Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Schussing And Sipping In Snazzy Spaces~

Jordane, the French owner of 
 Héritage Fine Wines in Beverly Hills. Yes, he is ;) 
Héritage Fine Wines, Beverly Hills sponsors popular 
in-store events and wine tastings...
They fly in the world's best bread from Paris, fresh each AM~

Audrey Hepburn in the opening scenes in "Charade" shot
in Megè hour through The Alps from her home in Switzerland...
Tidbits from très belle San Francisco, Beverly Hills, and Megève in the French Alps…

Others may be interesting in the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) course. I'm taking this starting in May, via my former home town of San Francisco and sister city of Paris, from the San Francisco Wine School prepare for the Society of Wine Educators’ rigorous Certified Specialist of Wine exam. 

The course covers: Tasting, Chemistry and Flaws. Viticulture and Viniculture. Northern France. Southern France. Italy. Spain, Portugal and Eastern Mediterranean. Germany and the Rest of Europe. North America. Plus the Southern Hemisphere. 

Until May, I’ll be posting more on wines from the above regions. The San Francisco Wine School is associated with The Wine Institute, The Society of Wine Educators, Napa Valley Vintners, Italian Wine Center, and The French Wine Society. 

In wine news from Beverly Hills...a lovely old stomping ground from my UCLA days where friends and I loved The Ivy for lunch. Other local French eateries include: Bouchon Bistro, Le Mervetty, La Provence, L’Amande French Bakery, Tartine O Chocolat, and the Champs Elysees... 

And now the fabulously elegant Héritage Fine Wines has come to town, drawing high praise, raised stem glasses, and applause. 

French owners, Jordane and Simon, also carry top quality chocolates and truffles for pairings. Héritage reflects that passion, romance, elegance and outstanding craftsmanship typical of France. The tastings are very popular, their carefully chosen French wines at terrific prices...

My first peek at the uber-chic ski resort Megève in the Haute-Savoie was undoubtedly like that of many the opening of “Charade” with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant on the deck of the 5-Star Hotel Chalet du Mont d’ArboisNow more stylish than ever, and with the added Michelin star restaurant Le 1920; the property owned by the Rothschilds features wine from their vineyards in the Bordelais. 

In Megève take a horse-drawn carriage ride to explore the cobbled streets and truffle shops, a Savoie speciality. A charming tour of the resort known Internationally for competitive snow polo: (HERE). And Charade, free, in it's entirety: (HERE). Thank you so much for stopping by...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hollywood And Vine~

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur~ 
JFK, Jr. stayed here with Carolyn Bessette, prior to their marriage....
The 24-year+ doorman at the Huntington Hotel in San Francisco
told me: "He's the kindest, most polite person I've ever met."

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton making 'The Sandpiper" in
Big Sur after they wed.. Friends and I saw them in the Noel Coward play
"Private Lives" in LA post their divorce. She was escorted out the stage door by
Larry Hagman...still very beautiful.  
She also filmed "National Velvet" on this coast as a young girl.  
Monterey Movie Tours provides on-scene views of shots 

made at various locations. Doug, the owner,
 is witty and knowledgeable.
Our former Mayor, Clint Eastwood, at the Oscar's with his girlfriend,
Christina, a long-time, popular hostess at his Mission Ranch. They
look very M.F.E.O. together... 
This weekend, I read, “A Fifty-Year Silence”...described as a near poetic transcendence of time, place and memory..."that chronicles an amazing circle of life.” Miranda Mouillot's trajectory as a Harvard-grad was unconventional. She undertook a 10-year journey in at least three countries--to uncover what caused the 50-year bitter break between her grandmother, a physician, and her grandfather, an interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials.

Miranda and her mother were only children. After college graduation and seeking answers, Miranda moved into her grandmother's ruin of a stone cottage in the South of France to uncover how her grandparent's abandoned everything to flee on foot over snowy mountains into Switzerland as Nazis swarmed into France. 

In the cottage, Miranda fell in love with a handsome local who’d helped her when she had little money and was freezing in the frigid weather with broken windows, no heat, and a front door that didn't fit properly. They married, added another girl to the family...and are living the life her grandparents once envisioned for themselves. She gave them peace at the end by rescuing their fairy-tale. I imagine that one day this story will be a Indie contains all the elements.

How To Become A Certified Specialist of Wine~

The San Francisco Wine School has created a comprehensive online prep course for the Society of Wine Educators’ challenging Certified Specialist of Wine exam. The current course has started. But if interested, contact the school for the next. Price: $1,095.00. Or, equivalent to one bottle of 1986 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, as I think of it. ;)

The 8th Annual Pebble Beach Food And Wine~

The West Coast’s premier epicurean and wine event returns to Pebble Beach April 9-12, 2015 with 250 famed wineries and 100 celebrity chefs in a four-day event on our picturesque coastline...a stone's throw from where I live. 

In all, there are 24 world-class wine tastings, 16 fine dining experiences, 8 unique cooking demonstrations. Past famed chefs have included: Jacques Pepin, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Trotter, Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio, and Wolfgang name a few.

Where to stay if you come for single day's events: Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur (photos above) is 30-miles south on the coast. If attending multiple days it’s simpler to stay in or around Carmel, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, or Monterey.

Big Sur is where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made, “The Sandpiper” shortly after their marriage. One weekday afternoon a few years ago, my late friend, Bruce Surtees, Clint Eastwood’s cinematographer, and I were nosing around the Old Monterey Pier when we went into a restaurant between lunch and dinner service. The waiter said the last time a couple were completely alone in the restaurant was when Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were filming in Big Sur. Back then, the restaurant bolted their doors to assure the then mega- stars their privacy. He said they were gracious, generous, and beyond charming. 

Tony Bennett's "Shadow Of Your Smile"...from The Sandpiper. And from Clint Eastwood's outstanding, "Million Dollar Baby": (HERE). Thanks so much for stopping by...

Friday, February 20, 2015

World Capital Of Chocolate And Peace~

Geneva is in the French part of Switzerland and French speaking...

Luxury Apartment Rentals~  Love the all white...

Geneva, in the western corner of Switzerland on the French border... is flanked by iconic Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva (Lac Leman on the French side). Noted for ritzy ski resorts, the finest in artisanal chocolate, the world’s priciest watches, and the Jet d’Eau that sprays 450-feet high in the air...just because it can; the 6-square miles French-speaking city holds a lovely population of under 200,000 all in love with books, wine, and chocolate: My People! 

Home to the International Red Cross, UNESCO, and UN, Geneva was part of France from 1798 to 1815. A major annual Spring Rite is the Geneva Book Fair that brings 100,000 readers, authors, publishers, bookshops and the media together for five days---this year from April 29 to May me the warm and cozy feelings: Let's make jam!

Madam Geneva’s Jam Cocktail
For one cocktail~

OK, so it's not jam. It's a cocktail with jam. Go with it, it's Friday. ;)

2 oz 42 Below Vodka or Beefeater Gin
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
Crushed ice
Spoonful of jam

In a shaker, add jam, vodka or gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and several ice cubes. Shake briskly, and strain into a rocks glass half-filled with crushed ice. Float a teeny taste of quality raspberry jam on top of the ice (this isn't a jelly donut, amigos), and gradually stir it in to taste.  

Audrey Hepburn married in Switzerland where she resided for 30-years: (Here). She spoke French, Dutch, Spanish, English, and Italian. A short interview in the Netherlands: (Here). It's a known fact that you cannot watch her famous 'wedding dress' dance at the end of Funny Face too many times: (Here). 

Thank you so much for stopping by... I feel so happy! Natural beauty, books, wine, cocktails, chocolate. Ah, Switzerland! I have a crush on you...(Here).

Monday, February 16, 2015

Icon Of French Gastronomy Coming To Carmel-By-The-Sea~

Beautiful Mont St-Michel...I must return one moonlit night...
The village of Cancale between Saint-Malo and Mont St-Michel~
Saint-Malo one of the many splendored things 
of Brittany, France~ 
The seaside villa where celebrated master French chef, Olivier Roellinger,
was born, contains his restaurant and 11-room boutique hotel...
Chef, author, sailor, entrepreneur, Olivier Roellinger~

Spices hand-selected by Chef Monsieur Roellinger
on his far-flung sailing adventures to find artisanal providers~
A famed Paris food critic declared his first choice for any birthday celebration would be dining chez French chef, Olivier Roellinger.

It was a fortuitous for me to discover on February 16th that Chef Roellinger is coming to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where I live. He's resided adjacent to Mont St-Michel for life, which holds great meaning for me, and February 16th is the anniversary of silver becoming legal tender in the U.S. 

Pay Attention To Divine Signs~

Silver metaphysically reflects the qualities the world needs for spiritual renewal: Reflection, balance, healing, manifestation of health and wealth. An arising, awakening, and rebirth from darkness. A re-alignment of the Universe and humanity. Equanimity and joy. Which match the qualities of the chef from Celtic Brittany.  

In Carmel, Mr. Roellinger will play a starring role in the March 5-8 Relais and Châteaux's Gourmet Fest ...His road to celebrity chef began in 1982 when he and his wife, Jane, opened their legendary Maisons de Bricourt in the 18th-century villa in which he was born. 

The villa looks out over the picturesque fishing village of Cancale, set on the bay between Saint-Malo and Mont St. Michel. The area is renowned for oysters, which spiritually represent an unseen gift inside...

