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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Must Do" Dirty Habit In The Great City By The Bay

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants and having been to over 700 and visit all 600 Napa wineries and been to over 300, my wife Linda and I recently traveled to the "City By The Bay" for food, wine and fun. We began by attending the famous Beach Blanket Babylon Christmas show in North Beach. A musical review that has been sold out since 1974, this show is always fun and updated yearly to include the latest local and world news. With the election next year, the show included all the Presidential hopefuls. The singing is first class and the Christmas headpieces and singing trees are special to see. The show also involves the audience in songs that everyone enjoys. This show is great anytime of the year but extra special at Christmas. 

There are two shows every night and we went to the 5 o'clock show and then went to Dirty Habit on 4th and Market. Formerly, the 5th floor this restaurant has roof top views, great food and specialty cocktails. Chef/Owner David Bazirgan's menu is full of great items and the craft cocktails are unique.

We began with an "In Hindsight" cocktail made with Hine Cognac, Luxardo bitter and Moscato that was fantastic. The cognac was barrel aged in Rye casks that previously held Tequila and Ancho Chili for 3 months. 

For food we started with a waygo beef tartar seasoned with red curry and fried shallots that went well with a warm baguette and smoked honey butter. 
David, the chef and owner, recommended his chicken wings with sweet soy and chili vinaigrette that were cooked to perfection. Quite possibly the best wings we have ever had!  For dessert we enjoyed Churros, flan, spiced chocolate and passion fruit that was a fabulous ending.

The place is very contemporary and bubbles with excitement fueled by the interesting drinks and very attentive, knowledgeable and friendly service staff. It is a great place to go for small plates.

After dinner, we took a cab to nearby Union Square to enjoy the Christmas tree, ice skaters and Christmas music. It is like being in a live movie with the backdrop of Macys and their classical lit up Christmas wreaths in all of their windows flanked by the famous St. Francis Hotel. 

For a night cap, we went to the famous John's Grille that has been in operation for over 100 years and served many celebrities, politicians and world renown figures. Many pictures decorate the walls of this iconic place.  Oh if only the walls could speak. It is also where a scene from the famous movie Maltese Falcon was filmed.
John's Grille is an excellent old school dinner house great drinks, generous dinner plates and reasonable prices.

For more information and to make reservations at these great places go to:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Meadowood-Casual Elegance in Napa Valley

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(700 and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries(300 and counting), my wife Linda and I recently had the pleasure to experience the magnificent Meadowood Resort in Napa Valley.

Located only an hour drive from our home in Danville, Meadowood offers a magical, memorable world class experience that defines excellence.
The resort offers a variety of luxurious guest rooms, a 9 hole recently renovated golf course, tennis, spa and a 3 star Michelin rated restaurant.

We enjoyed playing golf at the 9 hole 2000 yard perfectly manicured and recently renovated course. The course reminded us of the pure beauty of Lake Tahoe courses with stately pine trees flanking the Par 3 Golf Course. There is also a high tech learning center that offers lessons and a unique hickory golf experience. You can choose to play the course with a set of hickory golf clubs just like the golfers originally used in Scotland.

After golf, the nearby newly constructed spa, offers a peaceful surrounding and a variety of treatments to relax you before your 3 star dining experience.

The Restaurant at Meadowood is one of five 3 star Michelin rated restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. French Laundry, Benu, Saison and Manresa are the other 4. We have been to Thomas Keller's French Laundry and also to famous  Michelin chef Alain Ducasse's Jules Verne restaurant located at the top of the world renown Eiffel Tower in Paris. As a result, we were looking forward to Chef Christopher Kostow's creations as he also crafted his cooking skills in France.

We were not disappointed as we enjoyed a heavenly experience of excellent service and passionate presentations from the 13 course price fixed menu.

