Browsing articles tagged with " wine festivals"
Sep 12, 2013
Terri Judson

Monterey’s Coastal Luxury Management uncorks major moves in L.A. and Las …

This would be a project to trump all the insane stunts Coastal Luxury Management has come up with.


More coo-coo than throwing the first Pebble Beach Food Wine with a total of two employees. Crazier than launching Restaurant 1833 and Cannery Row Brewing Company at the same time. Goofier than scheming a week-long celeb chef party on Richard Branson’s private island for $55,000 a day per person.

The new nutzoid mission: Making traffic in L.A. worse.

OK, that wasn’t the official ambition of the David Bernahl/Rob Weakley-led crew’s third annual Los Angeles Food Wine last month, but it happened as they shut down several blocks of Grand Avenue in the heart of downtown. For a week. That represented an unprecedented opportunity – no such closure has ever happened, not for the L.A.Marathon or the Watts Riots.

The traffic thickening is partly the product of another big move: Earlier this year, CLM bought back the 50-percent ownership of its powerful partners, Dick Clark Productions – parents of the American Music Awards, So You Think You Can Dance? and much more – whose collaboration streamlined the use of L.A. Live venues for many of LAFW’s events years one and two. (DCP also provided cash to make spendy 1833 a reality.)

That play is only one of three major, big-city schemes CLM is conjuring. They’re also giving L.A. a new landmark restaurant called Faith Flower – and granting Las Vegas its headiest concept since Cirque du Soleil.

So it’s fair to say, as much as things have changed in the last few months – during a year Bernahl and Weakley promised themselves, “No new projects!” – the wildly ambitious visioning certainly hasn’t.

~ ~ ~

French Laundry legend Thomas Keller stood on the red carpet at LAFW’s grand opening event, Giada de Laurentiis’s Festa Italiana, against the best urban backdrop a food festival could ask for – the glowing, curvaceous, spaceship-ish Walt Disney Concert Hall – with a feisty wink.

“Why would you invite me to an Italian event?” he asked at one point, later adding, “The French are here!” (Check out a video at www.mcweekly.com/edible.)

Keller, a PBFW advisory committee member, was prepping his food stall when I asked him about his lifetime achievement award at PBFW in 2012.

“Sounds like some bulls**t, right?” he said, smiling. “They’ve been around five years and they’re giving lifetime awards?”

Few can BS with this sort of chef or this amount of audacity. Weakley and Bernahl let a similar sly smile sneak onto their faces as they say, only half-joking, “The young punks from Monterey are changing Los Angeles.”

Their formula for food and wine festivals, starting with PBFW, has involved leveraging celebrities like Keller, Daniel Boulud and Jaques Pepin at every turn, making sure those faces – and not a sous chef’s – are there, point blank, no matter how blockbuster the events get. This year’s LAFW included 125 chefs.

Now that they’ve got ringing endorsements from the likes of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to set up shop on Grand going forward – and the onrushing introduction of the Broad Museum and its $2 billion worth of art next door to the Disney – all sorts of promising synergies lurk.

“This is an opportunity to turn LAFW into something bigger – to team with L.A. Opera, the Broad, make it Art Basel-esque, doing food, wine, music, culture, art,” Bernahl says. “To take on a whole new meaning, to add a new facet to a pretty well-cut stone.”

They distilled a formidable formula to do memorable restaurants with 1833. The founding concept there: to borrow ingredients, aesthetics and alchemy from the era the adobe was built. The resulting mix of period props, apothecary cocktails and rustic-upscale bone marrow and braised rabbit have won accolades regionally and nationally. The strategy will be similar with Faith Flower: Harken to the L.A. Confidential days of downtown, when Grand was swirling with starlets and lined with mansions.

“The history provides an intellectual framework,” Bernahl says. “It’s not classic for sake of being classic, but rooted in something relevant. Downtown is a new phenomenon. Before it was a ghost town at 7pm. Now it’s changing so rapidly.”

Nestled in the bottom floor of the hip Watermarke Tower, the FF spot enjoys high ceilings, extensive kitchen space on several stories, L.A. Live’s complex of hotels and venues, and the Staples Center three blocks away.

A vintage nostalgia will also drive a concept that was closely guarded until last week. The Rose.Rabbit.Lie. will give the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas an entertainment-dining-bar hybrid that itself harkens back to the social-club era that predated all the monster clubs.

