This week’s IMO Thursday – Vanessa Trevino Boyd is wine star and Beverage Director at Philippe Restaurant + Lounge in Houston, TX. She oversees one of the city’s most thoughtful wine lists and this past April she was awarded ‘Best New Sommelier’ by Food & Wine magazine. So why then am I lauding this young woman when she clearly has plenty of allies? Because she is a dear friend and she goes about it the right way. At the end of the day choosing wines for a restaurant is no different from choosing great ingredients for the establishment’s kitchen. One must trust the supplier and sample the goods. I have seen Vanessa meticulously smell and taste limes before making a margarita. I have watched her cut tomatoes and inspect their every nuance before placing in a salad. In June of this year when she came to Colorado to work the Aspen Food and Wine Festival we sat down for lunch at one of the most recognized restaurants in the area and within minutes the sommelier on duty (also the GM of the place) was asking Vanessa’s opinion on a myriad of wine related subjects because she remarked on the quality of the wine and the provenance of some of the produce. [Read more...]
The Grape Harvest Part 5 is the continuation of my Italy Travel Fiction segment that I began in April. This is a 7-10 part series following Mike, a newly successful author along his travels in Italy. Do not let the banal description steer you away from this story of introspection, compulsion, and deviance. Here are links to the first 4 chapters.
Mike: (to Viola) you knew that Roberto had truffles today didn’t you?
Viola: I AM my father’s daughter
Mike: he still gets these via trade; his guy told him that he could get $1500 each for the small fist truffles but that because the winery had been so good to him in the lean years that there would never be any wavering in the agreement which dated back 22 years to the first November after Roberto’s father fell ill.
Viola: Roberto’s poem on the winery wall?
Mike: yeah, perhaps the most compelling argument that life and our direction is not nearly so neat as we would like to make it. Roberto was a successful man, but family….
Viola: I love you Dad
Mike: are you sure?
Viola: you silly, silly man, with the big dangerous imagination…you know I am not going to repeat myself [Read more...]
This week’s edition of Haiku Sunday – Italy iPhone Photography by Juliet Housewright celebrates the eye of my talented wife on our most recent Italy journey. Juliet’s work will have its own gallery on The Blissful Adventurer soon and these images will certainly be part of it. Enjoy today’s Haiku and stay tuned for a big announcement tomorrow!
Feet seem happiest
when dappled lights and warmth find
a place to alight [Read more...]
The Blissful Adventurer Top 25 Italy Moments continues with #11 – Siena Church Driving. After our most recent trip to Italia I had to augment my Top 11 posts with some amazing new experiences which blew us away. We have gotten the list together and now we continue with the rest of the story.
#11 Siena Church Driving
I started driving in Italy on a regular basis in 2006. Since then I have driven vans, cars, and bicycles. I have pulled trailers, ridden in dump trucks, and driven cars on and off of very tightly packed ferries. I have used a Euro GPS and a modified American Garmin Nuvi 275. I can say with all certainty none of those experiences prepared me for #11 on my list of Top 25 Italy moments. [Read more...]
Top 25 Italy Moments #18 – The Porcupine Kick – was one of those nights that could have never been scripted and the replay in my head is almost as good as the moment itself.
#18 – The Porcupine Kick (Il Riccio Calcio) – It was a gorgeous fall evening in Assisi and our class were all dispersed atop the hill and enjoying the cool evening around the walls of the ancient La Rocca Maggiore. Of course after a big meal there was much consumption of cheap wine in unmarked bottles and as always someone (me) would bring a bottle of liquor because they did not enjoy wine at the time (heresy). Our class of fall Romers in 1992 was the largest of all time and the hotel normally used by the school could not accommodate the whole class.
“Do I think America belongs in Vietnam? I don’t know, I know I belong in Vietnam, I’ll tell ya that”
One of the great quotes from Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant Full Metal Jacket was used to suggest the potential lunacy of a soldier during the siege of Hue’ city in what the Vietnamese refer to as “The American War.” I have begun with this quote to illustrate my own opinion before, and most certainly after my recent visit to Vietnam. Vietnam is not the jungle den of iniquity carefully constructed in post-war Hollywood, but perhaps the most compelling argument for the resiliency of the human spirit even in the aftermath of human aggression that I have had the privilege to witness in my travels. Beginning here with a quote from a dramatized time that most of the west still equates to Vietnam seems appropriate as it is strewn with misconceptions. The Vietnam that I experienced has taken enormous pride in letting go of any conceptualized victimization and as a nation Vietnam has moved forward to adjust and excel at its most natural talents which stand in stark contrast to the prejudices, anger, and futility of war. [Read more...]
Here is part 2 of my abridged Top 25 Italy moments from the past 19 years. As I drew these together I knew it would be about people and circumstances much more than just the place itself. Italy, it seems, provides the canvas for which to paint amazing images. I read many of my fellow bloggers’ posts and it is amazing just how close we all are in our assessments of things and yet how much diversity exists in our varied experiences. Now, on to the countdown:
Technical difficulties and creative exhaustion led to the untimely demise of Haiku Sunday this week. To celebrate the 33 views of my blog that day (the lowest total since January) I am offering a glimpse into my last week. Haiku Tuesday is about my still life in Denver while enjoying the genius artworks of Clyfford Still, perhaps the most important Abstract Expressionist painter. Mr Still’s work along with Jackson Pollock and my favorite modern painter Mark Rothko changed the way we look at art today and possibly even our views of the world.
I cried on and off throughout my day in the Clyfford Still Museum on Sunday because the paintings reminded me why I am out here trying to create which to me is just the way I want to live and so frequently do not.
Texture is not false
it is what keeps us reaching
again for the touch [Read more...]
The Grape Harvest Part 4 is the continuation of my Italy Travel Fiction segment that I began in April. This is a 7-10 part series following Mike, a newly successful author along his travels in Italy. Do not let the banal description steer you away from this story of introspection, compulsion, and deviance. Here are links to the first 3 chapters.
Mike unconsciously swallowed the remaining milky remnants of the cheese as he gulped to speak to the beautiful young woman staring right into his face.
Mike – Viola, how did you know I was here?
Viola – Daddy, you may be the author of Italy’s most hidden gems, but you are certainly not Italy’s most hidden writer
Mike – Miranda?
Viola – you know she loves me
Mike – secretary, mother, and principal…3 for one salary
Viola – give her a break she would not share that info with just anyone
Mike – Perugia?
Viola – its cool
Mike – la tua Italiano?
Viola - meglio
Mike – your mother?
Viola - non ce male
Mike – good, I am glad she is well…..hungry?
Viola – of course [Read more...]
This week’s Haiku Sunday is an introduction to Italy’s Le Marche region. This stunning region along the Adriatic Sea and held by the spiny Sybelline Mountains just west is one of the most compelling and least visited regions in Italy. This tip of the iceberg should get you all excited to visit. (Remember to click the photos to see full size)
along organic vineyards
make me smile quickly [Read more...]