The Restaurant at Meadowood has the privilege of being surrounded by hillsides that include creeks, woodlands and a lot of natural bounty. The food is prepared with an element of surprise and engages diners with a progression of dishes presented from cold courses to warm courses.  The thirteen-course meal begins with an okra flower stuffed with an okra paste inside, served on a beautiful piece of pottery.

Textures are a common thread that runs through all the dishes.  Diners are engaged with an orchestrated progression of dishes. No menus are provided until the end of the meal. Each dish is a "surprise".
The pottery was amazing. A local artist provided the dishes with unique shapes and textures that perfectly complements the food and makes it magical.

A poussin prepared inside a round bread loaf as a cooking vessel was a favorite.  Prior to being cooked, the dish was brought to our table on a bed of multi colored corn kernels. The waiter explained the cooking process which made us eager to see the result.  The poussin was clean and beautifully flavored and a highlight among the courses.

By the 6th course we gave ourselves away to the experience... and we were somewhere over the rainbow.

The staff was very well trained and delightful to talk with.  They all have a variety of experiences and come from many different locations in the world.  They took the fine dining experience over the top. We had the opportunity to tour the kitchen where all the staff welcomed us in unison as we entered. Each station was displayed as artists at work.

In conclusion, we would definitely recommend you put Meadowood on your bucket list.

Meadowood is a Dream...........

The experience will be an eternal joy to add to your foodie and fun memory bank. For more information and to make reservations go to:


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Joseph Phelps And Auberge du Soleil "World Class Wine And Food"

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(700 and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries(300 and counting), my wife Linda and I recently traveled to famous Joseph Phelps Winery and had lunch at Michelin star rated Auberge du Soleil. From our home in Danville, both places are located near each other and only a one hour drive to experience "world class wine and food."

Recently, we were in France and met Elizabeth Neuman,  granddaughter of Joseph Phelps, at a private wine tasting in the famous wine region of Bordeaux. Elizabeth was kind enough to arrange a private tasting for us at their newly renovated winery in St. Helena. Their famous Insignia is one of my favorite wines. Her legendary grandfather passed away earlier this year.

Famous wine critic Robert Parker says, "Joseph Phelps was one of the great visionaries of Napa Valley. His legacy is one of extraordinary quality. He was one of  the first to see the merit in blending,which his legendary Insignia, first debuted in 1974, has proven year after year. It remains one of the world's finest Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blends. He also wasn't content just to stay at home in Napa, but branched out with cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards on the Sonoma Coast. Joe Phelps was a leader, and one of the greats of the wine world."
Our private tasting at Phelps was in the newly renovated Backus room. Our host Missy was very personable and a wealth of wine information.

The tasting began with the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Viognier that were both soft and refreshing. Both were aged for 7 months in French oak puncheons. 

Next was the 2012 Pinot Noir from their Pastorate vineyard and 2012 Pinot Noir Quarter Moon Vineyard that are both located on the Sonoma coast and aged for 14 months in French Oak barrels. Both were spectacular, but we preferred the Quarter Moon vineyard. 

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley was the next selection. It was rich and flavorful with 91%Cabernet, 6%Merlot, 1%Petite Verdot, 1% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc from 100% estate grown vineyards. It is a full bodied wine with great value at a price of 70 dollars  per bottle.

The highlight of the tasting was the famous 2012 Insignia and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Backus Vineyards. 

Insignia is a perfect blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Verdot, 10% Merlot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc from 100% estate grown vineyards and aged in French oak for 24 months. This wine has always been a favorite of ours and as usual lived up to it's regal reputation. 

Finally, it was a real treat to taste for the first time the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Backus Vineyard. This spectacular wine is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 3% Petite Verdot from their estate vineyard in Oakville and aged 2 years in 100% new French oak. This wine is sensational and was so good that we made sure we took a bottle back to Danville to share with our wine and foodie friends.

After this elegant tasting, we had lunch at Auberge du Soliel located very close to the winery.