“Rose.Rabbit.Lie. is… much more interactive than a nightclub or a show or a restaurant – it’s a new genre,” Cosmo CEO John Unwin says. “An entirely new way to spend your evening. It’s perfect for what we’ve termed ‘the curious class.’”

In each spot, CLM is riding trend and timing to maximum effect. “The projects are a lotta work, but we can’t stop sticking our hand in the fire, going, ‘Ooh, that’s hot!,’” Bernahl says.

“Hot” – or crazy hot, emphasis on crazy – sounds about right.

QUICKBITES

• Pacific Grove godsend: Local industry vet Thamin Saleh has a gifted chef in Jeffrey Weiss to lead a dead-sexy-sounding jeninni wine bar + restaurant in the Holman building where Le Normandie used to be. Could open as soon as end early October. Check out the menu and more on www.mcweekly.com/edible.

• I know what’s in season: babies. Two of my favorite editors are preggered up (Kera Abraham and Jessica Lyons), same with two of my favorite athletes (Abbie Beane and Heather Serrano), 2-month-old Ivan has already been to multiple farmers markets with Serendipity FarmsJamie Collins and Avtonom Ordjonikidze, and there is another set of Georis brothers in the mix now that Mandy and Gabe of Mundaka have Charles to look after Luke.

• The second Carmel-by-the-Glass ($30, 402-7373) and its fun, fashion, laundry-list local wineries and actual youthful buzz happens 5-8pm Thursday, Sept. 12, in Devendorf Park. Visit the Weekly Facebook page (quick) to win tickets and weigh in on Carmel nightlife.

The Lodge at Carmel Valley Ranch (625-9500) hosts a wine dinner Sept. 12 with executive chef Tim Wood and Sommelier Dave Eriksen. Tapas, mussels, clams, prawns and lamb with verde mojo sauce mean $50 for dinner is a deal ($90 with wine pairing). The next dinner series dates are Oct. 10, (Lagunitas) Nov. 14 (Pelerin) and Dec. 12 (Figge).

• For the third time in as many years, Nepenthe’s softball team has claimed the sought-after Big Sur league crown, nipping Treebones in extra innings.

• Passports to Carmel Valley’s East End Wine Row ($25) get tastings at each of the half-dozen delicious wineries during California Wine Month (September!), www.eastendwinerow.com

• Bargain Oktoberfest ($15 in advance) at Zeph’s (757-3947) pours out a dozen craft beers Thursday, Sept. 19.

• The local land’s liveliest chili cook-off ($30) comes Wednesday, Sept. 18, with Carmel Valley Chamber’s Great Bowls of Fire. Try the OMG Chili From God. (For more, jump to the Calendar, p. 27.)

• “Tip the world over on its side,” Frank Lloyd Wright said, “and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”

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Sep 11, 2013
Terri Judson

New Jersey Wines Have Come a Long Way… Well, at Least I Think So

BY ANDRES SIMONSON
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY

My wife and I share many interests, including a fondness for wine. We also appreciate locally sourced items. We like to camp. We both have some jazz on our iPods. In fact, some might say we’re pseudo-jazznik outdoorsy locavore oenophiles. But hey, who hasn’t heard that about themselves before?

So when we learned about the popularity of the Garden State Wine Growers Association’s Jazz It Up Wine Festival held in beautiful Allaire State Park on Labor Day weekend, we made camping reservations, hooked up the pop-up camper, and set out for a family weekend (we had done our research and knew that the festival included kids activities – craft stations for the kids, hooch tasting stations for the parents – win/win).

After walking from the campground to the park, at the festival registration tent, we were each handed an empty wine glass – pretty normal. Upon entering though, things turned a bit bizarre. Here, we were greeted with boldfaced signs alerting us of a zero tolerance policy regarding open wine bottles at the festival. Odd, I thought… well how the heck do you get the wine out of the bottle then? Vinosmosis? No, that can’t be it, glass isn’t a semi-permeable membrane.

Hmmm…

A bit confused but intrigued, we walked onward through an alley of vendors, lured by the sound of a raspy voice, brass horns, and a string bass in the distance. Onward, toward the prospect of locally fermented grape juice. Yet more of the ominous signs flanked the path… Welcome to the wine fest, but please don’t open any wine…

A short walk later, we arrived at fest-central. A sea of people, some on blankets, some sitting in chairs, a few standing in close knit circles, occupied the lawn in front of the stage. Many had glorious spreads of cheese, fresh baked bread, ripe summer fruit, and other appropriate wine-pairing noshes. But in another bizarre scene, everyone’s wine glasses were empty. Just streaks of red on the insides of the glasses, and fingerprint smudges on the outside. But no wine to sip with their bounties.

