November 24, 2008
A new cook in this kitchen

Greetings, and no, I didn't take a wrong turn. Some of you may recognize my mug from the BeatNonStop blog on But I've moved on from music writing, and just like a strip of Sizzlean, it's time for something meatier. I'm now covering wine and food, and this "Appetizers" blog is part of my writing menu.

So why did I go from covering Amy Winehouse to actually writing about wine? Well, the Bee made me an offer I couldn't refuse - and in a nice way that didn't involve waking up next to a horse's head. Those who know me well have heard me geeking out on food and wine matters for the last 10 years or so, like gabbing about some 1991 cabernet I scored on, or not shutting up about that luscious taste of a 1978 Shafer, or that ridiculously creative and sumptuous tasting menu by Gabriel Glasier at Rebud Cafe, etc. etc.

Yes, this new gig is pretty sweet.

My plan is to keep "Appetizers" filled with morsels of food news, culinary finds around town, wine notes and whatever else is tasting good. But what I really want is for you all to chime in and create some dialogue through the comments section. You're all more than welcome to e-mail me at

For those keeping score at home, I've been on the food/wine beat since July. Since then I've helped pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes near Lodi, written about the intricacies of apple cider, and recommended wines each Wednesday through my "Liquid Assets" column.

I've also spent the last few months under the tutelage of Mike Dunne, the Bee's venerable executive chef of food/wine coverage who recently retired from the paper. He was gracious enough to treat me as his understudy, including an excursion to the wine country of Amador County that he's covered for four decades. We also spent a day in Napa that was as educational is it was criminal to call work, and on a truly education end, we took a field trip to UC Davis' Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and introduced me to the folks out there. I'm really grateful to Mike, and hope he's hoisting a beverage of choice with family right about now.

I've got plenty more on my plate, so keep watching this space. In the meantime, did you hear that Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts in Napa has suspended operations?

Cheers ...

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