Carmel, CA -- A haunting musical sound drifted on the wind from the luxurious Spanish Bay Golf Links at Pebble Beach. A Scottish bagpipe player emerged, playing a soulful rendition of Amazing Grace in full regalia—a kilt, knee-high stockings and a wedge-shaped cap with a trailing ribbon. The last time I heard that song was at my father’s grave site. He was a simple, old-world man who insisted our family emigrate from Brazil to the land of opportunity—California. The memory of my beloved father, his simple life, and love of the bagpipe made me smile, and then I wept.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Our order of Bangers and Mash was clearly the comfort food we were seeking, wanting to sink deeper into Irish culture within this jewelry box of a restaurant. The creamy mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy were worth the price of admission alone. I asked our waiter Josh to bring us some gnarly mustard and he laughed. A few moments later with the gnarly addition, the meal took on new heights as I dipped the housemade sausage into a zesty brew of brown seed mustard with a horseradish kick—my whole mouth zigging and zagging resounding with Zing! My only regret was not ordering a pint of Guinness to balance the zig and zag.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Eric Asimov, author of How To Love
Wine talks with Virginia Miller of the
San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Derek Rohlffs, winemaker at
Bravium with a bottle of Pinot
Noir "Jackpot Black 2011."
Thursday, October 18, 2012
San Francisco, CA – Noe Valley’s 24th Street is a sweet spot in the city with charm to spare—Victorian row houses, flower shops, antique stores and an overlooked Thai restaurant: Rin’s. This Zen themed eatery is a sanctuary of grace and relaxation tucked away at the corner of 24th and Douglass. Low-lighting, soft terra cotta-colored walls, and photographs of Buddhist monks add to the serenity of this fairly priced restaurant.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Saturday, August 18, 2012
|The things I carried with me on a|
one-year journey of California.
Tahoe City: the first place I lived on
the journey. Everything was bright, shiny
and new...so grateful.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
|Pinot Days in San Francisco|
Next, we conjured a strategy. One of us would sit at a table and take notes, while the other would go to a booth and ask the winemaker to “pour me the best stuff you have—you’re in a contest to win winemaker of Pinot Days.” We’d taste the wine at the table and use the Robert Parker 100 point rating system.
|Bob Wait, Grand Prize Winner|
|Kevin Deschamp (l) and winemaker |
Gary Brookman (r) First Place Winner
Honorable mention goes to Manzoni EstateVineyard, mostly because my roommate is good friends with the owner, Mark Manzoni. But we do recommend their 2010 Manzoni Home Vineyard Pinot Noir.
At the conclusion of the event, both of us had a good buzz going, but we were ready to pay the piper. We went to the volunteer booth, put on our day-glo orange vests, and began our jobs as closing logistic technicians. This was the price to pay for a free entrance to the event—picking up used wine glasses, breaking down tables and collecting garbage. Still, we had a blast and look forward to doing it again next year. Cheers.
Friday, June 15, 2012
On the cusp of Father's Day, I honor the late, great David Brower and the loving tribute of his son Ken. Thanks to you both for making the world a better place.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Mill Valley, CA -- What if the Buddha were a woman and she was alive today? How would the world view her life and teachings differently? The Fourth Messenger is a new musical that asks these questions. Playwright Tanya Shaffer held a fundraiser to promote her upcoming production on a spring afternoon at Hillside Gardens, a sweet spot in über-hip Mill Valley. I joined about 80 people, most of whom were wearing wide-brim hats for this joyful outdoor event celebrating music, great food catered by Savory Thymes and the life of Buddha—who was both enlightened and flawed. Tanya’s a pillar of dedication—she’s been working on this production for almost 13 years. When I asked what kept her inspired she said, “It’s like raising your children, you don’t have a choice.” Awe shucks Tanya, we all have a choice...right? Still, I salute your unwavering dedication to following your dream. We are the lucky ones. Namaste.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Thank you dear Yogananda for sharing your divine wisdom with this spiritual seeker. Namaste.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
Back then, the ecological diversity of the Bay Area was enormous. Over many centuries totaling four or five thousand years, the Ohlone Indians around the estuary lived meaningful, complex lives that were self-sustaining. They were not apart from the natural world, and never considered themselves to be the top of the food chain, simply a part of it.
The Ohlones were hunters and gatherers—they fished, painted their bodies and danced. They married, raised children, buried their dead and prayed to their gods—in short not so different from you and me. They shared joy, laughter, suffering and sorrow.
They did not value freedom or individualism. This is so vastly different from the pioneer spirit and the California way that exists today. Every Ohlone from birth to death, was bound to family and clan. To break these bonds and achieve freedom was to be weakened, damaged, and dangerously vulnerable. Strength, joy, fulfillment, a person’s very identity were to be found in belonging.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
“From the summit of this range we saw the magnificent estuary, which stretched toward the southeast. The country was pleasant. The hills west of the canyon were crowned with low live oaks, smaller trees. There was sufficient pasture. We halted on the bank of a stream of good water. Some…natives…invite us to go to their villages, and offered us present of seeds and fruits.”
Saturday, February 4, 2012
San Francisco, CA -- The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition or what’s known as the World’s Fair. It was part of a massive undertaking to show the world that after the 1906 earthquake and resulting fire, San Francisco was back in business.
Architect Bernard Maybeck designed the Palace of Fine Arts to evoke the same emotional response of sadness and beauty one might feel while looking at a Roman ruin, yet still in California. The circular paved walkway offers views of a pond filled with ducks and geese, surrounded by camellia and rhododendron trees creating an ethereal landscape. The fact that this haunting structure of immense proportion remains standing is a testament to the esteem San Franciscans hold for their beloved landmark. Gavin Newsom, the city's former mayor is quoted as saying “The Palace is part of San Francisco's soul, a beautiful link to our past and a gateway to the future.”
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
At the visitor’s center I was captured by an ethereal nighttime photograph taken of a weathered ancient bristlecone pine tree in the foreground and in the background was the Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way. This stunning image was taken with a Nikon D700 camera with a 300mm f/2.8 lens, set at f/4, ISO 5000, for a three-minute exposure. It went on to win photograph of the day at the website astronomy.com. The photographer’s name: Tony Rowell.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I was introduced to Dario who at six foot four is a commanding presence. He is in his 70s—tall, rugged, handsome and still virile. We were at V. Sattui’s annual Crush Party, an event that allowed the public to step behind the scenes of a working winery to watch grapes being crushed; meet the winemakers; measure acid, sugar, pH and sulfurs; see the bottle line in operation; dip Madeira bottles in hot sealing wax; and of course eat and drink to our heart’s delight.
“This is Ingrid, she’s writing a book on California,” said Claudette Shatto, the public relations woman for the winery. I brought along my 19-year-old son Jordan, who attends nearby U.C. Davis, world-renown for its viticulture school that has produced some of the best vintners in the Napa Valley.
“You don’t look old enough to have a son this age,” he said with a twinkle in his eye—a charmer. “I have a little place up the road called Castilo di Amaraso, if you want to tour it, let me know.” He reached into his wallet and pulled out an odd-sized business card and handed it to me. “Have a great time at the Crush party.”
Later I would learn that Dario’s “little place up the road” was a recreation of a medieval castle with 200 acres of prime real estate in St. Helena that Dario completed in 2007 after fourteen years of laborious construction.