Thursday, February 14, 2008
Not Just On V-Day… This issue kisses the stands on Valentine’s Day. Ohhhwwweeeeeeee. Remember the old Donna Summer song, I Love to Love You Baby… sing it with me… love to love you baby… I… love to love you baby. Valentine’s Day is kind of like the lyrics to that song, redundant, pedantic (Martha, what does that mean?), monotonous, yet mildly sexy.
Too bad most people spend the day forcing the scheduled sexiness on each other instead of just letting the game, as they say in sports, come to them. I blame you women (ohh, I can’t wait to get the feedback from that). You put all this pressure on your men to buy you chocolates and champagne and roses and diamonds – no wonder they die before you do. It’s time for the men to stand tall and ignore this Hallmark holiday once and shock the shitakes out of her with cute little gifties all throughout the year. Then, come VD you can sit back knowingly, smile that little couples’ smile and self-righteously thumb your collective nose at all the silly amateurs of love.
Clan Plan… Fortunately for us, Sebastian Thomas Perez didn’t delay his arrival into the world last week. Kristi and wine wizard Thomas Perez welcomed Sebastian, their first born. As far as I know, there’s no truth to the rumor that his crib is fashioned from a barrel from Domaine La Romanee-Conti, although that would make one helluva crib. Big cheers to the Perez family, now on its way to being the Perez clan.
Behind The Scenes… It was a culinary clan out at Quail Lodge a couple of weeks ago with a six-course feast cooked up by a gaggle of local celebrity chefs working the line like a white-coated road gang. Jerome “Squeal” Veil (Wills Fargo), Brandon “The Cannon” Miller (Stokes), Rick “Over The” Edge (everywhere), Craig “Ludwig” von Foerster (Sierra Mar), Matt “Officer” Bolton (The Covey) and Anne “Six Gun” Parker-Johnson and Yann “The Mon” Lusseau (figure it out), each shaped a course to go with a special lineup of wines chosen by wine director Michael “Smooth Talk” Marcy. The event celebrated the delightful produce and tradition of Umbria – that’s in Italy. There were about a dozen Umbrian food producers, winemakers and farmers on hand to enjoy the dinner, and enjoy it we all did, especially Brett “I wanna be in Food Chain” Wilbur.
One of the coolest things about the evening was a live video feed from the kitchen onto a big-screen monitor in the dining room so we could watch how hard everybody in there was working. Made me feel proud to see them all taking such great care with our food, made me feel proud and full… and happy.
Disappearing Rabbit… Happy is not necessarily what Calvin and Michele Wilkes felt when I wrote about going in to Fifi’s on Wednesday nights for rabbit. Well, I might have had that a little incorrect – like perfectly incorrect. Actually, Fifi’s is closed on Wednesdays, which is the only night they don’t have rabbit (you see, because they’re closed). Hey, gimme a break, I’m new at this. Fortunately, Fifi’s isn’t. That’s been happening for 22 years (not my mistakes, Fifi’s happenings).
Marchese In March… The Marchese is happening again at Peppoli on March 13 and 14. For those of you who may not know, that’s the Marchese Piero Antinori, one of the true giants of the wine industry. He’s the latest family member to head Antinori, an ongoing wine concern for something like 20 generations. The marchese (pronounced mahr-cay-zay) is a very cool dude, lemme tell you. I had the pleasure of hanging with him a few years back and not only is he kind, humble, intelligent and just plain nice, the man can golf, too. What more could you ask of a marchese?
Anyway, get in on some of this action by phoning 647-7490. There is a reception at 6pm on March 13 and a multi-course dinner (limited to 26 guests) by Chef Arturo Moscoso on the 14th to go along with specially selected Antinori wines.
Spreading The Wealth… Speaking of multi-generational, the Shake family, owners of Fish Hopper, Lattitudes and a whole bunch of restaurants on Fisherman’s Wharf, recently donated more than $43,666 to the Salvation Army as part of their Sabu Shake Sr. Memorial Fundraiser of 2007. It’s an annual touch of kindness named for father Sabu, longtime Wharf restaurateur. Nice tribute, nice donation, nice going.
Food Frenzy… Lotta action happening in Pacific Grove, don’t you know. Primo, small plates, big wine is coming online where Pasta Mia used to be, across from Melange, where Chef David is holding court with interesting things like “wine dinner night” on the third Tuesday of every month, and other tasty happenings. Down the bayside is Pelican Tavern, a local sports-themed hotspot. Of course there are favorites like Fandango, Passionfish, Max’s Grille, Joe Rombi’s, Cellar Door, Peppers, Zocalo, and up the hill, Fifi’s, Alberto’s and Thaiwaiian Bistro. I know I’m leaving out a bunch… sorry, just rambling here. Point is, there is plenty of food fun to be frolicking with there..
Gold Gush… Zabie Johnston was gushing about her and husband Jonathan’s successes at the recent San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Marie Johnston 2005 Central Coast Chardonnay and Gryphon Wines 2005 Edna Valley Chardonnay each won gold, while Marie Johnston 2005 Rosé of Syrah and Gryphon Wines 2005 Pinot Noir took home bronze. They’ll be pouring the gold-medal wines at the awards banquet on Feb. 16 at Fort Mason in San Fran. Find their wines at Piatti’s, Big Sur Bakery, The Road House, Carmel Valley Market, Whole Foods Monterey, Surf N Sand, Ventana, The Grape Vine and Clementine’s Kitchen. I say right on.