coach ROB WEAKLEY has assembled another stellar lineup of events. The only way to begin to grasp the scope of it is to get on the Web site and spend some time really navigating and studying. Then buy tickets to as many events as is still possible, even if you have to borrow the money. To live here, care about food and wine and someday say you had never been to the Masters is a travesty you’ll always regret, believe me. Masters of Food and Wine, Feb. 16-19, mfandw.com, 800-401-1009.
THE OTHER OTHER MASTERS… Jan. 28 is the Grand Finale of the Steinbeck Center’s localized version of the Masters, the VALLEY OF THE WORLD WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL. Join a fun and delicious lineup of local food and wines along with a silent auction, wine giveaways, plus a port and cigar bar. I went last year, I’m going this year and I can vouch that it is a great time. Get there, 775-4721 or salinasrotary.org.
DATES TO REMEMBER… Hey, congratulations to Rosine’s Restaurant in downtown Monterey. It celebrated its 25th anniversary. If you’ve been living on Mars you don’t know how wildly popular that place has been and still is, with locals and visitors alike. JIM CULCASI JR. continues the family-owned theme and keeps knocking ‘em dead daily, beginning with the homemade, mouth-watering cakes strategically displayed in a large glass counter as you walk in. Call 375-1400 or better yet, stop down to say congrats while enjoying a meal.
Don’t forget, The Crystal Ball 2006: Hearts of Hope, Feb. 11, fundraising dinner dance at Portola Plaza by John XXIII AIDS Ministry. Please come and enjoy, spend a ton of money on auction items and help support this truly worthy effort. Call 655-1737 for more…here’s looking at you, kids.