 From the web site, "Auberge du Soleil restaurant began in 1981 nestled on 33 acres overlooking the lush vines of Napa Valley. The cuisine has evolved with a wine country theme where innovative menus inspired by the bounty of the vine are paired with food in ways that delight and inspire guests and long time devotees. The restaurant presents luxury at its finest while overlooking some of Napa's most renowned vineyards. Offering more than 40 of the Valleys finest wines by the glass and boasting a cellar of nearly 17,000 wines, our guests can enjoy a full sensory experience of the California wine country."

We ate on the terrace that had heavenly views of the peaceful and powerful Napa Valley. For the entree Linda ordered the stuffed squash blossom, ratatouille, ricotta, white corn, romano beans, and basil broth that was served picture perfect, light and lovely. 

I began with the white corn soup with Maine rock crab and chervil oil that was heated to perfection and sensational. For my entree, I had the mushroom mille feuille, slow cooked farm egg, snap peas and watercress purée that was unique and very good. To cap off this meal, it was recommended by our attentive waiter to share the garden mint ice cream, valrhona bahibe cremeux, devil's food cake and peppermint meningue  that was a fitting ending to a wonderful day in Napa.

In conclusion, we would highly recommend this world class wine and food experience.

For more information and to make reservations go to:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Inglenook...one of Napa's best since 1880

In an effort to visit all 600 wineries(300 and counting) and dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(700 and counting), my wife Linda and I recently visited Inglenook winery.

Inglenook is the third oldest winery in Napa. Only Krug and Beringer are older. Inglenook began in 1880 and has a rich history. The winery is currently owned by Francis Ford Coppola, a Detroit  born genius and director of the classic Godfather movie.

The winery is an elegant display of wine and movie history and sits on 1700 acres of beauty across from the famous Rutherford Grill.

Our host  Kenton was a wealth of wine information and explained Inglenook was a Gaelic word that loosely translates into "warm, cozy fireplace"

The fire burns strongly at this historic winery and we enjoyed a Heritage tasting of Inglenook Blancaneaux,  Edizione Pennino Zinfandel, Inglenook Cask Cabernet and their famous Rubicon. Our favorite was the Zinfandel. The 2012 Edizione Pennino Zinfandel pays tribute to Coppola's maternal grandfather Francesco Pennino. From the website, "born in Italy Francesco emigrated to the United States and started a music publishing company known as Edizione Pennino. The estate Zinfandel bears the music company's logo in its original form and a picture of the Statue of Liberty. To add to the nostalgia, each vintage has one of Pennino's music titles printed on the cork."

Besides having an elegant label, this wine was impressive and very smooth on the palate. We enjoyed it so much that 2 bottles went back to Danville with us.

After our tasting, we went to the famous Rutherford Grill and enjoyed the iron skillet corn bread, knife and fork pork ribs and cole slaw. There are no reservations but there is usually room at the bar to enjoy their great food. The place always bustles with high energy and many happy foodies taking a break tasting at one of the many great Napa wineries.

We would highly recommend both places for a fun wine and food experience.

To make reservations at Inglenook call 707-958-1161 or go to 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Absinthe...Rockin Strong in Hayes Valley

In an effort to eat at all 3,000 San Francisco Restaurants(700 and counting) and all 600 Napa Valley Wineries (300 and counting), my wife Linda and dined at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar in the Hayes Valley area of  the "City by the Bay".

We were recently in France and our foodie friends recommended this San Francisco restaurant claiming the Croque Monsieur as the best in the world! Since we were rather disappointed with the Paris version of the dish, Absinthe was high on our "to visit" list.

It is no wonder that loyal patrons have come to this Hayes Valley Gem for many years. With its lively, informal décor evocative of turn-of-the-century France, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar is the perfect place to dine. The restaurant is full of energy and tables outside provide for a fun way to enjoy this vibrant section of the city. It is a great area to people watch and has the feel of an European village with a mixed crowd, everyone from “young hipsters” (from nearby Twitter) to “Civic Center” attendees.