It didn’t take long to figure out why.

We hit the first tent, elbowed our way through the crowd, stuck out our wine-glass gripping arms toward the friendly yet-too-busy-to-chat winery representative, and asked for their driest white. In return, we received a “sample” poured through one of those self-measuring spouts. A split-second and a couple of drops later, we apparently had what we had come for. Barely a sip of locally produced vino. Concerned the sample would evaporate before I got it across my taste buds, I hurriedly sipped from the glass.

We continued in this fashion – a couple of drops here, a couple drops there – to a few more tents. I think some of the product was pretty good… but it was really hard to tell from the samples provided.

At the third stop, I found a dry riesling I wanted to sample further. But you couldn’t purchase a glass of a potential favorite, nor a bottle to share with friends. Sure, you could buy to-go bottles until your wallet was drier than an oak aged Pinot Noir. Just while inside, don’t expect anything beyond a thimble full at a time.

We travelled on through the fest.

In a scene that would have made Orwell cringe, two park rangers armed with 9mm handguns prominently displayed on their hips walked in a loop through the crowd spread out on the lawn. Their mission? To make sure people’s wine festival wine glasses were, well, empty. Considering their holstered peacemakers, I’m assuming they had orders to shoot a full glass on sight (tactical studies show tasers have little effect on stemmed glasses).

Or, maybe force was a last resort. Maybe the first thing a rookie learns at the Counter Win-o Swat Team academy is how to tackle and cuff a patron with the gumption to sip a sauvignon blanc. Then, the festival Miranda warning. “You have the right to remain really disappointed. Any wine you imbibe can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot possibly fathom why you would need an attorney for drinking wine at a wine festival, one will be provided for you…”

I’m not sure whether this policy was the handiwork of the Garden State Wine Growers Association or New Jersey government, my guess is the latter. But I couldn’t help but wonder what a French tourist would have thought if he had wandered upon the scene – a wine festival where you cannot drink wine. Heck, I think a visitor from North Korea would have been appalled at the state of individual freedoms in the United States of Dennis Rodman.

It seemed to me that New Jersey wines have come a long way. Yes, there was no shortage of sweet, fruity dessert wines that crowded my memories of New Jersey wines. But from the tiny sip I got, I’m pretty sure I had some nice dry white offerings and classic red varietals. Well, at least I think so. Still, I think I’ll skip the wine festivals until I’m in Napa Valley or the Finger Lakes.

*** *** ***

Andres Simonson is an environmental consultant by day. When not practicing his craft, Andres is a husband to his lovely wife, father to his three darling young children, and an experienced domestic trauma consultant specializing in toy sharing crises and the administration of timeouts. He enjoys writing as a creative outlet, but still feels awkward penning bios about himself in the third person.

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Sep 11, 2013
Terri Judson

Aided by Classic Party Rentals, McCall’s Motorworks Revival 2013 – Best One Yet

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Gordon McCall echoed Jacobs sentiments: We highly recommend Classic Party Rentals, and are eagerly looking forward to working together again.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) September 11, 2013

Classic Party Rentals, the nation’s leading full service event rental company, provided the tenting, carpeting, lounge furniture and various furnishings at the McCall’s Motorworks Revival in Monterey, California, which was held August 14, 2013.

Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center is one of the most exclusive lifestyle events of its kind in the country. The one night event privately kicks off the World-Class automobile week held each August on the Monterey Peninsula. With an “A-List” of VIP guests from Hollywood celebrities to Captains of Industry, this “Jet Set” crowd arrived in first-class style, to feast on the latest offerings from some of the world’s top luxury brands in a relaxed and elegant party setting.

“After many years with another rental company, we were feeling a level of complacency and decided to switch to Classic Party Rentals. Not only were they amazing to work with, but they exceeded our expectations in every way. Our annual event is complex and multi-layered, and CPR worked with us not just as a vendor, but as a partner. They listened to our needs, engaged in the process, and participated in the overall outcome of every element of the event whether they provided it or not. At every turn, they showed a consistent level of professionalism that made everything extremely smooth,” says Gordon McCall, CEO of McCall Events.

