Plinyland®

While in Sonoma County recently visiting my mother for the holidays, my surrogate dad, adventure pal and winemaker extraordinaire Bruce Patch invited me to go pick up some samples at the local wine storage facility in Windsor.

“It’s right across the street from the new Russian River Brewing Company brewery!” he announced excitedly.

Beer aficionados and IPA nuts will recognize Russian River as the brewer of the difficult-to-source double-IPA-of-legend, Pliny the Elder, of which I have done several posts in my own Quixotic pursuit of. More

Oktoberfest Eve (Sort of…)

My pal, Steve, was in Luxembourg — close to the German border — a couple weeks ago, and sent me a photo of the very large beer he was drinking.

“I’m celebrating Oktoberfest!” he said.

“It’s only mid-September!” I pointed out.

Don Schneider and his boar beard

Don Schneider and his boar beard

“I guess they start early.”

So it seemed reasonable when our pals, the Schneiders, invited us for an Oktoberfest dinner on September 28. More

It Was a Good Day

The day started off well enough, an early lunch with my brothers — a couple tall Molsons on tap and a minuscule serving of seared ahi at Outback Steakhouse.

And from there, the sky was the limit.

Mike admires his Chichicapa cerveza

Mike admires his Chichicapa cerveza

Waiting around in the parking lot of my kids’ school for the bell to ring, I got a call. It was my pal Michael:

“Dude, what’re you doing?” More

Matsutake Memories

Fungi is a fickle kingdom. Predicting where and when a particular mushroom will grow is like betting on the stock market.

Willa with amanita coccora — the only edible mushroom in a family of deadly beauties

Willa with amanita coccora — the only edible mushroom in a family of deadly beauties

Some mushrooms appear only in years with late soaking rain, others only when there is an early rain followed by a dry spell followed by another rain. Some mushrooms only grow where there is something dead under the dirt, while others cannibalize nearby poisonous mushrooms, transforming them into prized edibles. More

A Fine Day for Chili

Out on my morning run, I saw a couple deer mating. And I knew it was going to be a good day.

For it was the Saturday of the Topanga Chili Cook-Off and Swap Meet, which my friend Nonie — who is on the board of the Community Club — had coerced me into entering.

Tom and his chili paddle

Tom and his chili paddle

Last year, I was a judge alongside my pal Ernie. There were two chilis entered, neither of which were very good. “I think the best chili was the one they were selling at the concession,” I said to the gal running the event.

“But that came from a can!” she protested. More

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