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[whitespace] Wild Hare's Wild Man

Joey Altman cooks in the great outdoors

By Christina Waters

JOEY ALTMAN, chef at Menlo Park's opulent Wild Hare and an award-winning BAY-TV food host, revealed recently that he's taping a pilot for TV's Food Network called Campfire Grill, in which he will take his "anything goes" culinary style on six outdoor adventures. The episodes will include kayaking on Tomales Bay followed by an oyster feed, and sailing around Catalina and then digging into a cracked crab and cioppino feast. Another episode will find Altman horseback riding through Sonoma and then firing up a spit for an outdoor rabbit and chorizo paella feed. "When I got this gig I just started laughing," Altman told me last week. "They also want to pay me to do this! Life is good sometimes." Especially if you're as talented and packed with excitable charm as Altman is.

Meanwhile, the Wild Hare (1029 El Camino Real, 650.327.HARE) is expanding into the next-door space, which, Altman says, will provide a 40-seat private and overflow dining room that he's calling the Game Room. "It has a beautiful fireplace and the same awesome high ceilings, plus its own bar," Altman gushed. "If I didn't need the extra space I would move into it!

Rose Talent Test

Altman isn't the only local cooking in front of the camera. Diane Rose (Mio Vicino), Jesse Cool (Flea St. Cafe, JZ Cool Catering and the new Stanford University Museum's Cool Cafe), Jim Stump (A.P. Stump's) and Michael French (Spago Palo Alto) are all scheduled to present their delicious ideas on KNTV Channel 11's own "Around the Bay" cooking segment, starting in early July. Rose told me she plans to do some of her Mio Vicino specialties in front of the camera, as well as "Diane-Rose-food-other-than-Mio-food." And "most of all, it'll be fun," says the tireless chef and culinary activist.

Rose says that since KNTV became a Warner Bros affiliate, changes are in the works. "The cooking segments will be on the new extended morning show. They'll run five to 10 minutes starting around 8:50am. Look for some of our hottest chefs slicing and dicing on the air next week (obviously you'll need to check for station/time details).

New Chef in Town

To get your very own hands-on sneak preview of the kitchen stylings at Restaurant Soleil, at the new Westin Palo Alto, you can sign up (fast) for the Drager's cooking class given Monday, June 26, by chef Phillip Kaufman. Kaufman opened Lark Creek Cafe under Bay Area luminary Bradley Ogden and was executive chef at SF's Gramercy Grill before coming to the new Soleil last month. He'll demonstrate one of the beautiful restaurant's summer menus, including seared, spiced ahi with grilled asparagus, seared baby abalone with crayfish sauce, and pan-roasted Colorado lamb loin with preserved tomato tart and warm quinoa salad. Stop drooling and sign up for the $45 class to be held in the Menlo Park Draeger's Culinary Center, starting at 6:30pm. For reservations, call 650.685.3704.

Wine Notes

Bill Cooper, from Cooper-Garrod Vineyards, emails to tell me that effective last week the lovely estate will extend its Tasting Room hours to include Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons, 1-5pm. Weekend hours remain 11am-4:30pm, plus other times by appointment. The winery, famed for some lovely reds, including an unusual cabernet franc, is located at 22600 Mt. Eden Road in Saratoga--call 408.867.7116 for details.

When that compulsion to drive over the hill toward the beach strikes you, you might want to plan an overnight stay and a tasty trek to Theo's Restaurant. A new wine-tasting group is getting under way on the first Thursday of every month. July 6 will be a tasting of that all-American varietal, zinfandel. You bring a bottle of your favorite zin to share (no corkage, natch), and you get to taste what others have brought. A special $28 prix fixe dinner (not including tax and tip) will be planned, featuring the awesome cooking skills of chef Pete Dressen (I always recommend Theo's to friends who ask me about the best dining spots in Santa Cruz). Plan to check out the new "Brown Bag Wine Group" at Theo's, 3101 N. Main St., Soquel (just south of Santa Cruz), and call 831.462.3657 for directions, details and reservations.

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From the June 22-28, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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