Something happens when the sun goes down. As December closes in, doors begin to open here in Vallejo. Open houses and dinner parties. Cocktails and desserts. Laughter, conviviality, and a smack of drama just for fun. This week alone I have had conversations about tattoos, eccentric neighbors, sailing, Spruce our little pop-up shop, Callaghan Construction, the mispronunciation of sandwiches as sang-wiches. Stories of grandfathers topped the bill as did Iberian singers, concrete beaches, clowning for a children’s dance troupe in Russia and riding brooms to Las Vegas. I was even gifted a scarecrow for my winter garden. I have eaten shrimp and cheese, Continue reading “RESOLUTION”
I like Vallejo . . . a lot. One of the things about Vallejo that has inspired me to engage more locally, including the writing of this blog and running for Planning Commission, is the current debate over the fate of the old Sperry Mill site. I believe more than any one topic, The Sperry Mill debate, even with its divisiveness, Continue reading “FRIENDS OF VALLEJO”
There are two best days in any restaurant owner’s life. The day they open and the day they close. I have experienced both. It had always been a dream of mine, since I was a very young man, to own a restaurant. Even my mother and father supported the idea and offered to work for me. Either, or the both, of them would have made excellent hosts. My restaurant was in Emeryville, in the shopping center where Trader Joe’s is located. I took over an old Hobbee’s and made it into a sweet little place. Actually Continue reading “THE BIG NIGHT”
My first barbecue was So I Married An Axe Murderer. I was hired to be the personal chef for the movie’s star, Mike Myers. (Rob Fried and/or Cary Woods: Guys, if you are considering a remake of Rudy, I am still game to travel with you. I’ve got this great idea for a trailer setup and can even prepare Keto! Just saying.) Back to it. Not being a fanatic of pop culture, the first thing that came to mind was Michael Myers the goalie mask wearing slasher from the John Carpenter film: Halloween. My first day on set a crew member looked at me and said, “Not Michael Myers, Mike Myers from Wayne’s World”
“OH.” I said, still not convinced.
That was my first barbecue. In the movie industry we Continue reading “SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER”
Life is about experiences. Ones we enjoy in the present, then again in the remembering, and yet again in the sharing and the retelling. Years ago I volunteered for an organization called Rebuilding Together (RT), formerly known as Christmas in April. Every now and then we called it Christmas in June, or July or sometimes August. You see RT is an organization that, once a year, helps the elderly and those in need repair their homes so that they are safe and clean. Many times I have gone in to replace entire kitchens and bathrooms. Other times we would just Continue reading “FRIEND AND PHO”
When I think of my sister I remember two distinctive things. One, she taught me how to spell Wednesday. “Wed-nes-day” she said. The reason I remember this so well and so clearly is that the brief interchange shocked me. Why? Good question. You see I grew up in a family with five children and my sister is five years older than me. At dinner we sat on opposite sides of the table and we rarely spent any time together, not even fighting. I guess it shocked me because it is most likely the first memory of anyone helping me with a challenge. The second distinct memory I have is when I was 17 or 18 years old. She had moved out, gone to college and gotten a job. She asked me out to dinner. This is unique because, like I said, we rarely spent any time together. I was flattered because of the attention but also because I was doing this adult thing: Continue reading “WITH PRIDE”
In 1951 my father shipped out from Mare Island. In Korea, at the age of 23, Second Lieutenant Vernon Judt was assigned to a Battalion Aid station. My father only ever told me two stories about the war. One, “When I first went over, when it was quiet, the doc and I would put an inch of whiskey in our canteen cups then fill it with water. By the end we would fill them with whiskey, no water.” The other was darker and more suggestive than inclusive with detail. “Some nights there would be so many wounded that the Doc could not handle them all. On those nights I would have to triage. Some, the ones you knew would not make it, I would give extra morphine to them and tell them that everything would be okay.” Continue reading “A MEMORABLE WEEKEND”
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”
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?”