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Today Had a Nice Finish

The forecast was warm with bold sun rays and accents of streaky clouds and a lingering oaky aroma that provided just the perfect environment to take everything in with deep, sustained breathing. For lunch, I ate an English muffin with bright strokes of palatable butter. This meal proved to be a great pairing for the day.

In case you didn’t know, May 25th is National Wine Day!

(The one day I don’t eat anything with cheese…)

Whether you’re a fan of red wines or white wines (or both), these intoxicating beverages are a sophisticated escape with no discernible downside. First, there’s no real rush to finish. The last sip is as good as the first, if not better. Second, the ingredients in great wines are varied, intricate and pleasantly surprising, coalescing into a superb finish.

Then, of course, there are the two ends of the wine tasting spectrum: The beginner and the expert. Discussing wine on a molecular level with a group of people (now it’s a party!), at least since 2004, usually leads to at least one reference to the movie Sideways. The dark comedy starring Thomas Haden Church and Paul Giamatti, and co-starring northern California’s wine country, centers on two best friends on a bachelor weekend of sorts.

Jack (Thomas Haden Church) and Miles (Paul Giamatti) are a classic case of a wine beginner and a wine connoisseur.

We’ve all been here, as either Jack or Miles.

Well, as Jack.

Judge all you want Miles, but I’d try a piece of Merlot chewing gum.

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Where Am I?

Situated against a Western hill, there’s no concern of stability,
here you sip the world away in a buzz of tranquility
The sight from inside, blocked and closed-in,
sitting anywhere but out should be considered a sin
In the morning, there’s a dew, but not from a mountain,
chances are good your trip took you past a sparkling fountain
While it’s not Langley, it shares the name, you might say,
which is fitting, for it too is an open secret, starring the color grey
Window by window, stone by stone, it was built for the palate,
perhaps you’ll spot something resembling a galette
Pour over your options, do yourself this favor,
because when it comes to B-L-or D, it’ll serve something you’ll forever savor!

So, where am I?

Ladies and gentleman, I am…

at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone in the wine-rich town of St. Helena, California!

Located in the heart of Napa Valley in northern California, the CIA at Greystone is a top-notch restaurant and training ground for elite chefs, as well as a spectacular destination for anybody who enjoys excellent food and wine! While the seating inside is very nice, it pales in comparison to the view and pure serenity on the stone terrace with a stunning view of the vineyards just beyond the trees and road.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, we will all gather around the dinner table of that brave soul who willingly volunteered to host Thanksgiving with our family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Feasts will overwhelm kitchens with each family’s special touch. This may pertain to cranberry sauce that is prepared beyond just shimmying it out of the can, potatoes with or without lumps or that special dessert from a family recipe with that quintessential whipped cream dollop.

Regardless of the shouting, screaming and crying (and don’t forget about the children), the varying successes and failures throughout today will perfectly define Thanksgiving for us all. But, when all the food is eaten, the dishes cleared (not yet cleaned, but cleared) and people’s adrenaline levels have subsided, then that special bonding moment can begin with either a visit to the movie theater or an in-home entertainment presentation.

From my family to yours, here’s a little insight (or appetizer if you will) to what really brings joy to our world (drum beat please!).

Don’t forget about those in-laws…

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. We all know the scene below is when we learned what it is in turkey that makes us drowsy: