Where to Find Moan-Inducing Seasonal Fruit

candycotsWhy are peaches, nectarines, apricots and other stone fruit so frequently a disappointment?   Andy Mariani from Morgan Hill’s Andy’s Orchard can tell you why and provide tips on picking out great fruit.   Read the whole post on KQED’s Bay Area Bites blog here.

Finding the Best Summer Food

summerHot weather means bring on the cool, light ingredients.

(Published by South Bay Accent in August, 2014.)

Hot summer days can define your dining choices. Who wants stick-to-the-ribs dishes when sizzling weather calls for light, cool cuisine — if possible, featuring all of summer’s divine fruits and vegetables. So slip into your shorts and peruse our list of 10 great restaurant choices for summer dining and drinking, featuring dishes so delectable that you’ll want to have them all year long. Continue reading

Clos de la Tech

viewWith endless views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the spare-no-expense winery of executive T.J. Rodgers is pushing the envelope.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in August, 2014. See following post on other millionaire’s wineries.

In Silicon Valley management vernacular, it’s one heck of a stretch goal: Make the best pinot noir in the world. This persnickety grape typically creates apoplexy for wineries striving to bend it to their will but to chip czar T.J. Rodgers, it’s just another task to be researched, planned and executed like designing the programmable circuits his San Jose company, Cypress Semiconductor, has been making since 1982. Continue reading

Local Millionaires in the Wine Biz

millionaires3Going into the often-unprofitable wine business is popular with local millionaires, some who plant vineyards around their mansions.

(Published by South Bay Accent in August, 2014.  See related piece in previous post.)

A much-repeated phrase about the wine business is that it’s the best way to turn a large fortune into a small fortune. This doesn’t seem to dissuade famous and wealthy — or just wealthy — individuals from planting vineyards and sometimes launching wineries. A partial list of celebrities who moonlight in the wine biz includes Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Joe Montana, Madonna, rocker Mick Fleetwood, Wayne Gretzky, Pixar chief John Lasseter and politico millionaire Nancy Pelosi. Continue reading

Hiking Heaven

mt_tamalpaisHiking on undiscovered trails in the Bay Area is a wonderful mid-summer activity.

(Published by the San Jose Mercury-News and its affiliates on July 6, 2014)

Ah, summer. The weather beckons us outdoors — where we run into swarms of others with the same objective. A few Bay Area residents might enjoy congested hiking trails that are like holiday shopping at the mall, but most of us seek solitude along with the usual hiking highlights: views, abundant nature and exertion levels that don’t precipitate a paramedic call.

There is all this and more on three extra-special hikes around the Bay Area that were selected by local hiking experts Ann Marie Brown, Steve Richard and Brad Day. They share their knowledge and love of the outdoors via books, blogs and websites that all weave a common theme: we live in hiking heaven. Continue reading

Recycled or Unusual Materials Kick Up Home Remodeling

(This post doesn’t cover food or wine but it might still be of interest.)

recycled doorsRecycled barn doors used in the home are now hugely popular in remodeling.

(This article appeared in the San Jose Mercury-News and its affiliates on May 28, 2014.)

Crawling out of the standard-materials groove when remodeling — the counters must be stone or tile, the floors must be wood, yada yada — opens up a brave new world of possibilities. It can save a lot of money, too, and deliver environmental brownie points.

Just ask Janet Hall, co-founder, editor-at-large and “materials maven” at the popular renovation and home-design site, Remodelista. She and her site curate a wealth of mind-bending ideas, many of them coming from the cutting-edge decorators and architects who are constantly seeking never-seen-before concepts for the home. Continue reading

Skate into Hult’s for Super Cuisine

Hults osso bucoPretty-as-a-picture dishes at new Hult’s Restaurant in Los Gatos underscore an ambitious goal of luring patrons away from all the other new eateries in town.

(Published by South Bay Accent in June, 2014)

Maybe it’s the presence of a Michelin superstar, Manresa, in their midst raising the bar. Or the South Bay’s now-humming economy. Or the fact that Los Gatans really like to eat out, apparently. But this cute town is brimming with new eateries, some of them replacing the more pedestrian dining spots that dominated Los Gatos years ago.

One of these newbie entrants is Hult’s, the namesake of former European hockey player Alexander Hult. An untimely knee injury kept the personable young Swede from skating with the San Jose Sharks but did precipitate a major career change. Now he glides around on the newly installed hardwood attending to patrons in his modern restaurant, which replaced decades of lower-end chains from Hobee’s and Bakers Square to Denny’s in this stand-alone building overlooking Highway 9. Continue reading