Merry Christmas!

Christmas Tree at the Chateau de Chenonceau

It was a sweltering hot July afternoon in 1945 when famous jazz vocalist Mel Tormé showed up for a writing session at the Toluca Lake house of his lyric partner Bob Wells. Mel let himself in and walked over to the piano. There, on the music board, was a pad of paper with four lines of a verse:

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Jack Frost nipping at your nose

Yuletide carols being sung by a choir

And folks dressed up like Eskimos

When Wells walked in the room, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, Tormé asked him about the little poem.

“It’s so damn hot today, I thought I’d write something to cool myself off,” Wells replied. “All I could think of was Christmas and cold weather.”

And that is “the rest of the story” behind one of America’s most loved contemporary Christmas hits, A Christmas Song. With this intro, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and all of the best for 2018.

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It’s Time for Some Comfort Food

“As you read this, the fires in wine country continue to burn. They’ll burn for a while yet. If you don’t live in Northern California, I’d guess you are hearing less and less about them on the news.” – Ron Washam, HMW – HoseMaster of Wine.

Sometimes the best way to work through a tragedy is to immerse yourself in a familiar routine. Personally, I need comfort food. So, today I am going to talk about one of my favorite restaurants and probably the best deal on the planet: Las Cuatros Milpas. For me, and many others, the front door of this restaurant is a time-warp portal. I walk through and step back in time. Whenever I am in San Diego, this is always one of my “go to” stops.

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Cantinetta Luca

“My dream places me inside a brick-walled wine cellar, or cantinetta, fashioned into an upscale trattoria, where I’m happily sipping Barolo from a globed glass. Torpedoes of cured meat hang from the ceiling in a glass-enclosed aging room, table vases bloom with elegant breadstick stems and we snack on warmed, fat Sicilian olives. I’m in full view of the kitchen’s heart, the 700-degree, wood-fired oven, where three black-hatted, squatty men with no arm hair perform a balletic ritual near the narrow opening that releases vapors of heat and wisps of wood smoke.” – Mike Hale, Monterey Herald

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