Classic Party Rentals – Modesto provided more than 6000 glasses, specialty draping all over the jet center, staging for the motorcycles, tables, chairs, linens, tents for registration, custom carpeting all over for the sponsors, lounge furniture for the sponsor suites and custom logos on the light up bars and cocktail tables…a full line up allowing guests to better enjoy more of everything — classic cars and motorcycles, private and military aircraft, food and wine.

“It was a pleasure to associate Classic to an event that brings together celebrities, food, wine, and vintage vehicles and aircraft,” says Malina Jacobs, sales manager for Classic Party Rentals Modesto. “We were very excited to work on such an amazing event and are looking forward to building a great partnership,” she added.

McCall echoed Jacobs sentiments, “We highly recommend Classic Party Rentals, and are eagerly looking forward to working together again.”

About Classic Party Rentals

Classic Party Rentals is the nation’s leading full service event rental company. Classic services most major markets including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, New York, and Modesto. Its high-profile event roster includes more than 180,000 major sporting events, brand promotion tours, Hollywood awards shows, movie premieres, celebrity weddings, charity events and private social events annually. Locally, each Classic Party Rentals location is recognized as an integral part of successful holiday celebrations at home and at work, backyard weddings and birthday parties, school and church functions, local food and wine festivals, and many community service benefits. Classic Party Rentals is also a leading nationwide provider of tents, clear span structures, power, heating, air conditioning and sub-flooring. Ultimately, there is no need to lose sleep over the details. If you can dream it, Classic Party Rentals can deliver it. We do business under a number of different names, and customers are never disappointed by our Blue Diamond service or the strength of our partners will bring to events. For more information, please visit ClassicPartyRentals.com. “Creating memorable life moments.”

McCall Events, Inc.

McCall Events, Inc. is a unique marketing and public relations company that produces exclusive VIP events creating an atmosphere of relaxed elegance and celebration. Founded in 1992 by well-known automotive aficionado Gordon McCall and his wife Molly, Gordon brings a unique qualification of combined skills to his marketing and PR Company.

McCall Events, Inc. continues its 22nd year of producing Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival Event at Monterey Jet Center-the “Kick-Off” party for the infamous August automotive week in Monterey, California. This exclusive event entertains more than 2500 guests amongst private jets, vintage cars and gourmet food. Charity is a major focus of the McCall Motorworks event, with the California Highway Patrol’s 11-99 Foundation as the beneficiary.

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Sep 9, 2013
Terri Judson

San Bernardino Voted Worst City For Food Lovers?

We’re at DJ’s Coffee Shop this morning cooking up some bacon and eggs for you. This restaurant was rated by Yelp as the Best Breakfast in San Bernardino.  That’s the good news. Here’s the bad.  The City of San Bernardino was just named the worst city in America for Food Lovers.

Say what?!!

The real estate website Movoto called it, “The Dead Zone of Cuisine.”  The writer came to that conclusion after looking at several subject areas like restaurants per capita, bakeries per capita and the number of food and wine festivals.

San Bernardino won the title with a score of 90.3.  Garland Texas came in second.  Some of the others on the list are North Las Vegas, El Paso Texas, Detroit Michigan and Forth Worth Texas.

Residents have mixed reactions. Some are offended saying, “I want to punch that writer.”  Others acknowledge there is truth to the report.

George Chaves said, “Ever since they shut down the military base, many restaurants went away.”  Another said, “We don’t have too many choices out here.”  The City of San Bernardino also filed for bankruptcy a year ago. Residents complain there are no jobs out here. So, lack of good restaurants is the least of their worries.

Nonetheless, the report is harsh to say the least. One customer at DJ’s Coffee Shop said, “I wanna find that writer and give me a piece of my mind!” 

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Sep 9, 2013
Terri Judson

Raising a glass to New Jersey wines

SPRINGFIELD Under a glorious blue sky, grape lovers tipped their glasses and sampled the offerings – red, white, dry, fruity – of 18 wineries that had come to this summer field.

But the scene of this vine-inspired bliss was not France or California. Not even Upstate New York.

Try Burlington County. New Jersey’s got wine, and a lot of it is very good.

