Posts Tagged With: grapes

GRAPE STOMP AND BIRTHDAY DINNER.

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I thought it was very nice that Grape Stomp was put on for my birthday. It is always a fun time. I approached from the East end of Murphys, the first stop at Hovey’s tasting room. The old Victorian sits on a huge quarter acre lawn, and people, me too, were attracted by the music. This group was dressed for Halloween.

Gail Warren

The musician, Gail Warren. I’ve heard her play before and she has amazing licks and phrases that make her music distinctive and complex. I asked if she had a CD. No!

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I love listening to her and her repertoire is varied from hard rock, soul, gospel, jazz, pop, you name it, she does it.

Eddie Castro

Because she is all over the map when she pauses and lifts, her drummer, Eddie Castro, interprets her every nuance and intuitively hesitates when she does.

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Some listen and some like to get up and dance, grass didn’t stop them.

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I’ve gone on and on about Gail, but I expect to see her name in national recognition some day.

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From there, I hit the street to look into the booths to see if someone was selling something I couldn’t live without. This, from a person trying to down size. This guy was called the money man. He was selling rusting metal sculptures. I resisted.

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I’m always impressed with someone’s ability to creatively change an unwanted object into something people will pay for, like these former golf clubs.The street fair has over 100 booths, so there is a lot to choose from.

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This little girl was delighted with her newly acquired purple gecko. Her brother had a fuzzy dog bouncing on a leash. Her dad said it was okay to take her picture.

Jim Heryford

And here was Jimmy Heryford selling beer in front of the Native Sons Hall for the benefit of the hall. And, every so often, someone would bank this huge gong. Never did figure out why? I was sorry I’d eaten lunch before I went. I usually find great street food and a beer.

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People seemed to be avoiding this booth because the dog was taller than the table. Kind of intimidating to some.

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This woman had her own wine on ice on the back of her bike. I asked her if she was selling. “No”, she said, “If you have a glass I’ll pour you some.”  Neat lady. People are such a trip. Town was loaded, heavier crowds than I’ve ever seen before.

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I walked to the park and it was mobbed. Everyone was standing in line or eating and drinking what they stood in line for.

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But the main event is the grape stomp.The teams come from all over to compete. The initial competition has 10 barrels, and each team stomps 25 lbs. of grapes. The winner of each heat, one every half hour, goes to the finals.

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The crowds cheer on their teams.

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It is a messy and juicy affair. I stood quite a distance and still got a small splatter on my shoes.

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The stomper stays relatively clean compared to the juicer. I don’t know if this couple won the heat, but they worked hard, laughed a lot and if they get to the finals, they have to stomp 50 pounds of grapes. Fun.

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I went home and got ready for dinner. Ken and Laurie took us to Alchemy. They were busy, busy, busy with so many people in town.

half boneless chicken

Everything you eat here is good. Jim ordered a half boneless chicken…

pad thai

Laurie and I had the seafood pad thai. Delicious.

ribs

Ken likes ribs. They have good beers, too, though I can’t recall the name of the beer we drank. And, they brought us a decadent dessert to share because it was my birthday.

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I’ve wanted to blog the beautiful coffee table Laurie painted for me. She is soooo talented. Everyone helped me move the furniture around so the table is really a display piece. I’m going to get a glass top for it. It matches all my other Egyptian stuff and I’m just thrilled with it. I picked up the table at a yard sale years ago with the idea to paint it with an Egyptian theme but she has a talent that I don’t have. I love it!

 

 

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BY WAY OF WINE COUNTRY

Oh, blimey, I’ve been home for five days and in my blog I’m still on the road. My brain has this need for chronological order, which Jim would refute. But, travelers, even if you don’t stop and sip, you can’t help but love wine country. The vines change character depending on the time of year. In places they undulate across the hilltops in beautiful patterns. We traveled twisty, quirky highway 128 until it ran out. Switched to 29, then 12.  The back roads whenever possible.

At a pull-out we stopped and grabbed a couple of pictures of plump grapes waiting for their transformation to wine.There are now hundreds of wineries to choose from.  Move in for a year or two and try them all.

At the main intersection in Calistoga, Busters Smoked Ribs and Chicken is some of the best barbecue you’ll taste West of  Kansas. No fat on these ribs, no steam cooking, simple wood smoke does the entire job. At this point, we could have driven the Silverado Trail, which parallels 29, a gorgeous scenic drive. It bypasses the small towns, Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, and others. We chose to wend our way through the  colorful towns,  both have something to offer.

A friend once complained the drive on highway 12 through the Delta is boring. Not to me. Rough and too many potholes is a fact. Jim has to cover his head when I open the cupboards for fear a can will drop on his head after a road like this. A wind farm popped into view,  new since I’d driven it.

Small sloughs,  fishing and boating defines much of life here and gives you a feel for the place even without stopping.

The  island ferrys are gone.  The time will come when  drawbridges will be obsolete. Even now,  the amount of traffic on the road that stops for a single small boat whizzing under seems ludicrous. River traffic isn’t what it used to be. Paying a bridge tender is costly. The only constant is change, so enjoy them now, they are an endangered species.

We arrived in Stockton on October 9th, missed the Derby, and missed a train museum on Highway 12. I promise myself every time I drive that road to stop at the train museum.  There are no warning signs. Suddenly, the driveway appears and you are past it before you can say:  the space between the words Pig and And, and And and Whistle is uneven.”  You won’t find a place to turn around on Highway 12  until you are several miles past.   “Such is life,” says Jim.

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Portuguese Feast – New Bedford, Massachusetts – Day 2

Jim says:

Weather-wise, yesterday was the nicest day we’ve experienced in quite a while…maybe since we arrived in New England just before Memorial Day. Partly cloudy, 77 degrees, relatively low humidity and a gentle breeze…a most pleasant day!

We arrived at 4:30 PM. First activity of the day was the carne de espeto…meat on a spit…a community BBQ…kinda sorta.

Here’s cousin Bob, a Portuguese Feast veteran of 50 years with his skewer ready to go…

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Here’s Mary turning our skewer…

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When the meat and veggies are done, you scrape them off the skewer with a stainless steel hook device…

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Then you get a large roll and create a sandwich and wash it down with some beer. Mary and I seldom eat red meat anymore…but when in Rome (New Bedford Portuguese Feast), do as the Romans do!

Next activity was the Museum of Madeiran Heritage. The Island of Madeira in Portugal is where many Portuguese originally came from.
A tapestry shows a scene from Madeira…

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The Isle of Madeira is famous for its grapes and wine…

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The final activity of the day was in the Museum Courtyard Cafe. We arrived early to get a front row table. Ana Vinagre (vinegar in Portuguese) sang many delightful Portuguese songs.

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Then we enjoyed a group of about 25 people doing traditional Portuguese song and dance…

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To see the other 24 photos I took, click this link…
http://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver/073110#

Here’s the official website link for the Portuguese feast…
http://portuguesefeast.com/

We arrived home at 10:00 PM…another most enjoyable day. Today we will enjoy the final day of the Portuguese Feast.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2009
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

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