Unrealized gifts impoverish the individual, and dim the light of the world. Never forget that inside the seeming plain shell an oyster transforms a grain of sand into a pearl...

Mr. Roellinger’s seaside villa hotel, Château Richeux has been part of Relais and Châteaux since 1989. After a long run, he closed that first quietly triumphal  restaurant to open Le Coquillage with the same high quality, but in a more relaxed setting, at lower prices so that more can be awakened by a Babette's Feast...

As a child, Chef Roellinger, was transfixed by the stories of 17th and 18th century maritime adventures of ships that left and returned to Saint-Malo with exotic spices--just 30-minutes from where his mother presented meals in a warm home filled with lightness and guests, until his father departed the scene. 

Marked by this tragedy, Olivier diverted from his destined path. Then one dark night he was ruthlessly beaten by 5-thugs with pipes and left for dead. He was hospitalized for two years as he learned to walk again, to dream once more... 

Once healed, he felt compelled to sail to exotic ports, to learn firsthand the spice trade lore. This secret mission had pulled him forward through rigorous physical therapy. His passion for this dream made him walk again. He and Jane were married. His mother and the house were luminous again between Brittany's sky and shore. 

They began to import spices from exotic ports...buying only from personally selected artisans for their Epices-Roellinger shops in Cancale, Saint-Malo, and Paris. An apothecary of perfumed spices arose in the shadow of mystical Saint Michel in a sanctifying glory.

They started a cooking school, a pastry shop, he wrote books to capture that fresh wholesome flavor of maritime cuisine. In one he tracks his voyages via 18 key ingredients that form the core of the recipes in his cookbook.

He tells his inspiring tale about how the flavors of the world came together in Brittany: (HERE). Celtic magic to raise you up: (HERE). Thank you so much for stopping by...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Valentine For Earth~

My photos from around the village of Carmel-by-the-Sea where I live...

My favorite tree behind poet Robinson Jeffers'
Tor House and Hawk Tower built from
stones he collected on this coast... 

By 1st grade I was a smart, independent, athletically oriented kid: the top reader in my class, unbeatable at tetherball, a straight shooter with a bow-and-arrow or B-B gun, my mother’s main help in the house. I’d read high up in a tree and race my bike into the hills. 

At sunset I’d watch wind make waves in seas of grasses; sheep dogs at their sport of funneling flocks back into pens; hawks gliding lazy-eights against the sunset; jackrabbits and snakes hop and slither into burrows as day turned night. And I’d think, “There’s something behind all of this.” I felt kin to Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Renascence and Cavafy's Ithaca...(here read by Sean Connery).

Cosmos comes from the Greek “Kosmos” that means “beauty”...The cosmos is an orderly, highly orchestrated, and harmonious inter-dependent system. I’ve always love physics, beauty, order, nature, and arts...because these are the fundamental 'interrelateds', too. As Keats said: Truth is Beauty and Beauty is Truth and that’s all Ye need to know.

My heart has been French from childhood as if it knew it was from there, or belonged there. I've loved the French rock villages centered on fresh spring fountains and street markets full of local produce, honey, and wines. For their Cathar and Celtic cultures grounded on arts, nature, beauty, and love...and that our own formative myths from Sleeping Beauty to Camelot came from French lands...

This weekend, and everyday, why not let your foundational Valentine be for the planet. Without it, without its health and well being, where are you and your other loves? Love its beauty, give it your heart and attention, your protection, your affirmation, and praise. By that alone you’ll serve humanity, truth and beauty, the Cosmos. And the Gods of all Things.

Bob Dylan’s ballad Moonlight: (HERE).

The seasons they are turnin’ and my sad heart is yearnin’
To hear again the songbird’s sweet melodious tone
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?
The dusky light, the day is losing, Orchids, Poppies, Black-eyed Susan
The earth and sky that melts with flesh and bone
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?...
Well, I’m preachin’ peace and harmony
The blessings of tranquility
Yet I know when the time is right to strike
I’ll take you cross the river dear
You’ve no need to linger here
I know the kinds of things you like
The clouds are turnin’ crimson–the leaves fall from the limbs an’
The branches cast their shadows over stone
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?
The boulevards of cypress trees, the masquerades of birds and bees
The petals, pink and white, the wind has blown
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?
The trailing moss and mystic glow
Purple blossoms soft as snow
My tears keep flowing to the sea
Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief
It takes a thief to catch a thief
For whom does the bell toll for, love? It tolls for you and me
My pulse is runnin’ through my palm–the sharp hills are rising from
The yellow fields with twisted oaks that groan
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

(Copyright © 2001 by Special Rider Music)

Mille Merci for stopping by...May all your days be Valentines...