That was the message behind the weekend’s second annual Jersey Fresh Wine Festival, held at the Burlington County Fairgrounds in Springfield Township. It is one of seven wine festivals sponsored by the Garden State Wine Growers Association, accommodating a growing number of wineries.

“Now there are more than 40 licensed wineries, and there are more that are planning to open,” said Tom Cosentino, spokesman for the growers association.

That number often surprises people, but it shouldn’t, Cosentino said.

“You like Jersey tomatoes? You like Jersey corn? If we have the great soil to make other great agricultural products,” he said, “why shouldn’t we have great grapes?”

South Jersey’s Outer Coastal Plain, one of three main wine-producing regions of the state, has soil and climate conditions comparable to the Bordeaux region of France, Cosentino said.

In addition, changes in law have made it easier for wineries to open and for vintners to send their goods elsewhere.

The Renault Winery in Egg Harbor, the oldest in the state – it turns 150 next year – exports to China.

“China loves dry red wine,” said vintner David DeMarsico, who was serving his family’s Renault wine to eager connoisseurs Sunday.

Closer to home, however, some New Jersey winemakers have at times been less than wowed by their products’ placement in liquor stores and their lack of presence on restaurant menus.

“It is a little frustrating, but in the last five to 10 years, we’ve made some really nice strides,” DeMarsico said. “I think it’s just a matter of time.”

New Jersey wines have taken honors in wine competitions.

Bob and Lise Clark of Chestnut Run Farm in Pilesgrove, both science professionals, started their gourmet produce business 29 years ago and found they could make good wine from their apples and Asian pears. Last year, they won a double medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.

“If it sounds like I’m bragging, you bet I’m bragging,” Bob Clark said while his wines were flowing at the festival. “This is a two-person operation.”

At 2012′s Judgment of Princeton international competition, New Jersey wines did well. That included Mullica Hill’s Heritage Vineyards Winery. Co-owner Bill Heritage, a fifth-generation fruit farmer, said one of their red wines and a white each placed third.

Heritage and his wife, Penni, didn’t set out to be winemakers. Penni Heritage was a mail carrier and her husband was a warehouse manager in 2000 when his father decided it was time to retire from farming. The couple, who had three young sons, decided to take over.

“We were trying to save the farm,” Bill Heritage said.

Now their 100-plus acres are home to a winery, petting zoo, hay rides, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, and farm store. Their eldest son does their marketing and their youngest, a business major in college, may lend his expertise after graduation.

“It’s been a heck of a ride,” Bill Heritage said.

Dan and Heather Brown’s three boys like to help out at their parent’s Wagonhouse Winery in South Harrison Township, but at ages 8, 6, and 5, their skills are limited. They, however, are the inspiration for their parents’ Three Boys brand of sweet blends.

Dan Brown, an employee of the state Agriculture Department, said the couple planted their first vines in 2004 on farmland in his family, and bought their own farm in 2010. They hope to pass it on to their sons.

For now, Dan Brown is keeping his state job while tending the vineyard. Heather runs the tasting room and handles marketing.

“You work hard, but it’s a good life,” he said.

And for many of the more than 4,000 people who went to the festival, it was a tasty discovery.

Said Grant Ingalls, a mailman from Cream Ridge: “It’s more than I expected. Delicious.”

 


Contact Rita Giordano at 856-779-3893, rgiordano@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @ritagiordano.


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Sep 8, 2013
Terri Judson

St. Petersburg not defined by negative lists

The Sunshine City always seems to land on a list of some sort.

This week, there are two mentions: one praising the beautiful area beaches, the other claiming the city is a “dead zone for cuisine.”

Let’s get the slightly unappetizing critique out the way.

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A real estate blog claimed that St. Petersburg sat near the top of the list of “Worst Cities in America for Food Lovers.”

It’s too bad art doesn’t count as food for thought.

Movoto Real Estate, which has offices in 35 states, compiled the statistics by looking at the most populous cities in the U.S. and crunching per capita numbers based on restaurants, bakeries, food trucks, ice cream shops, candy shops, food and wine festivals, caterers and gourmet groceries stores.

St. Petersburg came in seventh.

Truth is, the dining options in the Sunshine City have been a decades-long work in progress. Lately, it’s one of the best places for gourmet burgers and local craft breweries.

The recent Battle of the Burg(er) competition among restaurants in the Grand Central Business District should count for something. As far as gourmet groceries, there have been swirling rumors of at least two chains looking to move here.

