Tag Archives: PlumpJack Blog

People of PlumpJack: 20 Questions with Jason Schulz

From the daily management of the wine list to wine trainings and seminars, the responsibilities of PlumpJack Cafe’s Wine Director, Jason Schulz, are endless. With ski season just around the corner, we sat down with Schulz, at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn, and played 20 questions.
Jason Schulz_Food and Beverage Manager_PlumpJack Squaw Valley
What was your dream job growing up?
I wanted to be an Architect/Mechanical Engineer. I always loved designing multiple types of houses, something I still enjoy today.

Do you have a personal philosophy?
“Do as you will, but harm none.” It’s an ancient motto that we could all live by today.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled?
Ollantaytambo, Peru!

 

Favorite hotel/restaurant there?
Pescados Capitales in Lima, Peru has THE best grilled octopus I’ve ever had.
ticr_890_370First thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Brew a fresh pot of coffee. It’s an impressive habit that makes me human again.

When not working, what do you love to do?
Ski, Hike, Golf, Kayak, Camp

What’s your current favorite song?
Pets by Deadmou5 right now. Disco Science by Mirwais, as well.

How did you get involved with PlumpJack?
I wanted to work at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn since I first visited Tahoe in 1997. When I moved up to Tahoe from San Francisco in 2011, I pursued it immediately. When the position became available, I interviewed… and here I am!

PlumpJack_Squaw Valley InnTell us about your journey as PlumpJack Cafe’s Wine Director.
I attained a wealth of knowledge through some of the best Wine Directors and Master Sommeliers (and aspiring M.S.s) in San Francisco, in addition to working for a wine distributor for a few years. Wine has always been a passion of mine. As the need for a Wine Director at the Cafe became apparent, it was a logical choice to have someone with a multitude of experiences from both the buying and the selling sides of the wine business to lead us and to continue the legacy of world class offerings that PlumpJack has become synonymous with.

How did you become interested in wine?
I’ve literally grown up in the restaurant industry where wine was always around. Since I was 13, working in an Italian restaurant that a family-friend owned, wine and food have always gone together for me. Plus, it’s just SO delicious.

What do you think is the most versatile wine?
German Riesling for whites and reds from Piedmont, Italy. Although, I could throw Northern Rhone reds in there, too.

What is the bestselling wine at PlumpJack Cafe?
Chardonnays and Pinot Noir’s still reign supreme, but it is my goal to match wines and foods together as best I can.

Favorite food and wine combination?
There are so many food and wine pairings that I enjoy! Foie Gras and Sauternes. Spicy Thai and German Auslese Riesling. Mushroom Risotto and Barbera d’Alba. I also just had some phenomenal Charcuterie with a new world Grenache that was outstanding.

Favorite food?
Any variety of noodles – Pho noodles, Thai noodles, Seafood Ramen… I love them all.

What do you believe is the most underrated wine?
Two styles of wine that I feel are grossly underrated are Madeira and Champagne, frankly bubbles in general. People think that Madeiras are strictly for dessert, but they’re laden with wonderful acids that pair with a wide variety of foods, especially meats and game dishes.

Any wines that are misunderstood?
Champagne and bubbly wines are typically held for festive occasions only, but their global diversity is unmatched, and they can pair with everything from cheese and charcuterie to heartier seafood dishes. Plus, who doesn’t love a glass of bubbly any time?

What advice would you give to someone getting started in the wine industry?
My advice would be to work in the environment and to engross themselves in the wine world. Work in a restaurant that has a Sommelier or Wine Director and learn from them. Attend wine seminars and tastings when possible. Visit wineries and meet the winemakers; one can learn an infinite amount from these passionate, talented people.

Who do you admire most in the wine and hospitality industry?
We genuinely care about the experience that our guests receive and want to make sure that, when they are in our restaurant, they have the best care possible. From a wine point of view, it’s the people and http://www.cialispharmaciefr24.com/achat-cialis-en-ligne/ effort that go into making wine. The winemakers are the epitome of devotion to their craft, but no one can do it alone. The workers in the fields that pick and sort the grapes are some of the hardest working people you’ll ever meet, and their passion for what they do is admirable.

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What has been the most significant project or accomplishment of your career?

Starting a beverage consulting business (Mountain Beverage Solutions) with my partner, Jake Spero, has been exceedingly significant and rewarding for me. Maintaining and managing a “Best of” Award of Excellence winning wine list that features some 725 selections at PlumpJack Cafe has been one of my greatest accomplishments. I was also Lead Captain at Saison Restaurant in San Francisco when we received our Michelin Star, which was awesome.

Bucket of wine and champagne If you were not working in the wine industry, what would you be doing?
If I was not in the wine industry, I’d probably be involved with the ski and golf industries on some level. I have been skiing since I was three, and I used to work in that world for a while and enjoyed it immensely. I’ve also been, at one point, a low, single digit handicap golfer and could see myself being a teaching pro.
PlumpJack Cafe is now taking reservations for the Holidays and it’s busy winter season. Don’t wait to book, especially if you have a larger group.

Carmel Tastemaker: Angolee Bodee, Stylist & Entrepreneur

Angolee is the owner of Oya Salon with her husband Brian. Along with managing the salon, she’s also active in the Carmel/Monterey community, as well as managing a household with two kids. She knows a lot about the fabric of Carmel and beyond. She has great tips on Monterey and Carmel Valley for those who like to venture out of Carmel during their stay.

What do you believe to be Carmel’s hidden treasures that the locals mostly know about, but you don’t mind sharing with visitors.

  • Big Sur and pretty much any spot there is magnificent.
  • Carmel Beach is just a short walk from town – great walking beach and is dog friendly, also walking along Scenic in Pebble Beach or driving along 17-Mile Drive is a must and then eating at the Bench in Pebble Beach.
  • For hiking, I love Garland

    State Park in Carmel Valley

    with its variety of landscapes and available hikes for different levels, making it great for the avid hiker or a more casual family hike. Afterwards, reward yourself with some wine tasting at one of the many wineries in Carmel Valley.

AngoleeandHusbandWhat are your favorite kid-friendly

activities to do in Carmel and the surrounding areas?

Carmel Belle

Where do you go for a really great cocktail?
For fresh juice, I like Juice Bar: Good to Go and Carmel Belle. For cocktails, I go to Grazings, Barmel, Rooftop at Vesuvios, Il Fornaio, Lucas or any wine bar in Carmel.

What are your Carmel wardrobe essentials – how should people pack for a visit to Carmel?
Definitely wear layers. Pants, dresses with long or short boots, sweaters, light jackets.

Carmel is known for its charming town filled with shops, galleries, restaurants and cafés, what are some of your favorite spots?
Girl Boy Girl, Paloosh, Bay Company, Weston Gallery, Hat shop in Carmel, Foxy Couture, Thinker toys, Coast, Bay Company, Augustina Leathers, Eco Carmel, Fourtane, Star Child, Carmel Belle Restaurant, La Bicyclette Restaurant, Lucas Restaurant, Dametra Restaurant, Aw Shucks Restaurant, Little Napoli Restaurant, Casanovas Restaurant, Mundakas Restaurant, Roys or the Bench (MY FAVORITE FOR VIEW AND FOOD) in Pebble.

What do you love most about Carmel?
Its natural surroundings, peaceful, safe and clean. Love hiking, being outside, dog friendly, nice people, casual living.

 

 

Conversations with Hilary: Jacques Bezuidenhout, Bar Star

With the recent opening of Wildhawk, I found it fitting to feature the genius behind the cocktails, Jacques Bezuidenhout. A Johannesburg native, Jacques became captivated by the cocktail and spirits culture in London and then decided to take the great American bus adventure to discover the lay of the land. Thankfully for us, he found his favorite American city in San Francisco and officially planted roots here in 1997.

Jacques is a partner in both Wildhawk and Forgery, and is also a National Brand Ambassador for Partida Tequila and Campari. Both Jacques and partner Ken Luciano have worked extremely hard this past year to open two amazing bars, with one getting ready to celebrate it’s one year anniversary (Forgery) and the other celebrating its opening (Wildhawk), the future looks bright for our two bar stars.

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?

Family and friends. My relationship with my family, friends and Alexis is my best accomplishment. Without any of them, nothing else really matters. I feel in that regard I have not accomplished as much as I can. I can always be a better friend, family member, son, father, brother or partner.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I hope my passion, generosity and sometimes my jokes.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I wish I had the talents to be an Architect. I have always loved the talents and creativity of Architects. Designing something and then building it – Gaudy and Frank Gehry leave beautiful marks on this world.

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
The creativity and the people. I love the creative process about putting a bar idea

together and then the people you work with and the people you serve bring everything together and make it special.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Kiss Alexis good morning and then slowly try and figure out my first cup of coffee.

The Wildhawk bar team

The Wildhawk bar team

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
That could be many things. It could be something at home or out in a city. Usually involves either a cocktail or some food. I love our culture of food and liquids. Every day is a new adventure in food, wine and spirits.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Basketball. I wanted to be a professional basketball player in the NBA. I loved the process of constantly shooting a ball every day and going through the process of getting better and improving.

What are you passionate about now?
Food, spirits and worldly culture.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Fall. I grew up in constant beautiful summer in Johannesburg so never experienced fall until I moved, and I love it. I love fall on the East Coast. Leaves change. Food changes. Smells change. You start to feel that chill and smell wood smoke in the air.