We were not disappointed as the Croque Monsieur was presented eloquently with crunchy bread and a fresh egg on top. We also had the French Onion soup and ceviche that was very fresh. The ceviche tasted like it was just pulled out of the deep blue sea and quite possibly the best we have ever experienced.  To top it off, the Foie Gras was smooth and every bit as good as our French experience.  It is no wonder that loyal patrons have come to this Hayes Valley Gem for many years.

Manager Brian Gavin runs a first class show. He gave us an elaborate explanation and demonstration on how to drink Absinthe which is a licorice tasting liquor.   It is no wonder the restaurant is buzzing with energy as this drink is 65 per cent alcohol and very good. The drink menu is also extensive with many choices of fun and creative concoctions. If you want to bring your own wine the corking fee is $25.

Absinthe Brasserie and Hayes Valley rocks with great food and excitement. We would highly recommend that you put it on your "foodie must do" list.
Experience "Paris in San Francisco" at this Hayes Valley French-Med Brasserie!

We will be going back often!

For reservation:  Click here: absinthe.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Paradise Beach Grille--Capitola's Best

In an effort to eat at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(700 and counting) and visiting over 600 wineries(300 and counting), my wife Linda and I recently traveled to the Beach and Capitola's finest Paradise Beach Grille.

Owner Gary and Leslie Wetsel  have been serving great food to many happy patrons for 17 years. From the web site:

 "From day one, we have not wavered from our original concept of providing quality service and food in a fun environment for our customers, employees and owners. Paradise has become a popular meeting place for local patrons as well as a favorite restaurant for tourists. We also have many regular patrons from over the hill in the Bay Area. We have been voted the Best Restaurant in Santa Cruz County for five years and in Capitola for the last seven."

Linda and I loved the energy that you felt the minute you entered the restaurant. There is live music playing and happy customers enjoying a large selection of local beers, wines and fabulous ocean views.

Monday thru Friday from 4-6 there are happy hour drinks and half price on all the appetizers. Monday is Gary's Rib night and you can get a full rack for $20. For $30 you can enjoy lobster and filet mignon ala surf and turf on Wednesday nights.

We sat on the patio and met some fun people from San Jose who were celebrating a birthday. They have been loyal patrons for many years and brought an almond butter birthday cake from Dick's Bakery in San Jose. It was also my birthday so they shared a generous piece with us. Since we started with this fabulous dessert, we decided to just order appetizers. We enjoyed the famous coconut shrimp and mussels as we watched the sun set over the deep blue Pacific.

For dessert, we were talked into some fabulous Mud Pie that we shared with our new San Jose friends.

We stayed close by at the Capitola Venetian Hotel. It is a boutique hotel with ocean views. Our room also had two balconies, fireplace and view of the action going on at the patio of Paradise Beach Grille.

We highly recommend this restaurant.  It is no wonder that it has been selected the "best" in Capitola for the last 7 years.
 For more information and to make reservations at the restaurant or hotel go to:

Click here: Capitola Venetian Hotel - Capitola - US

Monday, August 24, 2015

CordeValle "World Class Charm and Comfort"

In an effort to eat at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(700 and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries(300 and counting), my wife Linda and I recently traveled to CordeValle in San Martin, California.

CordeValle derives it's name from the Spanish phrase "el corazon del valle" meaning heart of the Valley. It is about an hour drive from our home in Danville and sits on 1700 acres of magnificent beauty protected by the surrounding Santa Cruz mountains.

Since it's opening in 1999, travelers have come from all over the world to enjoy this hidden gem. It is a refined refuge from the hustle bustle of everyday day life and and the stress of Silicon Valley business located nearby. The resort features golf, spa, tennis, fitness room, outdoor pool, restaurants, art collection and a winery on the property. Clos LaChance winery exists alongside the resort on 85 acres and guests can ride to the winery in a golf cart for wine tasting, attend a summer concert or play bocce ball. We enjoyed the wine tasting and took back to Danville the 2013 Reserve Meritage to share with our friends.

