Archive for the 'Living Well' Category


Friday, Madonna and Cranium enhancement!

I’m a bad blogger… AGAIN! I guess I need to start drinking and cooking more for added inspiration! But on a positive note, today’s Friday and for most of us this means the end of a busy week. I’m doing something crazy on my Friday night… I’m heading out to an uber swanky bar at 10PM to listen (and presumably view on large video screens) the new Madonna album. I didn’t used to be a big fan of hers, but I’ve come to truly love her music. Plus she’s older than me by one year, and looks fantastic… inspiration enough to love her if you ask me. How this relates to food or wine, or living well is beyond me. But in honor of my mission, here goes. Madonna, like any true artist who’s stood the test of time, tends to conjure up a time and place with each song archived in our cranium. Generally these times and places involve some sort of eating or imbibing. Take tonight for example, when I look back on this and hear a song from this album that connected for me, it will also take me back to the event. Probably how I felt at the time, what I looked like, who I was with, and what I ate and drank.

To this day, when I hear Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, I think of the time I was sitting in my first car – a 1975 Plymouth Fury painted baby puke yellow that I referred to it as my golden fury. I was in the parking lot of a small dysfunctional pentecostal church , resisting the pressure to come inside and join the motley choir of 10 faithful church members. The song blasted on my 8 track player…. hmmm, must have been around 1977, or 78, and it was summer. Every time I hear that song it takes me right back to that moment in time – and for the record, I was eating a large order of Tastee Freeze fries with a shake; my friend Tim was in the car with me, also resisting the pressure to sing in the choir – and his mom was the choir director!

I bet you have a similar story. Maybe it’s time for a new one. Maybe you’ll find the time to live well tonight. Maybe you’ll go, hear a song from a favorite artist and connect it to the moment. Maybe it will be a source of fond memories for you for many years to come. Let me know how yours turns out, I’ll let you know about mine too!


I’m BAD!!! And I’m Glad…

Today is supposed to be about gnocchi, but I’ve been running around like a silly man all day in a new toy! So, I guess you could say, today is about living well.

I could have foregone my fun, and buckled down, typed in my recipe, uploaded the amazing photo Jake Sutter took, and viola – a gnocchi blog done! But instead, I’ve lived well, shrugged off my gnocchi promise. It’s next I promise.

We all (I’m talking to you) need to do this from time to time. We need to climb into an adorable, super fun new convertible, put the top down and cruise all over town… no, let me rephrase that “zip furiously all over town”. We need to tear up the streets, looking for that elusive corner to scream around at crazy high speeds, and squeal in the thrill of it! Of course, this has to be done with rain spitting on us in the open air,  threatening a deluge at any moment. We also need to care less if everyone sharing the road sees us as a stereotype! Stormy day, cold wind, brand new car, top down, driving like it’s an Indy 500 course!

Go ahead, life is too short, what are you waiting for! Let me know what you shrugged off today, it’ll help me feel less guilty… OH, WAIT – I don’t feel guilty, and neither should you!!!


Homage to the home picnic

Some people say they eat to feed their bodies, others their souls! I fall solidly in the latter camp! You can offer me the most wonderful food, but if it isn’t about the moment, occasion, and isn’t presented in its best light, I will probably not remember it beyond the time it took to consume. But if you take the simplest and most ordinary food, and present it on your best dishes, or arrange it to be viewed as well as eaten, then I’m probably going to have an enhanced culinary experience all around, and will probably remember it far longer than the more exceptional food poorly presented.

If I had my way, I’d make my life mission one that encourages people to slow down, and live in the moment they are given; to try and glean soul nourishment from each occasion. How you present and eat your food is no exception. With that in mind, I encourage each and everyone of you to do a home picnic this week. Stop at your market, pick up tasty little things you like – some cheese, some cold-cuts, some bread and/or crackers, some fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, olives, of course a bottle of wine (maybe even an inexpensive sparkling wine and some potato chips!!!)… you get the picture. Bring it all home, take 20 minutes to create an event out of it, and enjoy! You’ll be amazed at how such a simple thing can be so transcendent!

Let me know how yours turns out!!!


Does everybody know your name?

I have a special request!

A large part of my job includes overseeing a fantastic wine bar that features boutique wines that the company I manage produces. So in the spirit of trying to make this wine bar a great experience I’d love to have your input on some of the following items – or any other suggestions you’d care to share!

  1. Does a boutique wine bar appeal to you?
  2. What kind of atmosphere is the most comfortable – energetic/bustling, quiet/mellow, etc?
  3. What kind of events would draw you in – meet the winemaker, food pairings, blind/systematic tastings, wine education seminars, etc?
  4. Are you familiar with the wine-club concept?
  5. How important is live music?
  6. If it were convenient, how often would you visit a wine bar?

I’d love to get your answers on some of these. Also, if you have time and can check out our website and facebook I’d love to get your feedback on those as well. :-)

And now, my blogging is done, and I’m waiting with bated breath!