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
A Negroni. Maybe a little misunderstood, a little bitter, but full of complexity and fun at the same time. It’s the kind of cocktail that makes you happy at any part of the day.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Jay Z – Ain’t No love like the Heart of the City.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
I always go back to Nelson Mandela or Madiba as he is affectionately referred to back home. I would just love to connect with such a special person. Try and understand his Grace to humanity after everything he went through.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
I hope it’s a Will Farrel movie. Somewhere between Step Brothers, Semi-Pro and Other Guys, with a little sprinkle of the movie Cocktail and a small part of a River Runs Through It. So a little like a cocktail. Many small parts, all good.

Jacques behind the bar at Forgery

Jacques behind the bar at Forgery

Do you have any regrets?
Yes. I believe we all do but for the most part I am happy with my choices and decisions. I would say the biggest regret is not having more daily time with my Daughter or loved ones.

Define Freedom.
Freedom to me would be an open world of travel. No borders and an unlimited flight, hotel and food expense account.

What are your personal core values?
Love. Passion. Life.

What three things would you bring with you on a desert Island?
Alexis, Partida Reposado and Pasta Arrabiata and if I could smuggle a fourth then a few cases of great wine.

Conversations with Hilary: Executive Chef Howard Ko

This month I sat down with new friend and member of the PlumpJack family, Chef Howard Ko. We are so excited to have him on board as Executive Chef of Balboa Cafe Mill Valley. In his career to date, Howard has already worked at some of the most well-respected establishments – The Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow, The French Laundry with Thomas Keller and in the kitchens of Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Melisse in Los Angeles, Hanilkwan in Osaka, and Daniel in New York.

Howard lives in Napa with his fiancée, Wendy, and dog, Whiskey. If you haven’t experienced Chef Ko’s food yet, you’re in for a treat. Howard takes bistro classics and adds his own modern twist. Locally sourcing his ingredients, and sometimes even foraging for them in the wilderness.

Bon Appetite Test Kitchen NYC with Chef Christopher Kostow & Chef Pancho (Restaurant at Meadowood)

Bon Appetite Test Kitchen NYC with Chef Christopher Kostow & Chef Pancho (Restaurant at Meadowood)

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Asking my fiancé Wendy to marry me. I never thought in a million years someone as wonderfully strong as her would agree to put up with my antics and this crazy adventure with me. We are getting married in August at San Francisco City Hall and am so excited!

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I think that I am understanding but stern at the same time. People know that I am fair and I think people are drawn to my work ethic, but also my sense of humor and lightheartedness.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I would own a barbershop. I spent a lot of my childhood at barbershops and I can do a killer fade. That was my side gig during my youth.

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
Making people happy. I never got into cooking just to feed people. I got into this career to create memories.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit the snooze button – ha, just kidding. Make it to CrossFit. I have to take care of my body due to the demands of the business. I either CrossFit, go to the gym or for a run, and I am getting into cycling now.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
I’ve been working on Friday nights ever since I can remember but on the rare occasion I do have one off I like to try out a new restaurant and probably watch a movie.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
To get better at my craft. Cooking was something I knew I was going to do since I was in the 6th grade. I’ve been trying to perfect it ever since.

What are you passionate about now?
I’ve been cooking for 10 years now homing in on the things I don’t understand and researching them. Not knowing how to do something really bothers me when it comes to cooking. I want to know everything there is to know about it. My cookbook collection is getting rather extensive.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Spring! It’s when everything starts to come back to life. All the vegetables and fruits are so beautiful. They really add so much to dishes.

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Jameson neat. Nothing fancy. It’s a cook thing. Oh and chase it with a Chimay.

What’s the #1 most played song on your music rotation?
Right now it’s Billie Jean by Michael Jackson.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My grandma who passed a while ago. At a young age she was the one who raised me and I felt I never appreciated that enough. I’d like to talk to her and get to know her and thank her.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Sacrifice

Do you have any regrets?
I think everyone does to some extent. I have a lot. I could have been better, I could have loved more, I could have worked harder, but then I could have sacrificed less and spent more time with family. It’s the nature of what I do and I do it because I love it.

Wendy and Howard in Napa

Wendy and Howard in Napa

Define Freedom.
Being able to cook the food I love and want, and to have the support of every guest that comes into my establishment.

What are your personal core values?
To always be kind and genuine. I will help anyone out who needs it and I want to leave a legacy. Like the memories that I am trying to create, something that outlives me, my restaurant, our company.

What three things would you bring with you on a desert Island?
My fiancé Wendy, our dog Whiskey and some beers. I am a simple man with simple needs.

PlumpJack Does Easter Brunch Better than the Rest

PlumpJack does Easter Brunch better than the rest. With restaurants spanning from San Francisco and Marin to Napa and all the way up to the Sierra Mountains, you’re guaranteed a spot at the table. Enjoy the classics like the Balboa Huevos Rancheros or some upgrades on some classics, like PlumpJack Cafe’s Cinnamon Challah French Toast. See below for menus, links to make reservations and more.