The world class golf course designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. has been the host of the PGA Tour Fry's Open and many USGA events and college competitions. In July 2016, it will host the US Women's Open. However, it offers a fair challenge for all golfing skills with tees that range from 5385 yards to 7300 yards.

The service staff is very attentive and warms your spirits from the rigors of life as you check into three choices of luxury accommodations. Guests may choose a elegant Fairway Room Bungalow, Villa Suite, or Fairway home. All have goose down comforters, fireplaces, original paintings and breathtaking views of the heavenly valley.

Executive Chef Tim Wetzel creates world class food at their 3 restaurants. Il Vigneto offers classic Italian cuisine. Lions Peak offers casual dining in an outdoor patio setting and One Iron Bar has contemporary cuisine with an extensive drink selection.

The Art Collection at CordeValle is a focus point of the property. From the web site, " the art provides a source of inspiration and the common theme of the collection is the Celebration Of Life--Spiritually, as depicted symbolically in the sacred traditions of Tewa-Hopi tribe in Dan Namingha's works; the profound joy of Relationship celebrated in the John Kennedy bronze sculptures; Vibrancy of life as captured on a city street in William Clutz's oil paintings and expressed as an emotion in John Ferren's works; Reflection of the H. Joe Walfrum paintings of New Mexican morades."

The spa is a great way to unwind after a day of golf and offers a full menu of services. Also, there are 4 tennis courts for the non-golfers and outdoor pool to relax after your spa treatment, golf or tennis.

Linda and I enjoyed the golf course and the magnificent wide open Wyoming like views that are amazing especially being located so close to the heart of modern business Silicon Valley.
We enjoyed dinner at the One Iron Bar. It offers a great selection of drinks and wine. If you choose to bring your own wine there is a corking fee. The menu has a variety of great choices including turkey meat balls, osso bucco, steaks, fresh fish and a smoked pork chop. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and overlooks the golf course. 

For the appetizer, we selected the coconut shrimp that were very tasty. For the main course,  Linda enjoyed the Shrimp Pasta with Zucchini Noodles. I selected the smoked bone in pork chop with barbeque chili beans and rustic mashed potatoes that was cooked to perfection. Linda loved the zucchini noodles and will add it to our home menu
in the future.

A "must do" dessert is the warm beignets with cinnamon sugar, chocolate, raspberry and carmel sauce. It is a fitting ending to a fabulous meal.

In conclusion, we would highly recommend that you visit and enjoy this classy and charming resort located close to many Bay area towns. It is a great way to escape from the stress and strain of everyday living.

The world will be watching next July as this wonderful resort will be the host of the 2016 US Women's Open.

For more information and to make reservations, go to:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Magical Martis Camp with a Silver Oak Wine Dnner

In an effort to eat at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(700 and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries(300 and counting) my wife Linda and I recently traveled to Magical Martis Camp in Truckee, California. We were guests of our good friends Tom and Lisa Morgan for the 7th annual Martis Camp Mountain Muster Golf Invitational.

The 3 day sold out tournament was very well organized with a chance to win a $280,000 Lamborghini, lunch and putting contest for the spouses on the well manicured 1 acre 18 hole putting green and lots of libations food and fun. The final night concluded with a Starship Summer concert on a warm crystal clear star studded Lake Tahoe evening.

The tournament kicked off in style with a elegant Silver Oak Wine dinner on the lighted balcony of their 50 million dollar club house on the Tom Fazio designed signature 18th hole with a stunning views of the Sierras and an unforgettable mystical mountain sunset.   Chef Brett Moseley started the Silver Oak dinner with Alaskan Halibut Cheeks paired with 2013 Twomey Pinot Noir from Alexander Valley that was very refreshing.  Next was Sonoma Duck, buttered corn, sugar snap peas and cilantro paired with a full bodied 2006 Library Selection Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley.  The third course was paired with 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  It  was perfectly paired with a Wagu Rib eye, smoked carrot purée, grilled rapini and huckleberry Demi-glacé.

The stunning meal was capped off with a Lemon Mousse Tartlet, spiced cake, and smoked honey ice cream. 
Viva Martis Camp!

For more information, go to www.martis.com.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Caldwell Vineyard the "Maverick" legend of Napa Valley

In an effort to eat at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(700 and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries(300 and counting), my wife Linda and I recently traveled to Caldwell Vineyard in Napa.

Caldwell Vineyard  is about a 45 minute drive from our home in Danville. It is proudly perched on 123 rolling acres of serene beauty and post card like majestic vistas overlooking the rich Napa Valley. The elegant wine tasting, done in the caves, includes a wide variety of cheeses, meats and crackers to enhance the wine tasting experience. It was 100 degrees outside the day we choose to taste, so the caves were a 'cool' way to taste the wonderful Caldwell wines.

Our host Cristina was very knowledgeable and passionate about the 28 different clone-specific grape varieties and the 23 wines that Caldwell makes. We began with a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc that was very refreshing and paired well with the Ewephoria cheese that was my favorite (Whole Foods sells it locally).  The 2014 Chardonnay and 2014 Syrah Rose were a great way to cool down from the sizzling outside temperature.  The 2012 Gold 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon was sensational and silky smooth. We also tried the 2012 Cabernet Franc and Tannat that is a favorite of many loyal wine club members.

Our favorite was the 2012 Carmenere that is deep in color, with tannins gentler and softer then the Cabernet, and is a medium bodied wine. This wine has a cherry like fruity flavor with smoky, spicy and earthy notes. Carmenere grapes have an interesting history. The origins go to the Medoc region of Bordeaux, France. The vines were struck with the Phylloxera plague and for many years the grape was presumed extinct. It was so good we took 2 bottles back to Danville with us.

The highlight of the tasting was when owner John Caldwell joined us. He is a high energy guy with a zest for life. His tales of how he smuggled many of these varietal vines from France is worth going to the website (www.caldwellvineyard.com) to read the Smuggling Story.  Caldwell is also one of the first U.S. wineries with its own on-site barrel cooperage that produces their own French Oak wine barrels. 

He said, "I love to be a part of the private tastings and share the interesting stories, love of the property and wide variety of wines." His passionate personality makes you understand the high quality reflected in all of his wines.

After the tasting, we enjoyed lunch at the nearby bustling Rutherford Grille where every day is like a Saturday night at most other restaurants.

There are no reservations and it is always full of happy foodies and wine lovers. When you enter the restaurant the smell of their favorite knife and fork baby back ribs gets your food senses tingling. They are served with cole slaw and fries. That is always my choice but all their food is great. They also serve generous pours of wines by the glass and reasonably priced bottles. The bar usually has open seats and it is a fun place to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

For a special cave tasting and great food, we would highly recommend Caldwell Vineyard and Rutherford Grille.

To make a reservation go to: CaldwellVineyard.com

Monday, July 27, 2015

Special Olympics World Games 2015 Opening Ceremony. By MJ McColgan "Inspiring Greatness"

Special Olympics has been an important part of my life.  It allowed me the opportunity to compete on a National and Global basis in the wonderful game of GOLF!  I loved the time I spent on the golf course trying to win the game by shooting the lowest scores at the many events that I competed in.  The favorite times for my Mom, Dad and me were the World Games. 

In 2003 we attended the World Games opening ceremony in Dublin, Ireland which featured many Irish stars including Bono and his band U2.  In 2007, we were in Shanghai, China and met founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver
shown in the picture with my Mom and Dad.  In 2011, we were in Athens, Greece at the same stadium where the first Olympics took place. All of these special places had inspiring opening ceremonies that will stay in our memories for a long time.