Jake’s Passion!

Let me start by saying – I’m sorry to all of you who don’t live in Palm Springs at the moment! Of course I won’t be apologizing this summer when it’s 115f – but I will be writing this post while floating in the pool! Well, maybe not writing it, but at least thinking about what I need to write… maybe I’ll call it poolside chatter… anyway I digress.

I’m sitting at the kitchen bar watching a HUGE pot of slow cooking spaghetti sauce bubbling away on the stove. We started the pot around 10AM, and hope to enjoy it tonight after it’s had sufficient time to evolve into slow cooked harmony! This glorious pot of comfort is the result of my early cooking endeavors. It was the first serious thing I cooked some 25 years ago after interviewing every Italian cook I knew. I spent about a month researching techniques, and different philosophies on the perfect slow cooked sauce – hot sausage, sweet sausage, carrots for added sweetness, etc. If you want to know more let me know, because that’s not what today’s post is about!

Today is about Jake’s Passion! All 750ml of Jake’s Passion. Well maybe not exactly 750ml, but almost (also have to allow room for ice). You see, I have these huge, big-bowled wine glasses that will hold an entire bottle of wine in one glass! Yes, that amounts to 750ml in one glass. Needless to say, I generally don’t use these glasses for wine, but rather, for bread sticks, crudites, etc. That is, until now. As I write this post, (along with watching my glorious pot of slow-cooking sauce) I’m enjoying a tall glass of Jake’s Passion in my 750ml glass! It’s sitting at arm’s reach as I type, in all it’s glorious layered colors, with little drops of cold condensation sliding down the outside of the glass.  So, to brighten up your day (assuming you need it – and if you’re weathering the severe winter storms in the south-east, YOU do!!!) I’m including the recipe for this marvelous concoction created by my dear Jake!

Jake’s Passion


  • Equal parts Amaretto, Southern Comfort, Vodka and Orange Juice.
  • Splash of Rose’s Grenadine
  • Maraschino Cherries


Mix Amaretto, Southern Comfort, Vodka, and OJ, pour over ice, add Rose’s Grenadine – this will settle on the bottom and create beautiful color layers to the drink. Finish with Maraschino Cherries.

Oh, gotta go, the sauce needs stirring!!!

PS: My glass is almost empty, and I’m feel light and giddy, it must be A-Ha playing on the stereo!!!

PSS: Sorry for the multiple run-on sentences, I can’t help myself!


If the rocks could speak.

One of the important aspects of living well, is living in the moment. Sometimes a moment presents itself when you least expect it. Sometimes it’s carefully planned and then left to instinct for execution. At other times it calls for attention in the simple unsuspecting images.

So many things we take for granted become special moments when we’re present; when we will ourselves to interact with our surroundings with fresh awareness. Take for instance a bowl of cherries. They can be used in so many ways, bake a pie, freeze into sorbet, reduce in a sumptuous demi-glace to drizzle over your favorite roasted meat, or sometimes, simply washed, plucked from a bowl and eaten as-is. Imagine allowing the juicy sweet flavor to tantalize your taste buds with its beauty. If you’re smart, you’ll stop what you’re doing, eat that cherry, and be grateful that it can bring you so much pleasure with no embellishments nor culinary manipulations.

Or how about the next time you plan a road trip (short or long) with your love.  Include a chilled bottle of sparkling wine, two champagne flutes and the will to pause your trip at that perfect moment. Don’t worry about when it will happen, just wait until it’s right. It could be a roadside rest area, it could be a detour on an unknown road along your route, or it could be on top of a pile of rocks you’ve had to scramble to while juggling the bottle and flutes. The important thing is to take the moment and live it fully!

Maybe the moment is in the middle of a bustling city. Maybe it’s the discovery of rain washed flowers discovering the sun after a storm; maybe it’s some crazy image that catches your fancy – some architectural image most pass right by. The important thing is to stop, look, feel – let it speak to you; pause your purpose, experience the moment.

Our current world is crazy, confused, distressed, and anxious. Find a moment, let it center you. I’d love to hear about one of yours, be it food, wine, or a piece of broken glass catching the sun just right!


A new week, fresh starts, and blessings…

A Prayer for Food – by Robert Farrar Capon “The Supper of the Lamb”

O Lord, Refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in, and sauces which are never the same twice.

Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with,

and casseroles that put starch and substance into our limp modernity.  Take away our fear of fat, and make us glad of the oil which ran upon Aaron’s beard.

Give us pasta with a hundred fillings, and rice in a thousand variations.  Above all, give us grace to live as true men [and women] – to fast till we come gratefully on all that comes to hand.

Drive far from us, O Most Bountiful, all creatures of air and darkness; cast out the demons that possess us; deliver us from the fear of calories and the bondage of nutrition; and set us free once more in our own land, where we shall serve thee as thou hast blessed us – with the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. Amen

Patrick Bartlett

A conversation about food, wine, and the art of living well!


May 2018
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