Thursday, August 2, 2007
THE FABRIC OF LIFE... The coarse, black threads of tragedy interweave each human tapestry, adding dimension, texture, accents of darkness and strength. Those threads come in varying thickness and lengths, and in different shades of gray and black. At the end of each of our life, our individual tapestry reads like personal hieroglyphics, conveying our emotional journey from birth to death. The complexity of the patterns increase with the number of other humans we closely interact with, since each relation’s tragedies and joys then add threads to our own embroidery.
Sometimes, we are hesitant to embrace certain experiences in our lives, especially when they involve illness, death or some other event we perceive as negative. However, it is those very experiences that strengthen our beings and help create the overall beauty that is in each of us. Were it not for tragic circumstances, humans would have less opportunity to express their kindness, gentleness and empathy – easily some of our greatest attributes.
Recently, various tragic circumstances have affected me indirectly and others close to me more directly. Firstly, the Weekly’s own ERIC JOHNSON, who has been my editor (the good writer/editor bond is always a close one) for quite a few years now, is following the calling to be closer to his ailing mother in San Jose. Of course I am feeling the direct pain of him leaving as my editor and the indirect pain of his suffering with the circumstances he must face. I will miss him greatly for his encouragement, his enthusiasm at my craziness, his skill and talent as a writer/editor and his overall perspective as a human.
Also, I have been on the periphery of a tragic event that occurred in our local wine community. There is a fairly anonymous group of people here (and everywhere) who sell wine wholesale through distributors, along with those who buy wine for the restaurants and retail shops. They are all friendly to each other and are in a way a small community sharing the same basic goals and daily struggles.
One of them, JUSTIN LINN, a friendly, handsome young man seemingly with his whole life in front of him, somehow didn’t see it that way and committed suicide last week. For a few days before his body was found, the local community of buyers and sellers were worried and anxious about why he hadn’t been heard from. The news shocked but did not surprise those who knew about his history of depression, but did not lessen the pain and confusion we all feel.
One of our wine community’s closest friends, PATRICK SCHRADY, eloquently expressed all of our feelings: “Justin chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It is with tremendous sorrow that I have to accept the loss of a friend and colleague who was in our lives for a short time but made it apparent quickly that he was special. His humor, kindness, intelligence and wit added to our lives greatly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Farewell Justin, you will be missed.”
BLUER SKIES... Less depressing, but certainly sad in its way, was saying goodbye to CORBY HAGAN, who spent the past couple of years managing Bouchée in Carmel. He has moved to San Diego, where he’ll be doing more of the same for a place called Blanca in Solana Beach (dineblanca.com). I guess those foggy Carmel summers were just too much.
Big big ups to my man THOMAS PEREZ. He oversees the wine programs at Bouchée, L’Auberge Carmel and Cantineta Luca, and just got some serious props from the Wine Spectator for his work in developing those three great lists. Shoot, ole’ MARVIN and his squad are just finding out what we all knew for a long time. Right on you big Thomas you (how’s married life?).
Another great wine guy, DOMINIQUE DA CRUZ, who plies his trade at the wildly magnificent Sierra Mar, wants me to tell y’all that they are back in the newly renovated sky view restaurant. For those who missed out on the temporary facility, you missed one of the nicest spots anywhere on the West Coast, with serene meadow and trees for a view, amazing art collection and the same great food and service. No excuses now, folks.
GREAT TASTE... Ag Against Hunger, one of the premier organizations battling hunger on the Central Coast and beyond (see story, pg. 6), will run the Agriculture Building during the Monterey County Fair Aug. 14-19. The Salinas-based nonprofit will help teach fairgoers about the area’s home grown commodities, and the importance that agriculture plays in the economy and for our very health and well being. The Agriculture Building features historical displays, wine tastings and wine education for adults from some of the county’s best growers and fruit, vegetable and other tastings for the thousands of families who attend the Fair.
Don’t forget to book for Roy’s Luau on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 6pm at Spanish Bay. ROY YAMAGUCHI will be joining Chef YOICHI SAITO to create a world class Hawaiian Luau accompanied by a Hawaiian band, fire dancers (featuring STEVE DONAHUE and TOM HLASNY), hula dancers, amazing signature pineapple martinis, local wines, Hawaiian beer, fresh leis, the works. This will sell out.
Congrats to Marinus Restaurant and MARK JENSEN. It recently received the Grand Award for its wine list from the Wine Spectator magazine – maintaining a streak for they’ve kept alive since 2001.
If you log onto travelpost.com you can check out where they ranked Monterey Plaza Hotel’s Duck Club as number four in the top 10 hotel restaurants in the country. And Duck Club GM MICHELE LAGANA told me they are ramping up quality across the board, shooting for their fourth Mobil star.
This from my pal and fellow scribe Margot Nichols of the Pine Cone: “Did you know my daughter FRANCESCA and I own an antique and gift shop (Lily’s Chance Discoveries)? Francesca’s the manager, and I get to do a lot of the buying. It’s a real ‘Carmel’ shop. I wish you’d stop by.” It’s on Dolores between Fifth and Sixth, see you there.