On July 25th, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony was held in Los Angeles.
at the LA Coliseum.  This is home of the University of Southern California football team and site of the first Super Bowl.  7,000 Special Olympic Athletes from all over the world were the real stars as they proudly marched into the stadium being cheered by the 100,000 happy fans.

It was a fun night for several reasons. Michelle Obama was there to open up the games.  She put aside  politics and was there for the athletes. She gave a great speech saying "These games show us we're all in this together and we can bring out the best in each other."   

A lot of great music was played by Mike D from the legendary Beastie Boys. It was cool that he was there. He was the DJ for the night. Stevie Wonder,Nicole Scherzinger and Jimmy Kimmel also added to the inspiring venue.  The fireworks show was spectacular as you can see in the above picture.

One of my favorite things about the World Games is I get a chance to meet a lot of nice people from all over the world. It is a focus on ability not disability.  It is about life not being perfect, but with hard work and confidence the athletes have a chance to show the world their abilities in the sports that they excel in.

When I was at lunch, I met a person from Ireland and she gave me a "Go Team Ireland" hat and wrist band.  It was a thrill since the first World Game I competed in was in Dublin, Ireland.

The people from Special Olympics are special people and I am honored to be part of this great organization.

Let the games begin.

Tokyo 2019? Will we attend? Time will tell........

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Spring Mountain Magic

In a effort to visit all 600 Napa Valley wineries(300 and counting) and eat at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(700 and counting), my wife Linda and I recently did a "Day Trip" to charming St. Helena.

St. Helena is the home of Spring Mountain Vineyard which is off the beaten path.  The picturesque hillside winery sits on 845 acres of beauty and is close in size to New York's Central Park. The 225 acres of vineyard extends in altitude from 400 to1600 feet and produces some fabulous wines. The owners aim is to produce wines that are immediately drinkable, but also age-worthy. The grounds are meticulously attended to among the caves, vineyards, greenhouse and gardens. The Victorian home on the property was used as a backdrop for the soap opera Falcon Crest of the 1980's.

Valli Ferrell, Public Relations Director, and Lindsay McArdle, Tasting Room Manager, were our gracious hosts. From the web site, "Winemaker Susan Doyle collaborates with world renowned French Bordeaux experts to craft both European-style wines with the subtlety, complexity and long life of France's grand chateaux as well as classic Napa Valley Cabernets."

Having recently been to Bordeaux, these wines are elegant and rival many of the wines we tasted in France. Our stand up tasting was outside followed by sitting in comfortable Adirondack chairs overlooking the serene and magical Spring Mountain property.

We tasted reds including the Elivette signature wine, 2011 Pinot Noir and 2008 and 2001 Cabernet. All of them were great but we especially enjoyed the 2008 Estate Cabernet and 2001 Cabernet Library selection. The 2008 is a full bodied blend of Cabernet, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot and delivers a mix of black and red berries, plums, cranberries with a chocolate and spice finish.

The 2001 was a blend of  85%Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 5% Petite Verdot. Both of these estate wines were perfectly blended, rich and full of flavor.  We made sure that we took a bottle of each back to Danville to enjoy with our foodie and wine friends.

After our tasting, we went to downtown St. Helena and enjoyed  shopping at several of the creative stores followed by lunch at Market on Main Street that offered a classic soup and prime rib sandwich with a homemade cookie. The 100 year old Mahogany bar was also very impressive and gives a warm feeling to the bustling restaurant filled with happy patrons.

We highly recommend a visit to Spring Mountain Vineyard for a private tasting of their estate wines and to enjoy the elegant and peaceful setting of heavenly grapes and gardens.

To Make a tasting reservation go to:
or call 707-967-4188 M-F

707-967-4186 Saturday and Sunday

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lake Tahoe American Century Golf Tournament 2015

July in Lake Tahoe is the place to be as the 26th American Century Celebrity golf tournament takes place at the serene and sensational and Edgewood CC.