FARM at The Carneros Inn
View Menu and Make a Reservation 
Boon Fly Café at The Carneros Inn
Will be serving their regular brunch menus from 7am to 3pm
Make a Reservation 
Balboa Cafe San Francisco
View Menu 
Balboa Café Mill Valley
Make a Reservation 
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PlumpJack Cafe
View Menu and Make a Reservation
Join us on the upper pool patio for an Easter egg hunt at 11:00 am
SVI Cafe Photos March 2014 - 111

Jacques Bezuidenhout’s Favorite Classic Cocktails & Bar Essentials

In anticipation for the April opening of Wildhawk Bar, partner Jacques Bezuidenhout reveals his favorite classic cocktails and his essentials for his at-home bar.

What is your favorite cocktail to order at the bar when you go out?
I have three that I order regularly depending on what kind of bar I’m walking into. I cannot just have one. Generally a Negroni is one of my favorites, followed by a Margarita and a good Martini. For me, these three classics, if made well, will always put a smile on my face and make the days’ stresses disappear. They are timeless and very tasty!

Why are these your favorites when you’re out?
Most bars can make a Negroni, even if they don’t, they can be helped with a little direction. Then I love a great Margarita, but that really depends if the bar does fresh squeezed lime juice and if they carry quality Tequila. If that is the case, I will thoroughly enjoy a Margarita or two. Then lastly, I love a well-made Martini, I am very careful when ordering this cocktail. Most bars can make a good Martini, but few can make a great Martini. It is one of those drinks that require some passion and attention to detail. It can truly set the good bartenders from the great bartenders.

Jacques Bezuidenhout and Kenny Luciano of Forgery and upcoming Wildhawk Bar

Jacques Bezuidenhout and Kenny Luciano, partners in Forgery and upcoming Wildhawk Bar

What two things do you stock at your bar at home, that people don’t necessarily think to have or generally own?
A couple of things every home bar should have is a mixing glass and a home juicer. Get a nice mixing glass (Cocktail Kingdom), this will help you stir all sorts of great drinks from Martini’s to Manhattan’s. It is a great piece of equipment to have and looks great on your bar. Then always have a hand juicer for juicing limes, lemons or grapefruits. Do not ever, ever, ever buy pre-mixed citrus. The hand juicer ensures delightful fresh-squeezed juice, which makes for a much better cocktail experience. It takes a little extra effort but the pay-off is well worth it.

What do you think would make someone’s home bar a bit extra special?
For me it is not really a specific ingredient – I believe that is a very personal thing. If you love Gin then stock a great selection. Although, it is always handy to have a small selection of bitters and at the very least Angostura.

Conversations with Hilary: Hilary Newsom

decided to start the Conversations with Hilary series so I could feature incredibly interesting people that inspire me and who thought were making a positive impact in the community. The extraordinary people that I have been lucky enough to interview range from NFL superstars to actors, artists, musicians and philanthropists. After almost two years of this series and thousands of page views on the PlumpJack Blog, I feel honored with the response I have received from the audience. My favorite part is getting to know my friends a lot better as they thoughtfully consider the answers to my questions. It was only recently that it occurred to me that I had never done the exercise of answering the questions myself. If you know me, I am mostly an open book, but for those of you who want to know a little bit more about who I am and what I am passionate about, well then, here it is, my version of Conversations with Hilary, featuring ME!air max 90 premium

11118854_1400187450309965_4507302405805553387_nWhat do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
My daughters Talitha and Siena – they are growing into compassionate young ladies, who care about others in a genuine way. This is all I could ever hope for as a parent! And I am proud of my strong marriage to my husband Geoff Callan, one of the most loving and hilarious people I have ever known.new balance 996

Do you have a prized possession?
I have a Cartier “love bracelet” that belonged to my mom. She gave it to me to borrow when she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. One of the best days for me was when I gave it back to her when she was in remission. Sadly, I have the bracelet back on, for good, since loosing my mom to cancer in 2002.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I think people would say I am loyal and (mostly) kind! I think I am occasionally funny, but maybe that is just wishful thinking.womens nike free run

Hilary and Gavin

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Philanthropy brings me great joy, so I would love to eventually run the PlumpJack Foundation. This will happen, I just need more time!
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What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
I am in the business of making people happy. When I came to PlumpJack to work for my brother Gavin, I never imagined I would be here 19 years later and still having so much fun! What is there not to like about the world of hospitality.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Reflect on how many times my two toy poodles woke me during the night! Then revisit the very vivid dreams I had.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Have dinner at my best friend Lori Puccinelli Stern’s house. She is a great cook and throws a great dinner party!

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Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks with Hilary and Geoff at the PlumpJack LINK Classic

Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks with Hilary and Geoff at the PlumpJack LINK Classic

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Making people happy. My youngest daughter says that to me now- that she only wants to make people happy. I think that is something that has stayed with me over the years, my desire to be a people-pleaser.

What are you passionate about now?
Helping people, even if it’s one person at a time. Raising my daughters to be good citizens, loving my family and friends.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I love the fall. I love the cooler weather (I have great coats!) and that the holidays are right around the corner.

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Hilary, Geoff, Siena and Talitha

Hilary, Geoff, Siena and Talitha

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
Can we consider my husband Geoff, and my daughters Tali and Siena items? Probably not, so I would take pallet of Teas’ Tea in Golden Oolong flavor, my iPhone for audiobooks and a really big solar light, as I am afraid of the dark!

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
The Hilary Gin and Tonic, that you can currently order at Forgery – although I mainly drink Cade Sauvignon Blanc and PlumpJack and Cade Cab’s.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod? Anything performed by Eoin Harrington, I especially love his rendition of “Hallelujah.” I’m also a big  fan Pat Monahan of Train!

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Well considering Hillary Clinton was just in SF having “Conversations with Hillary” I was a little hurt she didn’t invite me, so looks like I will have to invite her!

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” Hilary and her mother


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If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
“Chaordic”, the story of a happy life filled with organized Chaos. My husband would suggest, “Wonder Woman: The Unauthorized Biography of Hilary Newsom.”

Do you have any regrets?
That all I tried to do for my mom, it was not enough.

Define Freedom.
Physically: Feeling safe in your home, in your city, in your country.

What are your personal core values?
I value loyalty, approachability, and being compassionateabove all.

Conversations with Hilary: TV & Radio Personality, Liam Mayclem

Photography by Rick Camargo

Photography by Rick Camargo

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From the moment I met Liam, I knew I had a friend for life. He is extremely charming, hilarious, kind, loyal, philanthropic and loved across the San Francisco Bay Area. Most people will recognize Liam as the Emmy Award winning radio & TV personality and CBS San Francisco’s very own “Foodie Chap.” To me, he is simply an amazing friend and one of the most generous I know.
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Liam and I both share a passion for fundraising and philanthropy. I have been lucky enough to have Liam be our auctioneer for our Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic, which is going into its 17th year. He resides over more than 20 charity auctions a year and has helped raise millions of dollars for Bay Area charities & schools. I am honored to have him as my subject for this month’s Coversations.
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What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
I am proud of three things!
1. My 10 year relationship with my partner and best pal Rick Camargo. I wondered if anyone would ever want to grow old with me? He appears to be…but of course HE is NOT growing old – I am.
2. I am proud of my friendships. They have endured through the years. I love being able to look at a pal and say “twenty years ago do you recall when?” I am a sentimental fart. I treasure friendships immensely.
3. I shed 35 pounds this year and have managed to keep it off. I am proud of that. I took charge of my health by eating right and exercising regularly. Not an easy task when you are the “foodie chap” and one eats and drinks for a living. The key to my weight loss: drink three nights a week instead of eight, push aside the carbs, work out in the morning before you do ANYTHING else and at night, run to bed early instead of to the fridge for snacks.

Do you have a prized possession?
A photo of my brother Rory and my mother who passed in 1998. I was two and my brother five in the photograph. It’s one of just a few that I have of me as a wee one.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I show up, sometimes too much. Often briefly, but I always show up.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I always dreamed early on that I might be an actor. The next Peter O’Toole or Michael Caine. There is still time – no?mens new balance sneakers

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
I love that every day is different as a radio/TV/event host. There is never a dull moment. I am always on the move. This week alone: filming commercial spots for PEETS coffee; today I have a voiceover session for Infiniti of SF; later taping at Oakland Zoo; Sunday a Christmas tree lighting in Half Moon Bay; and three charity events to host, too ….and that’s just half of it. Next week I venture off to India to film a week of travel pieces for CBS-TV – so never an opportunity to get bored. Every day brings new adventure. Did I mention I am also about to launch a 10 day cruise with CRYSTAL CRUISES and my pal Chef Hubert Keller!!? See, life is one non-stop, fun filled adventure!!

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
“Get out of my head, feet on the floor, out of my bed, embrace the day ahead and RUN or drive to the gym”.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Ideally a date night with my partner Rick, preferably at home, cooking and watching a mindless movie; however, most Fridays I am hosting or auctioneering at a Bay Area charity event.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
I loved to sing and act. I was in all the school plays. Acting was in my young bones. I was a radio nut, too, and listened to much pop radio. BBC radio 1 was my favorite to hear “Top of the pops”! My first job was in radio. At Age 16 I read the cricket scores on County Sound Radio in Surrey.

What are you passionate about now?
I still enjoy radio. I love Terry Gross on NPR and enjoy listening to BBC WORLD SERVICE. I am also a passionate fundraiser. I work with a dozen or more Bay Area charities and get a real thrill playing auctioneer. Nothing feels better than for example, at a recent fundraiser for Operation Smile saying: “Together we raised a quarter million dollars and gave a thousand children the possibility of a smile.” That’s powerful. That is my passion -fundraising and igniting that innate giving spirit in others.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I enjoy September and October here in the Bay Area- our Indian Summer. The vineyards in wine country turn a patchwork quilt of colors. A pretty scene to drive through, and in San Francisco – my home and heart – it’s warm. It finally feels like Summer.nike free 3.0 v3

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
My iPhone to stay connected, sun lotion so I don’t burn, and a book titled “how to survive on a desert island.”

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
The Queen Mother (Bombay sapphire, rouge, king’s ginger & lemon bitters). Why this? Because everyone loves the Queen Mum.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah”

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
May I have a few guests? Oscar Wilde for his wit, Robin Williams for laughs, Sting for the music, Marilyn Monroe to share secrets and Julia Child for the cooking.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
New Tales of the City by Liam Mayclem and how Armistead Maupin became a friend along the way.

Do you have any regrets?
Not today.shoes stephen curry

Define Freedom.
Being here in my hometown San Francisco and strolling down the street with my partner Rick arm-in-arm (we are not very handsy) without fear of being verbally or physically abused. And not worrying about what the neighbors think.

What are your personal core values?
Be honest. Be faithful. Be here.

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Conversations with Hilary: Radio Personality, Hooman Khalili

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and radio personality Hooman Khalili. You can catch him every morning on Alice Radio 97.3 FM – he has been part of the Sarah and Vinnie morning show for the past 16 years. Part of Hooman’s job is interviewing high-profile guests like Sting, John Travolta, Maroon 5 to name a few.
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In 2008 Hooman created the #1 most viewed non-partisan video to inspire the youth of America to get out and vote for the presidential election. The video received 5.1 million views on YOUTUBE and ended up in the museum of Radio and Television in NYC.
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I have known Hooman for more than 12 years and find him to be one of the most hard working and generous people I know. He is always willing to support my philanthropic efforts and participate in my myriad of events despite his busy schedule. I am grateful to have him share his thoughtful answers in this month’s Conversations with Hilary.
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Hooman and Hilary

Hooman and Hilary

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What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
The fact that my mom and are in America, we are Christians and we are American Citizens, would probably be at the top of the list. That may not seem like a traditional accomplishment but every great thing that has happened in my life is a result of those three things.
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My life is a miracle, and no matter what I’m going through, I remind myself of the unmerited grace that has set me up to thrive. Number two on my list (what many would consider a traditional accomplishment) is the fact that I am on the radio with Sarah, Vinnie, Uzette, Bryn and Vanessa! It’s a beautiful thing to be a member of the #1 morning show in the Bay Area. It’s a party everyday and it affords me the ability to contribute to a lot of charities and meet incredibly interesting people.
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Do you have a prized possession?
This is gonna sound sappy but there are a few. My relationship with my mom is a possession I treasure everyday. She’s the kindest person I know – always inconveniencing herself for others.
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My relationship with my coworker Sarah is another gift from above. Over the past 16 years she has stood up for me more times than I can count. And my third prized possession is my church, REALITY (in the mission). I’ve been to more than 300 churches in my lifetime and this one, hands down, is by far the very best church I’ve ever been to. It’s full of the spirit. I’ve been attending for a year and a half and 99% of the people I’ve brought have come back (atheists and Christians alike).
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What qualities do you think others love about you?
Wow this one is tough. It might seem odd to start with this but I like to provide value to the people that are my friends and acquaintances. I want to be a problem solver for my friends. I want to help them in their time of need. I also genuinely like people! I like to go out and meet everyone in the room if I can, I like to engage. When we meet I’m hopeful you and I will click. Lastly, if I know you are down, I will call, I will reach out, I will get you out of your house! I want you to get out of the pit, I want you to laugh and run and be silly again!

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Probably a full time movie maker, I’d also start my own Sirius Satellite radio station, and invent a new type of Yoga.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
In terms of my career – I’ve been with Sarah and Vinnie for 16 years now, and I can honestly say I like that every day is completely unpredictable. No matter what I’m personally dealing with, it has to take a back seat, the show must go on. But what I LOVE about my job is that people tune into us to laugh. Whether they are on their way to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or they are just alone . . .lonely! I love that we comfort people and put a smile on their faces
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What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Pray, truth be told, I actually wake up 30 min earlier then I need to so I can put the next 12 hours in the LORD’S hands. I used to wake up close to 4AM – I now wake up at 3:20 AM. Each day I have at least 100 decisions to make and 100 crossroads – without the prayer at least 90% of those decisions will be wrong.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Friday nights are special indeed – because I’m totally single, I don’t have a girlfriend, I don’t own a house, I don’t have any kids, I don’t have a wife . . . I go out every night of the week. Often by the time Friday rolls around the week has caught up with me and I just “pass the “F” out around 6PM. If a group of my friends get together for a happy hour on a Friday no matter how tired I am, I’ll rally. The feeling of a Friday night – the feeling of getting through the week is sweet.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Success, getting married, owning a house, accomplishing a lot of things, being admired.

What are you passionate about now?
The answer here is a bit on the long side so bear with me. Surrounding myself with people who are amazing, Church (Realitysf.com), prayer, making movies, being part of the #1 morning show in the Bay Area, laughing, getting massages. I truly enjoy helping people and being there for them in their time of need. I love going out and there is always so much to do in San Francisco. My birthday is coming up, I’m passionate about throwing a great party where I can see my friends laugh, drink, dance and sing! Lastly I’m very passionate about taking big risks. Trying to accomplish things that are so much bigger then anything I am capable of doing in my own strength.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I’d have to say Summer. I like good weather. Summer time is usually when I travel and go on adventures. Music concerts during the Summer are usually the best.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
A solar-powered iPod that is fully loaded with everything I’d ever want to listen to. An unlimited supply of matches that were water proof. Some kind of fishing pole/Rambo knife that is perfectly effective on sea and land (if there could be a fourth a tent with a built-in bed and pillow)

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Probably a Mojito – (its usually what I order when I go out)

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Well it depends on what category – In Classical its Bach – Suite No.1 in G performed by Pablo Casals. . . In Pop Music it’s the Beatles either LET IT BE or BLACKBIRD. Lastly I love the song Knees to the Earth by Christy Nockels (Revolution Album Version).

Hooman with his adopted American family

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
It would have to be in this order; Jesus, Solomon from the Old Testament (David’s son), Mozart, Bach and The Apostle Paul.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Free Like a Bird – A life of Unmerited Grace

Do you have any regrets?
This a tricky question because I am exactly where I am supposed to be. If anything in my past were to change then I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. But that being said…I would have loved to have gone to some famous college like an NYU or a USC or Stanford.

Define Freedom.
Another tough question. Freedom for me Is being able to not attach my emotions to my circumstances. If I am truly able to do that, then I am free. Freedom is to be full of Joy and Peace even though I am surrounded by a war.

What are your personal core values?
God first. Even before the desires of my heart, my dreams, or my hopes. Help others even when it’s an inconvenience. Always pray, especially when I don’t want to. Forgive, even if the relationship after you forgive is not the same, still forgive, erase the resentment from your heart.

BOM Club Tasting Notes: October 2015

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PlumpJack Wine & Spirits brings you the beer club tasting notes for October. This month, we’re taking a quick break from beer to feature two apple ciders. Dupont’s is a traditional Norman cider (as in Normandy, France) with protected designation of origin status. The second bottle, West County’s Redfield, is a rose-hued varietal cider from the New World (Western Mass., on the Vermont border, to be exact). Each is a delicious sip of the orchard and a great partner at the autumn dinner table.nike free run sale

Cheers!

Rich Higgins, Master Cicerone


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Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie 2014 Domaine Dupont, Victot-Pontfol, Normandy, France 5.5% ABV
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The Norman countryside is filled with dairy cows, rolling pasture, and orchards full of apple and pear trees. For centuries, farmers have been making ciders and perries from the fruit and pairing it with dishes full of cheese and cream. Calvados and Pays d’Auge are two sub-regions of central Normandy, and both are famous also for their apple and pear brandies, known collectively as Calvados, distilled from cider and perry. The French government has recognized the cider from this green, fertile region of France as having tradition, terroir, and quality, and has protected its heritage and future with an AOC — appellation d’origine controllee — to regulate its production and promote its uniqueness. Etienne Dupont was one of the principal boosters of the AOC designation
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has been producing ciders and Calvados under the guidance of a Dupont family member since 1887. They grow 13 varieties of apples, categorizing each as either bitter, bittersweet, sweet, or acid. They celebrate Pays d’Auge terroir, describing the area’s soil as nutrient-poor and full of chalk, clay, and marl, which produces small, intense fruit. (More generous soil would yield bigger, less-concentrated fruit filled with water.) Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie is the producer’s entry-level cider, a tasty, quaffable, sparkling cider. They also produce cider aged in oak, fortified sweet ciders, and Calvados. For the Brut de Normandie, they harvest and press estate-grown apples, then make a blend that is 80% juice from “bittersweet” apples and 20% juice from “acid” (sour) apples. In another nod to terroir, they ferment the juice with indigenous yeasts; that is, the yeast or “bloom” that naturally resides on the apple skins. After fermentation, they bottle-condition the cider, bottling it with live yeast that will produce the carbonation and more fermentation flavors directly inside the bottle. In French, bouchon means “cork,” and cidre bouché refers to this cider that is “corked” or “under cork.” The combination of live yeast in the bottle, the cork packaging, and single-vintage dating (2014, in our case), allows for the cider to age, mellow, and cellar, attaining a slightly damp, musty, leathery note that is complex and très français. (French farmhouse beers, or bières de garde, are known for this character, as well.) The cider drinks with complexity but accessibility. It has residual sweetness — about 5% apple fructose by weight — which the Duponts liken to the apple-y, caramelly flavors of another local specialty: the baked apple dessert called tarte tatin.
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Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie pours a rich honey yellow beneath a tempest of frothy white foam. The initial foam subsides, but a persistent stream of perlage continues to bubble forth. Scents of fruit, flowers, and bread rise from the glass: a Norman bouquet of baked apple, anise, meyer lemon, and bready, yeasty sparkling wine. The palate is off-dry, offering a pleasant nectar sweetness that softens the apples’ acidity and slight bitterness as well as the carbonation’s tingle. The French prize the flavor of noyaux, the meaty nut at the center of an apricot pit; this cider exhibits flavors of noyaux and bread dough from the wisps of spent yeast and apple lees residing at the bottom of the bottle. Slight dampness and mustiness show a bit of this cider’s age. Rather than showing bracing, vibrant apple freshness, this bottle has mellowed and gained complexity with age. Subtle tannins linger on the tongue, offering a structure and astringency that beg for another sip of this enjoyable cider. Pair it at the start of a meal with charcuterie and cheese — the more French and Norman the better, to appreciate the terroir: rabbit rillettes, pâte de campagne, good Camembert, Pont l’Evêque, etc. The Normans cook with cider, too, enjoying it in cidery cream sauces to accompany chicken or seafood. Sautéing some skin-on chicken in butter and shallots, then deglazing the pan with cider and simmering with some cream and fresh thyme would be a simple, delicious partner for a glass of Dupont cidre.
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Redfield Cider West County Cider, Colrain, Massachusetts, United States 6.6% ABV  
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Move a family of Northern California winemakers to the Berkshire mountains, and you get a family with a love of the land and a passion for flavor, along with a thirst for grapes that can’t be quenched. Missing their vineyard, the Terry and Judith Maloney, along with their son, Field, got some tips from their rural neighbors and tried their hand at fermenting apples into cider. From their first harvest in 1972, they were hooked, and by 1984, they made their first commercial sales. Legally registered as a winery, these cider revivalists claim to be the first US winery to specialize in hard cider.
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Their orchards have expanded in the ensuing years, and now with 1400 apple trees, they produce a handful of varietal ciders that they ferment and bottle in their farmhouse cellar. A varietal cider, just like a varietal wine, is a cider made from a single apple variety, showcasing all the nuances of that apple. Most cideries make blends, using the juice of several different apples to get tannic structure from one, fermentable sugars from another, bright acidity from yet another, and a variety of flavors from all of them. Most cider apples, as opposed to table apples that you eat out-of-hand, are too tannic and sour to be enjoyable when eaten. They can make for great cider, when allowed to ferment and age properly, which shows the cider maker’s skill. Redfield is an apple variety that is known in the cider world for its crimson-colored flesh, searing acidity, and bold tannins — pretty to look at it, terrible to eat, and a challenge to turn into a varietal cider. Developed in New York state in 1938, the apple is a cross between a Wolf River Apple and a Niedzwetzskayana Red Crabapple. (Obviously.)

The Maloneys make two different Redfield ciders: a Redfield varietal and a Redfield/Golden Delicious blend that’s 75% Redfield with 25% Golden Delicious; evidently, some drinkers find the Redfield to be too intense an apple to be fully tamed on its own in a bottle of cider. Your bottle of Redfield is the pure varietal, and so the Redfield’s personality (red hue, bright malic acid, firm tannins, and sweet-savory flavor) is powerfully on display in this cider. Furthermore, the Maloneys ferment it with neutral commercial yeast, rather than an indigenous yeast that might muddy the waters with its own flavors. (To taste some more of West County’s terroir, their Kingston Black varietal cider is fermented with wild yeast.) It’s not just the Redfield apple’s character that’s on display, here, but also the Maloneys’ impressive cider making skills, in order to make this Redfield so a smooth and elegant a cider, certainly not as sour and austere as some ciders can be, nor as tannic and coarse as others.
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Redfield pours an elegant salmon rose color, topped with a hint of bubbly pink lace. The delicate nose shows cut apple, persimmon, grass, and chamomile, along with sweet-savory hints of roasted carrots and winter squash. It tastes clean and pure, a perfectly apple-y, refreshing juice at first. Then more intriguing flavors of chestnut, cucumber, and blood orange chime in, intermingling with the smooth acidity and firm tannins. With its restrained carbonation and savory flavors, it has less in common with most bright, zesty ciders and instead recalls an Italian rosato wine — a negroamaro rosato, perhaps. It’s delicious, complex, and shows an alluring, romantic side of cider. Pair this with grains, mushrooms, and dairy products, allowing the cider to provide savory harmony and fruity counterpoint to the pairing. Tagliatelle with creamy-mushroom sauce and truffle (either truffle oil or the real thing — November is white truffle season, after all); squash ravioli with chestnuts and brown butter; a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough; pizza with mozzarella, tomatoes, and good salame; or even a quesadilla with queso fresco, chicken, and cilantro would all be great partners with this cider.