I hated wine, until I met a Pinot Noir I just can’t say no to!

December 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm (Uncategorized)

For many, it takes a long time to appreciate a nice glass of wine, for others it just takes one sip.  It took me until about two months ago!  What I learned was that there is life after White Zin!  Every time I drank it, I ended up with a headache.  It was just too sweet for me, but that was what everyone was drinking so I decided to just skip it altogether.  But then along comes a restaurant…did you know that a nice dinner needs wine?  I have to admit it though, we had a wine salesperson come by the restaurant and I was planning on taking one sip and then ditching him with my husband.  I figured I would find anything to do except for have to sit there and try 8 different kinds of wine.  Yes, many of you are cringing and thinking to yourself – someone is bringing her free wine to try and she is trying to ditch them!

But then, along came Paul.  Paul Dolan Wines, that is.  I was introduced to a Pinot Noir that made me want to sing.  The flavor, the color, the fragrance.  It was a pleasure to twirl it in my glass and taste the essence of the fruit.  Suddenly, I found wine’s true purpose, to end the evening well.  On top of the beautiful flavor, it turns out the company is one of the fore runners in environmental production and even uses windmills for energy.  So, here is this beautiful drink that doesn’t ravage the earth to be created.  Win-Win (and as my husband says, Win-Win-Win because he finally has someone to share his love of wine!)

I’ve gone on to try other wines by this same Vineyard and the best thing I can say is that Paul Dolan taught me to love wine!  The more I learn about his practices, the more I want to visit Mendocina Valley and meet him in person to say thank you!  I know my family wants to thank him too.  I was always the oddball out because everyone else drank wine and there I would sit with beer or soda.

But white wine drinkers behold, Parducci Chardonnay is absolutely amazing!  I believe this wine is related to the Paul Dolan line, but again, I was convinced that maybe I just liked red wine only.  That could be, right, but then along came a bottle, a bottle of Parducci Chardonnay.  The wine rep, Bob, that carries these wines then invited us to a Wine Tasting hosted by his Distribution Company.  You walk over and check in, they give you this booklet and a wine glass and away you go.

I can see why people love the wine country if this is how you are treated!  We walked around and tasted, tried, and enjoyed so many different wines.  We wrote our comments down in our books and enjoyed the wonderful food, thank goodness there was bread!!  Even though it is just sips, it is a bit overwhelming after the first aisle.  My husband thought it was hysterical that I went from hating wine to sipping my way through a Wine Tasting Picnic at a Distributors Lot.  We found Bob and he brought us around to certain tables and introduced us to some really fun wines.  One of my personal favorites was called “Heretic”.  It was fun, bold, and a little risky.  It was a dark bottle with this red flame writing on it.  It was perfect for that sassy mood that everyone gets in.

So now I use my love of wine to pair it with foods on our menu.  I love trying a new wine and pairing it with something fun from the menu.  More on wine later….


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The New Place.

December 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm (Uncategorized)

When one door closes, another door opens….this one just happened to have french doors!  New landlord, new place, old gossip.

We are now in an old Inn that needed a lot of work.  This place was trashed from head to toe and was the equivalent of a “squatters paradise” inside.  The last tenant left three years ago and left dirty dishes at the time.  There were cigarette butts in the glassware, dead animals in the cupboards, grease, grime, broken lights, ugly, ugly purple walls and just extreme filth, and I haven’t even started to talk about the kitchen!

The landlord definitely has rose-colored glasses because he viewed it as a little bit of paint and vacuuming and we were good to go.  That wasn’t quite all that was needed.  It was only one thing that was needed.  Just having stuff in the place didn’t mean it was functioning.  But alas, we had the caretaker to help us get things running….does the Shining ring any bells to y’all?  But, underneath all of this, was this beautiful, vintage old Inn that had a history so rich, you could almost hear the walls talk when you would put your hand against it.  Despite the mess, this place had a magic all it’s own.  You could almost hear Marlon Brando laughing with his buddies over cigars, or see the dresses of the ladies fly around when they danced on the dance floor.   There were so many reasons to fall in love with this place, so we did.

So the work begins.  The rumors start, people start stopping by with “advice”.  I really have to ask this question, and please, please respond….


How often do you go into a restaurant and offer your personal advice on things like “you should have more pictures on the walls, you should paint this room a different color, you should have this soup on Thursdays because this is when I like to come in and I don’t like that soup, or even be as bold as saying, does your other cook know how I like things cooked, can you go back and show him my way.  He doesn’t look like he is going to get it right?

I don’t know if I open the door too much sometimes, but these are the kind of questions I have to face every day.  It’s pretty funny.  So, we take the place from old and abandoned to vintage and fun.  But, we still have those who want us to do everything their way, which is why the place was abandoned in the first place!

Myrna Loy's Garden Room

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Okay…so here goes the background.

December 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm (Uncategorized)

All right.  If you are going to enjoy any of the story, you first must get the visual picture of the fun we have here.  First off, this is actually my second restaurant in the past three years.  The first one, was an experiment in itself.  I bought the local coffee shop from the local local who, me being unaware, touted herself as the ruler of our little town.  She was ready to move on and the establishment was being run by a family member who had had enough.  What I never realized was that this woman was an overbearing demon who had little to no self control and was not willing to let anyone else have control over this business, even if they bought it!  Oh, and did I mention she was the landlord too…yeah, that just sounds like a happy ending story all in itself.

Needless to say, pointless stories later (i am sure stories will come up throughout the blogging), we parted ways.  We spent a lot of time screaming at each other and scaring off poor customers, and indeed, parted ways.  We were supposed to walk away and leave it at that.  I was looking for a new location for my place, she was bashing me all around town and then some.  The amount of lies that she spewed in the town prompted a few other things to happen.

My customers were missing us quite a bit.  It was an experiment in good, homemade, comfort foods.  They started leaving us messages on email, voicemail, even stopping by the house.  Enter Stage Left:  the new location.  Everyone was pushing us towards a new location – two doors down.

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About a restaurant…

November 29, 2009 at 7:45 pm (Uncategorized)

So you want to start a restaurant…well, it’s easier to start a blog!  I started my restaurant because I was absolutely fed up with going out to eat and being served the same dish, different sauce, all frozen, no matter where I went.  It was the constant barrage of the same things just reheated and served.  It was awful!  With so many people running around and spouting about organic, all natural, fresh made, why on this great green earth are you paying for frozen, processed nonsense when you go out to eat.  I fully believe that the farmer’s would be better off if people started going back to the basics when they cook and stop processing everything in factories.  As for restaurants, we all need to stop the shortcuts and start cooking again!

We are basically what people keep calling an “experiment” in flavor because we have flavor.  We are basing our place of the history of food, the history of the town, and using our own recipes to create great flavors.  It’s hard to believe it, but guess what, gravy doesn’t just come in a can!

I am going to take you on a ride through our roller coaster of a life as we open a restaurant in a small town, with a lot of history, both good and bad.  The trials and tribulations of small town gossip, mean people, and the new taste of the town give me more than enough to write about and hopefully it will be a fun journey for the readers as well….for now, make it fresh, have fun with cooking, and stop gossiping!

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