Enjoy Arts Tastes St. Petersburg, a three-day food and wine festival, is Nov. 15-17 and will feature big names in the culinary world.

To be fair, the blogger is correct on a couple of items, especially the lack of bakeries and food trucks. The Taco Bus doesn’t count — it doesn’t move.

Tampa, across the bay, wasn’t among the worst 50, which included such places as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Memphis.

This isn’t the first time the city has garnered attention the chamber of commerce would prefer to sweep under a rug.

Almost two years ago Men’s Health dubbed this city the saddest by calculating unemployment and suicide (the city’s proximity to the Sunshine Skyway is a factor).

And let’s not forget that in 2011 Princeton Review also declared that Eckerd College was full of beer-guzzling potheads.

But all is not doom and gloom here.

Last week a travel website named the Top 25 beaches in the country — and, no surprise here — a host of Pinellas beaches made the list.

Among them: Fort De Soto Park (4), Caladesi Island State Park (12), Pass-a-Grille (15) and Clearwater Beach (18).

If the beautiful open vistas and slower pace of living in these parts don’t meet the higher standards for the list-making critics of the world, too bad.

In the meantime, continue adding this fair city among the “worst” in America lists.

The locals will just snicker as they hoist a brew to the latest dubious distinction while watching the sun set in this slice of paradise.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at sgadsden@tampabay.com or at (727) 893-8874 and on Twitter at @StPeteSandi.

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Sep 6, 2013
Terri Judson

NLA to host first event since reopening

ALPENA – Action is about to pick up at Northern Lights Arena. After several months of inactivity due to energy upgrades made by Alpena County, NLA has ice in place and will host its first event this weekend.

Beginning Friday the arena will host the Strother Archery Extravaganza. The event will run through the weekend and conclude on Sunday. It will feature events that range from open shooting, shooting competition, as well as educational programs. There also will be an event called archery tag, which according to NLA Manager Meg Richey, is a lot like paintball, without the welts. Richey said arena staff and Northern Lights Arena-Community, the new arena management group, are excited about the arena being open again and for the weekend event.

“I don’t think there has really been anything like this in Alpena before so there is some buzz being generated from it,” Richey said. “We have been busy getting organized and prepared. We are also very appreciative of the volunteers and the board for helping the staff bring this all together.”

Article Photos

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Northern Lights Arena Manger Meg Richey organizes rental skates at the rink on Thursday. Richey said there are many events scheduled at the arena, including open skating.

The archery event will be held outside, weather permitting, but inside the arena Richey and her team have been busy getting the arena ready for the skating season. She said rink one has ice on it and there has been some skating activity on it, but it is going to be a while before the second sheet is put in place. She said there are several other events scheduled that will take place on rink two.

“This has to be an all-purpose facility and we want to attract people from out of the area, as well as from Alpena,” Richey said. “We have AWWL wrestling coming on Sept. 21 and the Traverse City Toxic Cherries will be competing in a roller derby event on Sept. 29. We have really hit the ground running and we are excited about these events. It is definitely aggressive to have all of these events in September, but we’re going to be prepared and organized and this is going to excite the community.”

Some of the ice events on the schedule includes scrimmage involving the Lake Superior State hockey team, games from the new junior hockey team the Street Cats and open skating. She said one of the goals NLA-C has is to keep the ice and non-ice schedule as full as possible. Richey said there are a lot of ideas being tossed around now, she hopes become a reality in the near future.

“We are trying to maximize the traffic into this place, so we might do things like bring back the rodeo, host concerts and there has been talk about the circus, as well as a beer and wine festival,” Richey said. “Beer and wine festivals are very popular on the other side of the state and I think something like that will go over well in Alpena.”

This weekend’s event is free and food and drinks will be available at the concession stand. She said a complete schedule and tickets for upcoming events can be received at northernlightsarena.com.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689.

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Sep 6, 2013
Terri Judson

Santa Barbara Was My Paris

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Fifty years ago, when I first came to Santa Barbara, there was a popular folk tune, “Raspberries, Strawberries,” that proclaimed “A young man goes to Paris, as every young man should.” Santa Barbara was, a half-century ago, my Paris. I came back to town recently to remember it, and was rewarded with what feels like almost total recall of those sweet old days.

I first arrived in Santa Barbara scared, cold, tired, broke, and hungry, after driving down the Pacific Coast Highway as fast my Vespa would carry me from an Oakland home where I no longer felt safe. It was fall, it was cold along the coast, and I had no idea where I was heading. Signs for the Natural History Museum drew me in off the highway and as I wound through the streets and began to experience the sun’s warmth, I found myself ready to stop and dismount for a while. I pounded the streets by day, looking for work, and spent the nights on Chapala Street, first at the Salvation Army and then sleeping in the backs of station wagons in the adjacent used car lots.

Jobs for a 16-year-old high school dropout were in short supply even then, and having no money, I was growing desperate. But the town’s ambience, its warmth, and the openness of the people I was meeting kept me hopeful. Finally, I walked into the old Copper Coffee Pot, on State Street near Figueroa, just as young Andy Birk, the owner’s son, was firing a busboy. He handed me an apron and I went to work.

An advance on my pay and a dollar a night room in the Virginia Hotel got me stabilized till I found a spot in a scruffy old rooming house that could have served as a movie set, the whimsically-named Hotel de France on the corner of Anapamu and Chapala streets. On the night of John Kennedy’s assassination I wandered across the street to watch the news on the television in Alex Heiland’s workingman’s tavern, the Canteen. I behaved maturely enough to convince folks there I was a whole lot older than I was, and the Canteen soon became my hangout. I felt at home there, and between the Copper Coffee Pot, Hotel de France, and that marginally seedy bar, I sunk roots into Santa Barbara.

But my bigger, more enveloping memories, and the reason I’m writing this, have much more to do with the small-scale, and probably over-looked and underappreciated, cultural center Santa Barbara was in those days. Or so it was for me. The town has long been a tourist destination, of course, but the quarter I haunted there was largely bounded by Micheltorena and De la Guerra streets, Santa Barbara and Chapala streets. In those days this was largely a business and residential area, full of working people, and not so many of the visitors and brokers who fill the streets today. I spent time up on the hills and on the beach, at impromptu wine festivals in the canyons and on raucous rowboat rides along the shore, but the cradle of my life there was in that stretch of Anapamu that is still adorned by the courthouse, the library, and the art museum.

The courthouse grounds served as my yard, especially when I moved a few blocks down Anapamu and lived right across the street. Who could have asked for a lovelier garden? The Arlington Theater worked magic in the evenings; I still recall my bafflement the first time I sat down in there. I’d entered after the lights had already dimmed and I spent much of the movie trying to figure out whether I was indoors or outside. I always did feel like I was sitting beneath the stars in a village plaza, almost like the wanderings of time and space in a Woody Allen movie.

But it was in the library that my cultural education took off. I like to think the Don Quixote murals are the source of the life-long joy I’ve found in tilting at windmills. My roommate Don McPherson and I borrowed an endless flow of art books and records. My earliest exposure to schools of art, classical music, and the theater of the absurd, especially a recording of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, came through the public library and I trace my love of culture back to it.

Obviously, my mind and soul provided fertile soil, and I would have eventually found my way to at least some of these anyway, I’m sure. But in that charmed time and place they fashioned a deeply rooted garden that has never gone out of bloom, never ceased to feed and nurture me. Santa Barbara was the gardener of my spirit.

Ernest Hemingway said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” That is precisely how I feel about my time in Santa Barbara. I lived in a wonderful mix of a working community and vibrant culture. I found freedom and knowledge and learned to chart a course in life. I gained strength and competence there, and learned to see world through discerning eyes. It was a feast and it has stayed with me for the rest of my life.

The final verse of “Raspberries, Strawberries” concludes, “An old man returns to Paris, as every old man must. He finds the winter winds blow cold. His dreams have turned to dust.” But the dreams that grew 50 years ago in Santa Barbara never failed me, and it pleased me endlessly to return and find that my Paris remains there by the sea, still thriving, still shining in the sun.

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Sep 6, 2013
Terri Judson

Bacchus celebrates fresh start


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  • JOINING FORCES: Will Creedon, left, and Peter Bryant taste Mark Hosie’s paella at Newcastle Beach. Picture: Ryan Osland

BACCHUS will reopen its doors to host special events, after signing an exclusive deal with a new catering business operated by beachside restaurant Rustica.

Inferno Catering, a collaboration between Rustica co-owners Mark Hosie and Will Creedon and the restaurant’s head chef Peter Bryant, will provide chefs, waiters and a diverse range of cuisine at venues across the region, including some by exclusive arrangement.

