Sports and Life
Thursday, June 22, 2006
STICKBALL RULES… I’ve always been a sports fan. Where I grew up (I know what you’re thinking), from the day we were old enough to see, we saw sports being played all around us. Many of the “sports” were re-engineered interpretations of classics. For instance, baseball’s fundamental rules and structure were adapted to different neighborhoods and morphed into games like stickball, played in an unlimited variety of ways, from one-on-one games played with a strike zone drawn on a wall and a series of “automatics” (past the curb, single; past the bush, double; over the path, triple; on the highway, homerun, etc.) to full-blown teams of any number playing head-to-head with bases, catchers, fast-pitch or pitching on a bounce (with stuff). There was box baseball, off the stoop, off the pump, slap ball, punch ball—so many varieties of baseball adapted to the cityscape and requiring only a rubber ball and a broomstick. Kids growing up became neighborhood legends, stars on concrete fields of dreams.
Sorry for getting a little sentimental; I am simultaneously watching the US Open from WINGED FOOT—a short trip across the world, a few miles from where I grew up—along with THE WORLD CUP, whose stars often emerge from simple beginnings on vacant patches of earth around the world where only one ball and a bunch of dreamers is required. Add the NBA Finals, College World Series, baseball and it adds up to many opportunities to observe synergistic camaraderie born of teamwork, the built-in community of shared striving.
MY TEAM… Teamwork is what it takes to put on a good dinner. From the person who greets you to the one washing the dishes, restaurants run best when everyone works together, creating the humming multi-celled organism required to satisfy fickle diners. At last week’s Talbott Wine Dinner at Bouchée, celebrating 20 years of excellence in the vineyards, Chef CHRISTOPHER GORE showed why Bouchée was chosen to host the event.
Chef Gore wowed guests first with a steady stream of delicious hors d’oeuvres as we stood around drinking Talbott Sleepy Hollow Chardonnay from magnums of the 1996 and 1997 vintages, then followed up with courses of Monterey Bay abalone, sautéed turbot fillet, then venison loin. The preparations and accompanying sauces and sides were all up to the standards ROBERT TALBOTT has long set for his wines, as his parents suggested: “Be great or dump it.”
We learned that DAVID FINK was the first person to buy the Talbott wines when he was manager at Highlands Inn, and has continued his support of the brand to this day at all his restaurants. Fink played gracious host as only he can, like a handsome anchorman on the eternal food and wine news network. It was a wonderful night, full of warmth and good cheer, plus a little sizzle exemplified by CESCA DENTICE, wine rep for Wine Warehouse, the company that distributes Talbott. According to my notes, Cesca “burned up the eyeballs of all the hungry boys.” That about sums it up.
Hey, stop down to Southern Latitudes on Friday, June 23 from 5 to 8pm and enjoy a tasting of nine hand-selected wines from New Zealand, lovely hors d’oeuvres, scintillating discussion and a chance to hang with the Dynamic Duet of Decanting, ANNALISA WOOD and KERRE DUBINSKY, all for only 25 skins—If you can’t enjoy this, I’m discontinuing your membership in the Happy Nappy Wino’s Association…on Thursday, June 29 at 6pm, get down to my man KURT GRASING’s Grasing’s Coastal Cuisine in Carmel for his version of why Talbott Vineyards is our flagship brand (sorry Chalone, but you sold your soul years ago). Kurt will weave his magic culinary yarn and spin out four delicious courses plus appetizers with wines from Talbott’s various vineyards, all for $85 per person, all inclusive. Call 624-6562 or visit grasings.com now…look out for MARIA MURRAY’s funkadelicious wine list coming out soon for her Supper Club at Buon Giorno in Carmel. She and consultant Catherine “Il Duce” Fallis, Mistress Sommelier, have local wine reps back-flipping to fulfill the Queen of Junipero’s wine wishes. By the way, Mistress Fallis and her beau, Timothy Little, are expecting a little baby sommelier in about four months. Advance notice has it 80 percent chance of being a boy and according to the Grape Goddess, they plan to name it Raymond—or maybe she was just pulling my leg.
HEY GOOD PEOPLE… An important member of our community, MARIA INES CATALAN of Laughing Onion Organic Farm in Hollister, needs our help. She is a great, inspirational farmer you may know from Wednesdays at CSUMB and Martin Luther King School in Seaside, plus she is constantly doing community teaching and appearances to promote farming. She is a single mother of four and an inspiration to all of us. Her storage building burned down, destroying all her supplies, seeds, fertilizers, packing boxes, tools, etc., virtually everything she needs to keep the farm going and her livelihood intact. Think of what we can do, let’s get this woman some help. Contact email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
ME AND MY FRIENDS… Rio Grill has begun “Industry Mondays” where hospitality workers get 25 percent off the total bill all day long. This is a wonderful way for industry folks to perpetuate a restaurant culture among the workers around here, one thing we lack relative to major cities...Clementine’s Kitchen (clementineskitchen.com) welcomes Dorothy McNett to its stellar team. She’s the Hollister-based TV personality and a great addition…Go out and enjoy this beautiful weather, cruise around to local eating and drinking establishments—nightly “crawls” with tidbits and sips in multiple places are always fun. Be safe, be happy, be nice…Aloha.