The elegant and well manicured  golf course is a heavenly experience of unmatched beauty of towering pines and majestic mountains on the edge of the deep blue water of massive Lake Tahoe.

The ski lodge club house design is always full of excitement and has heavenly views of Lake Tahoe from the deck of world famous 19th hole Brooks bar. Some specials include Mahi Tacos and Mojitos while watching the golfers play the famous Lakeside 18th hole.

This is a special 3 day tournament televised on NBC filled with former sports heroes musicians and actors as Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Justin Timberlake and current Golden State Warrior World Champion and NBA MVP Stephen Curry to name a few.

Even former Vice President of the United States Dan Quayle is a regular participant.

We have played in this pro-am for 10 years and enjoyed all of the various celebrities.  One year we won the pro-am with former Super Bowl Champion Quarterback and Notre Dame star Joe Theisman.

This year was also a special treat and new tradition for MJ's mom  Linda and our good friend Sue Acquisto.

On Monday afternoon before the pro-am, they played the course and enjoyed a perfect sun splashed afternoon of fresh mountain air.

They were beaming with joy and already have plans to do it again next year.

Hall-of-Famer and National Special Olympics Golf Champion MJ and I were paired this year with former Oakland Raider wide receiver and Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown.

Tim will be inducted into the 2015 NFL Hall of Fame this August in Canton, Ohio. He was a joy to play golf with and had some great stories about his outstanding football career.

We asked him if he had his speech written for the induction ceremony and he said he was ready. He plans on not using any notes and speaking from the heart. His mother, family and 25 former teammates plan on attending. He was very close to his father who passed away 4 years ago. He said, "I hope that I will be able to get through that part of the speech when I honor my Dad for helping me to achieve all my success."

Lake Tahoe rocks and we look forward to returning to play in this tournament next July.

It is an addictive experience and very fun to watch your heroes in sports and life try and play the difficult game of golf.

If you have not been, add this event to your bucket list. The pure beauty of Lake Tahoe is a joy to experience.

Hit Em Straight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"On Top Of The World" Jules Verne Eiffel Tower

Recently my wife Linda and I and foodie friends Patti and Mark Kussman had the pleasure to experience an elegant dinner at Le Jules Verne located at the top of the famous landmark Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. 

Renown chef Alain Ducasse says, " a restaurant in the heart of the Eiffel Tower has always been a dream for me. Even today, at each one of my visits, I still feel the same emotion when starting the ascension to the second floor. I want to share this feeling of happiness and ensure that the experience at Jules Verne remains in the memory of everyone. More than a restaurant, it is a place of dreams and memories."  We made a huge deposit in our foodie memory bank as we enjoyed a 6 course thoughtfully paired wine and food experience.

The meal began with a toast of French bubbly appreciating our good fortune overlooking the fascinating city of Paris.
The white wines included 2013 Condrieu Rouelle-Midi Domaine Vallet, 2013 Pessac-Leognan Les Hauts de Smith and 2011 Chassagne-Montrachet 1 Cru Les Chaumees-Phillippe Collin.
The red wine was Vin Rouge Red Wine 2008 Saint-Julien Clos du Marquis.
dessert wines were 2009 Sauternes Chateau Haut-Bergeron and 1989 Rivesaltes Gerard Bertrand.
The meal began with Believue-style blue lobster followed by preserved duck foie gras strawberry rhubarb gelee which was fantastic.
Warm white asparagus with citrus mousseline sauce was served before the roasted turbot two ways artichokes and both were soothing with the white vino.
The red wine was served with the delicately prepared and perfectly seasoned seared pigeon franchise fava and green beans.
For dessert we enjoyed raspberry rose contemporary vacherin and crispy tower nut chocolate from their factory in Paris.

As Alain Ducasse says, this is more than a restaurant, it is a place of dreams and memories." Our memories will be eternal from this top of the world gastronomical heavenly foodie experience. Viva La Paris!
For more information and to make reservations go to: