Fresh Fish

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We made our way up to the 99 Ranch Market, in El Cerrito for a spot of shopping. The market is part of a larger complex which, once you enter the doors, transports you to what could be any mall in Hong Kong. Tanks of live fish, crabs, lobster, oysters, clams, even a white catfish which Tyler spotted, it’s all there.

We loaded up on good rice, oxtail, frozen squid, enoki mushrooms, Japanese sweet potatoes, persimmons, all sorts of good stuff that you can’t find at your local Safeway.

Later that evening, we went to Oakland for pizza and a movie with the neighbors.

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Fenton’s Creamery

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Went back to visit an old college haunt with the Karp’s this weekend. Fenton’s on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland has been an institution and well worth the trip over from Berkeley. It looked newer than I remembered and was told the whole thing was redone after a fire in 2001. We ordered the Banana Special which is described below on their menu:

Banana Special – Watch Out! Tourists may takes photos of you with this Fentons tradition!
HUGE scoops, we mean HUGE scoops, of Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry ice cream cradled by a whole ripe banana. Topped with pineapple, strawberry and chocolate fudge. Topped off with almonds, whipped cream and cherry. $9.95

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Office

Leaving Do

Thank you everyone that made it last night to my send off. It was great to reminisce about old times and share stories from days gone by. It seems like St. Thomas and the coming together of the JV is burned in everyone’s memories as a particular highlight but there were also plenty of other stories of Factiva’s “derring do” as people went that extra step for either work or pleasure. The folks at Factiva are a unique group of talented people ~ keep the spirit alive, I’ll miss you all.

Add another story to the books from last night. The picture above shows David Hamm’s car which joined us for drinks last night and was still “thirsty” even after four pitchers of agua. We certainly had the waitress wondering where all the water was going. . .

David Hamm
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Expensive Tastes

Julia, who often sleeps between us, woke up this morning and let us know her breakfast wishes.

“I’m hungry. I want sushi.”

Yikes.

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Sharkbait

Just got back from a night out with some friends that took us to a pig roast in Bucks County, PA. The event was the first in a series of Summer parties put together by the “Guerrilla Grill” group and this one was to promote Dish Catering. Along with fine food was a setup of a beach in this farm field where they brought in sand, beach chairs, and towels and a movie setup where we could watch the film “Jaws” – the boys in the photo were relatives of some locals that were up visiting from Tennessee and took the time to get into costume.

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Pig Roast

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Yesterday, the Cirullo’s held their annual Pig Roast. They grew up in the area and the Pig Roast is an excuse to bring all their far-flung friends back together for a day long gathering interspersed with games of Quoits, a raffle drawing featuring “expensed” corporate giveaways [Merrill Lynch T-Shirt, Mettler Toledo swiss army knives] and many mugs of beer. More kids this year than last so the late-night crowd was only a few. I turned in early but we could hear the clanking of the Quoits on their pins late into the night . . . the sounds of Summer.

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Strawberries!

Tyler gets started

The weekly harvests have begun at our local organic farm, the Watershed, where we split a family share that allows us to share in the food that they grow there. Most of the crops are harvested for you and all we need to do is drive down the road to fill up a couple of grocer bags full of wonderfully fresh and pesticide-free veggies. It’s fun to go with the kids because each week there’s always something that’s available on a “pick your own” basis. In May, it’s strawberries to be followed soon by rasberries and, *yum* blackberries. This week too were snap peas which are so sweet you can eat them right off the vine!

Julia in the strawberry fields

Summer is truly here as our neighbors, the Trasks, have yet again graciously opened up their pool which is unofficially known as the, “East Franklin Swim Club.” After a morning of picking in the fields, a dip in the pool is always welcome.

A bit of Fame touched our block this weekend as we heard the good news that the Trask’s daughter, Emma, who had been busting her butt for the last year on a Michael Moore film project not only was able to attend the Cannes Film Festival but also that the film won this year’s Palm D’Or.

Not only did Fahrenheit 9/11 pull down the world’s top film prize, it received a 20-minute standing ovation (a record in the film festival’s history) and was only the second documentary to win the Palm D’Or in 50 years.

As you may know, the film’s original backers have pulled out which prompted all kinds of conspiracy chatter and probably only helped boost the film’s profile. Disney’s recent punch in earnings was due, in a large part, to their theme park business and the most successful Disney theme park is in Florida. Some say that Disney didn’t want to jeapordize their cozy relationship with the Governer of Florida, Jeb Bush (the President’s brother) by distributing a film so openly critical of the President.

Disney just can’t seem to call any of the right shots in their film division. First they piss of Steve Jobs and send him, Pixar, and the Shrek franchise off in search of their own distribution channel. Shrek 2 opened last week to a “record shattering $125 million” for through this weekend. Now it looks certain that Fahrenheit 9/11 will be a money-maker as well. I recall Moore’s first documentary, Roger & Me, was extremely profitable because production costs on a documentary are so reasonable. Way to go Emma!

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Current Events

The Extraordinary Private Cellar of Doris Duke

Bottles of the first ever Vintage (1921) of Dom Pérignon, 1929 Château d’Yquem, 1934 Romanée Conti (pictured), all these and more from the cellers of Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress that made her home several miles up the road in Somerville on a 2,700 acre estate. The bottles will be auctioned off at Christies in NYC to benefit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation on June 2nd.

The private cellar of Doris Duke is without question one of the most superlative collections of Fine and Rare Wines to come to market in the nearly forty years of dedicated Fine Wine auctions at Christie’s. This sale ranks as the most unique offering of pre-war vintages ever sold in North America; both in its impeccable provenance and its depth of some of the best wines of the twentieth century.

The cellar highlights a period of wine-making and vintages whose like will never be repeated and is a true “time capsule” of bottlings spanning 1904 to 1934 and encompassing the great châteaux and domaines of France from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne as well as ports and madeiras.

The quantities here speak to an era of grand entertaining long-since passed, the vintages to yields and wine-making techniques changed by technological advancement and in one case to a vineyard now included in another by the appelation controlée laws.

Not only are the wines themselves remarkable, but the quality of the archival material associated with them is equally astonishing. No collection of this era can have been so meticulously catalogued by its owners, so that today’s collector can be assured of the provenance. Researching this collection has brought this cellar to life; tracing the wine’s journey from initial invoices (in old French francs) and shipping dockets, through cellar inventories, entertaining records and through to NY Wines Christie’s recent cataloguing and inspection.

Christie’s Lot Description

Oh yeah, they’re also hawking a 20-carat Tiffany diamond ring too.

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Sushi Bar Cam

Our old neighborhood sushi shop in Tokyo now has a webcam! Gosh, this makes me miss Japan. . .

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Local Vineyard in New Jersey

We have a local vineyard. Our friends brought over a bottle of their 2001 Merlot and it was not bad at all.