WHAT THE TRUCK?

“Do you have a job yet?” The voice on the other end of the line asked.

The year was 1991, I had recently graduated from the California Culinary Academy and had just, two days prior, returned from a month long driving tour of Europe with my buddy Dale.

“No.” I said, with no apparent alacrity, anticipating the crush of credit card debt that was headed my way.

And so it all began, the call that changed the direction of my life. Within a week’s time I was cooking for none other than Continue reading “WHAT THE TRUCK?”

POSITIVELY VALLEJO

 

Now I like Fridays as much as the next person. First, and because it was pay day, my father used to say, “The eagle flies today.”  Second, being the end of the work week, many of us go out to blow off some steam. Now we have some great steam blowing venues here in Vallejo: Mare Island Brewery, where I was found last night for a pint. Napa Smith Brewery, where I was found earlier in the week . . . for a pint. The Townhouse, downtown, where I was found . . . okay, you got the picture.

 

Last Friday night was different. Last Friday night was not just about blowing off steam. It was about something much deeper and closer to the heart. Continue reading “POSITIVELY VALLEJO”

OUR TOWN

 

I had a lovely visit, not so long ago, with a new friend here in Vallejo. I found her conversation to be both cogent and delightful. The gin and tonics she prepared, not your garden variety. No, it seems that I fell in to the hands of a self-taught expert of sorts, and her cocktails helped sort out a few things for me.  Our conversation naturally fell upon those things we have in common, none more than this lovely town we live in. I use the word town specifically because we both agreed that living here feels more and more like a town and less like a formal city. Not to say that our City is not being professionally run, since I have no details to suggest otherwise. No, it is just that . . .  Continue reading “OUR TOWN”

Black Gold

What the heck was I thinking?

breathe breathe

 

It was a morning, not unlike every other morning. My alarm went off; the dog crashed up onto the bed licked my face; and everything started off as usual.  You see, my morning routine is simple: Wake, wash my face, then boil water for coffee. Next step, obviously, is to grind the coffee. I have one of those burr grinders that gives me the perfect grind every time. One of my favorite little kitchen gadgets it is. So bleary eyed, I wash my face and put the water on the boil but when I turned the grinder on the most excruciating sound erupted from it . . . Continue reading “Black Gold”

Saturday and Back Again

My family has kept a home in Vallejo since the early 1940’s. I have been to bowling tournaments, spaghetti feeds and 4th of July parades. I remember when the military was here and then again when they were not. I even remember shopping with my Grandmother in a lovely shop located on a bustling Georgia street when I was a boy. I have seen Vallejo up, down and even sideways. Through all of that I still get a warm feeling when I pull off the freeway, after a long day at work, knowing that I am finally home. V-Town, for all of her reputed back and forth, is such a great place to live. I am proud to say that I am personally responsible for convincing two of my friends to look for and purchase homes here. They in turn have brought their friends who are happy, as well, with their decision to move. As you know, Vallejo has a lot going for it.

 

Saturday’s are no exception. Being the ever constant advocate for our fair city, I invited a friend whom I met at Burning Man a few years back. I wanted to give her the whirlwind tour of Saturday’s best in V-Town. Time was limited so we Continue reading “Saturday and Back Again”

League of Chefs or Who likes Sunday More Than Me?

My mother says that I was born on a glorious sunny Sunday. I can only imagine that after 9 months of my punching and kicking even a stormy Saturday would have been a relief. So whether I was conditioned as a child to believe that sunny Sundays were my special day  or that they are just generally special makes-me-no-never-mind. I like sunny Sundays. Today was no exception. While the tailcoat of winter is still dragging its way through our little burg this sunny day heralded a less body numbing future to be sure.

 

Breakfast today was going to be a bit more formal and reservations were required. Having slept in until 6, I found that I still had plenty of time to read the news, contribute significantly to the perishment of today’s press pot coffee,  Continue reading “League of Chefs or Who likes Sunday More Than Me?”

At Maggie’s – T is for Technique

It was an odd morning to be sure. It had rained heavily the night before and the power on my block went out sometime mid-morning. Not strange occurrence for Vallejo as sometimes the odd, old bits of our fair city, well, just break. Turns out the power wires had touched a tree top, just up the street from me. Odd, I thought, heavy rain and a tree fire. All was well in an hour’s time but in the meantime, still without my morning meal and the coffee pot not working, I decided to troddle off to someplace new as is my latest want.

 

It turns out I wanted to go to Maggie’s on Benicia Road. Now here was a corner of Vallejo that I had rarely visited. Actually I have one story to tell about this Continue reading “At Maggie’s – T is for Technique”

DON’T SKIP SCOTTY’S

 

I live in Central Vallejo, I guess. West of the freeway and quite near Tuolumne. The neighborhoods here are quiet and tree lined with an almost systematic rollup of the sidewalks every evening around 7. As far as I can tell, Vallejo is still home to the working family. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers tend to close our drapes and turn out the lights closer to dinnertime than midnight. The sound of a car traveling down the street at 9 p.m. gets me up to poke my nose at the window wondering what shenanigans may be happening. A backfire on the freeway Continue reading “DON’T SKIP SCOTTY’S”

Way Down Yonder

It was cold, and foggy with a bit of a drizzle, and even though my hens had taken to Daylight Savings Time better than I have, they are laying fresh eggs again and homemade omelets are the best, I opted instead to go out for breakfast. Now I must confess to being S.A.D. during the winter months. (Seasonal Affect Disorder.) During the winter I am less-than-happy, listless and sometimes even down right grumpy.  But once that button called Spring has been punched my mood pegs the opposite side of the meter and I am ready to get out of the house.

That’s how it was this morning. I was hungry and wanted both to get out of the house and have a good breakfast. Continue reading “Way Down Yonder”

The Beginning of the V-Town Social Club

I moved to Vallejo in the summer of 2002. This is not to say that this is my first time here. My father, just a teenager in the early 40’s, moved here with his mother, my grandmother, and his brother during the early part of the war. Her sister, my father’s aunt, who had moved here the year before, convinced her sister to close up shop, pack up the boys and ‘Go West.’ “There are jobs to be had on Mare Island,” she said, “good jobs.” My father’s father, my grandfather, was a late draftee in the war and came to Vallejo later, sometime in 1946.

 

The house where I now live, and happily call home, is where my father’s aunt resided since 1946. The house built in 1942, Continue reading “The Beginning of the V-Town Social Club”