Thursday, April 24, 2008
FROM THE NORTH… Just got back from a weeklong trip to the lake country about 100 miles north of Toronto (that’s in Canada). In an area majestically carpeted by trees, blotched by outcroppings of pre-Cambrian shield rock – too monumental to call stone – and clear lakes, my sister, my son and I joined my father to huddle against the heaviness wrought by the passing of his 30-year bride, my second mother.
While there, I spent a short time exploring the natural grandeur of that special area, drinking deeply of the purity of its air and the wildness of its bearing. In some ways, at least geographically and spiritually, it reminded me of here, another special confluence of land, air and water blessed by something magically alive, curiously intoxicating. As Sweet Thing recently rediscovered while walking in Garland Park, nature immediately makes sense out of our bustling lives, affixing us to its breast to suckle life back into our desperately thirsty souls. We are blessed to be surrounded by so many splendid examples of Mother Earth’s beauty and love.
MORE BLESSINGS… If you’re in a “spirited” mood, Thursday, April 24, sees Bahama Billy’s in the Barnyard launching its first in a series of ongoing themed nights with Bahama Night, starting at 6pm. It’s island hopping charm, ambiance and high-end rums, baby, to go along with steel drums, sexy food and sexier folks. There will be cigars on the patio from Carmel Pipe Shop, a special menu from chef/owner Anthony “Momo” Momo, and April “May” Momo dancing the Limbo Rock with special guest Chubby Checker (that part is made up)… call 626-0430 or just get over there.
Those crazy kids from AIWF (e-mail me if you don’t remember what that stands for) are having another crawl (I do that most nights). This time it’s at Club 19 (I’m boycotting Roman numerals in honor of the Tibetans) and features visiting chef James Wierzelewski along with Club 19 chef Ressul “Wrestlemania” Rassallat. Needless to say, the food will be excellent, the ambiance will be excellent – heck (come on, I don’t say heck often), everything will be excellent… call 625-8519 to reserve a crawlspace.
BEAUTIFUL BIRD… Was hanging out in Quail Lodge at the Covey, easily one of Monterey County’s loungiest lounges and nicest restaurants, when I had the pleasure of meeting Kui “Pond” Maluki, who, according to Marci “Queen Sharifa” Bracco, is “the best event planner in Monterey County.” Kui (pronounced Coy) is originally from Kenya (I think) and spends her days at Quail dreaming up great events and exciting ways for people to spend their money on property. She is a woman of impeccable dignity and taste (although her claim of being a long time reader of this column might provide evidence to the contrary), plus she possesses an infectious smiling soul that envelopes you in its aura. Nice to continue meeting good people throughout our great community – very uplifting.
STILL COOKIN’… Here’s a hot little item… Saturday, May 10, will be the first after hours dinner at Chateau Julien. Local epicurean legend Terry “T-Squared” Teplitzky is creating a special menu to go along with the wines from the Chateau. It’s Chez Julen night with two seatings, “the Sunset” at 5:30pm, and “the Moonlight” at 7:30pm, each beginning with wine tasting in the great hall and ending with lavish desserts in the cellar with winemaker and VP of operations Bill Anderson. Call 624-2600 for rezzies or more info or get on chateaujulien.com.
On May 17 at Paraiso Vineyards a ways down River Road is a great tasting being put on by the Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans, a group of Santa Lucia growers and winemakers. There will be 30 artisan vintners at this special gala event that you want to attend, santaluciahighlands.com. Move quickly – they’ve already sold half of 350 slots.
WINE NOT?… May 2 brings the unique wines of Bertani, one of Italy’s greatest producers, to Peppoli Restaurant at Spanish Bay. Bertani, known for its old world classic Amarone, ranks among the world’s great wineries. In addition to current examples of its wonderful wines, there will be older sampling, including a legendary 1953 and, of course, the delicious Italian fare by Chef Arturo “Willie Mosconi” Moscoso. This is a rare treat that should sell out fast – try calling 648-7826 soon (mention my name – no wait, better not).
Well, at press time, my man Kurt “Just” Grasing is somewhere out in the Mediterranean, or the Adriatic, or some sea, cruising on a Silversea Voyages cruise liner pretending to be working while hitting ports in exotic lands and cooking up great indigenous ingredients (tough gig). Now I hear Maureen “La Signora” Signorella, former owner of Pasta Mia, will be featured chef on a cruise Sept. 22 to Venice. They will sail along the dramatic Dalmatian Coast to Zadar and Dubrovnik, Croatia and Kalamata, Mykonos, and Athens, Greece. Michael Mastrocola of Millennium Travel has been putting these trips together and I’ll tell you this: I want in. Hey Michael, how about having me host a cruise where I show people how to hunt down the best local insider spots to eat, drink and party? Call Michael at 659-0151 or firstname.lastname@example.org and and while you’re booking your passage with La Signora, make some noise about my idea.
LAST DANCE… May 1 at Quail Lodge is Surf n’ Sand’s Third Annual Tequila and Rum Tasting. Get in on the distilled cane and agave, great food and a heap of fun, call the Sanchez Gang at 624-1805… whoa, a brew master dinner April 25 with Chimay Ale at Stix in the golf club at Spanish Bay, jump on that… fore.