Friday, February 22, 2008

A Visiting Dignitary at the Napa Valley Premier

This event is where all the vintners in the Napa Valley get together for a barrel tasting to see what will be their featured wines for the upcoming wine auction in June. I usually see a wide range of folks from the Napa Valley at these events. Unlike the Mustard Festival, this will attract mostly wine writers, media types, local vintners, wine merchants and then some. Around 700 people will be in attendance. Security will be in abundance as many people who don't have tickets to this one may make am attempt to get into the building.I will be on hand to direct traffic inside the building and to give out local information. Later on, I will be running the cameras for the cooking demonstrations.Now it is Monday, and I have a little time now to rehash what happened on Saturday. Much like the Mustard Festival, it rained all day and there were plenty of umbrellas at the main entrance of Greystone for the guests of the Premier.The Conciege desk was completely taken over by the people from the Vintner's Association who were registering the attendees. Around noon time, I wanted to get a glimpse of the action in the Barrell Room. Before I head upstairs I talked with James our security guard, who informed me that William Shatner ( the original Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame and more recently on Boston Legal as Denny Crane ) was somewhere in the building. I went to the Teaching Kitchen first, then walked back down to the Barrel room. Nada. Since I had to be back to do the cameras for the one thirty demo, I didn't have much time to catch up with him. Jeff Pettigrew our special events captain, informed me that he was wearing a black leather jacket and walking with a cane! ( that shouldn't be so hard to find him then, I thought.) Lastly, I took the elevator back up to the Teaching Kitchen to see if I could find him there...and as the doors opened... there stood Denny Crane !! (Shatner) waiting to ride back down. Immediately, I made myself the official "operator" as no one else was in the elevator, and proceeded to invite his whole entourage to board. The ride down was uneventful, save for the fact that he asked his handler for a telephone number of someone in the 415 area code. As eveyone got off on the first floor he was the last to leave as I held the door from the inside. I notice that he and I were exactly the same height which wasn't that astounding, really. Our directors, Charles and Ruben happened to be near the elevator as Bill took one last look around before leaving the building to get into his limo. I think we were all a little star-struck.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Engagement Party

Tonight was a festive time had by my nephew Edward and his wife, Antonella, their little baby daughter Mila and Ed's brother in law, Mario and his newly engaged fianceƩ Angela. We met at the Wine Spectator Greystone restaurant at around 6PM and sat down to a fabulous meal. Edward had the Meyer Lemon Risotto with scallops, I had a Chick Pea Indian Curry Dish. Antonella had the Roasted Chicken, Mario had a Flank steak and this was only after we sampled the delicious temptations. The temptations are small sample-size dishes of delectable delights consisting of a variety of appetizers. Mario talked about his engagement to Angela with much warmth and tenderness. The meal was topped off with a great dessert of Creme BruleƩ and a Chocolate Lava Cake which oozed warm chocolate ganosh with around 65% Cocoa Powder. WOW ! Mila kept us all entertained with her cute faces and attempts at language. After dinner we went for a late evening tour of the Culinary Institute of America. A great time was had by all.

Valentine Ruminations

Well the good news is that I brought my scooter in last week to be serviced. These past few days have been cool and clear. Riding back and forth from work has brought a great sense of joy back into the day. Naturally, I have my ITunes going and I am bundled up as I tool up and down Highway 29. Last night I drove it to the Crab Feed that took place at the church I attend in Calistoga. It is always easy to get a good parking spot on that thing.This event is sponsored by the men's club and is usually attended by the same people every year. Something about attending this church and participating in the men's club is suddenly seeming very ho hum to me. On one hand, I am grateful that the church is there... but on the other hand, it seem's like it is lacking the vitality that I am seeking. It is Lent now, and I am checking my motives and reflecting on many things as I walk with Christ through forty days of abstinence ( I am not telling you from what ). My lust for life is on the increase though. Slowly but surely, we will be rolling into spring and summer when new life busts out. Tonight, my nephew will be at the Greystone Restaurant, and I will be joining him when I get off of work. I look forward to this gathering.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mustard Magic

The Mustard Festival came and went. I was really suprised how fast the facility was cleaned up and put back into shape. The night before was quite a show (as well as a fiasco) with men and women in their best formal attire getting wet as the rain came down outside in buckets. Even with the tent construction over the main entrance, many people were forced to stand outside in the rain due to a backup at the door as the folks inside were checking their umbrellas . It was very cold outside, so people were quite antsy to get inside to sample food, wine,desserts and a wide assortment of treats from many restaurants around the valley, including out own Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant. I took a bunch of pictures,but had to contend with image instability, even though I had my monopod attached to the camera. After the evening wound down, I got home to jump into bed and remembered a set of keys that someone dropped off with me to give to security. I had to bundle up and drive all the way back down there to return them... THAT NIGHT. Evidently, one of the volunteers had misplaced them on the shuttle bus and would not have been able to drive back to Napa in their own car unless these keys got back to them in a timely manner. Oy Vey ! To see more of these images go to: Mustard Magic