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[whitespace] The Bearded Lady

And the nominee is ... yours truly

By Christina Waters

AH, YES, THE DADDY OF ALL CULINARY AWARD EVENTS is coming up again in May, and the nominees in categories ranging from Best New Chef to Best Newspaper Writing on Spirits, Wine & Beer were announced last week. Let's not mince words: your faithful food writer (moi) scored a James Beard Foundation Journalism nomination in the latter category. For my third such nomination (maybe three's the charm), the Beard folks honored my Oct. 7, 1999, article on zinfandel titled "Blood Red and Ready to Rock." We can all thank that thinking-woman's winemaker, Paul Draper, whose extraordinary Ridge Winery vintages inspired the story. And if I win this year (how about a few novenas, candles and burning sage bundles out there ...), you'll definitely hear about it. Unfortunately I won't be at the awards dinner this year--I'll be in France. Drinking wine.

Speaking of James Beard (whose matchless recipe for roast chicken always makes me look like a culinary whiz), Paolo's chef Mark Hopper will be back in New York cooking an Italian Easter Celebration Dinner for a well-seasoned clientele at the James Beard House. Hopper, an East Coast native, is gearing up to impress the home crowd with his California-style nuova cucina Italiana. His menu starts with crostini of foie gras mousse with pickled cherries and toasted almonds (don't you wish you could do that at home?) and continues to dazzle with (among other things) asparagus risotto with roasted morels and braised spring lamb with garlic faro, sweet peas and black truffle gremolata. To taste this fabulous feast yourself, you'll need to make reservations (www.jamesbeard.org). Dinner happens on April 25, at 7pm ($110 a head, unless you're a member of the James Beard Foundation.) Of course you can always sample Hopper's elegantly hearty cookery at Paolo's, 333 W. San Carlos St., right here in downtown San Jose. Call 408/294-2558 for reservations.

Cool News

Organic pioneer Jesse Cool--Flea Street Cafe chef, cookbook author and catering matriarch at JZ Cool Catering & Cafe in Menlo Park--emailed to say that she has been offered yet another fabulous opportunity. Cool will bring an organic menu to the cafe at Stanford University's Cantor Art Museum. The cafe overlooks the Rodin sculpture garden. Soon you can have Cool's edible artwork along with a few choice Monets.

Slightly Different

Fundraising events have a certain, shall we say, predictability. But we find a lot to get excited about in Tapestry in Talent's upcoming April Fool's Night fundraiser. KGO's Gene Burns will hold down the chair for the event, scheduled to run 6 to 9:30pm at Bella Mia Restaurant (58 S. First St., San Jose; 408.494.3590). Your $45 ($75 for two) gets you into the auction, which starts at the stroke of 7:30pm. One of those Butterfield & Butterfield guys who talks fast will invite you to bid on items like a five-course dinner for 10, cooked in your own home by Emile Mooser, owner of Emile's restaurant. Another choice item is an evening of fine food and wine for six at Napa Valley's Domaine Chandon. Something not involving food really intrigues me. Haven't you always wanted to ride in one of those traffic helicopters? You can if you have the winning bid on a ride in the KGO 810 AM traffic chopper. Bid on Tahoe packages, San Jose Symphony tickets, group wine tasting tours at gorgeous Byington Winery. And, as they say, much, much more. More details? Go to www.tapestryintalent.org.

High Marks for Wine.com

For 15 years Peter Marks developed the amazing wine inventory at Draeger's supermarkets. After developing the wine "list" at Draeger's to well over 2,500 labels, Marks--who is one of only 14 American members of the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine, located in London--recently joined Wine.com as senior wine merchant. He'll taste, critique and select wines to add to the website--it's a tough job. Definitely the biggest, most high-profile wine portal on the web, Wine.com offers beaucoup expertise to back up its enormous lists of hard-to-find wines from around the world.

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From the March 30-April 5, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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