“We’re trying to get venues that are a little bit different and introduce a bit more theatre to catering, with our big paella pans and our Argentinian-style barbecue, which we use to cook slow roasts and smoked meats,” Mr Hosie said.

He said Inferno Catering would liaise with its partner venues – including the recently closed inner-city restaurant Bacchus – on behalf of customers planning events including wedding receptions and birthdays.

“I got contacted by two brides who had booked there [at Bacchus] and were looking for another venue,” Mr Hosie said. “I knew [former Bacchus head chef] Tim Montgomery and he suggested I give [former Bacchus owner] Matthew Higgins a call.

“He said, ‘If you boys want to use it, fine’.

“He was happy to lock the doors and leave it empty until the lease ran out next year, but we now have an arrangement to keep the iconic venue running.”

Mr Montgomery said he wished Mr Hosie well in the venture.

“I was relieved when Mark was interested, I have a lot of respect for him and what he does,” he said.

Inferno Catering will also serve at private events at Rustica, Newcastle Surf Club, Nobby’s Lighthouse and on car park rooftops.

It can even provide infrastructure, including toilets, if required by clients.

Mr Hosie said the team may also establish pop up restaurants in other locations, including at food and wine festivals.

Food and beverage packages range from $45 per head for paella to $140 per head at Bacchus.

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Sep 6, 2013
Terri Judson

Wine, women and song

budaborB

The 22nd edition of the Buda Castle Wine Festival opens on Wednesday

September – bye bye beach, sunshine and idleness, hello desks, early mornings… and wine festivals. While round the country the grape-picking season gets under way, the capital city celebrates champagne and wine with two festivals this weekend and next.
First off is the Budafoki Champagne and Wine Festival, a veteran now in its 24th edition with a drinks list including not just these two beverages but also fröccs, that mix of wine and soda water which is as much a Hungarian summer tradition as it can be anathema for those who like their wine undiluted.
Budafok (District XXII) is also known as “cellar town” for its earlier status as a wine-producing area and its still extant and extensive network of cellars, home to representatives mostly of wine-makers from the Budapest region. It is these same cellars, scattered across the district, that host the wine- and champagne-tasting part of the festival, along with grape-treading, music, cellar guided tours and exhibitions depending on the cellar.
Out of the cellars and onto the streets and squares, stages on and around Savoyai tér (square) provide alternative entertainment for both children and adults. Concerts by Hungarian bands including the eclectic Ocho Macho, pop singer Tibor Kocsis, Király Martina Jazz Duo, Pannonia Allstars Ska Orchestra and Both Miklós Folkside alternate with performances by puppet theatres and Bulgarian and Greek folk groups.
Tents from nearby interactive science museum Csodák Palotája (Palace of Miracles) and children’s corners with face painting, clowns and crafts will also help to keep the young ones occupied.
For those unlucky enough not to be able to attend this one, it’s just a week’s wait before Budapest’s bigger and busier wine festival opens atop Buda Castle for its 22nd edition.
Tickets cost a hefty HUF 2,800 per day but this, organisers say, includes “one crystal tasting glass”, “one comfortable, easy-to-use textile carrier for the tasting glass”, “finest food and finest wines”, “a mesmerizing panorama”, musical entertainment and “a special gift” for the first 2,000 female guests every day.
“Wine and women… beauties in their own right” is the slogan for this year’s festival, with the focus being on women winemakers, owners, managing directors and heads of marketing of wineries, and on the wine they produce. Special stands, interviews and itineraries are planned to make these easier to locate.
Alongside women, the festival puts Portugal in the limelight as guest of honour: wine but also music (Portuguese fado singer Joana Amendoeira performs on the Saturday at 10pm) and food (though prepared by Hungarian chefs) will bring out the flavours of this historic country.
Back to Hungary, local wine production will be well represented with almost 200 stands showing what natives can do. Because wine is often best tempered with something to eat, the stands will include opportunities to nibble on cheese, kürtőskalács (chimney cake), cured meats, rétes (strudel) and other sweets.

Buda Castle Wine Festival
11-15 September: Wed. and Thur. 2pm-11pm, Fri. 12noon-11pm, Sat. and Sun. 10am-11pm (cash desks close at 10pm)
Day tickets HUF 2,800, five-day tickets HUF 7,500, under-12s go free.
aborfesztival.hu

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